Sceptre spends six figures on debut author

Sceptre has signed a six-figure deal for two novels by debut author Jess Richards, including Snake Ropes, set on an island "off the edge of the map".

Deputy publisher Jocasta Hamilton made the deal for UK and Commonwealth rights with Lucy Luck at Lucy Luck Associates. The first novel is told in two voices; Mary, whose brother Barney is among the boys who have been disappearing from the island, and Morgan, who can remember a life on the mainland, but whose parents keep her locked up on the island.

Hamilton likened Richards' writing to Angela Carter and early Margaret Atwood, and said it was strong on themes of memory and trauma, with a female sensibility.

Sceptre will publish in hardback in March 2012.