Deal Announcements feature my most recent deal as an agent and the story behind it. Writers and readers should experience how an agent knows when they’ve struck gold and sign an author, the beginning of the journey to publication.
Lauren Knowles at Page Street acquired Lisa DeSelm’s YA fantasy, The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice, a gender-swapped retelling of Pinocchio meets Frankenstein. Pirouette is tasked to build an assassin for the tyrant of Tavia, but when she realizes his schemes dabble in dark magic, she aims to take control of the strings before the next blue moon. Publication is set for fall 2020; Laura Crockett at TriadaUS Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.
Once upon a time…
In the fall of 2017 I received a query about a rather twisted tale, brimming with dark, gothic vibes. In fact, what drew my attention most was Lisa’s twist on a Pinocchio retelling. Most fairytale twists I receive in my inbox take on princess tales––Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, to name the most common––so she stood out among the rest for tackling a unique tale, twisting it, and tossing in the Frankenstein vibes. Yes, please.
YA fantasies are popular, and the market is flooded with them. There’s some special spark necessary in order to win a prized spot on a publisher’s list. We were so close to selling this novel multiple times over the next…gosh, almost two years! But just like dating, you have to find the exact right editor in order to really make the project shine. We needed someone who devours twisted tales, who luxuriates in the gothic, who isn’t afraid to tap into moral and emotional dilemmas, who finds the humor and bright spots of the novel and sees that hope at the end for a better world. We needed someone who loves beautifully constructed sentences and thoughtful dialogue, who feels immersed in the world and understands it from the first page, who realizes that teens want adventure and depth to their choice books just like adults.
Lauren is it. One phone call with her, and Lisa and I knew Lauren would be the perfect one to usher Piro and her crew onto shelves.
And the rest…is history.
Congratulations, Lisa! You’re going to be a published author!