Debbie Johnson joins Orion in a four-book deal

Rights - Fiction Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Comfort Food Café series author leaves HarperCollins

Debbie Johnson, author of the bestselling Comfort Food Café series, has moved from HarperCollins to Orion in a 'major' four-book deal. The deal was struck by Clare Hey, publishing director at Orion Fiction with Madeleine Milburn and Hayley Steed at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency.

Hey said: "I have always loved Debbie’s writing – she has that magic ability to make me truly laugh and truly cry, both at the turn of her pen. So I am delighted to welcome her to the Orion list, where the team here is excited to work with her brand of heartbreak and humour to reach an even wider readership."

Johnson said: "I am extremely proud of all that I have achieved with HarperCollins, but am now looking forward to starting this very exciting next stage of my writing journey. Clare Hey and the team at Orion have impressed me so much with their vision for the future, and I can’t wait to get started."

Madeleine Milburn said: "Debbie is such a strong storyteller with huge popular appeal and an army of fans. I’m very excited about the next stage of her author journey with Orion."

This deal follows the move of Cathy Bramley from Transworld; the women’s fiction list at Orion Fiction also boasts bestsellers Erica James, Cathy Kelly and Veronica Henry.

Johnson’s Comfort Food Café series has sold over 60,000 in paperback and her total e-book sales are over 700,000. She will conclude the series with A Gift at the Comfort Food Café and A Wedding at the Comfort Food Café, to be published by HarperCollins, before moving to Orion with a new paperback, audio and ebook in 2020.

The move to Orion marks a new stage in Johnson’s career, developing from an ebook bestseller to a brand author across print and digital. Orion will publish two books a year, one in spring and one in autumn.

The first book, as yet untitled, will, according to the acquisition statement: 'tell the story of Jess, whose childhood sweetheart disappeared from her life shortly after the birth of their first child. Now, over a decade later, Jess discovers a box of letters and postcards, and realises that he hadn’t disappeared at all. And so starts a journey to discover who she really is, and where the love of her life has gone.'

Johnson's best-selling books include The Birthday That Changed Everything, Summer at the Comfort Food Café, Christmas at the Comfort Food Café, Cold Feet at Christmas, and Pippa's Cornish Dream. She is the winner of the RNA Best Contemporary Romance Award, the Love Stories Award for Best Short Novel, and the Harry Bowling Prize for New Writing.

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