DEAL OF THE WEEK
‘Stars’ Align for McLain at Ballantine
Paula McLain, author of the bestseller The Paris Wife, sold When the Stars Go Dark to Susanna Porter at Ballantine. The North American rights agreement for the novel was brokered by Julie Barer at the Book Group. Ballantine called When the Stars Go Dark, which is slated for spring 2021, a “propulsive” tale about “intertwined destinies” that “weaves together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical.” Set in Mendocino, Calif., in the 1990s, it follows a female detective who, the publisher said, “hides away from the world until her obsession with saving an abducted teenage girl gives her a reason to live again.”
FROM THE U.S.
Alexander Shines His ‘Light’ at HMH
Bestselling children’s author and Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander sold an adult title to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Margaret Raymo. Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race and Hope features three poems that, the publisher said, tackle “racism and Black resistance in America.” Raymo took world rights to the title from Arielle Eckstut at the Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency, adding that the poems “elevate resilience and hope.”
Tor Re-ups Rising SF/F Star Martine
For Tor, Devi Pillai bought two new books by Arkady Martine in a North American rights deal. Dong Won Song, at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, represented Martine, whose 2019 debut, A Memory Called Empire (also published by Tor), won the 2020 Hugo Award for best novel. The first book under the new deal, Prescribed Burn, is set in a future Los Angeles that, Tor explained, is “post-disaster, post–climate change,” where “water has become more precious than gold.” It follows a detective investigating the suspicious death of a “waterman.” Pillai said she believes Martine “is going to be one of the writers of her generation who redefines the science fiction genre as being more inclusive and welcoming.”
Selvaratnam Sells ‘Story’ to Harper
Producer, writer, and activist Tanya Selvaratnam sold Assume Nothing: A Story of Intimate Violence to Lisa Sharkey and Jonathan Burnham at HarperCollins. In the book, the author recounts the abuse she suffered during her relationship with former New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman. Meg Thompson at Thompson Literary Agency brokered the world rights agreement for Assume Nothing, which is slated for spring 2021 and has been optioned by ABC Signature Studios. In the book, Thompson said, Selvaratnam “scrutinizes the insidious ways women learn to tolerate abuse, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, age, gender, or religion.”
Little, Brown Nabs Johnson’s Debut
After an auction, Jean Garnett at Little, Brown won North American rights to Chantal Johnson’s debut novel, Post-traumatic. Johnson, who was represented by Mariah Stovall at Writers House, is a lawyer and a Center for Fiction Emerging Writers fellow. The book follows a Black Latinx lawyer who works with patients at a New York City psychiatric ward. She is, LB said, “white-knuckling her way through her own PTSD, until a visit to her estranged family brings long-buried pain and anger to the surface, threatening her career, her values, and all of her relationships.”
Barry’s Covid Book Goes to Viking
John Barry (The Great Influenza) sold world rights to The Next Wave: Covid-19 and the World to Wendy Wolf at Viking. The book, Viking said, “will uniquely incorporate history, science, and politics in a narrative that covers not only events in the United States but around the world over the last century.” Barry did not use an agent.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Light for the World to See would be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Versify imprint; the book is being published on HMH's adult general list.