Hodder & Stoughton has acquired a debut novel, Trying, from Grazia magazine’s features director Emily Phillips, about the ups and downs of trying for a baby.
General fiction publisher Kate Howard bought world rights from literary agent Imogen Pelham at Marjacq, to publish in February 2018.
The "funny and uplifting" novel, about what to expect when you’re not expecting, sprung from the author's own experience of "ridiculous situations" while trying.
"Unsexy, mandatory sex with the love of your life, being probed by suspicious looking cameras, lurking self-consciously at baby birthday parties . . . it’s all part of the hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking, and seemingly never-ending process of trying to conceive," commented Phillips. "As I thought about the book, I realised that lots of my friends were trying and failing too – just no one felt secure enough to open up about it. Some of us experiencing fertility issues might cry, some might laugh, some might find social media a jealousy-inducing rabbit warren of self-loathing. And some might even question who they are and whether they really want it at all.
"Trying isn’t just about how fertility issues affect our lives. It’s a comedy about just trying to keep it together and how temptation can ruin it all. Whether you’re trying for a baby, or just sometimes find life a bit trying, I hope it's a story with raw emotion that everyone can recognise."
The book's plot follows Olivia and her husband Felix who have moved to the suburbs in anticipation of their future family. But despite approaching her cycle and their sex life with military precision, there's still no sign of what felt like the sure next step, all the while friends' broods seem to be growing by the week. Meanwhile, vying for a promotion at work under the watch of a new boss sends Olivia down a dangerous road of risking it all. Does a happy ever after, she starts to question, even have to include a baby?
Howard said: "This is the book I've been waiting for! An intelligent, hilarious, beautifully sensitive story about the ups and downs of trying for a baby. This endearing romantic comedy had me in fits of laughter and has taught me to see the funny, lighter side of trying for a baby."