Gaiman Protégé to Saga Press
For Saga Press, Simon & Schuster’s science fiction/fantasy imprint, Joe Monti signed Kat Howard to a two-book, world rights deal. Brianne Johnson at Writers House represented Howard, whom Saga described as a protégé of bestselling author Neil Gaiman. The first book in the deal, Roses and Rot, is Howard’s debut novel—she’s published a number of short stories—and, the publisher said, recalls Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. The novel follows a woman who, after being given the chance to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat with her sister, “is faced with the struggle of what to sacrifice for success and family in order to escape her past.”

Knopf Kids’ Gets Witch-y with Mather
Actress Adriana Mather sold her debut YA novel, How to Hang a Witch to Nancy Hinkel at Knopf Books for Young Readers, in a six-figure, North American rights, two-book deal. The author is a direct descendent of Puritan minister Cotton Mather (who was involved in the Salem witch trials). Mather was represented by agent Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio, and Stimola said the novel was pitched as “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir meets The Craft.” When heroine Samantha Mather moves to modern-day Salem, Mass., she finds that the crimes of her descendants—who were involved in hanging witches in the town 300 years ago—come back to haunt her. Samantha, Stimola elaborated, “is ostracized by the witch descendants at school, confronted by an enigmatic ghost, and forced to trust her only friend and, ultimately, herself, as she unravels the lost secrets of the hangings and her family.” How to Hang a Witch is set for fall 2016.

NYT Journo Lands Seven Figures at SMP
Stephanie Clifford, who reports on business and the media for the New York Times, closed a seven-figure North American rights deal, with Charles Spicer at St. Martin’s Press, for her debut novel, Everybody Rise. Spicer brokered the deal with Elisabeth Weed, who has an eponymous literary agency. The novel, which has also been optioned for film by Fox 2000, is about an ambitious female striver in Manhattan and is set circa 2006. Spicer described the book, which is slated for a 2016 release, as “Edith Wharton meets The Bonfire of the Vanities for the 21st Century[em].”

Cowan Gets ‘Primary’ at Norton
USC professor Geoffrey Cowan sold North American rights to Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Creation of the Presidential Primary to John Glusman at Norton. Glusman brokered the deal with Peter Matson at Sterling Lord Literistic. In the book, Glusman said, Cowan examines four months during Roosevelt’s 1912 campaign for the presidency to “explore the birth of our nation’s political primary system.” Norton plans to release the book in spring 2016, to coincide with the New Hampshire primary.

Bayard’s First YA to Holt Kids
Adult novelist Louis Bayard (The Pale Blue Eye) sold his debut YA novel, The Gas Station Pagans, to Laura Godwin at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. The deal keeps Bayard at his current publisher (his other titles are on Holt’s adult list). Christopher Schelling at Selectric Artists represented Bayard in the deal, and the book is currently scheduled for a winter 2016 release. Gas Station Pagans is set in 1934 and follows an orphan girl who, in an attempt to keep her siblings together, convinces a man to impersonate her father, and the move brings “both good and bad consequences,” Schelling said.

Mary Kubica closed a two-book deal with Erika Imranyi at Mira, her current publisher. Kubica’s debut, The Good Girl (July 2014), was a bestseller; her agent, Rachael Dillon Fried at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, represented her in the deal. (The Good Girl was included on PW’s Best Books of 2014 list.) Pretty Baby, Kubica’s second novel with Mira, is set for July 2015.

NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect the title of Kat Howard's first book in her two-book deal with S&S, which was shared with PW after initial publication.