The inside scoop on the book world

AT HIS PECK AND CALL Is Rob Weisbach—who built his Morrow imprint around flashy celebrity titles like Paul Reiser’s Babyhood—getting bookish on us? First he snagged A.M. Homes from Scribner. Now he’s acquired a novel and an essay collection from acclaimed literary novelist Dale Peck. Weisbach paid about $250,000 to land Peck, who has long been published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. But Peck says the break was not about money. “The relationship between my editor and I at FSG had deteriorated to the point of unworkability,” he says, adding that he chose Weisbach over other houses because of a reported $100,000 advertising budget for his next novel, The Garden of Lost and Found. “There are two sides to every divorce,” says Peck’s FSG editor, John Glusman. “There comes a time when certain authors should move on.”

KING FOR A DAY Oprah Winfrey, literary agent? Well, not quite. But the book-loving talk-show host did recently plug a writer’s unpublished manuscript. After reading and liking Kathryn Glasgow Stern’s first novel, Another Song for the King, Oprah decided to lend her name to the agent’s cover letter. The submission that recently went out to publishers stated that Oprah was “committed to the book’s success.” Random House promptly snapped it up for a rumored $250,000.

SECRET OF THEIR SUCCESS First Carol Higgins Clark started her mystery-writing career with the help of her mother’s name. Now Mary Jane Clark, a former daughter-in-law of Mary Higgins Clark, is getting a piece of the action, with her ex-mother-in-law’s blessing. But isn’t it a shameless use of the family name? “Let’s just say it doesn’t hurt,” says John Murphy, publicity director at St. Martin’s, which will publish Mary Jane Clark’s mystery novel, Do You Want to Know a Secret?, this fall.