John F. Baker -- 1/10/00
The Ongoing Saga of Sparks
Critics don't much care for the work of novelist Nicholas Sparks, but readers do, which has helped make each of the three novels Warner has published so far into big bestsellers. (A fourth book under the old book-at-a-time contract, called The Rescue, is due this fall.) Now, for the first time, Sparks's Warner editor, Jamie Raab, has signed a three-book deal with the author's agent, Teresa Park at the Sanford Greenburger agency, which calls for new books to be delivered in fall 2001, 2002 and 2003 -- no word yet on themes or titles, and in fact only the first seems to have been outlined. No one is saying how much money was involved, but it obviously has to be a multimillion-dollar deal. There are figures, however, for the first foreign sale, for the agency is keeping foreign rights this time around, and its new foreign rights director, Peter McGuigan, is handling them. Sabine Ibach of Switzerland's Mohrbooks agency has sold the three books to Ulrich Genzler at Germany's Heyne Verlag for a cool $1 million each, one of the biggest foreign rights sales we've heard about; there are even bonuses adding up to six figures if movies get made, as they usually are.
A Woman Who Helped Win the West
First-time author Micaela Gilchrist, via West Coast agent Sandra Dijkstra, sold a novel proposal to Michael Korda at Simon & Schuster last year based on sample material, and now that it's finished, both author and editor are talking likely bestsellerdom. The book's not titled yet, though The General's Woman is under consideration. The subject is a rebellious young woman, Mary Bullitt, who became the wife of General Henry Atkinson, a man twice her age who had fought in the Revolutionary War and in 1819 was building a fort named after him to protect the Missouri territory. It is a study, said Dijkstra, of a woman who became the most notable of her gender in the winning of the West, and Gilchrist is telling her story with the aid of a trove of letters and journals she discovered. Korda beat out other interested publishers for the North American rights deal, and Dijkstra is expecting foreign interest, too.
Starting Early on Fitness
Celebrity fitness trainer Kathy Kaehler, who is the expert in her field for TV's Today Show and has already done a fitness book for women called Real World Fitness, has now turned the clock backward, and her attention to teenage girls. For them she is writing Real World Fitness for Teenage Girls: Fun and Innovative Ways to Getting Fit, Looking Good and Feeling Great, and agents Dean Williamson and David Vigliano of David Vigliano Associates have sold it for six figures to Diane Reverand at HarperCollins's Cliff Street imprint. It will offer advice on diet, exercise and self-esteem, all in a teen-friendly format, with lots of pictures and quizzes. Publication is set for a year from now.
Payne Stewart, the crowd-pleasing pro golfer who won the U.S. Open twice and was killed in a mysterious private jet crash last fall, is to be the subject of two new books, both from out-of-town publishers. Stark Books, an imprint of Andrews McMeel, with San Francisco's Woodford Publishing, is to do a bio, The Payne Stewart Story, by veteran Florida Sports columnist Larry Guest and Stewart's widow, Tracey, will do an "authorized" with writer Ken Abraham for Nashville-based Broadman & Holman. Both books are scheduled for the next six months, Guest's first.... An epistolary teenage novel expected to hit an adult readership as well is Feeling Sorry for Celia, which Jill Grinberg of Anderson Grinberg Associates just sold to Alicia Brooks at Picador/SMP. The author is Sydney entertainment lawyer Jaclyn Moriarty.... Current bestseller When Pride Still Mattered: The Life and the Myth of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss (S&S) has been optioned for Columbia Tristar TV for producers Craig Baumgarten and Dan Rissner, in a deal brokered by Bill Contardi at William Morris, acting for the author's agent, Rafe Sagalyn
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