Pan Macmillan has bought a “totally compelling” memoir from Victoria Cilliers, the skydiver who survived a 3,000ft fall after her husband tampered with her parachute.
Cilliers was left with life-threatening injuries after plunging to the ground but managed to survive the fall. Her husband, British army sergeant Emile Cilliers, was later convicted of attempting to murder his wife by sabotaging the parachute beforehand in a bid to claim insurance money.
Ingrid Connell, editorial director, has now acquired world rights to Cilliers’ autobiography Falling from agent Clare Hulton. It will be published in paperback in April 2020 and TV rights have already been optioned by Eleven Film.
The synopsis explains: “In Falling, Victoria describes her marriage to Emile, and how the charming man she thought she knew gradually revealed a darker side, chipping away at her self-worth and controlling her until she found it impossible to sift fact from fiction. Can she really believe that her husband – the father of their two young children – tried to kill her? More shocking revelations come to light, including an earlier murder attempt. Under huge pressure during Emile’s trial, Victoria struggles to come to terms with the past. Even a guilty verdict does not free her because Emile is not ready to let her go.”
Cilliers said: “For so long, other people have published their versions of events but this is my story and only I know what it was really like behind closed doors. That fateful day at the airfield, Emile had decided to silence me once and for all but I fought back, and now, I want my voice to be heard. I am not a victim, I am a survivor. Thousands of women across Britain suffer under coercive and manipulative behaviour every day – I want to stand as living proof that justice can be won and there is life after abuse, there is hope for the future.”
Connell added: “Victoria is a brave woman who has survived the unimaginable. This book is honest, totally compelling and ultimately inspiring.”