For JK Rowling, read Shane Hegarty: children’s fantasy series could get €10m big screen deal

I wrote this blog first thing Sunday morning, and only getting back to edit/publish now, four and a half days later. Such is the way of things in the land of the one real job, the two young kids and the three hour daily commute.

Anyway, Shane Hegarty, the erstwhile Irish Times arts and culture journalist, is set for the big time if a report in last weekend’s Sunday Times is on the money.

And the report was certainly “on the money” in one way, with literary agent Marianne Gunn O’Connor quoted as saying the film rights for Hegarty’s much heralded Darkmouth series could run into “eight figures”.

The first instalment of Darkmouth was published last week. (Review by John Connolly, fellow Irish Times-ian turned big-time writer, in Hegarty’s alma mater here).

The hero of the book is Finn, and the book’s fantastic cover blurb is “He was born to save the world. Unfortunately”.

(Aside: I’m not sure whether the similarities with Irish mythology end at the name. Finn is a 12-year-old boy faced with saving his town from monsters salivating over the taste of human flesh. Finn McCool/Fionn Mac Cumhaill and Na Fianna got up to a lot of far-fetched and hair-raising stuff, but I’m pretty sure I would have heard this one before now.)

“Darkmouth is not Harry Potter,” Gunn O’Connor told the paper, but the level of interest surrounding the series would suggest that Hollywood believes it can plough a similar furrow. At this point, only the rights for the first film adaptation have been sold. Alcon Entertainment are the purchasers, with the film possibly going into production in 2016 and the finished product set to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Book 2 of Darkmouth is published by HarperCollins this summer, with 3 and 4 to follow over the next two years.

More info on Darkmouth from the HarperCollins website here.

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