Kepner Closes First Deals

Chris Kepner has done his first deals since establishing his own agency. He sold North American rights to a three book sci-fi debut called the Stars Now Unclaimed to Devi Pillai at Tor in a six-figure deal. The author, Drew Williams, is the fiction buyer at the Little Professor indie bookstore in Birmingham, Ala. Anne Perry at Simon & Schuster UK preempted the U.K./Commonwealth rights, also in a three-book deal. The series revolves around the deployment of a weapon 100 years ago that was intended to protect a peaceful world, but when things go wrong a group called the Justified set out to fix them.

Mira Buys Debut Thriller

Michelle Meade at Mira has acquired Wendy Heard’s debut psychological thriller, Hunting Annabelle, and another title in a two-book North American rights deal negotiated by Lauren Spieller at Triada US Literary Agency. According to Spieller, Hunting Annabelle was pitched as Dexter meets Gone Girl: “A young man struggles to control his murderous impulses as he desperately searches for his kidnapped girlfriend before she falls victim to a killer even more dangerous than he.” Publication is set for winter 2019.

Kaminsky’s Poetry to Graywolf

Graywolf’s Jeff Shotts has acquired Ilya Kaminsky’s much-anticipated poetry collection, Deaf Republic, for publication in 2019. Shotts took world rights and Kaminsky did not use an agent. Per Graywolf, the collection is a parable-in-poems that opens in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. When a boy is killed by soldiers breaking up a protest, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear—all have gone deaf, and their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language, which is reproduced in line drawings in the forthcoming work. Kaminsky was born in Ukraine in 1977 and lost most of his hearing at age four. He moved with his family to the U.S. in 1993.

Menon Re-ups with Simon Pulse

Jennifer Ung at Simon Pulse acquired When Ashish Met Sweetie by Sandhya Menon, a companion novel to the bestselling When Dimple Met Rishi, released by Simon Pulse this May. Thao Le at the Sandra Dijkstra Agency negotiated the six-figure, two-book deal for world rights. According to Le, the novel is told in dual perspectives, following Rishi’s brother, Ashish, as he “hilariously navigates love and identity in the wake of a crushing breakup, and Sweetie Nair, a heavyset athlete who wants to prove to herself that she’s more than just her dress size.” Publication is scheduled for summer 2019. The second book is a currently untitled contemporary YA slated for summer 2020.

More Misadventures from Waterhouse

In two separate three-book deals, Waterhouse Press CEO David Grishman has acquired world rights to six titles for Waterhouse’s Misadventures erotic romance series, which is kicking off on September 12 with Misadventures of a City Girl, cowritten by Chelle Bliss and bestselling author and Waterhouse founder Meredith Wild. In the first new agreement, brokered by Sara Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency, Elizabeth Hayley sold three books to Grishman. Her first Misadventures title, Misadventures with My Roommate, will be released Mar. 27, 2018. The other three-book deal was made with Toni Aleo, whose Misadventures of a Rookie, will be published Apr. 11, 2018. Aleo did not use an agent.

Europa Nabs Crime Novels by South African Author

Sandro Ferri, publisher at Europa Editions, has acquired world English rights (excluding Southern Africa) to Weeping Waters and Our Fathers by South African author Karin Brynard. The deal was brokered by Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. Dixon, along with Maya Fowler, will translate Weeping Waters from the Afrikaans. Ferri describes the work as a “terrific thriller by a new voice of South African literature.” Europa will publish the novel in spring 2018.