Adventures in Austen

Sarah McGrath's first acquisition for Riverhead is a preempt of 26-year-old Emma Campbell Webster's Lost in Austen: A Make Your Own Jane Austen Adventure; Zoe Pagnamenta at PFD NY sold North American rights on behalf of Sam Copeland at the Robinson Agency. Webster's adventure novel is a literary game that will give readers the opportunity to play at being Elizabeth Bennet, navigating their way through important and difficult decisions about love and marriage upon which the plot(s) hinges; the book will incorporate characters and landscapes from all of Austen's novels. Webster is an actress by day; she specialized in Austen while reading English at Oxford. Riverhead will publish in early 2008.

Sex in America

Basic's Lara Heimert won North American rights in an auction for Dagmar Herzog's Out of Love in America; Will Lippincott at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin made the sale. The book will explore what Herzog sees as a crisis in American sexuality; despite hypersexualization within the culture, Americans remain extraordinarily uneducated and timid about sexuality and report far less sexual satisfaction than their European counterparts. Herzog, a professor of history at the Graduate Center at CUNY and the author of Sex after Fascism, will go on to discuss the role of the Religious Right in reshaping the most intimate realms of American life. A spring 2008 publication is anticipated.

Busy Witte

George Witte at St. Martin's has acquired three thrillers by Portland Oregonian columnist Chelsea Cain, the first of which is titled Heartsick; agent Joy Harris sold world English rights and Kelley Ragland will edit. Heartsick features a female serial killer who lures a Portland detective into a psychological trap he can't escape, along the way drawing a local reporter into the mix; these three characters will appear in all three novels, and auctions are now in progress for translation and film rights. No pub date has been set.

Witte also bought a new book by Johns Hopkins professor P.M. Forni, whose Choosing Civility St. Martin's published in 2002. That book laid out 25 rules of considerate conduct, and subsequently was adopted by universities as required reading for incoming freshmen while the author became a regular on XM Satellite Radio's Satellite Sisters. In the new book, On Rudeness: What to Say and Do in Uncivil Situations, Forni will discuss rudeness and how to deal with it at home, at work and in everyday situations. Lisa DiMona at Lark Productions sold world English rights.

Two-Book Tavani

Ballantine's Mark Tavani has preempted world rights to two thrillers by debut novelist Laura Benedict from Susan Raihofer at the David Black Agency. In the first, Isabella Moon, a small Kentucky town unravels after a girl goes missing. Tavani also bought world rights to two historical thrillers by New York Times reporter Timothy L. O'Brien, both of which will feature PI Temple McFadden, his wife, Fiona, and numerous historical figures; the first of the two is set in Washington, D.C., just after Lincoln's assassination. Agent Andrew Blauner made the sale.

Therapy for Two

Little, Brown's Tracy Behar has preempted world rights to Dr. Susan Johnson's Hold Me Tight from agent Miriam Altshuler. Johnson, a clinical psychologist at the University of Ottawa, has developed a form of couples therapy she calls emotionally focused therapy (EFT), which views love primarily as an attachment bond; it's been highly acclaimed by professionals for its significant rate of success. The book will discuss Johnson's theories and techniques. Little, Brown will publish in 2008.