I’m not sure how many screenplays I’ve written. At least 30. Maybe 50.

I have ten produced credits, so that means a lot of unmade movies. As much as I love screenwriting, it’s like being the architect for a bunch of buildings that may never get built. Screenplays are transitional documents, plans for making the “real” thing.

Novels, however, are the real things. Even if they’re later adapated into movies or TV shows, the books themselves are finished works. They’re permanent in a way screenplays could never be.

So in between other projects, I decided to write one. And now it’s getting published.

Here’s the key bit from the press release:

Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, has signed a 3-book deal for a new middle grade series by award-winning screenwriter John August, who counts Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Go among his credits.

In the first book in the series, Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire, set to be published in early 2018, readers are introduced to Arlo Finch, a young boy who joins a mountain scouting troop and discovers that his fellow campers are not just training in outdoor survival—they are also learning to harness the wild magic that lies deep within the forest. Through treacherous adventures and close calls, Arlo is awakened to his unique destiny and the foundations of the Rangers’ Vow: loyalty, bravery, kindness, and truth.

As a screenwriter who frequently gets sent these kinds of books to adapt, it’s been fascinating to see the other side of the business. I’m asking a ton of questions. I’ll be sharing what I learn here and elsewhere.

Since middle grade fiction readers are not the core demo of this site, I’ve also set up a Tumblr at arlofin.ch that’s just about the book — and is more kid-and-parent friendly.

If you’re curious about the behind-the-scenes of writing and producing the series, I’ll be starting a sporadic newsletter with updates and sneak peeks along the way. More details soon.

Huge thanks to Jodi Reamer, my agent at Writers House, and my editor Connie Hsu for making this happen. It’s going to be a busy couple of years, but I’m looking forward to the journey ahead.