You’ve spent hour after hour, day after day, week after week fashioning your contribution to the literary world. Deep down inside you not only hope it will wow book reviewers, but that Hollywood will also come knocking, seeking to translate your words into images. Then, one day, lightning is captured in a bottle and your book is optioned for a movie.

What happens next?

Novelist T. M. Wright’s experiences when his well-received novel A Manhattan Ghost Story was optioned for film shed some light on that question.

In an interview with Apex Book Company, Wright describes what happened after Hollywood bought the rights to his book:

Apex: A Manhattan Ghost Story is probably one of your best known novels, and has been in and out of development as a movie for years, where does that stand now? And can you talk a bit about the history of it being optioned?

T.M. Wright: The novel, first published in 1984 by TOR Books, was optioned by Robert Lawrence Productions, through my agent at the time, Howard Morhaim, in 1991. That option was exercised by Lawrence in 1993, and the film was scheduled to begin production that year through Carolco Pictures (same studio that brought you the Terminator series, as well as the really awful pirate movie starring Geena Davis—Cutthroat Island—which, because it lost $100 million, spelled the studio’s doom, and, also, the doom for their plans for A Manhattan Ghost Story). Back then, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere were attached to A Manhattan Ghost Story, though, after the property went to Disney, which bought the rights at the Carolco bankruptcy sale for 1.7 million, Sharon Stone was firmly attached, and a number of directors were tapped, then un-tapped as the decade progressed. Ron Bass (Rainman, Sleeping with The Enemy, What Dreams May Come, et cetera, et cetera) was paid what was, at the time, a record amount for adapting a novel to the screen ($2 million), and now, today, you will find, at, that the movie is “announced,” whatever the hell that means, with Wayne Wang as the director and that it’s with Left Bank Productions, a studio owned by George Clooney. Several people have made more than a few million on the project, though its “first day of principal photography” has come and gone numerous times. The tale of the decade and a half I’ve waited for the movie to be made is very sad indeed–and my advice to others whose novels get optioned, and the options get exercised, is simply to enjoy the cash and hope for the best.

My brief search of and produced no information on whether this property is still in play. Therefore, it seems, no truer words have been uttered by a writer: “Enjoy the cash and hope for the best.”