Pan Mac imprint Mantle has triumphed in a five-way battle for a “true heartbreaker of a love story” from Eva Carter in a two-book deal.
Associate publisher Sam Humphreys scooped UK and Commonwealth rights at auction for the books from Hellie Ogden at Janklow & Nesbit. How to Save a Life will be published in spring 2021 with a second, untitled, book to follow. North American rights for the book have been pre-empted by Ballantine. Rowohlt pre-empted in Germany while Italian rights have been acquired by Mondadori at auction.
How to Save a Life opens on the eve of the millennium when teenager Joel Greenaway collapses unexpectedly. His life is saved by school friend and aspiring doctor, Kerry Smith, who performs CPR. The synopsis goes on: “When Joel and Kerry subsequently get together, it should be the start of happy ever after, but instead Joel, Kerry, and Kerry’s best friend Tim — who stood on the sidelines when it really mattered — spend the next two decades reeling from the repercussions of that night.”
Humphreys explained: “When I first read How to Save a Life, I was swept away by Joel and Kerry’s story. Carter writes both beautifully and incisively about love, loss and longing, and there’s an originality and a freshness to the story that completely captivated me. I'm delighted to be publishing it on the Mantle list.”
Brighton-based Carter, a writer, coach and broadcaster, was inspired to write the novel by her own experience of successfully giving CPR to her partner, as well as her mother's stories of work as a trauma nurse.
She said: “I am thrilled that How to Save a Life is going to be published by the brilliant Mantle team. Sam edited two of my favourite contemporary love stories, Miss You and The Man Who Didn’t Call, and I knew the moment we met that we were on the same page. The book was inspired by my own experiences and I really wanted to celebrate the heroes who are there when we need them most but often pay the price in their off-duty lives.”
Ogden added: “This is a true heartbreaker of a novel. Characters you fall deeply for and twists that leave you breathlessly turning pages until the end. I’m delighted, and not at all surprised, that it has received this reaction from publishers around the world.”