Every now again I receive press releases from publishers about their new big signing. I don't always choose to share these with you, but this one I thought was worth a mention. On the face of it some of you may just go "Chris Columbus, isn't he the guy who directed a couple of Harry Potter movies? Is this a case of another celeb cashing in on his fame by jumping on the chidlren's book badwagon?" And in reply I will have to remind you of a couple of thing. Long before Harry Potter was even a seed of an idea in J K Rowling's brain, Chris Columbus wrote Gremlins. Yes, the totally brilliant 80s comedy horror film. And then he went on to write the screenplay of one of my all time favourite films - The Goonies - based on the story written by Steven Spielberg. Chris Columbus knows a good story when he sees one and so this leaves me with a lot of hope that his book will be just as good as his films.
New York, NY/ London (January 5, 2012)—HarperCollins Publishers announced today that it has preempted rights to a three-book middle-grade series, House of Secrets by iconic Hollywood director and producer Chris Columbus, co-authored by acclaimed young adult novelist Ned Vizzini. This is Columbus’s debut series for young readers with the first book slated for global publication in Spring 2013.
The three-book North American deal was negotiated by Alessandra Balzer, Co-Publisher of the Balzer + Bray imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books, with Dorian Karchmar at William Morris Endeavor. UK & Commonwealth rights were acquired by Rachel Denwood, Publishing Director from Cathryn Summerhayes at William Morris Endeavour. Rights have been sold in twelve foreign territories so far.
“Master storytellers Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini have created a high-stakes fantasy,” said Balzer. “From the very first page I knew we had to publish this series. It’s an incredibly imaginative adventure with clever plot twists and nonstop action—not to mention a family that readers will immediately fall in love with. House of Secrets has all the hallmarks of a new classic."
Denwood added, “Combining classic adventure with sublime offbeat humor, and with three brilliant siblings at its heart, this has the potential to be the next big series. It's going to be epic.”
“The opportunity to write this novel is a dream come true," said Columbus. "I have lived with the characters of this novel and their world for many years, and was saving them for something very special. Working on House of Secrets with Ned has been a thrill.”
The Pagett kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . But everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by a troubled fantasy writer with a penchant for the occult. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff's dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Pagett family's secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.