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Freelance journalist's book set to become American TV movie

A book by a freelance journalist has been picked up by an American TV channel.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox channel has bought the option on Decent Exposure, the debut novel by Sunday Mercury contributor Phillipa Ashley.

But unfortunately for Phillipa, who lives near Lichfield, the project has been forced on hold by the Hollywood writers’ strike.

She said: “It seems very strange that something happening in Hollywood could affect something here.

“I think they had assigned a writer and producer but it’s a standard thing in cases like this – I’m in a state of limbo.”

Fox now has 12 months from buying the option for Decent Exposure to get the project off the ground but the time taken up by the strike will be taken into account.

Last summer the book won the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers from the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Phillipa, who used to be a features editor with Central Independent Newspapers, said that the normal process of literary agents trying to sell the book to TV companies wasn’t necessary.

She said: “The book is aimed at women, it’s a romance, but apparently a male Hollywood producer saw it on Amazon and ordered it.

“They approached us, bought movie and TV rights so they have the option to make a feature film if they ever want to.

“It’s such a huge bonus that I tend to be a bit more calm about it.

“Getting published was the thing I really wanted and this is just a fabulous extra.”

Phillipa is currently writing her fourth novel and her other work includes Wish You Here, published last September, and Just Say Yes which is due out in August.