Allison & Busby has acquired a “gripping and timely” dystopian thriller by Edinburgh-based writer Jane Alexander.
World English language rights for A User’s Guide to Make-Believe were acquired by Lesley Crooks, publishing manager, from Francesca Davies at Lutyens & Rubinstein. Hardback and e-book publication is set for January 2020 backed by a “substantial” publicity campaign led by Debbie Elliott PR.
The novel, deemed "gripping and timely" by the publisher, is set in a near future where a virtual reality experience called Make-Believe is gaining widespread popularity. It follows heroine Cassie in the aftermath of losing her job at the tech firm behind Make-Believe, when a glitch in the system becomes apparent.
Alexander's novel The Last Treasure Hunt was published by Saraband in 2015 and she has written several award-winning short stories. She completed a PhD in creative writing and teaches the subject at the University of Edinburgh and the Open University,
Crooks said: “I could not put A User’s Guide to Make-Believe down. Cassie’s characterisation, the gathering pace, the parallels in the story to our cultural state of device dependency, all had me enthralled. I know there are many other fans of near dystopias such as Vox who will be as riveted as I was, and I can’t wait for A&B to share Make-Believe with them.”
Alexander added: “The team at Allison & Busby shares my vision for A User’s Guide to Make-Believe, and I’m absolutely delighted to be working with them to bring it into the world. I hope it will speak to people about the impact of technology on their own lives, and above all that readers will be as absorbed by Cassie’s story as I was in writing it.