Transworld has acquired a debut novel and two others by former journalist Fiona Barton in a “hotly contested” auction.
Frankie Gray, senior commissioning editor at Transworld, won British Commonwealth rights including Canada to The Widow from Madeleine Milburn at the Madeleine Milburn Agency.
The Widow tells the story of Jean Taylor, whose husband was accused of abducting a two-year-old girl. Now he is dead, Jean is preparing to tell the story that’s been haunting her through an exclusive with a national newspaper.
Barton, who has worked for the Daily Mail and the Telegraph and is now an International Media Trainer, said: “As a journalist, I spent a lot of time in court. In the big cases – notorious and terrible crimes that led the news – I would find myself watching the wives of those standing in the dock and wondering what they really knew, or allowed themselves to know. I wanted to understand how you cope with the idea that your husband – the man you chose – may be a monster. The Widow grew out of that fascination and has given me the chance to write my first novel. I can't thank Jean Taylor – and the women who inspired her – enough.”
Gray added that The Widow “transfixed” the whole team at Transworld.
“Fiona perfectly captures the intensity and terrifying uncertainty of our closest relationships, and shows us how shaky the ground on which we build our lives really is,” Gray said. “It’s convincing, affecting, unforgettable crime fiction at its very best.”
The hardback will be published in February 2016, with the paperback to follow in August, and a strategic six-monthly publishing programme thereafter for the following two titles.
Rights have now sold in major auctions in the US, to Penguin Random House, Germany to Rowholt, Denmark to Hr Ferdinand, Holland to The House of Books, Italy to Einaudi, Norway to Cappelen Damm, France to Fleuve Editions, Portugal to Grupo Planeta, Brazil to Intrinseca, Poland to Czarna Owca and Spain to Grupo Planeta. Auctions are ongoing in the Czech Republic, Israel and Sweden. Audio rights were also sold at auction to Audible.