Tale of Two Sons
Brian Haig has just written, and sold, a first novel to senior editor Rick Horgan at Warner. What makes this particularly noteworthy is not just the size of the deal, which was a preempt for what Horgan called "major money," but the fact that the author is the son of Gen. Alexander Haig, former Secretary of State. He's also a West Point graduate who has until recently been serving as Special Assistant to the Joint Chiefs in Washington, very much in his father's footsteps. Horgan described Haig's book, Secret Sanction, as "a very well-written story" of an army inquiry into allegations involving a team of Green Berets in the massacre of a group of Serbian soldiers in Kosovo. The word around Warner is that it bears distinct ech s of A Few Good Men, with something of the wry narrative style of Nelson DeMille. As if one famous father wasn't enough, this story also stars agent Luke Janklow as the deal maker; guess whose son he is?
Three on the Rope
There can be all sorts of links between author, agent and editor, but one of the more improbable ones to come our way is that they should all be enthusiastic women rock climbers. That's the case, however, with a deal recently made by agent Susan Golomb with editor Helen Whybrow of Norton/Countryman Press for a memoir by the world's preeminent woman climber, the appropriately named Lynn Hill. The deal, Golomb told PW, was for a substantial six figures for North American rights. Lest anyone think that what she jestingly calls the "sisterhood of the rock" is a peculiarly American obsession, Golomb has already made foreign sales to the U.K., Germany, Japan and Taiwan.
Two particularly famous voices will put themselves on the written record in forthcoming books from Hyperion. One is that of celebrated country singer Loretta Lynn, whose life story since the notable Coal Miner's Daughter back in the 1970s senior editor Maureen O'Brien has been energetically chasing for years. She finally landed her catch, with the help of agent Mel Berger at William Morris; the result will be called Still Woman Enough (after one of Lynn's famous songs), scheduled for publication next fall. The book will be co-written with author Tom Carter. The other voice belongs to a woman hardly anyone would recognize, but it is dear to the millions who watch the phenomenally successful and long-running The Simpsons on Fox TV. Nancy Cartwright is her name, and she supplies the voice of the inimitable Bart Simpson on the show. Hyperion's Anne Cole signed her to write My Life as a Ten-Year-Old Boy, in which she will describe 11 years of life in the cartoon family, with its often-famous guest-star appearances. This deal was made with agent Dean Williamson at David Vigliano Associates.
French Author en Anglais
This column has noted from time to time examples of American authors finding first publication abroad; now it's the turn of a French author, highly visible in Paris, getting her first American publication. She is Catherine Jenkins, who teaches French at Yale and who has just written her first book in English. It's called The Trouble with Jane, and her agent, Todd Shuster of the Zachary Shuster agency (who has just relocated from Boston to New York), sold it to Chuck Adams at Simon & Schuster. The book, which Jenkins later translated into French and sold to Gallimard, tells of an Ivy League professor (like the author) who receives a manuscript from an unknown author telling all about the professor's sex life and the fact that she is being stalked by a university colleague. Jenkins's other books, only available so far in French in France, include En Toute Innocence, nominated for the Prix Goncourt, and Jouir, which caused a stir by its literary eroticism.
Andrew Carroll, who put together the hit Letters of a Nation (Kodansha) has now assembled a volume of letters to and from American soldiers at the front, covering two centuries: Battle Lines was sold, after a major auction, to Gillian Blake at Scribner by agent Miriam Altshuler¦. One of those quirky books-from-comedy-shows has just been sold by agent Jane Dystel to Harper/Cliff Street's Diane Reverand. It's The Grrl Genius Guide to Life by comedienne Cathryn Michon, whose "Grrl Genius Club" has been a sellout on its appearances in Los Angeles and recently struck gold in New York, too.