Book heads to Big Apple

01:43, Jan 31 2009
Marie Manderson

Palmerston North author Marie Manderson's first book is due out this weekend, but already a New York agency is seeking to represent her in the United States.

Keeper of Secrets, a junior fantasy novel that opens in Manawatu but spans the world, is set for national release tomorrow. However, at least one Palmerston North bookstore has been busily selling it since last week.

The New York connection came about when a Manawatu Standard article was spotted by the agency which asked for help in contacting Mrs Manderson.

"They told me the article triggered an internet watch they were keeping on another book they represented," she said yesterday.

The Standard had contacted Reed Publishing about the contract it had signed with her and the project manager at the time, Jeremy Sherlock, uttered the crucial words.

"Anyone who has read Harry Potter and Eragon can read this book."

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Ping! went the alarm in New York. Within 24 hours an email was received by the Manawatu Standard. The magic word was "Eragon".

We contacted Mrs Manderson and asked her if she wanted to talk to them. She did and the dialogue began. Reed supplied New York with a copy of the manuscript.

The agency liked it, but wondered if she would be prepared to make a few changes. She agreed and now things are buzzing.

"When I signed my contract with Reed the only extra thing I asked for was the film rights - in case I bumped into Peter Jackson somewhere," she added, laughing.

"I never gave any thought to possible overseas sales."

The book came into being when she had reduced her hours at work to care for her injured husband and their 15-month-old son.

"One afternoon I was sitting on the couch - a very rare moment when my husband and son were asleep - gazing out the window, watching the horses in their paddocks and contemplating life. Then I started to hum a little tune. Slowly, I added the some words."

Suddenly, lurking behind the words she discovered the outline of a story that practically wrote itself.

"It has never happened to me before," she said. "It was like I was going a million miles an hour."

And now the book is thousands of kilometres away and still going.

"Peter Jackson, Peter Jackson . . ."

What's that noise? A distant ping?

Manawatu Standard