Ellen Sussman


It starts as a trip to paradise. Sent on assignment to Bali, Jamie, an American adventure guide, imagines spending weeks exploring the island’s lush jungles and pristine white sand beaches. Yet three days after her arrival, she is caught in Bali’s infamous nightclub bombings, which irreparably change her life and leave her with many unanswered questions.

One year later, haunted by memories, Jamie returns to Bali seeking a sense of closure. Most of all, she hopes to find Gabe, the man who saved her from the attacks. She hasn’t been able to forget his kindness—or the spark between them as he helped her heal. Checking into a cozy guest house for her stay, Jamie meets the kindly owner, who is coping with a painful past of his own, and a young boy who improbably becomes crucial to her search. Jamie has never shied away from a challenge, but a second chance with Gabe presents her with the biggest dilemma of all: whether she’s ready to open her heart.

Rights: Ballantine, World English; Casa da Palavra, Brazil; Blanvalet, Germany

FRENCH LESSONS: A Novel (2011)

A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world.

As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.

Rights: Ballantine, World English; Constable & Robinson, UK; Blanvalet, Germany; Thinkingdom, Taiwan; Clube do Autor, Portugal; Wydawnictwo Literackie, Poland; Casa da Palavra, Brazil (World Portuguese)

DIRTY WORDS: The Unabridged Encyclopedia of Sex (2008)

A list of eighty sexual terms, with a traditional definition of each along with a riff, story, or essay inspired by the term by the most exciting writers working today. Contributors include: Daphne Merkin, Erica Jong, Phillip Lopate, Martha McPhee, Stephen McCauley, Elissa Schappell.

Rights: Bloomsbury, North America

BAD GIRLS: 26 Writers Misbehave (2007)

Anthology of essays exploring the power of being bad. Contributors include Ann Hood, Mary Roach, Maggie Estep and Lolly Winston.

Rights: Norton, World English