Transworld has bought two novels from Welsh actress and writer Ruth Jones, in a "major" deal following a 10-way publisher auction.
Transworld publisher Bill Scott-Kerr and senior commissioning editor Frankie Gray bought UK & Commonwealth rights including audio from Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown.
The first novel, Never Greener, is scheduled for publication in spring 2018 and is described as "a witty and wise story of life's second chances and the dangers of taking them."
Jones' writing credits include co-writing TV hit "Gavin and Stacey", in which she also co-starred as "Nessa" alongside James Corden. She has also acted in BBC dramas "Tess of the D'Urbervilles", "Little Dorrit" and "Hattie", playing Hattie Jacques.
Scott-Kerr said: "I've been a long-time and ardent admirer of Ruth's writing. When Jonny submitted Never Greener, Ruth's talent which had been so evident on the small screen was writ large on the page - her humanity, her humour and her wisdom. I cannot wait to bring this novel to a wider reading public. They are in for a treat." Gray added that Jones' "storytelling genius is realised in this impressive fiction debut, saying: "It's impossible not to fall for the diverse cast of characters, with all of their imperfections and everyday dilemmas, and to invest wholeheartedly in an idea as universal as it is affecting."
Of the widespread interest the book attracted at auction, Geller said: "Ruth's story resonated with so many publishers, not just because it reminded everyone of her brilliant flair for character and getting to the heart of an emotional story, but because she writes prose like a dream."
Jones described the new development as "all hugely exciting," saying: "I love creating characters in scripts but now I get to go inside their heads! As I step into this new world of novel writing, I'm thrilled to be working with the team at Transworld and very grateful to Jonny Geller for his invaluable guidance. Let's just hope I don't mess it up!"