Witchcraft afoot as débutant Lowe seals six-figure deal

Witchcraft afoot as débutant Lowe seals six-figure deal

Harperfiction has pre-empted an “arresting” début entitled The Furies, and a second title, in a six-figure deal within 18 hours of submission.

Publishing director Natasha Bardon bought UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to Katie Lowe’s novel from Juliet Mushens at CaskieMushens.

Billed as The Secret History meets fantasy thriller “The Craft”, Lowe’s novel was the subject of a second six-figure deal when Jen Weis at St Martin’s Press bought North American rights at auction from Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency, on behalf of Mushens.

Lowe is an academic and the founder of the Fat Girl PhD blog, through which she writes about health, feminism and body image. Her novel was also pre-empted in Holland (Bruna), Italy (Mondadori) and Finland (Gummerus), with offers in Spain and Poland.

The Furies follows Violet, a girl who joins a private school located on the site of 17th-century witch trials. She is drawn into a group of girls who have a fascination with witchcraft, but when a former pupil is found dead, Violet begins to doubt everyone around her as well as her own grasp on reality.

Bardon described the book as “an absolute triumph”, adding: “The writing is beautiful and the characters feel authentic and assured. I’ve been looking for a book in this area for a while, but never did I expect to be so utterly engrossed. There’s a rich and dark history of witchcraft in [the UK] that is often forgotten in favour of Salem and the US - The Furies is the book to change that.”

Mushens said of the novel: “Teenage girls, obsessive friendship, murder and witchcraft. What more could anyone want?”

Lowe described her first book deal as a “surreal experience, and one I never would’ve dared imagine while at home writing at weekends and in spare moments here and there. To have received such an amazing response - and so quickly - truly has been beyond my wildest dreams.”