Bonnier Zaffre has acquired three books from S Block, the creator of ITV series, Home Fires.
UK and Commonwealth rights were acquired, in what was described as a "spirited" auction, from Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown, in association with ITV.
The first of the three novels, Keep the Home Fires Burning, will pick up from the finale of the second series, aired 16th May 2016. It will publish as a four-part e-book serial with a part to be released each month from July 2017, and as a complete novel in paperback and e-book this autumn .Part one of the currently untitled second book publishes in e-book form in Spring 2018.
The TV series, culminating in a final episode that attracted 5.5m viewers, told the stories of the women of Great Paxford as they live through WW2 on the home front. News of the show's cancellation inspired fans to launch a "Bring Back Home Fires" campaign, which garnered nearly 40,000 signatures on an online petition.
Eleanor Dryden, publishing director of Bonnier Zaffre, said: "In response to overwhelming demand from fans of the series, Bonnier Zaffre is thrilled to be taking this compelling story forward in novel form. Each one of the extraordinary, inspiring, flawed, and courageous female characters of Great Paxford’s Women’s Institute captured my heart, and these are exactly the stories we need more of! Block’s writing is completely addictive and I feel very lucky to be publishing these books in such an exciting way. It’s also a real honour to be working alongside the passionate champions of the ‘Bring Back Home Fires’ campaign."
Block said: “I was all set to take my cast of characters through the next few months of WWII when the show was cancelled by ITV. Their stories were all planned. The remarkable and totally unexpected reaction of fans of the show on social media was as extraordinary as it was moving – within a few days 20,000 people had signed a petition asking for the decision to be reversed. And it showed me I needed to continue telling this story. Fortunately, Bonnier Zaffre felt the same, and a unique partnership has emerged where – for the first time in our knowledge – a saga initiated on television will be continued in a series of novels, with the plot developing just as planned.
"Those familiar with the TV show will be able to seamlessly continue with the books; while those new to the world of Home Fires will swiftly find themselves brought up to speed and immersed in the stories of the women of Great Paxford."
Keep the Home Fires Burning marks the launch, too, of the Bonnier Zaffre Memory Lane online community, a community for saga writing, offering a newsletter, access to original content and "Keep the Home Fires Burning news".