Nance in Orbit

Known for his aviation thrillers, author John J. Nance realized he would need to tweak his oeuvre post-9/11 and has of late applied his expertise of all things aerial to a variety of different situations (airborne firefighters in Fire Flight, 2003; the threat of a tsunami in Saving Cascadia, earlier this year—both from S&S). Taking note, among others, was Fox 2000's Carla Hacken, who optioned the author's upcoming Orbit (S&S, 2006) right before the Thanksgiving weekend. Described as a cross between Apollo 13, Cast Away and The Truman Show, the novel follows the adventures of Kip Dawson, an ordinary Joe who luckily wins a free trip into space. Unluckily, his craft is hit by a micrometeoroid, stranding him alone in the void. To maintain his sanity, Kip begins an electronic journal, which, unbeknownst to him, is relayed back to earth, making him a national story. Nance is repped by Simon Lipskar of Writer's House for lit and Shari Smiley of CAA for film.

A Passport to Love

Coming from a film background, former Disney studio exec—turned—writer Tamara Gregory knows a thing or two about getting a manuscript optioned. No wonder her debut novel, Passport Diaries (Amistad, Aug.)—about a career-driven L.A. lawyer who finds love abroad—was quickly optioned by Paramount for Hustle & Flow producer Stephanie Allain in a five-figure deal. Despite interest from other producers, Gregory, who will also be adapting her own novel for the screen, chose to collaborate with Allain, given the similar themes between her own tale and Allain's upcoming romantic comedy Something New, due out in February from Focus. Gregory is repped by Anna DeRoy of the William Morris Agency for film and Manie Barron of the Menza-Barron Agency for lit.


Two films based on book material made a respectable showing among this year's Independent Spirit Award nominations (indie American features made for $20 million or less), announced November 29 (airing March 4 on IFC): director Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana's adaptation of Annie Proulx's short story (Best Feature; Director; Male Lead for Heath Ledger; and Supporting Female for Michelle Williams); and Capote, adapted from Gerald Clarke's biography of the same name by actor-turned-screenwriter Dan Futterman (Best Feature; Male Lead for Philip Seymour Hoffman; Best Screenplay; and Best Cinematography).