Dorman Gets Debut

In an overnight preempt, Pamela Dorman acquired a debut novel called Saving Ceecee Honeycutt for her imprint at Viking; the author is Kentucky native Beth Hoffman, and Catherine Drayton at InkWell sold world rights. Compared to The Secret Life of Bees as well as Steel Magnolias, the novel tells the story of a 12-year-old who spends the first years of her life taking care of her psychotic mother, the laughingstock of an entire town; when her mother is struck and killed by a truck, the girl's great-aunt whisks her away to Savannah, where she is catapulted into a world of prosperity and eccentricity seemingly run entirely by women. Hoffman was the president of an interior design studio before leaving to pursue writing. Dorman plans to publish in winter 2010; this is her second acquisition for her new imprint.

Reusing Signs with Potter

Rica Allannic at Clarkson Potter preempted world rights to Andrea Reusing's first cookbook the day after agent David Kuhn concluded meetings with seven publishers. The book, not yet titled, will feature more than 100 recipes organized by season, and will demonstrate to the home cook how to eat locally and sustainably throughout the year. Reusing, a leading national advocate for the use of local organic ingredients and the founder and owner of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., is featured this month in Gourmet's annual restaurant issue, which last year named Lantern one of the “Top Fifty Restaurants in the United States.”

Crime Sprees

St. Martin's editor Lindsay Sagnette preempted North American rights to three novels in a new historical crime series set in Moscow during Stalin's Great Terror; the debut author is William Ryan and the deal was negotiated by George Lucas at InkWell on behalf of Andrew Gordon at David Higham. In the first book, The Holy Thief, Det. Alexei Korolev must determine whether brutal murders in the capital are the work of a serial killer or are somehow tied to the search for a venerated and long-disappeared religious icon. Ryan was a lawyer in London before receiving his master's in creative writing from St. Andrew's. St. Martin's Minotaur will publish as a lead title in 2010.

In another thriller deal, Sarah Knight at Shaye Areheart Books bought Debra Ginsberg's The Neighbors Are Watching via Linda Loewenthal at David Black, who sold world rights. In the novel, a California suburb is united by the disappearance of a teenage mother in the aftermath of a wildfire evacuation; the pregnant girl's arrival had raised eyebrows in the town, but in caring for the baby she leaves behind, her neighbors expose—and exorcise—demons of their own.

Author Picks Oprah

Center Street executive editor Michelle Rapkin has signed blogger Robyn Okrant to recount her experience of Living Oprah: My One Year Experiment to Live as TV's Most Influential Guru Advises; Susan Schulman sold North American rights. For 2008, Okrant redesigned her life according to advice from Oprah's daily show, Web site and magazine; Okrant's month-by-month account of living by Oprah's rules will look at how we make decisions and will consider the costs and benefits of adopting our role models' priorities. Okrant's blog,, has drawn more than 200,000 visitors to date. Pub date is January 2010.

On the Brain

UCLA Center on Aging director and author of the forthcoming iBRAINDr. Gary Small, with co-writer Gigi Vorgan, has made a deal for a new book, The Naked Woman Who Stood on Her Head and Other Cases of Curious Human Behavior; Sandra Dijkstra sold North American rights to the pair's editor Mary Ellen O'Neill at Collins Living for six figures. Small will look at the most fascinating cases he's faced in his long career in psychology and neuroscience; he and Vorgan have published several previous titles on memory and aging, including The Memory Bible.

In a different look at how our brains shape who we are, Amy Nutt tells the story of Jon Sarkin, who suffered a stroke after brain surgery, transforming his personality and compelling him to compulsively create artwork, in Shadows Bright as Glass. Emily Loose at the Free Press bought world rights to the book via Wendy Strothman for publication in 2010.

Scribner Keeps Tóibín

Scribner editor-in-chief Nan Graham has made a new three-book deal with Colm Tóibín via Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White, who sold U.S. rights only. The first of two novels in the deal is to be called Brooklyn and centers on a young woman who emigrates from a small Irish town to Brooklyn in the 1950s. The third book is a collection of stories. Brooklyn will pub in spring 2009.

Where to Invest

New York Times columnist and Where to Put Your Money author Peter Passell has just made a deal for Where to Put Your Money Now; Louise Burke at Pocket took North American rights in a deal with Susan Ginsburg at Writers House. This will be a practical guide on where to invest in light of the recent Wall Street collapse; pub date is early 2009.