HarperCollins this week acquired the YA spy thriller Liberty by author Andrea Portes, and that will trigger a round of pitching by the author and screenwriter Joel Silverman in the second iteration of a highly unusual collaboration. It’s the second time they hatched a book together, she writing the novel and he scripting the film with her help. It worked out well with Anatomy Of A Misfit, a tearjerker which sold in a big-screen deal to Paramount last summer (the book became a bestseller and National Book Award nomination), and they hope for the same results with Liberty.

jordanThe protagonist is a brainy college student who is recruited by the government agency she has philosophically resented — the CIA. The agency offers an enticement she can’t resist, the eventual opportunity to work on the case of her parents, journalists who were kidnapped while covering the civil war in Libya. First, she is sent to study abroad in Russia and find an Edward Snowden-like spy, one whose principals she has always admired.

Portes and Silverman briefly dated before finding a more unusual way of collaborating. She separately has written novels including Hick, which was adapted into a film starring Chloe Grace Moretz, and last year published Bury This. Silverman, a former journalist, has scripts that include Fly for Fox 2000, Undefeated for Universal and Lady In The Locker Room for CBS Films.

Original Artists will be setting up the pitches shortly. Portes is repped by Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio.