DEAL OF THE WEEK
HarperCollins Wins Blake’s ‘Anna’
After what HarperCollins described as a “competitive” auction, it won U.S. rights to MJ Blake’s Anna O. The debut novel, which Sara Nelson bought from U.K. agent Madeline Millburn, has, to date, been acquired in 25 territories (with Kimberley Young and Phoebe Morgan having acquired it at HarperCollins UK). The crime thriller follows a young writer named Anna Ogilvy who, HC said, “stabs two people to death in her sleep with no apparent motive.” When Anna, who is suffering from a rare neurological disorder known as resignation syndrome (and comes to be known in the press as Sleeping Beauty), finally wakes up, questions abound for her and her doctor, Benedict Prince. The publisher elaborated, “Only Anna O knows the truth about that night, but only Dr. Prince knows how to discover it.” Nelson added that the novel is “an exploration of the mysteries of sleep and a look at how society views and judges crimes and criminals.” Blake is a former speechwriter for the British government.
Blackstone Lands Stewart’s ‘Daughter’
Brendan Deneen at Blackstone Publishing took world English rights to An Officer’s Daughter. The novel is a sequel to the hit 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman and is written by the screenwriter of that film, Douglas Day Stewart. An Officer and a Gentleman starred Richard Gere as a Navy aviation officer who falls for a woman played by Debra Winger. An Officer’s Daughter, which is set 35 years after the film takes place, follows the daughter of the characters played by Gere and Winger, who, Blacktone said, “shows up unexpectedly at the school that trains Navy jet pilots and finds that her father, the head instructor in his last class before retirement, stands firmly in the path of her dreams.” Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates sold the book, which is set for 2024.
Avon Re-ups Bailey for Seven Figures
In a seven-figure deal, bestseller Tessa Bailey sold three romantic comedies—a duology and a standalone—to Nicole Fischer at Avon. Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency represented Bailey in the world English rights agreement, and the first book under contract is set for fall 2023. The novels, which are currently untitled, will, Avon said, be “chock-full of Bailey’s signature humor, steam, and heart.” According to the publisher, Bailey, who is popular on TikTok, has sold more than a million copies total of her bestsellers It Happened One Summer (2021) and Hook, Line, and Sinker (2022).
Lehane Takes ‘Mercies’ to Harper
Bestseller Dennis Lehane (Mystic River) sold Small Mercies to Jonathan Burnham and Noah Eaker at Harper in a North American rights agreement. The HarperCollins imprint said the novel, set for April 2023, is a tale of “revenge, family love, festering hate, and insidious power.” It’s set in the housing projects of South Boston (known as Southie) during the summer of 1974, when the city was attempting to desegregate its schools, and follows “a single mother willing to go up against the terrifying local power barons to find out what happened to her missing teenage daughter.” Ann Rittenberg at Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency represented Lehane.
Rinder’s ‘Escape’ Picked Up by Gallery
Aimee Bell at Gallery Books took North American rights to Mike Rinder’s A Billion Years: My Escape from a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology. Rinder, who was represented by Steve Fisher at APA, was a Scientologist for nearly 50 years and rose to become an important spokesman with a seat on the church’s international board. He’s appeared in the documentary Going Clear and cohosted the A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. Gallery said the book, set for September, tells “a harrowing but fulfilling story of personal resilience.”