Debut Preempts

Ellen Archer and Pamela Dorman at Voice preempted Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Day the Falls Stood Still via Dorian Karchmar at William Morris, who sold North American rights. Set in Niagara Falls, Ontario, during WWI, this first novel focuses on a privileged young girl who suffers a tragedy that leaves her sister dead and her family disgraced, and a handsome, working-class man who has a mystical ability to predict the whims of the water and whose daring rescues make him a local hero. The book is loosely based on historical events surrounding the life of Niagara riverman William Red Hill.

Kate Miciak at Bantam Dell preempted North American rights to Emily Winslow’s The Whole World in a two-book deal with Cameron McClure at Donald Maass. This debut begins with an American student who moves to Cambridge to escape her past, but when her boyfriend disappears in a replay of the tragedy she’s been trying to forget, she sets a series of crimes in motion.

East and West

Amber Qureshi at the Free Press bought North American rights to Alia Malek’s Amreeka via Anna Ghosh at Scovil Chichak Galen. Amreeka, the Arabic word for America, is the story of the past 42 years in the U.S. told through the eyes of Arab-Americans. Syrian-American Malek is also a civil rights lawyer; pub date is October 2009.

Qureshi also acquired world rights to Salman Ahmad’s Musical Jihad: A Muslim Rock Star’s Revolution via Richard Abate at Endeavor. In his memoir , Ahmad—a Pakistani doctor who became a multiplatinum-selling Muslim rock star and then a U.N. Goodwill ambassador—will describe how, after 9/11, he embarked on a quest to unite the Western world and Islam through the universal language of music. Pub date is January 2010.

Scout Leader

Wendy Wolf at Viking has acquired a new biography of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low by Stacy Cordery; Sterling Lord sold world rights. Low lived through the Civil War and rebelled against a conventional upbringing by marrying an alcoholic bounder who moved his mistress into their home. Low lost her hearing at the age of 26, when a grain of rice thrown at her wedding punctured her eardrum. After becoming a widow, she founded the influential girls’ organization. The new book will pub in 2012, the centenary of the Girl Scouts’ founding.

Biology at Houghton

Deanne Urmy at the newly merged Houghton has acquired North American rights to BerndHeinrich’s The Homing Instinct: The Economics of How Animals (and Humans) Survive via SandraDijkstra. The author of Mind of the Raven and Winter World will discuss the implications of this animal instinct for human happiness and survival. Dijkstra sold Canadian rights simultaneously to Greystone.

And Andrea Schulz bought Marlene Zuk’s Sex on Six Legs, which examines not just the bedroom lives of creepy crawlies but also calls into question some of our long-held assumptions about cooperation, the nature of personality and teaching an old bug new tricks. Wendy Strothman sold world rights; pub date is 2010.

YA Auction

Kate Sullivan at Little, Brown won out over four other houses for a debut YA novel by Malinda Lo titled Ash; Laura Langlie sold world rights (except Japan and U.K.) to two books. Ash is a retelling of Cinderella, only Ash doesn’t fall for Prince Charming—she falls in love with a young woman. Lo is the managing editor of and used to work in the editorial department at Ballantine. Pub date is fall 2009.