A hard-up young mum whose first book was rejected by every major publisher and branded ‘unpublishable’ has just pocketed a £250,000 advance for her latest novel.
Marina Fiorato took a leaf out of JK Rowling’s book by penning her debut in coffee shops with her baby on her lap.
She chose cafes in book stores because she needed to research her Venice-based historical tale The Glassblower of Murano but couldn’t afford to travel there.
The book was rejected by every major UK publisher before finally being bought up by a small independent company.
Now her story has taken a dramatic twist after she won a £125,000 advance for her current novel The Botticelli Secret and its follow-up in the US and an identical deal for Germany.
The book, a code-breaking tale set in Renaissance Italy, has been hailed as ‘better than The Da Vinci Code’ by some US reviewers and looks set to be her biggest hit yet.
And this week mother-of-two Marina, 37, signed a deal to adapt her debut novel for a blockbuster Hollywood movie.
Marina said: ‘My head is spinning by what’s happened over the last year. It’s quite incredible.
‘To be knocked back so many times and now to have this success is fantastic, and I hope it inspires other would-be authors to keep going.
‘I went through some difficult times and lots of people told me to forget writing the book, that it was a dream, but I was determined to finish it.’
Marina spent months writing her first novel in London coffee shops, to escape her cramped one-bed flat, choosing ones in bookshops so she could check historical details in books.
It has now become a global best-seller in 21 languages and this week she revealed she has been commissioned by a US producer to write a movie screenplay.
Her follow-up novel The Madonna of the Almonds went on to emulate the success of her debut and her latest, The Botticelli Secret, looks set to be her biggest hit yet.
She said: The reaction I got from the major publishers was very disheartening. I was told it was derivative and even unpublishable, but I kept on sending it off to people.
‘Every major publishing house turned it down flat. We had dozens of rejections. Finally Beautiful Books saw promise in it and took a chance on me.
It’s been a whirlwind since then, and now America seems to have really taken to my books. The new US publishing deal is proof of that.’
Beautiful Books MD Simon Petherick, who publishes Marina in the UK, said: Marina deserves all her success and we’re sure she’s going to be a big hit in the States.