EXCLUSIVE: After spending the last eight years as Director of Development for Sony Pictures in New York, Mark James is leaving that post. On April 2, he’ll launch James Literary Consulting, a book-to-film scouting company. James has been a sharp exec for Sony, responsible for finding and championing books for features. Among the books he identified early and helped shepherd are Julie & Julia, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the Michael Grant novel Bzrk, which the studio bought for Josh Donen to produce.

James will begin his venture scouting for two clients: Columbia Pictures and Michaels-Goldwyn, the production partnership between Lorne Michaels and John Goldwyn. James had experience with them when he was an executive in the Paramount Pictures New York office for four years, helping steer such books to that studio as Twilight Saga and Sahara. Before that, James worked for Deb Schindler and for Julia Roberts’ Gotham-based companies. He started as an editor at Avon Books and Regan Books, working with such authors as Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman and James Carlos Blake.

“It was time to try to start something new, to challenge myself and do something entrepreneurial,” James told me. James has been the only Gotham-based creative executive for a major studio. It’s not immediately clear whether Sony would look to place another exec in New York; with James still sleuthing books for the studio, they might not need one.