American author Abbi Glines is showing a lot of faith in neophyte Australian producer/writer Gary O’Toole.

Glines has just sold an option on her novel While It Lasts to O’Toole, who recently launched production banner Red Rock Pictures after splitting with his producing partner at Three Kings Pictures.

O’Toole was alerted to the novel in 2013 by young Aussie actor Addam Bramich, who was keen to get the rights as he saw the project as a potential starring vehicle for himself.

At the time the novel was in The New York Times young adult best-seller list behind The Fault in our Stars, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Divergent. The producer initiated negotiations with the Alabama-based author and her New York agent and clinched the deal overnight.

“Abbi has taken a punt on us,” O’Toole told IF. “I don’t think she wanted the rights to get lost in the Hollywood studio system and end up being changed into something she would not recognise.”

The third in a series of Sea Breeze books, While It Lasts is set in in the steamy coastal Alabama town of Sea Breeze, where an interconnected group of older teens hook up and break up.

The protagonist is Cage York, who looked set for a free ride to college for baseball until a DUI. His coach orders him to spend the summer baling hay, where he meets uptight, snarky brunette Eva Brooks. Eva's long-time beau Josh has just been killed along with four other soldiers near Baghdad.

O’Toole will produce and write the screenplay, Glines has agreed to serve as associate producer and Bramich will co-produce. The actor, whose credits include Blinder, The Slap and several short films, is keen to play York.

O’Toole envisions shooting the film in Alabama and Australia, with a mix of US and Aussie actors. Meanwhile he is developing Nulla, a movie about an Australian soldier, an Iraq veteran, as he sets out to drive from Melbourne to Perth with a buddy, a US soldier, where nasty things happen. O’Toole wrote the script and will produce, with Robert Lewis Galinsky as executive producer. He hopes to sign a director within weeks.