Great news from the Greenhouse!

March 18, 2008

I’m snatching a moment from a hectic day, just to reassure you that I haven’t gone AWOL. In fact, the truth couldn’t be further from that. This past week has been the most exciting since launch of the Greenhouse – because what I can now proudly announce to you is . . . the agency’s very first deal! And what a deal it is. My debut author Sarwat Chadda, with whom I’ve been working since last Fall, has sold his first novel,THE DEVIL’S KISS plus a sequel, in a very major two-book deal for North America/Canada and UK/Commonwealth. What is even more exciting about it is that it’s gone to different publishers in each territory, but with the deals done virtually simultaneously (well, with a weekend in between). To respect the houses involved, I’ll not name them until I have their go-ahead and we’ve worked out a joint announcement, but I’m really hoping that can happen pre-Bologna, which will increase the already very substantial interest in foreign and movie rights.
It’s been a great journey for Sarwat and I since he joined the Greenhouse as, in fact, the agency’s very first signed client. I saw his manuscript first when it was in its early stages, but after that came a long period of revision when Sarwat was incredibly resilient in the face of my editorial batterings. Completely unfazed he turned around and virtually began again, restructuring, rewriting and coming up with all manner of great ideas and characters that were completely fresh. He has been working on DEVIL’S KISS a long time now, but the version he completed a short while ago shows his transformation into a real writer and that has been the most exciting thing of all. So now he begins another journey – to publication and beyond, and I can’t wait to see the next stage unfold. In a way, it’s been a perfect example of the Greenhouse at work: a British author living in the UK; me, his agent, living in the States; deals done at the same time in both markets at the same time,so he has leading (and equal) publishers on both continents. Of course, that isn’t going to work for every author but it certainly worked out great this time.

THE DEVIL’S KISS is a big, pacy, blockbusting YA novel that fits into the dark,supernatural genre but with a fresh twist. Fifteen-year-old Billi SanGreal is co-opted (against her will) into the modern-day remnant of the Knights Templar by her father, the Grandmaster. She’s the first girl ever to be a Templar – and no wonder, given her life is an arduous round of weapons’ practice, occult lore and a heck of a lot of bruises. Billi would happily settle for being a normal high-school girl rather than secret warrior out to defeat the Unholy. Into the mix comes Michael – gorgeous, seductive and undeniably dangerous. But Michael isn’t just a heartbreaker, he’s an archangel with terrifying agenda. As the Templars ready for combat, Billi’s destiny becomes interwoven with that of Michael. Now she must choose who she wants to be. If she chooses the path of a true Templar, living out her terrifying heritage, it will destroy everything that matters to her. And there are some things, as Billi discovers, that are much, much worse than death . . .

So I give Sarwat huge congratulations and wish him all the very best for his future as he now gets to know his new publishers. And I’m embarking on the process of negotiating contracts and setting things up for a smooth run through to publication. Plus of course I’m working closely with my other authors and doing my absolute utmost to achieve outcomes as satisfying as Sarwat’s. Every manuscript is different, every author is different – but one thing’s for sure: if there’s a living, breathing way I can get my authors a good deal, a changed life, a dream that turns into reality, then I’m going to bust a gut to do it.

Hurrah from a weary, but definitely excited Sarah and the Greenhouse!