February 26, 2014 9:41am PT by Lacey Rose
Tony DiSanto, Liz Gateley Ink Three-Book Deal for 'High School Horror Story' Series
DiGa is set to reimagine classic literary monsters in a high school setting.
But rather than begin with television, where DiGa co-founders Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley have made their careers, DiGa is starting with books. The New York-based production company has inked a three-book deal with Macmillan Children's Feiwel and Friends imprint for a High School Horror Story collection written by veteran YA author Chandler Baker. The first book, tentatively titled Teen Frankenstein, is expected to be published in the fall of 2015.
“With the literary world driving more and more television ideas, we wanted to develop our own franchises that begin on pages of a novel before ever being imagined for television. It is taking what we did with Teen Wolf and backing up the truck, so to speak, allowing a book to be the point of inception rather than a screenplay,” said Gateley, whose other credits include Laguna Beach, The Hills and Teen Mom.
Added DiSanto of the plan to generate original stories that eventually could be franchised out into TV and films: “At our core we will always be idea generators and storytellers. Expanding our business into fiction books was a natural next step in our evolution and gives us another medium in which to express our ideas.”
The High School Horror Story series will be set in Paris, Texas, with book No. 1 drawing inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, told through the lens of a teenage girl who falls in love with the popular classmate she accidentally kills and then brings back to life. Future books in the series will follow interconnected characters in the same small-town high school and will modernize such classics as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and The Phantom of the Opera.
For her part, Baker got her start ghostwriting young adult and middle grade novels, including installments in a book series that has sold more than 1 million copies. Among many projects, her stand-alone novel, Alive, will be published by Disney-Hyperion.
The news comes mere days after ITV announced it had purchased a controlling stake in DiGa Vision. The three-year-old company counts among its projects Teen Wolf, Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life, Scream and a forthcoming TV movie adaptation of Brian Stelter's Top of the Morning for Lifetime.