Transworld has scooped a "joyful and emotional" debut novel by author and blogger Sarah Turner, also known as The Unmumsy Mum in a six-figure, two-book deal.
Publishing director Frankie Gray bought English-language UK and Commonwealth rights to Stepping Up from Hannah Ferguson at Hardman & Swainson. It will be published by Bantam Press in hardback, e-book and audio in March 2022.
The novel follows Beth who, at the age of 31, has quit more jobs and relationships than she can remember, and who still sleeps in her childhood bedroom. The blurb explains: "Beth has never stuck at anything, until an unspeakable tragedy turns her life upside down, and she finds herself guardian to her teenage niece and toddler nephew. Having never been responsible for anyone, or anything, it's not long before she feels seriously out of her depth. But with a little help from her best friend Jory (purely platonic, of course...) and her lovely, lonely next-door neighbour Albert, Beth is determined that this time she's not giving up. It's time to step up."
Transworld described the book as "a joyful and emotional story about digging deep for strength you never knew you had and finding magic in things that were there all along".
Stepping Up is Turner’s fourth book. She is the author of three non-fiction books also published by Transworld: The Unmumsy Mum, The Unmumsy Mum Diary and The Unmumsy Mum A-Z.
Gray said: "Stepping Up is a beautiful novel: joyful, moving and ultimately hopeful. It is a relatable, life-affirming and funny exploration of family life, grief and unexpected responsibility. Sarah brings to her debut novel all of the humour, warts-and-all approach and warmth that have made her Unmumsy Mum books so successful. I love this book and I can’t wait for readers everywhere to fall in love with Beth and her family, just as I have."
Turner added: "This is honestly a dream come true. My heart and soul (and many tears!) have gone into the writing of Stepping Up and I am absolutely thrilled to be working once again with Transworld, who have looked after me so well for both my non-fiction and the new fiction adventure."