Okay, so it’s the job of agents and publicists to talk up their clients, but Marianne Gunn O’Connor, the agent of newly-six-figure-book-deal-signed Irish Times journalist Shane Hegarty, is going above and beyond the call of duty this week.
Hegarty has put pen to paper on a four-book deal with HarperCollins’ UK and US houses for his Darkmouth series of adventure books for young adults.
The first draft was completed just weeks ago, according to the Irish Times report, but both his agent and HarperCollins representatives are effusive in their praise.
Responding to suggestions that the new books are comparable to Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant and Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, two hugely successful fantasy series for young adults, Ms Gunn O’Connor said, “I would compare it to Harry Potter too. Authors like Shane are very, very rare. You see a talent like this once every five or 10 years.”
Nick Lake of HarperCollins UK added, “Shane is the real thing. His warm, witty, wonderful voice caused a frenzy of excitement for everyone in the offices last week and I’m thrilled that we’ll be publishing this hilarious and distinctive new writer.”
Said Ann-Janine Murtagh, also of HarperCollins UK, “This was quite simply a must-have book for us. We pride ourselves on being the house of homegrown British and Irish talent here at HarperCollins and creating classic children’s global brands of the future.”
And Phoebe Yeh, Editorial Director of of HarperCollins US: “Shane Hegarty is a smashing new talent. From the moment I started reading Darkmouth, I was captivated by his superb storytelling and his irrepressible Legend Hunters. We pride ourselves on being the house of homegrown British and Irish talent here at HarperCollins and creating classic children’s global brands of the future.”
There were plenty of interested bidders apparently, with HarperCollins holding off stiff competition in an auction that took place at this year’s Bologna Book Fair.
All in all, then, a huge well done to Shane Hegarty. Having read his Irish Times contributions for several years, and corresponded with him on Twitter, I can wholeheartedly declare that he is both a fine writer and a thorough gent.
From the press release blurb:
Around the world, there are various towns where the border between our dimension and the dimension of the monsters – properly called Legends – is weak. Legend Hunters keep the population safe. But for a while now, the Legends have stopped crossing over. Apart from in one place: Darkmouth, in Ireland where Legend Hunters are very much in demand. Our hero Finn is the son of the last remaining Legend Hunter. In a society where Legend Hunting skills are passed down through generations, Finn will carry on that tradition. The only problem? He’s really not very good at it. And in a fabulous bit of timing, it turns out there’s an extraordinary and disturbing reason that it’s all gone a bit quiet everywhere else.
The first instalment of Darkmouth is expected to hit book-shelves in early 2014.