A NOVELIST is delighted filming has begun on a movie adaptation of her acclaimed book – starring Harry Styles.

Writer Bethan Roberts, from Brighton, gave Amazon and Berlanti Productions the go-ahead to create a feature length film of her 2012 literary hit My Policeman, with production now underway around the south coast.

Bethan, who studied for an MA in creative writing at the University of Chichester, has written a series of critically-acclaimed novels since graduating.

The award-winning author said: “I’m still in shock.

"I didn’t think the film would ever get made – only 1% of movies that start as a novel get funded.

The Argus: Author Bethan RobertsAuthor Bethan Roberts

"The producers have been wonderful and have included me in some of their conversations.”

The film has taken about eight years to reach production, which is relatively quick for a book adaptation, Bethan said.

She added: “Lots of it is luck but the filmmakers first need a strong script.

"Ron Nyswaner is the scriptwriter, who wrote Philadelphia among other incredible movies.”

Set in Brighton in the 1950s, My Policeman is the story of copper Tom, played by Harry Styles, his wife Marion, played by Emma Corrin, and his male lover.

Bethan said the novel is her favourite work to date.

She said: “I’ve lived in Brighton since the mid-90s.

“I became fascinated with the works of EM Forster, including his remarkable relationship with a policeman in the 1950s.

The Argus: Bethan Roberts' book My PolicemanBethan Roberts' book My Policeman

“They were in love for 30 years, during a time when homosexuality was illegal, but they managed to negotiate a shared relationship with his wife. I took some of their stories and built My Policeman on that.

“It was important that I set it in Brighton, not only because I live there, but because it was a different place in the 50s.

"Thankfully EM Forster had a much happier ending than in the book, not that I’m giving away any spoilers.”

Bethan also writes short fiction, including drama for BBC Radio 4, and is a previous recipient of the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Prize and RA Pin Drop Award.

It was at Chichester where she partly wrote her first book, The Pools, while finishing her MA degree.

The Argus: Harry Styles seen filming in Brighton this weekHarry Styles seen filming in Brighton this week

The novel, based around the fallout of a murdered teen, landed her first book deal and propelled her onwards for further success – notably her 2014 award-winner Mother Island, which received the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered prize.

Bethan said: “My MA at Chichester turned around my attitude towards writing.

"It gave me great confidence and I found people were reading my writing and enjoying it.

"What helped was sharing experiences with others and getting words on a page and learning how to read like a writer.”

No release date has yet been given for My Policeman, but it is expected to hit the big screen next year.