Today, we’re continuing a post by Eric Reinhold, actually a transposition of Eric’s answers in an earlier interview.
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Fortunately, God used that to reveal a much bigger issue – a congenital heart defect, which resulted in my heart enlarging. I was on IV’s for a month, with a port sticking out of my chest, and then had to go in for open-heart surgery to replace the defective valve. My health issues, coupled with starting my own business and raising a family, caused me to put my book on the shelf, and I really never picked it back up until 2007. When I did, it was with a renewed determination to finish what I had set out to do.
Between big changes in stores and schools closing and opening in Mount Dora, I made some rewrites, finished the book and then God opened an avenue for publication. A fellow author friend of mine was rejected two hundred times by publishers, over seven years, trying to get his first book published. It took me seven years, but only one submission to get published. While I was building my financial planning practice from 2000 – 2007, one of my clients ended up being the president of a publishing company. When I was done going over some investment issues at a breakfast meeting one morning, I then said, “By the way, I’ve written a children’s fantasy story…”
My “little” girls, who I originally wrote for, are now a senior and a sophomore in high school and my son, Kyler, is in the seventh grade. They all attend Orangewood Christian School and are doing very well. My daughter Kaylyn hopes to attend Berry College in Rome, GA, next year and is interested in event planning. My daughter Kara is an excellent swimmer and is working hard to make the state finals this year. My son Kyler is involved with Boy Scouts and all three are excelling in school. They get that from their mother, my wife and high school sweetheart, Kim.
TYG Studios, based in Malabar, FL is producing the movie. Kerry Fink (producer) and his wife Tammy homeschool their children. A few years ago their children had done book reports on Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword. Recently, when Kerry and Mike Germaine (director) were reviewing scripts for a potential movie, Kerry remembered my book and inquired as to whether it had ever been made into a movie script. It just so happens it had. After book one was published in 2008, a friend of mine from high school, Jenni Gold of Gold Pictures in LA, wanted to adapt the book for a movie. Kerry and Mike loved the script, I made some changes, adding a few scenes and modifying others, and the rest is recent history.
The movie is based only upon book one, which is the easiest to adapt since a significant portion takes place in Mount Dora versus the fantasy world of Aeliana. Book Two, Ryann Watters and the Shield of Faith, has yet to be converted into a script. I am currently working on book three, Ryann Watters and the Belt of Truth.
My agent is looking for a new publisher and has interest from six. Whoever we choose would print books one and two in paperback and then the plan would be to have book three out in conjunction with the movie next summer.
I had always planned for seven books in the series, but when book one took seven years to get published, a cynic told me that I wouldn’t finish until I was well into my nineties (laughs). Book two is twice as long and took one year, so I think I’m back on track for seven, especially if King’s Sword gains a larger readership from the movie. I know TYG Studios’ goal is to make the best movie they can so that there will be a great deal of interest to make Shield of Faith into a movie as well. With all the action in book two—dragons, unicorns, Pegasus and more—it will take a much bigger budget to get it on the big screen.Filming in a real town makes the story more believable. For example, while the wizardry of Harry Potter is cool, the fact remains that wizards, witches, and magic aren’t real, and millions of dollars have to be spent to recreate that world at Universal Studios. With Mount Dora you have a real town and a storyline based on real rural American kids, but also angels and demons, which are very real as well. It’s much more relatable, with a great deal of promise for millions to come to Mount Dora for a visit to the movie setting. For TYG Studios, the more that can be shot on location versus against the green screen, the more cost effective it is and the more cinematic the scenes can be.
I began writing the book back in 2000 and to see things I envisioned, then wrote, come to life was amazing. The four main actors who play Ryann, Terell, Liddy and Drake are perfect for their parts. One of the reasons I like working with a small studio, like TYG, is that I am involved every step of the way. I am in constant contact with the director, and we discuss each scene and possible variations to make the story better. When the producer contacted me saying Erin Bethea (Fireproof and Facing the Giants) wanted to make a cameo appearance, I actually wrote a scene for her as Liddy’s mother, which is not in the book or original script. It was encouraging to see it work so well at The Garden Gate Tea Room. It provided an opportunity to display Liddy’s (and Taylor Boswell as the actress) softer side and set up the scene which followed.
My greatest hope is that kids would enjoy the story-line and action, that they could picture themselves as being one of the three main characters and that they would be impacted in a positive way by the positive moral message and values incorporated in the story. For parents, I hope they will appreciate a book series, where they don’t have to worry about the content, but can embrace and talk about the lessons learned by each character in the story. Would I like the name Ryann Watters to be a household name (smiles)? You can always dream! Ten years ago, no one knew who Harry Potter was.