Australian Natasha Lester signs with Sphere after auction

Australian Natasha Lester signs with Sphere after auction

Sphere is publishing Australian author Natasha Lester in the UK after acquiring four of her historical fiction novels.

Viola Hayden, commissioning editor, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Australia and New Zealand) in a two-way auction from Sarah Brooks at Hachette Australia for A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, Her Mother’s Secret, The Paris Seamstress and The French Photographer.

According to Brooks, the deal follows "two very competitive four-book offers".

The first three books will be published in digital in March 2018, to coincide with the Australian publication of The Paris Seamstress. Paperback publication will follow later in the year and into 2019, alongside The French Photographer.

Lester's brand of "pacey" historical fiction is said to include "avant-garde" heroines of the 20th-century who must overcome barriers to succeed in male-dominated industries like medicine, cosmetics and fashion.

Lester herself worked as a marketing manager for cosmetic company L’Oréal, managing the Maybelline brand, before returning to university to study creative writing and turning her hand to historical fiction.

She said: "To know that my books will now be published in the UK is incredibly exciting for me. But the fact that they will be published by Sphere is the realisation of a dream; I am thrilled to be joining their list of wonderful authors. And I am eagerly looking forward to working with Viola Hayden to bring my books to readers on the other side of the world."

Hayden said: "I fell in love with Natasha’s writing immediately. She weaves the best kind of historical novel; packed with hope, heartache, and journeys of discovery, that captures completely the essence of a period but with a pacey, complex plot perfect for the modern reader. I can’t wait to publish Natasha in the UK, and get her wonderful books into the hands of new readers.”