How many books have you written?
45 as of today and still writing more.
How do I get Ridley to come to my area?
Disney schedules my appearances based on the sales of the books. So talk to your friends about getting my books and that will help.
Also, local bookstores can request for Ridley to come to their store. The bookstore would need to contact to Jenn and she will get in touch with Disney Publishing.
Can Ridley come speak at my school?
Yes. Ridley uses a speaking agent, Sharon Tucci, to book school appearances. Because it takes him away from writing, there is a fee to have him appear at your school. However, he also makes other school visits while on book tour, so check the Appearances page to see if he's coming to your school anytime soon.
Will there be another Steel Trapp or Starcatchers book?
Ridley LOVES Steel Trapp and Starcatchers but he's super busy with Kingdom Keepers right now and a new series with Dave Barry, but who knows?
How can I get Disney to approve my ideas/writing?
Ridley is lucky to have been asked to write for Disney and loves working with them. That said, writing ideas are not copywrited, but characters can be. Disney owns the copywrites to The Kingdom Keepers and all other Disney characters, but anything can be written when done in fun. Ridley suggests you keep writing and not worry about getting published.
Have you found certain methods or tricks for writing novels?
I don’t have tricks. It comes down to hours and hours of work. I rewrite every novel no fewer than four times, sometimes as many as nine times. You can’t believe how many hours that consumes. It’s ENDLESS. You have to be patient to be a published writer, and you have to practice humility, because the editor (or teacher) is nearly always right.
Being an experienced author, what do you generally have to submit to a publisher to get your book published?
My experience now, 45 published novels, and that of the beginning novelist are VERY different. Typically an agent (it’s critical to have an agent) want to see a completed outline and three or four really well-written chapters. The competition out there is fierce. My agencies receives 20,000 unsolicited manuscripts a year–with thousands of solicited manuscripts to read on top of that.
Do you have any writing advice for beginner writers?
If you read, read, read and study the way various authors make characters come to life on the page you will see that working both with the five senses and internal thoughts can really help. My advice is to read the character descriptions in the books you love and to especially pay attention to how they speak and what they say as that is what shapes people's impressions of us and therefore readers' impressions of characters.
Most importantly, pick an amount of time each day, 30 mins, 1 hour, and sit down and DO IT.
What inspires you to write? Where do you get your ideas?
I love telling stories. I've been a storyteller much of my life, and I think the novels allow me to express that. My ideas come from experience, newspapers, listening to others, observation. It's all around us. Everything has a story if you take the time to listen and look for it.
At what age did you start writing?
I started writing when I was ten. Took a long break during high school and college (homework!) and started up again after college as a songwriter. From there it moved to script writing and eventually novels. I was first published in 1985.
What is the Kingdom Keepers Quest and can I participate?
The Kingdom Keepers Quest takes place in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and is for school groups of ten or more kids. School groups apply through Disney' s Youth Educational Services (YES). Groups get a special price to enter the Magic Kingdom and the teacher facilitates the Quest.
I am working on a second YES program for the Animal Kingdom.
I am now producing a Quest for ANYONE to take! The Quest will be available September 2012 in the Birnbaum books. You can purchase the books in the parks.
Can I film a Kingdom Keepers movie?
Ridley doesn’t own the rights to The Kingdom Keepers, Disney does, so he cannot give permission one way or another.
Is there going to be a Kingdom Keepers movie?
Disney currently has no plans to make any Kingdom Keepers movies. I would love to have the Kingdom Keepers become a movie! Unfortunately it is not up to me.
How do you get all the info for the Kingdom Keepers books?
I am very lucky in that Disney gives me private tours when the parks are closed. I get to walk the attractions and go on the rides when no one is around. It's special!
How did you come up with the Kingdom Keepers series?
I was fortunate to be asked by Disney to create an adventure book that takes place in the Disney parks.
The idea came to me when I came out of the Magic Kingdom with my family and I looked back to realize all the guests were leaving but the characters were staying behind. I had a "Toy Story" moment. When the door to Andy's room closes, the toys all come alive. It occurred to me that when we all leave the parks, and the characters have not, that there's stuff going on in there that we don't know about. What I envisioned was a battle for control of the parks between Disney's "wonderful" villains and his princesses, princes, heroes and characters. It was into that world I threw myself as a writer and out came the Kingdom Keepers.
How many Kingdom Keepers books will there be?
Seven total. KK 5 is out now. KK 6 comes out in April 2013.
Will there be anything about the Kingdom Keepers after book 7?
I am working on the possibility of a series after Kingdom Keepers is done. Stay tuned to the website for the latest information.
Why did you choose Maleficent as the predominant villian?
Maleficent is one of the top villians of villadom…and she personally scares me!
What is your favorite Kingdom Keepers book or Disney character?
This is like choosing between your children! I have to say I love them all!
Is Wayne a real person?
Wayne works as a loader at Splash Mountain. If you see a white haired guy loading on log…that's him and you can ask him.
Is the Escher Keep real?
Escher's Keep is one of the few fictionalized attractions in the books. I did visit the apartment but wanted to come up with a more interesting way to reach it.
How can I audition for Starcatcher?
A screen writer has been hired to star writing a script for the book Peter and the Starcatcher written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.
They are a LONG way from pre-production and casting calls. If and when the time comes, all casting decisions are made by the casting director, not Ridley nor Dave nor Disney.