Transworld has snapped up a debut thriller authored by a CIA analyst called Need to Know in a "breakneck 24 hour" pre-emptive deal.
Transworld publisher Bill Scott-Kerr and fiction publisher Sarah Adams acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in two novels from CIA analyst Karen Cleveland through Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein, working with David Gernert at The Gernert Company.
Need to Know, the first novel, sees a young mother and CIA analyst digitally searching files in hopes of unmasking a Russian sleeper cell in the US when she makes a shocking discovery that threatens her job, her family and her life.
According to Transworld, since submission of the book on Friday morning (17th February), the book will now be its 2018 "superlead", publishing in Spring 2018. Adams called it a "relentless thriller" that "masterfully takes domestic suspense to the international stage" while Scott Kerr praised Cleveland "a star in the making".
While no figures were disclosed, Transworld commented it was a "major" deal, and film rights for the book have sold to Universal to Charlize Theron for seven figures. In the US, Kara Welsh for Ballantine with Kate Miciak editing, have acquired in a two-book pre-empt. Pre-empts have also taken place in Germany and Sweden, with auctions said to be ongoing in other markets.
Its author draws on her experience as a CIA analyst for the past eight years, as part of which role she regularly writes briefs for the US president and other senior policymakers. She graduated from the CIA’s Advanced Analyst Program and, while at the agency, spent six months on rotation to the FBI, working closely with a Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Scott-Kerr said: "It is such a pleasure and a privilege to be publishing the work of a new writer whose storytelling ability is so manifest on the page and whose every scenario drips with authenticity and menace. Everyone at Transworld who read Karen Cleveland's debut Need To Know recognised immediately that here was a star in the making and knew that we had to publish her."
Adams said: "Karen Cleveland masterfully takes domestic suspense to the international stage in this relentless thriller about a husband and wife bringing up four children in a world of secrets and spies. It starts with a bang and doesn’t let up, and it is terrifyingly plausible. In a deal echoing the whirlwind of Cleveland's writing narrative, a team across editorial, sales, marketing and publicity read overnight with unequivocal excitement. Within 24 hours of its arrival we were Karen's proud publishers. We simply cannot wait to introduce her story to the widest possible market."