HarperFiction has triumphed in a five-way auction for Maybe Next Time, a "tearjerker” by Cesca Major.
Editorial director Martha Ashby acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, in a two-book deal from Alice Lutyens at Curtis Brown. Tessa Woodward at William Morrow, HarperCollins US, pre-empted North American rights from Kristyn Keene Benton at ICM.
HarperFiction and William Morrow will publish simultaneously in hardback in spring 2023 as a priority title on both lists. They describe the love story as "Groundhog Day" meets One Day (Hodder), where protagonist Emma, overwhelmed and distracted by work and the school run, spends Monday unable to notice that her husband, Dan, is sad and angry. By the end of the day, he is dead. Then she wakes up and it is Monday again. Trapped in a loop, she must live the same day over and over, trying to stop Dan dying at the end of the day.
Ashby said: "I've been looking for a huge weepy tearjerker for so long and Cesca Major absolutely delivered in spades with this recognisable story of a woman pulled in a hundred different directions at once and missing what’s important in her life, yet seen through a unique, hooky lens that raises it to something truly extraordinary. This is a big, heartbreaking, uplifting love story about love within marriage, guilt and second chances, and feels like both the emotional catharsis we all need after a traumatic year in lockdown and a transformative reminder to appreciate our loved ones."
Major added: “The response to Maybe Next Time from HarperCollins, both in the UK and US, has been wonderful and overwhelming. Writing a 'Groundhog Day' book while living a Groundhog Day felt absolutely right and setting it in the publishing world was a great deal of fun. I am just so thrilled both Tessa and Martha took Dan and Emma to their hearts and want to share this love story with the world. To have their formidable teams behind me feels beyond thrilling, supported by my fabulous agent Alice and the team at Curtis Brown—I am just so excited to start on this incredible journey with them all."
The author has previously written psychological thrillers as C D Major, including The Other Girl (Thomas & Mercer), and feel-good fiction as Rosie Blake. This is her first novel under her own name.
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