HarperFiction pre-empts debut thriller

HarperFiction pre-empts debut thriller

HarperFiction has pre-empted a six-figure two-book deal with debut author Jax Miller on the eve of London Book Fair.

Simon Trewin of WME agents sold UK & Commonwealth rights through HarperFiction’s executive publisher Kate Elton and deputy publishing director Sarah Hodgson for Freedom’s Child and a second title.

The publisher said it acquired the “heart-stopping thriller” with “unprecedented speed”.

Miller explained: “I finished my novel on Tuesday, Simon read it on Wednesday, signed me on Thursday and sent it to Kate Elton on Friday. The deal was finalised overnight on Monday and I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow and find it was all a dream.”

Freedom’s Child centres around a woman, Freedom, who has spent the last 18 years under Witness Protection after being exonerated for her husband’s murder. When the daughter she gave birth to in prison (and consequently had to give up for adoption) goes missing, Freedom escapes her handlers determined to rescue her child.

Elton said: “I couldn’t have been more astonished when I discovered that this incredibly accomplished, meaty thriller was a debut novel by a 28-year-old. Freedom is one of those characters you just fall in love with. Wherever her journey takes her, you want to follow – and Freedom never loses her incredible resolve and determination to save the daughter she only knew for two minutes and seventeen seconds. I am hugely thrilled to have acquired two novels by this amazing new talent for the HarperFiction list.”

Trewin added that the manuscript came to him via editorial consultant Vanessa O'Loughlin at The Inkwell Group in Dublin. “The international interest is immense – Freedom is a truly original character – just what the world needs,” he said.

Claudia Ballard in WME’s New York office is handling US rights and Raffaella De Angelis is handling foreign.

Miller was born and raised in New York and currently lives in Co. Meath, Ireland. She was shortlisted for the CWA debut dagger for unpublished writers in 2013 under her real name, Aine O' Domhnaill.

Freedom’s Child will be published in summer 2015.