Cape Breton author’s teen thriller to be turned into show for Peacock

An award-winning author from Inverness, Cape Breton has struck a deal to turn one of his books into a television series for NBC’s streaming service Peacock.

Tom Ryan’s teen thriller keep this to yourselfwas released in 2019. It is about five teenagers who find themselves caught up in a mysterious whodunit after a killer terrorizes their sleepy seaside town.

“It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m so grateful to everyone who worked on this project,” Ryan told CBC. Cape Breton Information Morning.

The book caught the eye of a California producer, Cheryl Bayer, at a book signing in Washington in 2019. She wanted to turn Ryan’s novel, which features a gay teenager, into a series after the read in one night.

Bayer is a former casting director for That 70s show, where she met Wilmer Valderrama who played Fez in the series. She took the book to her production company, WV Entertainment, and together they spent a few years trying to find a home for it.

Keep This to Yourself was released in 2019 and won several awards. (Submitted by Tom Ryan)

Tplus, a Latin-centric division of Telemundo, a Spanish-language network under the NBC umbrella, found itself looking for a project like this.

“What really matters is the right place at the right time,” Ryan said.

Bayer mentors Ryan and wants him to be directly involved in the production process. Ryan is one of the series’ head writers, co-creator and executive producer.

“I’m learning everything from all angles, it’s an amazing opportunity,” he said. “More than that, it’s great fun. I work with really smart, talented, creative and enthusiastic people.”

Ryan said Bayer particularly appreciates keep this to yourself for its characters and captivating plot.

“It’s a teen thriller, and teen thrillers are very popular right now. So there’s kind of a sweet spot in the market for that kind of story,” he said.

Although the book is set in Maine, production is taking place outside of Miami. The novel’s characters are reimagined as Latin Americans, but the story will remain the same. The production will be primarily a Latin cast, but will be set in English.

Wilmer Valderrama’s production company WV Entertainment brings Keep This to Yourself to the screen. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Ryan, who splits his time between Cape Breton and Halifax, was born and raised in Inverness County.

Kate Beaton’s Children’s Book, The Princess and the Pony, is also being adapted in series. Beaton is also from Inverness County, which has a population of around 17,000.

“In Inverness County, Cape Breton, in general, just in the Maritimes, we’re creating storytellers,” Ryan said. “I think the fact that people outside of our region are starting to take notice is just fantastic and I hope we create opportunities for other young writers and storytellers,” he said.

Ryan wouldn’t say exactly how much he earned in his deal with NBC.

“I will say this, Hollywood pays better than publishing,” he said.

Manufacturing on keep this to yourself is scheduled to start in September and will air in late 2022 or early 2023.


Lola R. McClure