Simon Mayo has left BBC Radio 2 to concentrate on his writing following a newly inked two-book deal with Transworld, including a contemporary thriller.
His editor, Bill Scott-Kerr, publisher at Transworld, said that Mayo has “ripped a reality from the newspaper headlines and fashioned a brilliant contemporary thriller from them”, with publication slated for spring 2020.
Mayo revealed his departure from the UK’s most popular radio station on Monday morning (22nd October) on Twitter, blaming his writing responsibilities as well plans for the film adaptation of historical thriller, Mad Blood Stirring, which was published by Transworld last April and the Australian TV adaptation of his 2012 children's book Itch (Puffin).
Hours after Mayo's Twitter announcement, Transworld revealed that Scott-Kerr had recently acquired English language rights in the UK, Commonwealth, excluding Canada, and Europe for two new novels by Mayo from Sam Copeland at Rogers, Colderidge and White.
Scott-Kerr said: "Working with Simon Mayo to bring Mad Blood Stirring to fruition was a terrific creative experience and I am thrilled that we have bought two new books from him. This new deal demonstrates what a versatile and imaginative writer he is and what a great eye for a story he has.
“For his first novel he took a little known historical fact and spun an entirely credible and relevant story around it. This time he has ripped a reality from the newspaper headlines and fashioned a brilliant contemporary thriller from them."
"The new book posits an eminently plausible and terrifying scenario and extrapolates an utterly compelling and exciting narrative," Scott-Kerr said. "Apart from sharing Simon’s creative storytelling DNA, both stories are ones which look destined to make it to the big screen. His writing looks set to hit new heights and I am excited to be scaling them with him.”
Mayo hit the headlines after revealing his decision to leave Radio 2 to concentrate on his books.
He announced to his 245,000 Twitter followers: “Very sadly, I have decided to move on from Radio 2. Sad to leave the show, sad to leave Jo, sad to leave Wogan House (I thought I’d be dragged out aged 120). But circumstances change...
“Juggling my writing and radio has become increasingly tricky (a nice problem to have). I’ve just signed a new 2 book deal with the nice folk at Transworld and they’ll be expecting something half decent before too long.
“On top of that my Itch books are about to be filmed for television in Australia and the work turning Mad Blood Stirring into a movie continues apace.”
Mad Blood Stirring was optioned by Tessa Ross for the screen last year with "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" scriptwriter Jack Thorne writing the screenplay and House Productions currently scouting for a director, according to Transworld.
Mayo said that while “setting off on these brand new trails is enormous fun” there are “only so many hours in a day”, whilst also urging fans not to blame co-host Jo Whiley. In April it was revealed that a “reconfiguration” at Radio 2 featured various scheduling changes, seeing Mayo partner with Jo Whiley on a new show, with his well-known Book Club from his Drivetime show handed over to Sara Cox, on a later evening slot. The Book Club recommenced under Cox earlier this month while Mayo now runs the "Simon Mayo’s Books of the Year" podcast, sponsored by WH Smith.
On the new book deal with Transworld, Mayo said: “I’ve loved everything about working with Transworld. The Mad Blood Stirring ride has been thrilling and I’m delighted to be working on two more books for them.”
Altogether the author has sold 141,388 copies for £1.05m, with Itch the biggest seller, at 53,140 copies sold, with all figures according to Nielsen BookScan.