Local author Jessica Shirvington, the wife of champion athlete and Foxtel presenter Matt Shirvington, is poised to conquer Hollywood.
Shirvington's supernatural young-adult novel series Embrace is to be adapted into a TV series by the famed producer Steven Spielberg. The project, commissioned by the US network The CW, is already being hailed as a potential successor to the billion-dollar Twilight franchise.
The deal for Embrace, if the planned TV series become a blockbuster hit, represents a multi-million dollar windfall for the young Australian writer.
Shirvington, 33, was elated when she spoke to Fairfax today. "I'm stoked," she said. "The most exciting part is to be able to talk about it because it's something I've had to keep under my hat and I'm not good at that at all."
Shirvington's first novel in the series was published in October 2010. Embrace has been followed by three more novels, Entice, Emblaze and Endless.
They tell the story of a young heroine, Violet Eden, who learns through the course of the story that she is half-angel and key to a centuries-old war between angels and fallen angels.
Hollywood interest in the book series was piqued after the Los Angeles Times published a positive review in March in which journalist Susan Carpenter described it as "a worthy follow-up to the Twilight Saga."
The comparison to Twilight, a best-selling series of novels which have been adapted into a film franchise with a total cumulative box office of around $US2.5 billion, amuses Shirvington.
"Obviously they're both in that young adult, paranormal, fantasy world and the Twilight universe has such an incredible following, so if there are any parallels drawn to my book that could appeal to that following, that's awesome," she says.
Her husband, who has just returned from presenting Foxtel's multi-channel coverage of the London Olympic Games, praised Jessica for winning the deal through sheer hard work.
"I'm extremely proud of her and the work she's done," he told the Herald. "I know how hard she's worked for this.
"I cannot believe how successful she's been so quickly, and I've really enjoyed the process of watching her learn and understand the literary industry," he said.
Jessica is in the US on a promotional tour for the second of four Embrace books, which is launching there this month.
The books have been published in Australia, Britain, the US and Germany.
"It's been a fairytale run, really," she said. "Fingers crossed in the biggest possible way that it keeps going."
The US television adaptation will be produced by Spielberg's company Amblin Television, in partnership with CBS Television Studios. It will be executive-produced by Bill Laurin and Glenn Davis.
The Ten Network has an output deal with CBS Television Studios, which suggests it is most likely to secure Australian rights to a series.
Shirvington, who made her literary debut with the Embrace series, says she never imagined she would be taking meetings and making deals in Hollywood.
"I think you go, wow, wouldn't it be amazing if this one day became a television series, or a movie, or something, but you don't actually really see yourself taking these serious steps towards it," she said.
"It's been mind-blowing. I never even thought I would get published."
The story Twilight take two: Spielberg embraces Australian author first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.