Just received a press release from HarperCollins revealing the news the following:
HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS SIGNS DIRECTOR CHRIS COLUMBUS FOR NEW BOOK SERIES
DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER TO PEN MIDDLE-GRADE SERIES WITH BESTSELLING TEEN AUTHOR NED VIZZINI
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.
For over twenty-five years, Chris Columbus has written, directed and produced some of the most successful box-office hits, which have established him as a major force in contemporary Hollywood filmmaking. Columbus directed and produced the first two films in the blockbuster Harry Potter series and produced the third. More recently, Columbus has directed features such as the hit film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, based on the bestselling children’s book series, and will begin producing the sequel Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Sea of Monsters later this year. As a director, Columbus has been at the helm of such films as Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Mrs. Doubtfire, Nine Months, Only the Lonely, and Stepmom. As a producer, Columbus was also behind the highly successful family/adventure/comedy film, Night at the Museum and its sequel Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. And as a writer, he launched his career with the legendary films Gremlins and Goonies. This past summer, Columbus released his latest film, The Help, starring Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Jessica Chastain and Viola Davis though his 1492 Pictures banner.
Ned Vizzini is the author of It’s Kind of a Funny Story (also a major motion picture), Be More Chill, Teen Angst? Naaaah..., and the forthcoming The Other Normals. Ned has spoken at over 200 universities, schools, and libraries around the world about writing and mental health. He has written for The New York Times, The Daily Beast, and season 2 of MTV's Teen Wolf. His work has been translated into seven languages. You can visit Ned online at www.nedvizzini.com.