Robbins to Ecco

David Hirshey at Harper, along with Dan Halpern at Ecco, has preempted world rights to a new novel by Tom Robbins, to be published by Ecco in fall 2008; Hirshey will edit. Robbins’s first novel in five years—and his first in 30 years not published by Bantam—is called B Is for Beer; Hirshey describes it as a hallucinogenic hymn to beer, children and the mystery of life that sustains us all. Hirshey’s relationship with Robbins goes back to 1985 when he was an editor at Esquire; over the next 10 years, Hirshey edited a series of essays Robbins wrote for the magazine. The essays became the basis for Robbins’s recent collection, Wild Ducks Flying Backward, which was dedicated to Hirshey. Robbins called Hirshey about the manuscript just before the holidays and asked if the book could be published under the Ecco imprint; longtime fan Halpern read the book and agreed. Phoebe Larmore represented Robbins in the negotiations.

A Rock ’n’ Roll Memoir

Trish Todd at Touchstone preempted world rights to Chris O’Dell’s Lady in Waiting: Inside the Loves, Madness and Music of the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, and the Women in their Shadows via Linda Loewenthal at the David Black Agency. O’Dell, who was tour manager, friend, lover and confidante to some of the most revered rock icons of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, promises the ultimate fly-on-the-wall rock memoir, filled with revelations, intimate insights and history-making moments also featuring Santana, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. O’Dell will also describe her own journey from an idealistic Arizona girlhood to L.A., London and beyond, and how she survived her own self-destructive behavior. Katherine Ketcham will co-write; no pub date yet.

YA Debut Preempt

Virginia Duncan at HarperCollins/Greenwillow has preempted North American rights to a debut YA novel by David Macinnis Gill titled Soul Enchilada; Rosemary Stimola made the two-book, six-figure deal. In the novel, Eunice “Bug” Smoot is shocked to discover that her deceased grandfather financed his classic car by offering his soul to the devil; now, the repo man is back to repossess the car, her grandfather is hiding out in the afterlife, and Bug is left to settle the matter. Gill is president of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents.

Norton Again to Spotlight

Comedian Jim Norton has inked a deal with Tricia Boczkowski at Simon Spotlight for a book titled Why I Hate Your Guts; Lydia Wills sold world rights. The book will be a collection of essays about people Norton hates, including Heather Mills, Hillary Clinton and Al Sharpton, and why. Norton’s first book with Spotlight, Happy Endings: The Tales of a Meaty-Breasted Zilch, was a bestseller this past summer. Scheduled pub date is fall 2008.

Fiction Debut

Jeanette Perez at Harper bought world English rights to a first novel by Vanina Marsot titled Foreign Tongue; Robert Guinsler at Sterling Lord made the sale. The book tells the story of a young American in Paris forced to confront her own notions of love, language and culture, viewed through the prism of translation. Marsot has an M.F.A. in literature and creative writing from Bennington; pub date is early 2009.

From the Mouths of Babes

Renee Sedliar at Da Capo Lifelong bought world rights to Between the Covers: The Book Babes’ Guide to a Woman’s Reading Pleasures by Margo Hammond and Ellen Heltzel via Jill Marsal at the Dijkstra Agency; columnists the Book Babes will suggest hundreds of books to suit every mood and stage of a woman’s life. Pub date is fall 2008.