Orion has secured a thriller by Brighton-based journalist Catherine Quinn through a “significant six-figure” deal following a seven-way auction.
Emad Akhtar, publisher at Orion, won the seven-way auction for UK and Commonwealth Rights to Black Widows, through a “significant” six figure sum in a deal brokered by Piers Blofeld of Sheil Land Associates, Blofeld told The Bookseller.
North American rights were also snapped up by Shana Drehs, editorial director at Sourcebooks, within 36 hours of submission and film rights are being handled by Joel Gotler, c.e.o. of the Intellectual Property Group literary agency in Hollywood, working alongside Lucy Fawcett at Sheil Land. There are also various auctions underway in translation territories.
Black Widows is the author's first contemporary thriller and will be published by Orion and Sourcebooks as a superlead title in 2020.
"Black Widows is set in rural Utah where against the wishes of his family and the laws of the church, Blake Nelson has adopted the old polygamous ways and lives alone with his three wives on an isolated homestead miles from anywhere," reads the synopsis. "That is until his dead body is discovered. Blake’s wife killed him, the question is: which one?"
Quinn was a travel journalist for the Guardian and Times before becoming a novelist both as an independent author and with Amazon publishing. Her novels have sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide, her agent said. Meanwhile her new historical series is published under the pen name of C S Quinn by Atlantic Books.
Akhtar said: “Black Widows is an amazing psychological thriller, a gripping murder mystery, and a deeply fascinating exploration of three wonderfully developed characters. It has a killer hook, a truly distinctive voice and, in Cath, a natural storyteller who will be a major voice in fiction for years to come.”
Quinn, who is based in Brighton, added: “I am excited beyond all reasonable measure to be working with Emad and his team. Their enthusiasm and vision for the book completely blew me away. In the US, Shana Drehs's offer so soon after receiving the manuscript was overwhelming, making Sourcebooks the obvious choice. The opportunity to work with such incredible teams on Black Widows is a great privilege and I consider myself completely spoilt with publishing talent.”