Hot Key Books has acquired a new standalone fiction title from Carnegie Medal winning author Jennifer Donnelly in a six-figure pre-empt deal.
Junior editor at Hot Key Books, Naomi Colthurst, struck a deal for UK and Commonwealth rights to These Shallow Graves through Cecilia de la Campa, director of subsidiary rights at Writers House.
Donnelly is the author of A Gathering Light, which won the 2003 Carnegie Medal, as well as The Rose trilogy for adults and the Waterfire series for young adults. These Shallow Graves is described as “a return to the style of A Gathering Light, with a thrilling plot that is part murder mystery and part historical romance”.
The book centres on Josephine Montfort, a girl from one of New York’s oldest, most respected, and wealthiest families. Jo’s future looks set for marriage she has other dreams and desires that make her long for a more meaningful and exciting life as an investigative journalist like her heroine Nellie Bly. However, when her father is found dead in his study after an alleged accident, her life becomes far more exciting than she would wish.
Staff at Hot Key read Donnelly’s manuscript overnight and swiftly made a pre-emptive offer, which included a video demonstrating their love for the book.
Colthurst said: “These Shallow Graves is everything a historical novel for young adults should be – Jennifer deftly illustrates an exciting and dangerous time for New York whilst keeping her characters and story wonderfully vivid and completely relatable for a modern audience. Jo is a fantastic heroine who I know will inspire a whole new generation of Jennifer’s readers to be brave and question the status quo, in just the same way Mattie from A Gathering Light inspired me.”
Mark Smith, c.e.o. of Bonnier Publishing Fiction, added: “We are thrilled to be welcoming Jennifer to the Hot Key list and are very much looking forward to publication later this year. Jennifer’s previous titles have reached hundreds of thousands of readers and we plan to do the same with These Shallow Graves.”
Donnelly said she was “excited” to introduce the characters from These Shallow Graves to UK readers with Hot Key.
Hot Key will publish These Shallow Graves simultaneously in hardback with Delacorte in the US in October 2015.