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Guest Post By Author Eric Reinhold, Part 2

Today, we’re continuing a post by Eric Reinhold, actually a transposition of Eric’s answers in an earlier interview. * * * God works things out in his own time and in hindsight it’s fun to look back and see how […]
| Sep 10, 2010 | No comments |

Today, we’re continuing a post by Eric Reinhold, actually a transposition of Eric’s answers in an earlier interview.
* * *

Eric and cast members playing the parts of Terell Peterson, Drake Dunfellow, Liddy Thomas, and Ryann Watters

God works things out in his own time and in hindsight it’s fun to look back and see how and, sometimes, why. I outlined the twenty chapters in book one of The Annals of Aeliana back in 2000 and wrote half the book over that year, then during the week of 9-11, I came down with a fever which ended up being a bacterial infection in my heart.

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 before a green 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.

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.

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E. Stephen Burnett

Eric — if you’re about watching for discussion opportunities! — thanks for your introduction and story. I’ve enjoyed hearing about your path to publication, and want to ask especially about your line here:

It took me seven years, but only one submission to get published.

Given that many authors receive many rejections before publishers take a chance on them, what do you think about how God blessed you differently? (Lest I be tempted to envy, I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in John 21, to Peter about how He had different plans for them!)

Secondly, about the filmmaking — Christian Movies tend to get a bad rap for script realism and production value. From what I’ve seen, Fireproof is the film that has come closest to telling a realistic, mostly-well-made story that also presents a Christian worldview without reducing it to mere Spirituality or Take That Leap of Faith.

Meanwhile, I’ll be researching more about the storylines of your books. Thanks again!

Eric Reinhold

Thanks for your comments and questions Stephen. The reason I made that comment about 7 years was due to the irony of my friend/fellow author Byran Davis, and how it took him 7 years and 200 letters to publishers (which he still holds all 200 up for kids when he’s giving talks on perseverance). My 7 years took me through open-heart surgery, building a business, and learning the art of writing, to get to the point of publication. I give God all the credit and am always amazed (looking back) how he orchestrates circumstances in our lives for His glory. It’s one of the reasons Ryann’s father (incidentally played as a cameo by me in the movie) says to Ryann (in book 1), “Because God loves you things will not turn out like you want. They’ll turn out better.” In regards to the book series and the movie, I have told the adult Sunday School class I teach and others that many times God takes the most unlikely and chooses them to accomplish things, just so He can show his power. I believe God is putting together a Producer (who has never produced a movie), a Director (who has never directed a movie) and an author (who is not a best-seller) to show His power and believe me, God will get all the credit from each of us.

In regards to your second question, recent Christian films have dealt with tough issues, like Facebook (marriage difficulties/pornography) and Letters from God (a child with brain cancer). Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword is an adventure/fantasy movie that will be G-rated for families with children ages 6-12. I can tell you that the film production value is awesome. Mount Dora is an amazing setting and the RED camera is state of the art. As director, Michael Germaine, says, “this is not a special effects movie, but a movie with special effects.” The primary audience will not be those who attend Harry Potter, Twilight, Lord of the Rings and Avatar. It will have a feeling of “Mayberry” small town and yes, a dose of innocence versus the realism of a public middle school. That may turn off some people, but for parents who want a “safe” movie to take their 6-12 year olds to, in which they will be entertained, but not have to worry about foul language, sexual innuendos, etc. they will be entertained. Check out the 8 Behind the Scenes videos on my blog at http://www.RyannWatters.blogspot.com

Kaci Hill

Well, and the nice part, Eric, is that I think most of it should be easy to shoot. It doesn’t need a lot of special effects, know? Aelianna may offer some challenges, but, mostly, the book shouldn’t be too hard to translate. At least in my mind.

Kaci Hill

Addendum: “Easy to shoot,” meaning, the ‘otherworldly’ parts are not so out there that they’d be impossible to make realistic on screen. Possibly a poor word choice on my part.

Your cast is lovely.

E. Stephen Burnett

Eric, great to hear from you (we share the same actual first name, it seems!). I now look forward more to the film version of the story, and hope with you that God will be glorified by the project. It’s fascinating to see how God works different, in different authors and creators, with very different struggles, to tell many different stories in our own lives.

Eric Reinhold

Hey Kaci, book 1 won’t be as hard to film as book 2. Shield of Faith spends more time in Aeliana and a develope the fantasy creatures in a much deeper way. With the two prmary characters being a white and black unicorn, and the kids flying on a pegasus and dragon, not to mention “The Chosen,” which include a dwarf, elf, two bulls and others, it’s not hard to see that it would require a much larger budget 🙂

Eric, hope you enjoy getting to know the project more through the blog, website, and other medium that we’ll be using to get the word out!

Thanks, Eric

Kaci Hill

True. I was just thinking of book 1. I suppose you’re not into puppets? 0=) Kidding.

Kaci Hill

Look! Canned ham!

E. Stephen Burnett

About the spam comment that formerly slipped past the filter, Cyberman says: “The unsolicited solicitation has been de-let-ed.”