Orion pre-empts Ashby debut novel exploring mental health

Orion pre-empts Ashby debut novel exploring mental health

Rachel Neely, commissioning editor at Trapeze, has made her first acquisition for the company with debut novel Wet Paint by Chloë Ashby.

The two-book pre-empt for UK and Commonwealth rights was agreed with Emma Finn at the C&W Agency.

Slated for spring 2022, Wet Paint is described as an "insightful and incisive" exploration of depression and trauma, following Eve, a 26-year-old waitress, as she is forced to confront the fallout after her best friend’s suicide. 

Ashby is a freelance writer and editor, and a graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her short fiction has appeared online on the Fairlight Books website – and will be in its forthcoming anthology – and will feature in the next issue of The London Magazine.

Neely said: "This kind of smart, timely and upmarket women’s fiction is exactly what I have been looking for since arriving at Trapeze Fiction. Our list is dedicated to conversation-starting books, with Millennial and Gen-Z readers in mind, and Wet Paint perfectly fits that brief. I was absolutely blown away by Chloë’s brilliantly nuanced depiction of a number of mental health issues and I’m beyond thrilled to welcome her to Trapeze."

Ashby said: "I’m thrilled to be working with Rachel and the team at Trapeze, whose reactions to Wet Paint left me in a happy daze. I’m also hugely grateful to my agent Emma, without whom none of this would have been possible. I loved spending time with Eve – on her clear days and her cloudy days – and I can’t wait for readers to meet her."

Finn added: "Chloë has written such a frank and empathetic novel about how we reconcile ourselves with grief and guilt – or how we fail to – and the way Rachel connected with it blew us both away. Seeing her ambition for this debut and the engagement from the whole team at Trapeze was such a pleasure and I couldn’t be happier that they will be guiding this book to publication."

Wet Paint will be published in hardback, trade paperback, e-book and audio in spring 2022.