Omagh author Capella Van Ryan is getting ready to move to Hollywood after finding out her debut novel is to be turned into a multi-million dollar movie.
Not only was she overwhelmed to learn her book – The Snowboat – was to become a movie - but Capella was hit with a double whammy when she found out she was to be the star of the film.
The 33-year-old, who was born in Letterkenny but now lives in Omagh, said: “I found out the Saturday before last. Got a message from my manager that he needed to speak to me.
“He said prepare yourself, you’re going to start hyperventilating – I’ve got amazing life-changing news for you.
“I nearly died when he told me the budget for the movie – £21 million. It didn’t sink in right away. I must have deafened him I was screaming that loud.”
Capella is managed by John Avila from Max Millionz Entertainment Enterprises who is based in Florida.
The movie is set to be produced by Dream Cinema.
Of her acting role in the film she said: “I hadn’t said about starring in it.
“I had never thought about acting in my life. My manager had first contacting me when he was looking for an actress as I had the look he was after.
“I told him, ‘I don’t know about acting, I’ve so much writing on’.
“He read my book and wanted to sign up and manage me.
“Less than a year later he got me the Hollywood deal.
“I’m the leading girl and they’re currently looking for a leading man who is well known in Britain.
“I’d love it to be Daniel Craig or Luke Evans.”
Capella, who has travelled the world with her husband who is a trained paramedic and bodyguard, told how she began writing: “When I was kid I was never really much of a reader, but I was always writing short stories. I loved putting pen to paper.
“I knew I always wanted to write a book but I just didn’t know what about.
“When I grew up my husband and me were travelling quite a bit.
“Whenever we were in Switzerland in 2010 we went to the Snowboat and I just knew this was going to be the location I would write about.
“It felt like an old James Bond movie. I expected to see Sean Connery or Roger Moore at any moment.”
She continued: “I didn’t know what the story would be but the only thing I really knew I wanted to do was to keep it real – real emotions and real situations.”
“I’ve been able to incorporate a lot of the countries I’ve been to into my writing.”
On getting her first book on the shelves she said: “At first it was a nightmare getting a publisher, I was on my own. You can’t let rejection phase you, you have to let it strengthen you as a writer.
“I threw my manuscript in the bin and my husband went and got it. Within three months I got my first contract.”
The Snowboat – a dark love story – is the first in a series of 10 books following the lead character Nicolette across Europe.
Capella describes it as “a modern day novel, with the flavour of a classic suspense”.
The book’s description on Amazon reads: “Nicolette wasn’t always every man’s dream but she knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it.
“When a wealthy businessman proposes after days of meeting Nicolette, she is shocked and unsure of what the future holds as they barely know one another. The idea of being more important than money and a man’s work, happy and in love consumes her and she hopes love will blossom.
“Unfortunately, married life is never easy, and in this case becomes worse than anything ever imagined.”
The character of Nicolette is somewhat of a lost soul, as was Capella herself when at just five years old, her mother died of breast cancer.
The only girl in a family of five brothers, she found escape in her writing and went on to live in Taunton, England and Texas, USA for several years.
Like her husband she is trained as a paramedic and went on to run her own personal trainer company in the United States. She also worked as an accountant.
Capella is also an artist who has used her artwork to raise funds for the disabled UK and US military personnel. She auctions two pieces of her artwork every spring and winter, with all the proceeds going to charities such as Help for Heroes.
Capella’s move to Hollywood will begin a new chapter in her life. “I’m leaving for Hollywood in about eight weeks. I’ll be leaving for good.
“I’m in training for the role at the minute, learning my lines. I’ve never acted before, but I’m loving it.”