Director Chris Columbus, who has helmed such Hollywood blockbusters as “Home Alone” and the first two “Harry Potter” films has tackled publishing. In a blog post with The Huffington Post, Columbus says his debut novel, co-written with Ned Vizzini, was something that he’s tinkered with for over a decade:
The story of this novel starts about ten years ago. House of Secrets began as an original screenplay I was writing, entitled ‘Stones Of Time.’ I completed about 90 pages of the script, and realized that if I continued writing, this film would cost over $500 million dollars. I put the pages in a drawer, and moved on to something else: a series of films called ‘Harry Potter.’
When I got back from England, emotionally and physically drained after four years of working on the first three movies, I went back to my office and started sketching out film ideas in my notebook. For several weeks, I wrote a lot of unusable material. One day I pulled out the ‘Stones Of Time’ script and thought… ‘Hmm, maybe there’s something here. Now that I’ve had a few years of visual effects experience, maybe I can figure out a way to edit this into a film that we can actually afford to make.’
But I found that in editing the script, I removed the imaginative heart of the work. I always believed that cinema was the greatest art form of the twentieth century, a visual canvas that was limitless. But now I found myself in a peculiar situation: I had a piece of work that was just too big for the movies.
I put the script back in a drawer, and spent the next few years working on several films. But I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Finally, it occurred to me. Maybe ‘Stones Of Time’ could work as a novel. Although I had spent most of my life writing screenplays, a novel would be a new venture. I would need to co-write the book with a novelist, someone who could help me translate my ideas into a literary format.
To co-write the novel, Columbus chose Ned Vizzini, a young adult writer who has published The Other Normals, It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Be More Chill. The pair went back and forth with edits, until, as Columbus says, “before we knew it, we had written 100 pages of the book. That weekend our agent sent the first 100 pages to publishers. It was preempted within 24 hours and in a few days, rights were sold in 15 territories worldwide.”
House of Secrets is scheduled to launch on April 23. For more information, check out the novel’s Amazon page here.
Brendan, Eleanor, and Cordelia Walker once had everything: two loving parents, a beautiful house in San Francisco, and all the portable electronic devices they could want. But everything changed when Dr. Walker lost his job in the wake of a mysterious incident. Now in dire straits, the family must relocate to an old Victorian house that used to be the home of occult novelist Denver Kristoff—a house that feels simultaneously creepy and too good to be true.
By the time the Walkers realize that one of their neighbors has sinister plans for them, they’re banished to a primeval forest way off the grid. Their parents? Gone. Their friends? A world away. And they aren’t alone. Bloodthirsty medieval warriors patrol the woods around them, supernatural pirates roam the neighboring seas, and a power-hungry queen rules the land. To survive, the siblings will have to be braver than they ever thought possible—and fight against their darkest impulses. The key may lie in their own connection to the secret Kristoff legacy. But as they unravel that legacy, they’ll discover it’s not just their family that’s in danger . . . it’s the entire world.