Hot Deals

Hot Deals
John F. Baker -- 11/13/00

Chopra: New Deal, New Publisher | A Cuban Exile at Yale
Agents Selling Each Other | Guggenheim Revealed
Short Takes

Chopra: New Deal, New PublisherDeepak Chopra, now represented by Robert Gottlieb at his new Trident Media Group, has a new two-book deal--for two novels, unusually--and a new publisher. Gottlieb sold the package, hard/soft North American, for a million dollars to Stacy Creamer for Putnam and NAL. The first book is called The Last Kiss and is the story of a marriage in which the wife dies and is then reborn to form a kind of spiritual union with her husband. Gottlieb actually made the deal for Chopra while the author was traveling in India with the Dalai Lama--himself no stranger to book deals (see Hot Deals, Nov. 6). Planned pub date for the first book is next fall or early winter. Chopra's previous venture into fiction, The Return of Merlin, was published five years ago and is still in Fawcett paperback.

A Cuban Exile at Yale

Eire: Rise of
an exile child.
That is the essence of the extraordinary story Carlos Eire, now chairman of the religious studies department at Yale, has to tell in a book called Kiss the Lizard, Jesus, which senior editor Rachel Klayman at the Free Press just preempted from Alice Martell at the Martell Agency. Klayman bought world English, as well as first serial, audio and Spanish-language rights in the U.S., and hopes to publish in fall 2002. Eire was born into a wealthy family of Spanish descent shortly before the rise of Fidel Castro in Cuba. He and his brother were part of Operation Peter Pan, which flew thousands of Cuban children to the U.S., where those without American sponsors lived in camps. His mother fled into exile three years later, but he never saw his father again. Martell reports the start of an auction in Germany and strong interest already in the U.K.

Agents Selling Each OtherIt's reasonably newsy when one agent sells the work of another to a publisher; when the second agent then reciprocates by selling the work of the first in turn, something is clearly going on. The relationship in question is that of Henry Dunow, operating under his own shingle, and Betsy Lerner at the Gernert Agency. Six months ago, Lerner sold a book written by Dunow, The Way Home, about coaching his son in Little League, to Broadway, which is publishing in May. Now Dunow is repaying the favor and has just sold a new book by Lerner, called Food and Loathing in New Haven, to David Rosenthal at Simon & Schuster (where it will be edited by Denise Roy). The book is a witty autobiographical account of the author's struggles in life--with mother, with body-image anxiety--and her fight for acceptance. Dunow got six figures for Lerner, world English rights; we forget what she got for him.

Guggenheim RevealedA biography of wealthy art collector and (often romantically inclined) patron Peggy Guggenheim will inevitably drop dozens of celebrated names, and Mary Dearborn, no stranger to controversial subjects (she's done books about Norman Mailer and Henry Miller) seems just the person to write it. So thought her agent, Georges Borchardt, who successfully pitched the notion to executive editor Janet Silver at Houghton Mifflin. She paid six figures for U.S. and Canada. Meanwhile, Borchardt also sold Spanish rights to Lumen, and a German auction begun at Frankfurt ended with a sale to Lubbe. U.K. rights went to Virago/Little, Brown.

Short Takes

Vreeland: Outright
TV buy for Girl.
In a flurry of recent movie deals, these stand out: Susan Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue, currently a trade paperback bestseller for Penguin, made an outright mid-six-figures sale to Hallmark Hall of Fame for a TV movie in a deal arranged by J l Gotler at AMG/Renaissance on behalf of Vreeland's literary agent, Barbara Braun.... Anonymous Rex, the offbeat Random thriller by Eric Garcia, was sold for a TV series to Alliance/Atlantic and the Sci Fi Channel, with Garcia to write a pilot; the deal was worked out via the Endeavor agency in L.A. for agent Barbara Zitwer.... A book still making the rounds of publishers, Williamsport by Gilbert Gaul, was optioned to producer Walter Ufland (Snow Falling on Cedars) for mid-five figures against a high-six purchase price by Irv Schwarz and J l Gotler at AMG/Renaissance, on behalf of agent Jane Dystel; it's about a Little League ball team in 1950s Alabama that tries to bring in "colored" players.... Olaf Olafsson's The Journey Home, out from Pantheon later this month, has been optioned for a movie to producer Joni Sighvatsson (Arlington Road; Basquiat) in a deal done by agent Gloria Loomis in conjunction with Brian Siberell of CAA.... A deal with Japan's Pine Com International has been made for 20 hour-long animated films based on Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard; the deal, worked out between Javier Ruiz of Author Services and Sammy Sakoda of Pine Com, also includes rights to interactive games and a comic book series.... Sam Hine at little Plough Publishing has signed award-winning SF author Terry Bisson to do a book on the man called America's most famous political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, called On a Move. The book, agented by Frances Goldin, will appear as soon as next February.