Adaptive Studios, an unusual new venture that repurposes abandoned movie scripts into books and other media projects, plans to rev up its book program with three new releases in the fall and as many as 16 titles in 2016. To help increase its title output, earlier this year Adaptive hired publishing veteran Jordan Hamessley, a former editor at Egmont USA, as editorial director for Adaptive Books, its book publishing unit.
It’s big book for the fall, coming out November 3, is DC Trip, a new novel by comedian Sara Benincasa that was described by the publisher as an “Amy Schumer raunchy” fictional account of a high school trip to Washington, D.C., full of hilariously inappropriate behavior by teachers and students. Based on a movie script, Hamessley said DC Trip, was “drastically” reshaped by Benincasa into an adult novel.
Adaptive plans a national ad campaign for DC Trip and targeted outreach to booksellers. There’s even a book tour/road trip planned: Benincasa will be at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., for a satellite event promoting the book, before driving to New York for a book appearance at the 92nd Street Y with comedian Michael Ian Black, chronicling her misadventures along the way on social media. She’s slated to appear at the Miami Book Festival, the Southern Independent Booksellers Association, and events in Boston and Philadelphia.
Coming in October from Adaptive Comics, the publisher’s comics and graphic novel imprint, is Abbadon, the story of a serial killer in the old West. The graphic novel was funded by a $42,500 Kickstarter campaign and produced by veteran comics writers Jimmie Palmiotti and Justin Gray, along with artist Fabrizio Florentio. Adaptive Comics plans to release as many as eight new graphic novels in 2016.
Founded by four veterans of the entertainment industry, Adaptive Studios rescues screenplays “trapped in development Hell,” according to Adaptive cofounder and chief creative officer Marshall Lewy. The company reimagines these film properties as books, new films and TV shows, graphic novels, kids’ picture books, and more. Adaptive brings in new authors to revamp the scripts into new properties. Adaptive has published three books so far in 2015, in addition to a paperback edition of Coin Heist, which it published last year.
Previously an editor at the now-defunct Egmont USA and at Penguin Young Readers, Hamessley specializes in YA/children’s literature. In addition to the eight graphic novels, Adaptive will release at least eight novels, “mostly aimed at kids/YA” in 2016, including several titles she worked on at Egmont USA that she was able to rescue and bring over to Adaptive Books.
One such orphaned Egmont title is Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward, a YA horror title set for February 2016 that the house also intends to develop for film and TV. Coming in March is Crusoe by Andrew Lane, the first book in the Darkness of Stars trilogy, a YA historical adventure starring a teenage Robinson Crusoe and a female Friday, who are both rescued from the deserted island and end up as superspies in restoration-era London. Lane, author of Macmillan’s popular Young Sherlock Holmes series, was brought in to write the series, which he reworked from a screenplay.
“My background at Penguin was in licensing and movie tie-ins, so I’m prepared for how Adaptive works,” Hamessley said. Currently, Hamessley works on the book projects along with Lewy, with freelancer support for publicity and school market outreach. Adaptive’s books are distributed by Ingram Publisher Services.
To get the authors needed to revamp the movie projects, Hamessley said she approaches agents and her former authors from Egmont and Penguin. “We figure out what will work and ask the authors to be partners; it’s a collaboration,” she said. “We’re here to create quality books, not just get a movie deal.”