Raven Books has bought the first adult novel, billed as "The Crucible" meets “The Craft”, from YA author Julie Mayhew.
Alison Hennessey, editorial director of Raven Books, acquired two books from Mayhew in world all languages, in a deal direct from Louise Lamont at LBA. Impossible Causes will be published in October 2019 as a lead title for Raven Books, and is described by the Bloomsbury imprint as a “brilliantly dark thriller about isolated communities, rumours and suspicion”.
The book follows a remote and deeply religious island with a history of paganism is riven when a man is found dead. As rumours spread and tensions rise, three Lark teenage girls and the new arrival from the mainland find themselves accused of witchcraft – and murder.
Mayhew has written a number of YA novels including The Electrical Venus, acquired in 2016, and The Big Lie for Bonnier Zaffre imprint Hot Key – the latter was nominated for both the 2016 CILIP Carnegie Medal and Peters Book of the Year, and won the 2015 Sidewise Award for Alternate History. Her play, "Polygamy for Girls", featured alongside work by Margaret Atwood in BBC Radio 4’s "Riot Girls" season. She is an award-nominated radio dramatist and has written short stories and stage plays as well as writing for the screen following participation in the BAFTA Crew scheme. She was also formerly an actress.
Mayhew said: “I’m fascinated by small, closed communities and the girls that grow up in them. Working with Raven, under Alison’s passionate editorial eye, has allowed me to explore this subject at its darkest extremes, for a brand new adult audience. It will, I hope, speak to some very timely, real-world concerns about how young women are treated by society.”
Hennessey said: “Impossible Causes is a dream of a book for me and a highlight of our publishing next year – a tense, brilliantly claustrophobic thriller set on a remote island which is cut off not just from the mainland, but from much of modern life. In Julie’s sinister and compelling adult debut, Lark becomes a crucible for rumours and suspicion - and ultimately, murder.”