Simon & Schuster UK has acquired two novels by author and journalist Emma Bamford, including her "stunning" debut novel Deep Water.
Suzanne Baboneau, m.d. of the adult publishing division, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights at auction from Camilla Bolton at Darley Anderson Associates. Alison Callahan, vice-president and executive editor of Scout Press, pre-empted in the US. Deep Water will be published in all formats in the UK on 7th July, 2022.
The debut thriller is inspired by her experiences living on yachts after she quit her job at the Independent, answered an online ‘crew wanted’ ad, and bought a one-way ticket to Borneo to live on a boat with a man she had never met.
When a naval vessel finds a yacht in distress in the Indian Ocean, its captain orders his ship to stop and help. On board is a British couple: a badly injured man, Jake, and his traumatised wife, Virginie. Virginie claims they have sailed from Amarante, a picture-perfect tropical island two thousand miles from anywhere, known only to an intrepid few. Then comes Virginie’s confession: "It’s all my fault. I killed them."
Baboneau said of the novel: "Imagine – particularly in these times – being able to leave your cares behind and set sail across the ocean to wherever the mood takes you. To head for a palm-fringed island, deserted but for a handful of other escapees, each with their own reasons for being there. Imagine, though, when things turn sour and there is nowhere to hide… I really love the way Emma so cleverly depicts the undercurrent of distrust and fear that haunts this idyllic setting. Deep Water is a stunning debut."
As a journalist, Bamford has worked for national newspapers and magazines including the Independent, the Daily Express, the Mirror, Sailing Today and Boat International. She has written two works of non-fiction, Casting Off and Untie the Lines, published by Bloomsbury.
She said: "I’ve been lucky enough to have sailed to the most beautiful islands in the world and from these amazing experiences emerged Amarante – a mythical lost Indian Ocean island and the setting to my debut thriller Deep Water. This story is about the lure of paradise and escape, but it’s also about the dark side of perfection. I’m incredibly honoured to be working with such remarkable people in Suzanne and the team at Simon & Schuster UK and Alison and the team at Scout Press US."
Bolton added: "To find an author like Emma is to strike a mountain of gold. From the moment I started reading this remarkable thriller I could not move. It’s as if Daphne du Maurier has written The Beach. Readers will be blown away and talk about Virginie and the dark paradise island of Amarante for a long time to come. We’re so thrilled to be working with Simon & Schuster in the UK and the US. It’s a dream team that will ensure that Deep Water is the fiction debut of 2022."