I spoke to Philippa, my agent, yesterday. It was the Bolgna Children's Book Fair last week and she was catching up. She had the rather exciting news that a film production company had expressed an interest in Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror.
The movies! Hollywood! The big time.
Well, not quite. Expressing an interest is free and is therefore quite popular. I once had an excited phone call from my previous agents telling me that Sam Rami was interested in my book - Death and the Arrow was the one I had out at that time. Within seconds of the phone call I was picturing myself living some strangely 1960s version of the high life, driving along the Italian Riviera in an open topped white Mercedes sports car.
Then I got another phone call. There had been a mistake. Sam Rami wasn't interested in my book at all. He was interested in Christopher Priest's book. He was with the same agent and some frantic fingering on the Rolodex had resulted in a call to me and not him. Damn you Christopher Priest and your freakishly similar name!
So expressions of interest need to be taken with a pinch of salt. They may - if you are lucky - result in an option being taken out on a book. This means that the interested production company pays the writer an amount to secure the book for a fixed period, during which they may or may not do something with it.
What was most interesting about this nibble from the film world was that it came from a production company with an interesting track record and with an inquiry as to whether I might be interested in scripting the movie myself.
The answer to which is - yes, I most definitely am.