AN author is set to have her debut crime novel made into a Hollywood film with some famous actors among the cast.

Blackburn-born Sharon Bolton, who writes under the name S. J Bolton, will see her thriller, Sacrifice, that was the winner of Amazon’s Best New Read in 2008 go into pre-production on Monday.

Film stars lined up for the film include world-famous actress Connie Nielsen, as well as actors Charles Dance and Rupert Graves, who have all appeared in major Hollywood films.

And for Sharon, who grew up in Darwen, the feeling of excitement has arrived as the filming begins to start, although has confessed that she isn’t putting all of her eggs into one basket just yet.

“For me it has been five years of continual disappointment too, because it’s been a long time waiting,” said Sharon, who regularly visits her family in East Lancashire. "When I first wrote the book it was optioned, and ever since it has been a long wait. Eventually, some Hollywood producers got on board with some up-and-coming directors and they have managed to put all the money towards making the film, then it all just came together. I am very, very excited, although I do believe that it’s not a movie until people are buying popcorn."

Sacrifice is the story of consultant surgeon Tora Hamilton, who moves with her husband Duncan to the Shetland Islands.

Deep in the peat soil around her new home, Tora discovers the body of a young woman with three rune marks carved into her skin and a gaping hole where her heart once beat.

Ignoring warnings to leave well alone, Tora uncovers terrifying links to an ancient legend that might never have been confined to the pages of the story-books.

The casting has been a success, according to the writer, who went to Darwen Moorland High School.

“The producers were very good about consulting me. Altogether there were four different scripts and I was given the opportunity to look over them. I am not a screen writer, but I know the book and the characters more than anybody else. Even with the cast they consulted me. When they had an idea they got in touch. I am very pleased with Connie Nielsen. She is perfect for the role of Tora Hamilton,” said Sharon, who trained as an actress and dancer and later went on to pursue a career in public relations and marketing.

Now living near the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border, she has also had her fifth crime novel, Dead Scared, shortlisted for three prestigious awards in the United States, including the Barry Award, under the best novel category, up against well-known writers including Linwood Barclay, Gillian Flynn and Dennis Lehan.

The film is being directed by Peter A Dowling, whose scriptwriting credits include Flightplan, starring Jodie Foster, and Reasonable Doubt, starring Samuel L Jackson. Filming will take place mainly in Ireland, Shetland and Manhattan.

Sharon said: “Once it has been produced it will be showcased at the Toronto Film Festival and that’s the key time where the important reviewers and critics will see it and if they like it then it will do very well indeed. I am looking forward to going to Ireland and seeing some filming. The book took me a long time to write. There are overnight successes but I do think that it has taken me a long time to get here. We all dream but I am a realistic dreamer. Let’s just hope that all of my hard work pays off.”