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Penguin Random House imprint Dutton has acquired Kismet, a novel from debut author Becky Chalsen, in a preemptive deal.
Per the official deal report, Kismet is set in the beach community of Kismet, Fire Island on the occasion of the July 4 holiday weekend, which happens to be the 30th birthday of twins Amy and Jo Sharp and Jo’s whirlwind beachside wedding. The wedding celebrations quickly grow complicated when Amy, “now married to her childhood sweetheart, recognizes the familiar face of the deliciously charming best man.”
Dutton’s Cassidy Sachs brokered the deal for the publishing house while Chalsen was repped by a familiar face in her own life — WME book agent Sabrina Taitz. The two met as interns at WME in 2014, before being promoted to co-assistants, working under former books chief Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. Chalsen, who had long held the dream of becoming a writer, exited WME for a creative exec position at John Krasinski’s production company Sunday Night, where she still works. When she had Kismet ready to roll, she and Taitz partnered for the sale.
“There is no better story than having my debut novel sold by the first friend I met in my WME internship, the first familiar face I saw that following summer in the agency’s Beverly Hills mailroom, and the first person I worked with every day while we co-assisted Jennifer Rudolph Walsh: Sabrina Taitz,” Chalsen said in a statement. “When the idea for Kismet struck, it was Sabrina who told me to keep writing, who seamlessly transitioned from friend to agent as she guided me every step of the way. In an industry built on good stories, there’s no better feeling than celebrating career milestones with friends made in the very first chapter. Returning to the WME book department feels like my very own kismet.”
Chalsen’s inspiration for Kismet is found on her personal website that lists some biographical facts including that she is married to her high school sweetheart, has an identical twin, and has one older brother and three quadruplet sisters. Named after Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Chalsen has also “long found sanctuary in stories.”
According to her website, Kismet is slated for a 2023 release from Dutton.
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