Deal of the Week: Frey’s “Season” Unfolds at Ballantine

In a North American rights deal, Ballantine’s Susanna Porter bought Sarah Frey’s memoir, The Growing Season, at auction. The book, which Mollie Glick at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) sold, chronicles the author’s unusual journey from farmer’s daughter to agrarian entrepreneur. At 15, angered by her parents’ inability to keep their Southern Illinois farm in the black, Frey started her own farm stand. Frey Farms is now, per the publisher, a billion-dollar business and one of the country’s top produce retailers. The book, Ballantine said, is “the story of Sarah’s courageous rise from humble beginnings, on her own terms, without ever leaving the land she loved.” Frey is writing the book with journalist Ada Calhoun.

Trump Ex-aide Sells Tell-All

Cliff Sims, former special assistant to President Trump, sold a memoir detailing his time in the Trump administration to St. Martin’s Press. Matt Latimer and Keith Urbahn at Javelin sold world rights to Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the White House to Thomas Dunne, with Stephen S. Power editing. The book, SMP said, tells Sims’s tale of “power and palace intrigue, backstabbing and bold victories, as well as painful compromises, occasionally with himself.” Vipers is set for January 2019.

Blanchard on the Move

Alice Blanchard (A Breath After Drowning) has moved to Minotaur, signing a two-book deal with Alexandra Sehulster. (Blanchard was previously published by Titan Books.) Jill Marr at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, who handled the world English rights agreement, said Blanchard is penning the first two titles in a new series featuring rookie detective Natalie Lockhart. Book one, Trace of Evil, is set for December 2019. Blanchard has won a number of literary honors, including a PEN Award.

Senator Harris Does One for the Kids

California senator Kamala Harris sold world English rights to Superheroes Are Everywhere to Philomel’s Jill Santopolo. Mechal Renee Roe is illustrating the picture book, which, Philomel said, features stories about “public figures who inspired Harris throughout her life.” David Larabell and Mollie Glick at CAA represented Harris; James Burns at the Bright Agency represented Roe. Superheroes is scheduled for January 2019.

Behind the Deal

La Hija de la Española (The Spanish Woman’s Daughter), the Spanish-language debut novel by Karina Sainz Borgo, who is Venezuelan and lives in Madrid, has been lighting up the foreign rights market since it exploded onto the publishing scene at last month’s Frankfurt Book Fair. Originally bought by Spanish house Lumen, the novel has sold in 21 countries to date. (In the U.S., the title was acquired, for six figures, by Judith Curr’s new, still-to-be-named international fiction imprint at HarperCollins.) Sandra Pareja at Casanovas & Lynch Literary Agency, who is handling foreign sales, said the book, which is the firm’s “biggest literary bet this season,” is a uniquely accessible tale that “confronts the crisis in Venezuela with confident, courageous, universal storytelling.” (The economic crisis in Venezuela has, among other things, led to mass malnutrition and a significant exodus.) In pitching The Spanish Woman’s Daughter, the agency said it “immerses [the reader] into the real-life apocalypse that is Venezuela today... and marks the discovery of a raw, distinct literary voice, as well as a new path for Latin-American literature where the political is something very personal.” HC will release the book in the U.S. in fall 2019.

For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.