Sourcebooks Lands Hot Thriller by Indie Bestseller

After a seven-way auction in the U.K., which Orion won with a significant six-figure sum, Sourcebooks nabbed U.S. rights to Catherine Quinn’s thriller Black WidowsShana Drehs brokered the agreement with Piers Blofeld at Sheil Land Associates a little over 24 hours after receiving the manuscript. Sourcebooks said the novel, which is set in Utah, centers on the murder of a polygamist living off the grid with his three wives. When Blake Nelson’s body is found, the publisher explained, it’s clear that “his wife killed him; the question is: which one?” Quinn is a bestselling indie author whose books, Sourcebooks said, have sold more than 500,000 copies. Black Widows, set for 2020, marks her debut contemporary thriller.


Kimmel Does One for the Kids

Comedian and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel sold his debut picture book, The Serious Goose, to Random House Children’s Books. Barbara Marcus acquired the title, which is being written and illustrated by Kimmel; it will, PRH said, “challenge readers of all ages to turn a very Serious Goose into a very Silly Goose.” Suzanne Gluck at William Morris Endeavor represented Kimmel in the North American rights agreement with PRH, which is planning a first printing of 500,000 copies and a December release date.

Looser’s ‘Novelists’ Find Home at Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury’s Grace McNamee won North American rights, at auction, to Devoney Looser’s Sister Novelists. Looser (The Making of Jane Austen), who was represented by Stacey Glick at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, is a Guggenheim fellow. The book, a biography, focuses on a pair of lesser-known 18th-century novelists and siblings, Jane and Anna Maria Porter, who, Bloomsbury said, had “literary careers and global fame that paved the way for Jane Austen, the Brontës, and the genre of historical fiction as we know it today.” Novelists is slated for fall 2021.

Dorman Tests Beck’s ‘Detox’

In a world rights acquisition, Pamela Dorman at Penguin Random House’s Pamela Dorman Books imprint bought life coach Martha Beck’s The Integrity Cleanse. In the book, the bestselling author and columnist for Oprah magazine uses, PRH said, “Dante’s Divine Comedy, with its journey through the underworld and back, and the metaphor of cleansing the toxins in your life... to discover your true self.” Subtitled Detox Your Life and Find Pure Peace and scheduled for spring 2021, the book was sold by Linda Loewenthal, who has an eponymous shingle.

Park Goes Adult at Morrow

William Morrow’s Carrie Feron won world English rights to Suzanne Park’s Loathe at First Sight. The two-book deal was brokered by Brent Taylor at Triada US. The author’s forthcoming YA romantic comedy, The Perfect Escape, will be published by Sourcebooks in April 2020, and this novel, Taylor said, “marks one of the few #OwnVoices projects in the category for Korean-American representation.” The novel is set in the video game industry and, Taylor elaborated, is “a hate-to-love” tale in which a Korean-American video game producer working on a feminism-themed game finds herself constantly at odds with an intern at her company who has an MBA.

Langan Moves ‘Neighbors’ to Atria

Atria Books nabbed world rights, in a six-figure preempt, to Sarah Langan’s literary novel, Good Neighbors. Loan Le struck the deal with Stacia Decker at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. The author is a three-time Bram Stoker Award winner, and this novel, which is set in a Long Island suburb, follows the fighting that emerges between local families after a girl in the town falls into a sinkhole. Decker said the event turns “neighbors into enemies as an accusation puts one family in terrible danger.” The novel is slated for summer 2020.

Levine Querido Sails Esperón’s ‘Sea’

For the new publishing venture from Arthur A. Levine, Levine Querido, Nick Thomas took world English rights (and U.S./Canadian Spanish rights) to The Sea-Ringed World. Written by María García Esperón and illustrated by Amanda Mijangos, the middle grade collection was originally written in Spanish and published in Mexico. World, the publisher explained, “gathers together stories from cultures across the Americas, from the tip of Argentina to Alaska.” Ediciones El Naranjo represented Esperón and Mijangos.

Mbue Gets ‘Beautiful’ for RH

For Random House, Andy Ward bought North American rights to Imbolo Mbue’s How Beautiful We Were. The author, whose 2016 novel Behold the Dreamers (also published by Random House) was an Oprah Book Club pick and a PEN/Faulkner award winner, was represented by Susan Golomb at Writers House. RH said Beautiful follows “what happens when an African village decides to fight back against an American oil company that is destroying their land.”


● Amazon optioned a TV series based on Lee Child’s Jack Reacher character. Nick Santora (Scorpion) is set to adapt; the Hollywood Reporter said Amazon landed the rights “after competitive bidding.” The project will be a coproduction of Amazon Studios, Paramount Television, and Skydance Television.

● Streamline Global (a production company targeting high-net-worth investors who can claim tax deductions on their investment) optioned the nonfiction title Crescendo: The Story of a Musical Genius Who Forever Changed a Southern Town by Allen Cheney and Julie Cantrell, which HarperCollins published last week.


● British-Somali political activist (and former lord mayor of Sheffield) Magid Magid sold world rights to his debut to Joel Simons at Bonnier UK after a six-bidder auction. The Bookseller, citing a release from the publisher, said The Art of Disruption will be a “manifesto for change” and is set for a May 2020 release in the U.K.

● Bluebird (part of Pan Macmillan) bought a parenting memoir by U.K. novelist Nikesh Shukla titled Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Parenting and Home. The Bookseller reported that the title’s set for a 2020 release.

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