Romcom Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis has led to a global “rights storm” with the biggest German deal of her agent Juliet Mushens' career.
The Caskie Mushens agent submitted the novel a week before London Book Fair and received the first foreign offer within 48 hours, going on to sell in 10 territories so far.
The second title in a two-book contract with Trapeze, Dear Emmie Blue, is described by Mushens as “a sweepingly romantic novel which has had publishers all over the world falling for its quirky eponymous heroine”.
Ten German bidders ultimately tussled for the rights, in what Mushens described as “the biggest German auction of my career” before Penguin Germany triumphed in a significant six-figure deal. US rights sold at auction in a six-figure deal to Emily Bestler at Emily Bestler Books by Jenny Bent, on behalf of Juliet Mushens. Rights also sold at auction in Sweden (Forum), Norway (Bastion) and Holland (HarperCollins NL) with pre-empts in Italy (Rizzoli) and Spain (Planeta), and offers in Hungary and Slovenia.
Dear Emmie Blue follows 16-year-old Emmie Blue who lets go of a helium balloon which contains a note: written on it is her email address, and a secret. It’s found by a French boy, Lucas, and it sparks a lifelong friendship when she need someone the most. Many years later her life is turned upside down when Lucas – who she is secretly in love with – asks her to be best woman at his wedding.
Louis’s first novel, Somewhere Close to Happy, was Trapeze commissioning editor Katie Brown's first acquisition, with a two-book deal at auction, and rights sold in Italy, Spain and Slovenia. It will be published in June 2019 with Dear Emmie Blue scheduled for 2020.
Mushens said: “Lia delivered Dear Emmie Blue right before the book fair. I told myself I would just read 10 pages on the way home that night, but before I knew it I had fallen head-over-heels for this sweepingly romantic novel, and I felt confident that everyone internationally would have the same response. As an industry we focus on the debut a lot, so to see a second book catch light all over the world is a delight.”
Louis said of the foreign deals: “The last fortnight has been a whirlwind dream come true for me. I am extremely excited that Dear Emmie Blue will be published in such a wonderful list of territories. The response to the book has been so touching, and I feel so lucky to have such passionate editors behind me and this novel. I owe so much to the incredible Juliet Mushens, whose heart and hard-work is unrivalled and I feel extremely lucky to have the wonderful team at Caskie Mushens behind me.”
Louis is a writer from Hertfordshire and has blogged for Bloomsbury’s Writers & Artists since 2014. In 2015, she won ELLE magazine’s annual talent competition with her "contemporary love letter".