The New York Times has reported that six years after the publication of her blockbuster best-selling novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger has sold a new manuscript for close to $5 million, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations.
After a fiercely contested auction, Scribner, a unit of Simon & Schuster, bought the rights to publish the new novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, in the United States this fall. The book is a supernatural story about twins who inherit an apartment near a London cemetery and become embroiled in the lives of the building’s other residents and the ghost of their aunt, who left them the flat.
Her Fearful Symmetry is set to go on sale at the end of September, and will coincide with the British publication by Jonathan Cape this fall. The film adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife directed by Robert Schwentke and starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, is scheduled for a February release.
The track record of The Time Traveler’s Wife inevitably figured into publishers’ calculations as they bid on Her Fearful Symmetry last week. But Nan Graham, vice president and editor in chief of Scribner, said, “She really has defied custom and written a spectacular second novel, which is one of the hardest things to do in this universe. She’s not selling it essentially on the success of her first book.”
Mr. Regal said that Ms. Niffenegger felt loyal to MacAdam/Cage — which paid only $100,000 for The Time Traveler’s Wife — and would have liked to have stayed with the publisher that originally turned her into a literary star. But that publisher has lately been struggling financially and, in the end, Mr. Regal said, “It was just too big a gulf.” Mr. Regal declined to say how much Ms. Niffenegger had received as an advance for the new novel.