Bestselling novelist Gail Godwin has signed with Ballantine for four new books, a pair of very different novels and two volumes of memoir she calls collectively

The Making of a Writer. The world rights deal was signed by editor-in-chief

Nancy Miller and Godwin's agent,

John Hawkins. First of the two novels is

Queen of the Underworld, a sweeping tale of an ambitious young journalist, Emma Gant, in the Miami of the early 1960s, and the impact of that time and place on her striving soul. It will be published in January 2006, along with the first volume of the memoir, which will find Godwin at 24, a failed marriage and an abandoned newspaper job behind her, determined to become a fiction writer. The second novel, on a much smaller scale, is

The Red Nun, a psychological ghost story set in a Catholic girls' school in the North Carolina mountains in the 1950s. This will appear simultaneously with the second memoir, which covers Godwin's time at the Iowa Writers Workshop, her first publications and her meeting in 1972 with the composer Robert Starer, her companion for the rest of his life.