It's been an amazing year! The development of Benedict's Brother as a film has taken me on a journey that I could not have imagined and has led to magical things happening that even as a creator of fiction I could not have envisaged.
In May I went to Cannes for three days to see the amazing show that is the most high-profile film festival in the world. And it was amazing! I met a number of film producers and industry people and witnessed a world of fantastic wealth on show. Beautiful, stunning yachts be-strewn with beautiful stunning people and the awesome electricity-filled moment when Hollywood star Angelina Jolie unexpectedly turned up with her Hollywood star husband, Brad Pitt for the preview of his Palme D'Or-winning film.
Carried along with the incredible growing excitement and anticipation of the moment, I screamed along with everyone else! It was a real taste of the joy and thrill this industry can create.
The next few months involved lots of drafting of contracts, meetings with prospective screenwriters, meetings with my wonderful agent, meetings with investors, meetings with business partners, meetings with my new media solicitor, agreeing contracts, agreeing terms and becoming familiar with a whole heap of legal terminology that has since become like a second language.
When all the meetings were done and the paperwork signed, my key personal moment was when I received my first ever formal professional payment for my writing and it tasted very very sweet indeed.
In July I visited York and in September Thailand for two weeks with inspiring and brilliantly entertaining screenwriter Jessica Townsend to research the locations for the script and to do initial recces. A complete joy! I also met two potential producers in Thailand who would oversee filming there - one of whom it transpired went to the same school as my brother, the other who managed production in Bangkok for Hangover Part 2, one of 2011's most commercially-successful films
It was a fabulous and moving trip. To re-visit all those places I'd written about so many years before, and for my writing to allow me to do it, was a dream. I kept a video-blog of the trip to capture the whole journey and will continue to add to this as filming progresses. The out-takes are pretty amusing too!!
I've since met the head of the BFI - and it turned out that we went to the same school - and met the head of Prescience Film who was key to ensuring that the UK's most successful film of all time, The King's Speech, achieved what it did. Both lovely people and keen to help in the future if they can.
We also now have one of the best script-developers in the business helping us to shape the script to be the best that it can possibly be - their past successes include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Train Spotting, The Full Monty, Girl with a Pearl Earring so we are in good company - and the LA-based British executive producer of Halle Berry's latest film is chatting to us.
The first draft of the script will be with me next week to read. I signed-off the scene-by-scene outline a couple of months ago having been involved all the way through the creative process.
The journey to turn my novel into a film has well and truly begun and I'm relishing it. What I wasn't expecting was to be given the opportunity to take an active role as a producer on the film of my own book but, having been given it, I'm relishing that too. I find I like building the team and the creative content which will shape the whole process of bringing a film into being and it really is an opportunity of a lifetime.
There is long way to go yet before that moment when I see my story up there on the silver screen and there is a lot of work to do in the interim, but right now, who would have it any other way?