Trapeze has signed two more books from David M Barnett, including a "funny, heartfelt and ultimately uplifting" novel set in the 1990s.
The deal follows the publication of Barnett's first novel for the imprint, Calling Major Tom, which has now sold in 10 territories around the world and been optioned for film by Vision3, and The Lonely Hearts Cinema Club, which was released in April 2018.
Sam Eades, editorial director at Orion, acquired world rights all languages for two novels in a deal struck by the John Jarrold Literary Agency.
The first book under contract, publishing in autumn 2019, is Who Do You Think You Are? about "the loneliness of life and the power of a little kindness".
It follows elderly churchwarden Arthur Calderbank as he tries to solve the mystery of who leaves flowers on his wife’s grave every year. Set against the backdrop of the 1990s with Britpop, the Spice Girls and Cool Britannia, he receives unlikely help from a group of teenage misfits who are each desperate to defy their teachers’ low expectations and leave their small town.
Eades said Barnett's writing was reminiscent of the late Sue Townsend as "funny, wise and with affection and kindness for his characters and their lives".
She added: "David has been a member of Team Trapeze since launch and occupies a very special place on the list. He a large and passionate fanbase inhouse, who are committed to growing his readership both here and around the world."
Barnett is an author and journalist based in West Yorkshire, who wrote for regional newspapers before embarking on a freelance career. He is also the author of the Gideon Smith series of Victorian fantasies, published by Tor Books, and the writer of the Punks Not Dead comic series from Black Crown/IDW.