Frank Langella talks famous friends; Pete Townshend dishes on rock superstardom; Pete Carlin dishes on the Boss; Marcus Samuelsson shares kitchen tales; Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi take on Amanda Knox; and more in this year’s roundup of big books the American agencies will be selling at the upcoming London Book Fair.
A project the agency is particularly high on heading into London is Cassandra Clare’s the Dark Artifices trilogy (S&S/Margaret K. McElderry, 2015), a new series from the bestselling author, set in present-day Los Angeles, about a warrior named Emma Carstairs; S&S acquired the series in a seven-figure deal. From documentary filmmaker Noble Smith is The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life (St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, Nov. 2012), a work the agency says is in the tradition of The Tao of Pooh and is tied, promotionally, to Peter Jackson’s forthcoming film The Hobbit; rights sold in Brazil, Italy, and the U.K. From David Wellington there’s Chimera (Harper, 2013), the first in a series about a government agent named Jim Chapel fighting a group of genetically modified humans called chimeras. The agency also has the new one from Edgar winner Joe R. Lansdale, Edge of Dark Water (Mulholland Books, Mar. 2012), about a teenage girl whose journey down the Sabine River to dig up her friend’s body, burn it, and take the ashes to Hollywood, takes a disastrously wrong turn; rights sold in China, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the U.K. And from bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan is her currently untitled novel about marriage (Knopf, summer 2013), which uses the life of the young, female, single copywriter Frances Gerety, who in 1948 created the slogan “A Diamond Is Forever,” as a backdrop to explore “four connected marriages over the span of the last 100 years.”
DeFiore & Company
One of the hot titles on the agency’s list is the first book in a new YA sci-fi trilogy from Printz Honor–winner Rick Yancey, The Fifth Wave (Putnam, 2013). The series follows a teenage girl who survives an alien invasion; Putnam is rumored to have bought the series for seven figures; rights have sold in Germany, the Netherlands, Thailand, and the U.K., and film rights have also sold (to GK Films). One of the colorful titles Defiore & Co. will be talking up is Lauren Scheuer’s Once Upon a Flock: Adventures with My Backyard Chickens (Free Press, spring 2013), a full-color, illustrated memoir built out from the popular scratchandpeck.blogspot.com, about the author’s attempt to raise livestock in her backyard; Scheuer has taught at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and illustrated dozens of children’s books. From former magazine and newspaper editor Shaun Gallagher is Experiments on Babies: 50 Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid (Perigee, spring 2013), a collection of experiments parents can do on their children to discover facts about infant development. McCormick Templeman has The Glass Casket, a retelling of the fairy tale Snow White and Rose Red (not to be confused with the unrelated fairy tale, Snow White) that the agency says combines “romance, fantasy, and the paranormal.” And from Joel Fuhrman, M.D., is Eat to Live Without Diabetes (HarperOne, spring 2013), an expansion of the author’s bestselling nutrient-rich food guide for weight loss, Eat to Live.
Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
The agency has four big books heading into London, among them Amy Tan’s new novel, Valley of Amazement (Ecco, 2013), about a Chinese-American courtesan in Shanghai, stretching from turn of the 20thcentury to the eve of WWI. Then there’s Indira Ganesan’s As Sweet as Honey (Knopf, 2013), about an outsider and her Indian family; rights sold in India. On the nonfiction side is Sweet Success (Harper, Oct. 2012) by Kate White, a guide to personal and professional success from the novelist and Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief. And from cultural historian Marilyn Yalom is How the French Invented Love: 900 Years of Passion and Romance (Harper One, Oct. 2012), a look at how French texts have helped shape perceptions of love and sex, examining works ranging from The Second Sex to Dangerous Liaisons; rights sold in Brazil, France, and Russia.
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
With two big novels and three big nonfiction titles going into London, DGLM will be pushing Jacqueline Carey’s Dark Currents (Roc, Oct. 2012), the first in the author’s series featuring Daisy Johanssen, “a woman caught between the normal and paranormal worlds, enforcing order in both.” Then there’s Mindi Scott’s novel Live Through This (Simon Pulse, Oct. 2012), about a woman “whose seemingly perfect life is full of secrets she keeps buried alongside the shame and guilt of a relationship that crossed the line.” On the nonfiction side is humanitarian aid worker Jessica Alexander’s Welcome Back to Civilization (Crown, 2013), an “honest and irreverent” memoir from someone who worked on the ground in, among other places, genocide-ravaged Rwanda and post-tsunami southeast Asia. From journalist Sara Solovitch is Please Shoot the Piano Player (Bloomsbury, spring 2014), an exploration of the author’s almost paralyzing performance anxiety/social phobia and her battle to overcome it. And from Mardi Link is Bootstrapper (Knopf, 2013), a funny and inspiring memoir from a mother with three sons, struggling to keep her home in the wake of an economic crisis.
Foundry Literary + Media
Heavy on the fiction side, Foundry is particularly excited about four novels it will be selling in London, three of them debuts. The first debut is The Drowning House (Doubleday/Talese, Jan. 2013) by nonprofit fund-raiser Elizabeth Black, about two families in Galveston, Tex., “inextricably linked by tragedy and time.” In the second debut, Lessons in French (S&S, spring 2013) by Hilary Reyl (who has a Ph.D. in French literature from NYU), a college grad spends a year as an assistant to a famous American photographer in Paris. The other big debut Foundry will be pushing is Robert Cargill’s Dreamstuff (Harper/Voyager, winter 2013), which follows two young men “whose spirits have been enmeshed with the otherworld from a young age”; Cargill has written under a pseudonym for Ain’t It Cool News for nearly a decade, and his screenplay Sinister is in production, starring Ethan Hawke. From Jonathan Evison (West of Here) is The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (Algonquin, Aug. 2012), which the agency calls “a novel of unlikely heroes and a meditation on what it means to care for another in a myriad of capacities: as a father, a mother, a husband, a son, a friend, a teammate, a widower and a helper”; rights sold in Germany and Italy. On the nonfiction front is Sh*tty Mom (Abrams, Aug. 2012), a tongue-in-cheek parenting guide by Laurie Kilmartin (who writes for Conan), Karen Moline (a journalist), Alicia Ybarbo (a Today Show producer) and Mary Ann Zoellner (who works for NBC News); rights have sold in the U.K., and the book is in development as a TV show.
Gelfman Schneider/Curtis Brown
A hot title on this dual list is the eighth novel from celebrated Turkish bestseller Elif Shafak, Honour (Penguin, spring 2013), which, the agency says, “explores pain and loss, loyalty and betrayal, the trials of the immigrant”; rights sold in Bulgaria, Italy, the U.K., and other countries. From Jennifer Cody Epstein is Gods of Heavenly Punishment (Norton, summer 2012), a novel about “a woman’s journey through the ashes of war-torn Tokyo,” from the author of The Painter from Shanghai. Then there’s the 15th novel from Midwives author Chris Bohjalian, The Sandcastle Girls (Doubleday, July 2012), set in 1915, during the Armenian genocide and the battle of Gallipoli (which took place in what is now Turkey); rights sold in the U.K. On the nonfiction side is Ann Mah’s Mastering the Art of French Eating (Viking, Apr. 2013), a culinary tour/history of France from a former Beijing food editor that, chapter-by-chapter, examines“a different place and its signature dish.”
The Gernert Company
One title Gernert will be pushing hard in the rights center is Tim Crothers’s The Queen of Katwe (Scribner, Oct. 2012), a nonfiction account of Phiona Mutesi, a young Ugandan chess prodigy who, at 15, emerged as an unlikely national champion; the book is expanded from a Sports Illustrated article and rights have sold in Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and other countries. The rest of the agency’s big books are fiction. Among them is Alex Grecian’s The Yard (Putnam, June 2012), a debut set in 1890 London about 12 detectives known as “The Murder Squad” who served as the first members of Scotland Yard; the book is the first in a series and rights have sold in Israel, Japan, Russia, and the U.K. From former documentary TV producer Kate Manning is My Notorious Life by Madame X (Scribner, 2013), a historical novel set in 19th-century New York, about a midwife, born an orphan, who becomes one of the most influential women of her era; rights sold in Italy and the U.K. In The Life of Objects (Knopf, Oct. 2012), Susanna Moore (In The Cut) charts one woman’s self-discovery in Germany on the eve of WWII. And from Robin Sloan is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Oct. 2012), a debut about a quirky 24-hour San Francisco bookstore; rights sold in various countries.
Frances Goldin Literary
A big book the agency will be selling is Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel, Flight Behavior (Harper, Nov. 2012), which is set in a small Tennessee town; it follows a young woman who discovers a “forested valley filled with silent fire,” and her ensuing attempt to share the magical place, and explain it, which causes conflicts with her family, church, town, and, finally, the outside world; rights sold in the U.K. The other big novel on the agency’s list is Helene Wecker’s The Golem & the Djinni (Harper, 2013), a debut about a female golem and a male djinni (like a genie) who, passing for human, meet when they arrive in New York in 1899. On the nonfiction side is Molly Crosby’s narrative work The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace (Berkley, Nov. 2012), which chronicles the historical cat-and-mouse showdown between a Scotland Yard detective and a wily, gentleman crook in Edwardian England; rights sold in the U.K. Another nonfiction title for the agency is The Lifespan of a Fact (Norton, Feb. 2012) by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal, which pits the head of the University of Iowa’s nonfiction writing program against a fact-checker in an exploration into the boundaries between “truth” and “fact.” And from Daniel Duane is the memoir How to Cook Like a Man (Bloomsbury, May 2012), about an active San Francisco guy who, trapped at home as a new father, decided to teach himself to cook by making his way through Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse cookbooks one recipe at a time; rights sold in the U.K.
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
With a number of notable fiction titles in London, the big nonfiction book SJGA is pushing is Brandon Mendelson’s Social Media Is Bullshit (St. Martin’s, Sept. 2012), a sly business book that offers a trend-bucking take on the value of connecting online; Mendelson is an entrepreneur/comedian who is currently a marketing consultant. On the fiction side, there’s Brad Thor’s Black List (Atria, July 2012), a new thriller from the bestselling author. From Carolly Erickson is The Unfaithful Queen (St. Martin’s, Sept. 2012), a work of historical fiction about Henry VIII’s young wife Catherine Howard. The agency also has the debut adult book from Julia Keller, journalist and Chicago Tribune book critic, A Killing in the Hills (Minotaur, Sept. 2012), about a rural community rocked by a triple murder. And from Hank Phillippi Ryan is The Other Woman (Forge, Sept. 2012), the first thriller in a new series about a journalist on the trail of a politician’s secret mistress.
ICM (rep’d by Curtis Brown)
Among the agency’s big books in London is James Salter’s All That Is, a “seductive love story” from the PEN/Faulkner winner set in post-WWII America; rights sold in the U.K. From New Yorker regular George Saunders is the new story collection, Tenth of December (Random House, Jan. 2013); rights sold in the U.K. The agency also has Cormac McCarthy’s The Counselor, an original screenplay about a lawyer who gets involved in the drug business. Then there’s Ian Caldwell’s Blood and Water (S&S, 2013), a Vatican thriller, set during the waning days of Pope John Paul’s reign, from the coauthor of the million-copy bestseller The Rule of Four; rights sold in the U.K. And from Lauren Weisberger is the currently untitled sequel to her runaway bestseller, The Devil Wears Prada (S&S, 2013); rights sold in France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, and the U.K.
On the nonfiction side for Inkwell is Yes, Chef (Random House, June 2012), the new memoir from Marcus Samuelsson, Top Chef: Masters winner and chef of New York City’s Red Rooster. From Robert Greene is Mastery (Viking, Nov. 2012), in which the author, per the agency, “mines the biographies of great historical figures for clues about gaining control over our own lives.” Then there’s The Myth of Happiness (Penguin Press, winter 2013) by Sonja Lyubomirsky, an exploration into “how little we understand about what makes us happy and what doesn’t,” from the University of California psychology professor. On the fiction side is The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia Merch (Gallery, June 2012), a debut effort about a group of women who unknowingly create a life-changing tradition when they start gathering, weekly, to watch the movies of the titular actress; rights sold in Germany, Italy, and the U.K. Also in fiction, the agency has Stephen Romano’s Resurrection Express (Gallery, Sept. 2012), a debut thriller featuring a high-tech thief named Elroy Coffin.
Janklow & Nesbit
One of the big titles J&N will be pushing in London is Frank Langella’s Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women as I Knew Them (Harper, Mar. 2012), which is part memoir and part account of the longtime actor’s “clandestine meetings” with a collection of bold-faced names. The other big nonfiction title J&N has is Dr. Barbara Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers’s Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing (Knopf, June 2012), a look at the similarities between animal and human medicine from a UCLA medical cardiologist; rights sold in Japan, the Netherlands, and the U.K. On the fiction side is Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood (Little, Brown, Oct. 2012), a novel that “spotlights social stereotypes and injustices” among a gaggle of Miami residents; rights sold in Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.K. From Stuart Nadler is Wisemen (Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur, Jan. 2013), a debut novel the agency calls a “sweeping” work about “race, love, and money set against the last half of the 20th century”; rights sold in France, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. From the author of The Tender Bar, J.R. Moehringer, is his fiction debut, Sutton (Hyperion, Sept. 2012), about the “complicated life and heart” of the infamous bank robber Willie Sutton; rights sold in Germany, Italy, and the U.K.
William Morris Endeavor
Among WME’s most buzz-worthy books is Sophie McManus’s debut novel The Brightest Day (FSG, fall 2013/spring 2014), a portrait of an old New York family through the lens of its aging matriarch. From Susanna Sonnenberg is She Matters: A Life in Friendships (Scribner, Jan. 2013), a “ruthless and illuminating exploration” of the female friendships that have dominated the author’s life. Then there’s Christina Schwarz’s The Edge of the Earth (Atria, spring 2013), a novel from the author of the bestselling Drowning Ruth; Earth is set in 1987 and follows a girl who “breaks from traditional expectations” when she falls for a “forbidden and driven man.” From Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, the duo behind the true crime bestseller The Monster of Florence, is The Witch of Perugia (on submission in the U.S.), an account of the grisly murder of English exchange student Meredith Kercher and the ensuing Italian trial of American Amanda Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito; rights have been pre-empted in Germany.
The Jean V. Naggar Agency
Among JVNA’s collection of big books in London is Jillian Cantor’s Margot (Riverhead, fall 2013), which the agency says is “in the vein of Loving Frank and Sarah’s Key” and imagines the life Anne Frank’s older sister, Margot, had she also not died in a concentration camp. From Wendy Webb is The Fate of Mercy Alban (Hyperion, winter 2013), about a woman who returns to her childhood home, which is shrouded in the curse of her aunt’s disappearance. Another big fiction title JVNA will be talking up is YA author Nancy Springer’s adult suspense debut, Dark Lie (NAL, Nov. 2012), about a seemingly happy couple, each hiding a dark secret. On the nonfiction side is blogger Torry DeRoche’s Love with a Chance of Drowning (Hyperion, summer 2013), a memoir about a phobia-laden San Franciscan who leaves it all behind when a handsome stranger invites her on a year-long sail across the Pacific; rights sold in Australia and the U.K., and film rights also sold. The other big nonfiction title the agency has is Victoria Loustalot’s Hello to All This (St. Martin’s, winter 2013), about the author putting to rest the ghost of her father, who committed suicide when she was 10 after he contracted AIDS, by visiting the three places they most wanted to see together: Angkor Wat, Stockholm, and Paris.
The Jane Rotrosen Agency
Among the agency’s notable titles heading into the fair is Mark Sullivan’s debut, Rogue, an international thriller featuring a “Robin Hood–like hero.” From bestseller Julie Garwood there’s Sweet Talk (Dutton, Aug. 2012), a romantic suspense novel about a revenge-seeking lawyer who teams up with, and falls for, an FBI agent. Another bestseller on the agency’s hotlist is Sarah Addison Allen. Allen’s Lost Lake (St. Martin’s, 2013) is a tale set in the South about a newly divorced mom who, with her daughter, winds up at a lakeside resort where kindly ghosts mingle with the living guests. From Kristin Hannah is the novel Home Front (St. Martin’s, Jan. 2012), about the toll a mother’s deployment takes on her family. And from Luanne Rice is her 30th novel, Little Night (Viking/Pamela Dorman, June 2012), about a woman who goes to prison protecting her sister from an abusive husband.
Trident Media Group
One of the hot properties Trident is bringing to England is the Play-by-Play series (Berkley) by Jaci Burton, featuring the books The Perfect Play (Feb. 2011), Changing the Game (Aug. 2011), and Taking a Shot (Mar. 2012); the series looks at the world of sports through a family called the Rileys. From Orest Stelmach is the debut thriller The Boy from Reactor 4 (Thomas & Mercer, Oct. 2012), the first in a trilogy set in New York, Moscow, Kiev, and Chernobyl. From Linda Spalding is The Purchase (McClelland & Stewart, Sept. 2012), a novel about a young Quaker father in 1798, trying to build a home in the wilds of southern Virginia after being excommunicated from the Society of Friends. From the author of the e-book hit The Abbey, Chris Culver, is Where They Led (Grand Central), a sequel to yThe Abbey, once again featuring homicide detective Ash Rashid; U.K. rights are sold. Trident will also be pushing the new untitled work by the author of Debt (Melville House), David Graeber (Spiegel & Grau, Sept. 2012); he’s one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street, and the agency says the book will “connect the story of the Occupy movement to an exploration of the past, and future, of direct action, participatory, and political transformation”; rights sold in Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, and the U.K .
Trotting out one of the U.K.’s big food stars for the fair, the agency will be shopping the new cookbook from Nigella Lawson, Nigelissima: Instant Italian Inspiration (Clarkson Potter, Feb. 2013), which features simple Italian recipes; rights sold in the U.K., where the book release will be timed to a new BBC series starring the author. Then there’s the memoir from Who frontman Pete Townshend, Who I Am (Harper, Oct. 2012); rights sold in Brazil, Finland, the U.K., and other countries. Another big nonfiction title from Ed Victor is Double Cross: The True Story of D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre (Crown, July 2012), about the “double-cross system” the Allies employed to prevail at Normandy; rights sold in the U.K. On the fiction front is Awakening (Random House, Sept. 2012), the first title in Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost’s YA series the Paladin Prophecy; rights sold in Brazil, Germany, the U.K., and other countries; film rights have also sold. And, from John Banville, is Ancient Light (Knopf, July 2012), a novel from the Man Booker winner about, per the agency, “youth and age, first love and the illusions of memory.”
One of the big books WH is bringing to London is the new novel from Jonathan Tropper, One Last Thing Before I Go (Dutton, Sept. 2012), which the agency says is “a laugh-out-loud/break-your-heart family story about a man named Silver, whose ex-wife is marrying a really nice guy and whose Princeton-bound daughter just confided in him she’s pregnant.” From Charlie Huston is Skinner (Little, Brown, 2013), which WH says is “an ultra-contemporary reimagining of the classic espionage thriller.” From the author of Juliet, Anne Fortier, is The Sisterhood (Ballantine, summer 2013), a romantic epic that stretches across eras and continents from the battle of Troy to contemporary Oxford. Then there’s The Malice of Fortune (Doubleday, Sept. 2012), a historical thriller set during the Renaissance by Michael Ennis. And, in nonfiction, WH has Bruce, a definitive biography of the New Jersey rocker by music critic Pete Carlin; publication is set for November 2012, to coincide with the end of Springsteen’s latest world tour.
The Wylie Agency
Among the big titles the Wylie Agency will be talking up in London is Don Winslow’s The Kings of Cool (S&S, June 2012), a new literary thriller from the author of Savages (which is being turned into a film by Oliver Stone starring Benicio del Toro and Blake Lively, among others), about 20-something best friends who set out to save the girl they both love; rights sold in various countries. From English author Geoff Dyer is Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room (Pantheon, Feb. 2012), examining Andrei Tarkovsky's movie Stalker, and which the agency describes as “a wonderfully digressive exploration of cinema in general and of how we try to understand what we cherish"; rights sold in Australia, Germany, Spain, and the U.K. The agency will also be pushing My Inner Witch, the debut novel by Italo Calvino’s daughter, Giovanna Calvino, which is a first-person account by a young girl “engaged in a recurring argument with a mysterious cantankerous witch who lives inside her”; rights sold in Italy. From Financial Times journo Martin Wolf is The Shift and the Shocks (Penguin Press, Dec. 2012), which argues that there are two major forces now shaping the global economy, namely, as the agency explained, “the rapid shift in economic power from the declining West to the rising East, and the shocks caused by the waves of financial crises that have fallen upon high-income countries”; rights sold in the Netherlands and the U.K. Another big nonfiction title the agency has is National Book Award–winner Andrew Solomon’s Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (Scribner, fall 2012), for which the author spent a decade and interviewed more than 200 families to explore the complex notion that, as the agency put it, “children resemble their parents, but all children are startling to their progenitors”; rights sold in the U.K.