October 24, 2013 7:20am PT by Borys Kit
Manager Turns YA Author, Gets Publishing Deal (Exclusive)
Pouya Shahbazian is the literary manager behind New Leaf Literary and Media and a producer on the upcoming YA adaptation Divergent.
But what he really wanted to be is a writer. Well, sort of.
Shahbazian has just become the co-author of a YA series to be published by Penguin Random House imprint G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. Shahbazian, along with co-author Sarah Fine, signed a six-figure two-book deal with the publisher for Scan, which is set for a May 2014 release, to be followed in 2015 by Burn.
The book, described as a cross between MacGyver and War of the Worlds with shades of I Am Number Four, is a grounded, high-action YA thriller about a 16-year-old boy who has been preparing his whole life for "something important," only to discover it means he's one of the last humans left on Earth. He takes his father’s wand scanner to school, causing him to fall under the scrutiny of several government agencies as he slowly realizes he holds in his hands a key to an interplanetary conflict.
Shahbazian didn't necessarily harbor any literary aspirations, but he cannily realized that in today’s media world, creating intellectual property -- and controlling that IP is-- of utmost importance.
He focuses on book-to-film adaptations and has set up numerous projects around town, among them New York Times best-seller Shadow & Bone at DreamWorks with Heyday Films producing, and Runner, which is set up at Warner Bros with Justin Lin attached to direct.
Working surrounded by authors, writing a book was a natural outgrowth for Shahbazian. He was paired with Fine, a clinical psychologist and the author of the dark urban fantasy YA series Guards of the Shadowland and Fractured, the sequel that will be released Oct. 29.
He sold Scan under the pen name Walter Jury because, in his own words, "I wanted to take a stab at it without anyone knowing it was me." He also wanted to have a more marketable name, as did Small, who will be writing under S.E. Fine. (The belief is that boys don’t like to read about male protagonists in books by female authors.)
"I’m going to be focused on my day job," Shahbazian says. "I love my day job, but I do like the idea of creating something that can be translatable to film and television."