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Hatch Tries Again | Dutton Wins Age-of-Earth Runoff
Half-Million for Sea Saga | Option for an Unpublished Novel
Short Takes

Hatch Tries AgainThe million-dollar winner of CBS's socko Survivor is
Survivor Hatch with
publisher Lyons (l.) and
editor Brando Skyhorse.
just that: a survivor. Richard Hatch came back from a debacle over a book he thought he'd sold to St. Martin's only to be shot down by TV contract restraints, and went on to sell another one to little Lyons Press. It turns out that Lyons publisher Tony Lyons was an old friend from way back, and offered Hatch the notion of penning 101 Survival Tips: How to Make a Million Dollars, Lose 100 Pounds and Live Happily Ever After for his house. Hatch complied, and worked with such speed that the publisher aims to hit the stores by mid-November with 250,000 copies. No sum was mentioned for the world rights deal, though Lyons did say it was the biggest the company had ever offered, and Hatch will also receive higher-than-usual royalties. Eric Simonoff, the agent who made the aborted big-money deal with SMP, was not involved this time. Lyons hopes to announce sales soon in Australia and the U.K.

Dutton Wins Age-of-Earth RunoffIt was the biggest response Denver-based agent Jody Rein had ever received to an offering; no fewer than eight publishers lined up at the gate for a three-day auction for The Seashell on the Mountaintop by Smithsonian geologist Alan Cutler. It's the story of efforts over the years to accurately measure the age of the earth, and how it was finally accomplished--another of those Sons of Longitude for which publishers have such a passion. In the end, it was Mitch Hoffman at Dutton who took the prize with a "significant" six figures for North American rights. Rein has already sold Germany and Sweden, and a U.K. sale was made September 28. Then of course there's Frankfurt....

Half-Million for Sea SagaAgent Jill Grinberg of Anderson Grinberg Literary Management was on vacation in the Pacific Northwest when she came across a self-published book called Red Sky in Mourning: The True Story of a Woman's Survival and Courage at Sea by local author Tami Oldham Ashcraft, writing with Susie McGearhart. It was the story of how Oldham, as a young woman 15 years ago, was sailing in the Pacific with her lover when a hurricane washed him overboard, and left Oldham alone to sail the damaged yacht for six weeks until she reached Hawaii. Grinberg was so moved by the book that she tracked down the authors and signed them up. When she sent it around on her return to New York, it created a buzz of interest--especially at Hyperion, where Peternelle Van Arsdale said she stayed up until the small hours reading it, and persuaded colleagues to read it over a weekend. They all agreed on a buy, and the house preempted for half a million dollars, for North American and first serial, with a view to publication in fall next year. "It's extremely moving, exciting and redemptive," said Van Arsdale. Grinberg expects it to be a hot title at Frankfurt, where translation rights are being handled by Sally Riley of Gillon Aitken Associates.

Option for an Unpublished NovelA first novelist in Missouri, unable to find an agent to represent her work, sent her first novel instead to her lawyer, who promptly sold an option to one of his clients, Riverdale Productions, which is planning a movie. The author is Kay Raymer and the book is called Hanna Street, which she describes as a "Fried Green Tomat s kind of story, but very Midwest." It involves a group of blue-collar families and their lifelong relationships in a small Indiana town 30 years ago. The lawyer who made the sale was Chuck Grimes at Grimes & Battersby, a firm with a number of publishing and entertainment clients, but interested publishers and/or agents can contact the author herself: or (417) 335-4430. Yes, she's working on another novel.

Short TakesThree notable authors renewed their publisher contracts last week, one of them for what is said to be a record
A change-of-pace
sum. Despite his change of agent, to Hollywood's AMG, Tom Clancy stayed with Putnam, where a new two-book contract (one of the books to star Jack Riley) was said to have paid him $45 million. Tracy Kidder stayed with Random, where Kate Medina paid in the seven figures for a new book on the life and work of Dr. Paul Farmer, who travels the world coping with epidemics. Georges Borchardt was the agent.... Irish author Niall Williams stayed with Warner's Jamie Raab, where his new novel, The Fall of Light, a saga of expatriate Irishmen in the 19th century, is, said Raab, a real change of pace from his previous romantic novels. Marianne Gunn O'Connor of Dublin represented Williams in the big six-figure North American deal, and also sold the book to Picador in London.... Matthew Kenney is a hip New York chef and restaurant owner who has done a book, Big City Cooking, written with Joan Schwartz, aimed at young urbanites anxious to try out their tiny kitchens. World rights were sold to Bill LeBlond at Chronicle by agent Jane Dystel.... Clarkson Potter has made a joint venture agreement with Hortus Ltd. to publish a series of books with the TV gardening expert P. Allen Smith.It was signed by senior v-p and editorial director Lauren Shakely.