Chris Columbus, who directed the first two of the eight Harry Potter movies, is steering his ship in a slightly different direction and penning a children's fiction series.

The three-book series House of Secrets will be published by HarperCollins and is scheduled for release in spring of 2013, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Perhaps taking a cue from the economic climate, the story is about siblings who have a pretty good life until their father loses his job. The family is then forced to move into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by a troubled fantasy writer with a penchant for the occult, according to details obtained by EW. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff's dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Pagett family's secret history and save their parents ... and maybe even the world.

Columbus told EW that he originally intended the story to be a screenplay, and then a television series, but scrapped the latter idea because he thought it would be too expensive to produce.

He decided to make the story into a book and specifically requested a co-author, openly admitting that he just didn't have too much time to sit down and write.

He ultimately chose Ned Vizzini, author of popular young adult books such as Be More Chill and It's Kind of a Funny Story. The latter book was made into a movie starring Zach Galifianakis, Keir Gilchrist and Emma Roberts.

I loved his voice, I loved that he had a real strong ear, I loved his youthfulness, his strong ear for teenage dialogue, and I thought it would be good to partner with someone who has a real sense of contemporary culture and a real imagination, Columbus told EW.

The book series marks an interesting new venture in Columbus' career, but it doesn't come as a shock. He has long been known as a family-friendly director, one whose resume includes film favorites such as Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the more recent Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. It's not too surprising he'd want to reach youngsters via the written word as well. With Vizzini's help, the House of Secrets series should prove to be an entertaining read.