The new Talk Miramax imprint has received a powerful shot in the arm with the signing of an extensive deal with Britain's Martin Amis, involving no fewer than three books, a screenplay and contributions to Tina Brown's Talk magazine -- a deal that will therefore benefit the book, magazine and movie sides of the Miramax group. "This deal encompasses all the elements the Talk Miramax operation was designed to achieve," noted Talk Miramax Books president Jonathan Burnham. The U.S. rights deal, said to be in seven figures, calls for an Amis memoir, which Burnham hopes to be able to publish in his first list, due next spring, and which will include reminiscences of his father, Kingsley Amis; a collection of journalistic pieces, some of which will appear in Talk (where Burnham also serves as an editor), scheduled for fall 2000; a new novel (title and theme as yet unavailable) set for late 2002; and a screenplay for Miramax. The whole was orchestrated by agent Andrew Wylie and signed for Miramax by Devereux Chatillon, v-p and general counsel, and Charles Layton, executive v-p at Miramax Films. Amis had most recently been published by Harmony Books at Crown.
You can never tell what's going to happen when you bring aboard a literary imprint like Daniel Halpern's Ecco Press, as HarperCollins did not long ago. What they probably couldn't have expected is a seemingly improbable combination like Joyce Carol Oates and Marilyn Monr . The prodigiously productive author is an old friend of Halpern's, who first published her 30 years ago in Antaeus magazine and has since published some of her work at Ecco, including her first children's book, Come Meet Muffin! So when she showed him Blonde, a novel based on Marilyn's life -- and relationships with JFK and her famous husbands -- Halpern was eager to publish it in his new role at Harper. Oates's agent, John Hawkins, said Oates had enjoyed "a wonderful relationship" with her primary publisher, Dutton, but faced with a competitive position between that house and Halpern in his new Harper role, she decided to go with him. Harper has bought world rights and plans to publish next April -- under the Ecco imprint, of course.
OLD ICE, NEW SKATER
Stories of disaster in the world's frozen places are hot right now, so it was no surprise to hear of a solid six-figure deal for a book on a lost 1845 Arctic expedition. The publisher who laid out the money is unexpected, however: John Wiley, beating out bids from Broadway and Dutton for the world rights to Ice Blink: The Mysterious Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition by Scott Cookman. Senior editor Hana Lane bought the book from agent Edward Knappman of New England Publishing Associates for publication next February. It tells of an expedition that set out in search of the Northwest Passage with 128 men on two state-of-the-art vessels and was never seen again.
Also on Wiley's docket: another six-figure deal -- for Around the World in 20 Days, an account by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones of the first circumnavigation of the globe by hot-air balloon -- which the publisher is crashing out for October release. It will be written with veteran collaborator Duff Hart-Davis and was sold by agent Alex Smithline at Scovil Chichak Galen. The Wiley editor will be Emily Loose. "You're going to see more of these kinds of deals at Wiley in the future," declared publicity manager Ellen Silberman.
SEVEN FOR NANCY
That's figures -- according to agent Peter Miller at PMA Literary, a "substantial" seven -- from Hyperion for the next two legal thrillers by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg, hitherto published by Dutton/Signet. The acquiring editor was Maureen O'Brien, who bought North American hard/soft and plans to publish the first title, Buried Evidence, in fall 2000. It will, says Miller, contain characters from Mitigating Circumstances, Rosenberg's first novel, but will not be a sequel in the strict sense of the word. Miller had visited half-a-dozen publishers with his author, but had been most impressed with Hyperion president Bob Miller's ability to "cross-market" her through his link with the Disney organization. Foreign sales, too, are strong, with Orion in the U.K. ponying up for no fewer than four new Rosenberg titles and Germany's Heyne for the same two.
Just when we were all getting used to the idea of global warming comes word that what we really have to fear is The Coming Global Superstorm. That's the title of a new book just signed at Pocket Books by Mitchell Ivers, written by an unlikely pair of authors: talk-radio-show host Art Bell (Coast to Coast) and bestselling author on extraterrestrial phenomena Whitley Streiber (Communion). Briefly, the thesis of the pair is that recent weather disasters indicate an impending change in the flow of ocean currents that could ignite a massive ice storm over a quarter of the globe. According to Pocket president Judith Curr, the book will "serve as a chilling wake-up call to the disaster that awaits us unless we take steps to mend our ways." The book was sold by Sandra Martin at Paraview for a high six figures and is set to publish next January with a first printing of 200,000 copies.
The next subject for ace biographer A. Scott Berg will be the first major 20th-century American president, Woodrow Wilson, reported Penguin Putnam president Phyllis Grann, who shares with the author a "fascination" with Wilson; she will edit the book herself. It was bought, hard/soft, from Lynn Nesbit at Janklow &Nesbit.... Katharine Weber's well-received Crown novel The Music Lesson, about an art historian involved with the IRA, has been optioned by writer-director Walter Bernstein, through Gayla Nethercott on the coast and Weber's agent, Gloria Loomis of Watkins Loomis.