DEAL OF THE WEEK
Lapin Lands Seven Figures at HC
In a sale worth seven figures, bestselling author Nicole Lapin has inked a seven-book deal with HarperCollins Leadership. Sara Kendrick brokered the world rights agreement with Steve Troha at Folio Literary Management. The first title under contract will be a follow-up to Lapin’s 2015 bestseller Rich Bitch (published by Harlequin). According to a press release, it “will take female readers to the next level with their finances.” The book, slated for January 2022, has also been optioned by INE Entertainment (a production company founded by the creator of the TV shows The Biggest Loser and MasterChef). Lapin is a former CNN anchor and current cohost of the iHeartRadio podcast Hush Money.
FROM THE U.S.
Berkley Accepts Popovic´’s ‘Payback’
After a seven-way auction, Cindy Hwang at Berkley won world English rights, in a three-book deal, to Lana Popovic´’s Payback’s a Witch. The novel, the publisher said, was “pitched as a magical, queer version of John Tucker Must Die.” Popovic´, a YA novelist who is writing Payback’s a Witch under the pseudonym Lana Harper, was represented by Taylor Haggerty at RootLiterary. The author is a former literary agent and graduate of the Emerson College publishing and writing program. Her previous works include Blood Countess and Wicked Like a Wildfire.
Tiny Reparations Catches Harris’s ‘Fireflies’
In one of the first acquisitions at Tiny Reparations Books, Amber Oliver bought North American rights to Kai Harris’s debut novel, What the Fireflies Knew. Oliver recently joined the new Penguin imprint’s editorial team. Harris, represented by Ayesha Pande at Ayesha Pande Literary, is currently pursuing a PhD in fiction at Western Michigan University. The coming-of-age novel follows an 11-year-old girl who goes to live with her grandfather and sister after her mother disappears and her father dies. The publisher said it captures “all the vulnerability, perceptiveness, and inquisitiveness of a young Black girl on the cusp of puberty” and reveals how “the perfect family we all dream of looks different up close.”
Ritter’s ‘Glorious’ Goes to Hanover Square
Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter (Bright’s Passage) sold his sophomore novel, The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All, to Peter Joseph at Hanover Square Press. Joseph preempted world rights to the title from Lucy Carson at the Friedrich Agency. The Harlequin imprint said it’s a “voice-driven” work “set in the early 20th century during the last days of lumberjacks” that “reads like a Coen brothers movie crossed with a Charles Portis novel.” The novel follows a 13-year-old named Weldon Applegate, who is struggling to keep hold of his father’s timber claim, and is slated for fall 2021.
Williams Inks Double at Nelson
Singer, actor, and former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams signed a two-book deal with Nelson Books. Jenny Baumgartner took world rights to the currently untitled works, the first of which, set for May 2021, will be Williams’s debut. The book, Nelson said, will explore “Michelle’s journey with mental health and wellness.” Williams is “passionate about raising awareness about mental health and about sharing the lessons she has learned in her own struggle with depression.” Williams was represented by the Fedd Agency.
Berkley Disrupts the ‘Peace’ with Perkins-Valdez
Dolen Perkins-Valdez, the bestselling author of Wench, closed a North American rights deal for two novels with Amanda Bergeron at Berkley. The first title, If This Is Peace, follows a nurse in 1970s Alabama who, Berkley said, “fights for justice for two of her patients even as she grapples with her own accountability.” It was inspired by a 1973 suit filed on behalf of two sisters who were involuntarily sterilized by a federally funded clinic in Montgomery, Ala. (The case “helped shine a light on the thousands of poor, mostly Black, women across the country who, without their knowledge, were sterilized by the government.”) Perkins-Valdez, who is an associate professor in the literature department at American University, said her novel “raises questions of culpability and ethics in a society that deems poor, Black, and disabled as categories unfit for motherhood.” She was represented by Stephanie Cabot at Susanna Lea Associates.
Astra House Is at Nwo.ka’s ‘Mercy’
God of Mercy by Okezie Nwo·ka was bought at auction by Danny Vazquez at Astra House, the newly formed publisher backed by China’s Thinkingdom Media Group. Ross Harris at the Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency brokered the world English rights agreement. The debut novel, Harris said, follows a girl who can fly from “an Igbo village that has evaded the influence of colonialism by strict adherence to traditions.” When the girl signals a war between the gods is coming, she is banished, and, “suffering isolation, she comes to understand the truth of merciful love.” Nwo·ka attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop as a dean graduate research fellow.
Andreades’s ‘Brown Girls’ Travel to Random House
Random House’s Marie Pantojan bought North American rights, at auction, to Daphne Palasi Andreades’s debut novel, Brown Girls. The publisher said it’s set “in the backstreets of Queens, N.Y.” and concerns “a group of young women of color, tracing their lives from childhood through marriage, motherhood, and beyond, exploring the ways they remain tied to one another and their neighborhood.” The two-book agreement also includes a currently untitled second novel. Andreades, who was represented by Jin Auh at the Wylie Agency, has an MFA from Columbia.
Putnam Makes Rothchild’s ‘Blood Sugar’ Rise
Putnam’s Danielle Dieterich acquired the debut novel by screenwriter Sascha Rothchild at auction. Blood Sugar, Dieterich said, is a thriller about a therapist who, in order to prove she didn’t kill her husband, “must reflect back on the skeletons in her closet, particularly the three murders she did commit.” Jessica Regel, whose new shingle is Helm Literary, handled the North American rights agreement. The novel is set for spring 2022.