Plus, ''Law & Order'' spawns a literary spinoff, and more

By Matthew Flamm
Updated July 17, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Kim Cattrall Illustration by John Cuneo

COUPLES COUNSEL Samantha Jones — a.k.a. Kim Cattrall — won’t be writing a sex guide anytime soon, at least not for Simon & Schuster. Though the ”Sex and the City” star and her husband, Mark Levinson, had reached an agreement to do a book with S&S, they have ”amicably decided to put the project aside [over] a reasonable difference of opinion as to [its] content,” says publisher David Rosenthal. According to a publishing source, the difference occurred over the pair wanting ”to do an illustrated book primarily from a man’s perspective.” William Morris agent Jennifer Rudolph Walsh responds that they wanted to write ”a legitimate, straightforward couples book” and not a ”Samantha Says.” In any case, Rudolph Walsh’s phone has been ”ringing off the hook,” she says, with publishers interested in a deal.

AMBIDEXTEROUS National Book Award-winning novelist Pete Dexter has jumped from Random House — which has published every one of his five novels — to Doubleday, in a two-book deal worth $1.25 million. That’s about eight times what Random was offering in order to keep him, according to publishing sources. ”He ranks with Tennessee Williams and Flannery O’Connor, and it’s so rare that someone of his caliber becomes available,” says Doubleday executive editor Deb Futter, who plans to publish the first book, ”Train” — described as a Southern California noir — in fall 2002.

LONG ARM OF THE LAW The venerable TV series ”Law & amp; Order,” which has already branched out into two spin-offs, is expanding even further. ibooks Inc. has reached a deal with Studios USA and Dick Wolf Productions to turn out at least one original mass-market paperback novel per quarter, starting in November with ”Law & Order: Dead Drop.” ”I thought these were characters so embedded in the public’s consciousness that the books could work,” says ibooks publisher Byron Preiss, who will also be releasing an authorized hardcover companion to the show next year.