Eric Reinhold is the author of the middle grade supernatural fantasy series, The Annals of Aeliana (Creation House). This summer the first book, Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword, is being made into a movie by TYG Studios. I asked Eric to share with Spec Faith a little about the series and the process of seeing it made into a movie.
Today Part 1, about the series, by Eric Reinhold:
The essential question in Ryann Waters and the King’s Sword is, “What would you do if an angel woke you in the middle of the night?” Ryann, a twelve-year-old boy, is visited by the angel Gabriel and tasked with finding the King’s sword. He reluctantly takes the challenge. He accepts three gifts from the angel to assist him along the way and solicits help from his two best friends, Terell and Liddy. Of course, with every good story you need conflict, so that same evening, across town, the class bully, Drake Dunfellow, is visited by a “dark” angel who enlists his services in stopping Ryann.
My daughters, Kaylyn and Kara, inspired the story. When they were five and seven years old, I would tell them stories before putting them to bed. Each night I would add different twists and turns and one night my eldest said, “Dad, you should make these stories into a book so other kids can enjoy them.” That was the first time I ever considered writing a book.
Through the ongoing story sessions I bounced ideas off my children to gauge their interest. These were mainly issues with the fantasy world of Aeliana, but the idea of using an angel and a “dark” angel in the series was in response to the witches and wizards of Harry Potter. I wanted to incorporate something real, the supernatural, into my books, versus the unreal magic of the Harry Potter series. I also wanted to incorporate strong family and biblical values. So much of the content in books for kids today blurs the line between good and evil. I wanted a series that parents could feel safe having their children read.
The characters are based on people I’m familiar with. It’s easier to write about what you know. Mr. Watters, as a graduate of the Naval Academy, has a very similar background to mine, which is where Ryann gets some of his obsession with timeliness. Book two opens with the kids on summer vacation. The Watters’ family is in the Chapel at the Naval Academy and then makes a visit to John Paul Jones’ crypt, where a clue is revealed for later in the story. Liddy is based on a mixture of my two girls. She’s athletic, pretty, with a spunky personality, and is definitely her own person.
As far as names are concerned, there’s a reason why Ryann has two N’s and his last name has two T’s, but you have to read the story to find out why. The names of Ryann’s friends, Terell Peterson and Lydia “Liddy” Thomas have very symbolic traits of characters by the same or partial names in the Bible. Other names such as Drake Dunfellow popped into my head as sounding evil, while the teachers names were done to illicit a laugh from kids.For the setting I originally planned to make up a town somewhere in the South. Then on a trip to a nearby Florida location, it came to me that Mount Dora had everything I needed for my setting—a lake, interesting alleyways, quaint shops, a railroad, a unique bookstore (which is now closed), and church. Everything was compacted into a small area which made for believable interaction with the kids on their bikes. I remembered reading a book as a teen set in my home town. I had enjoyed the mention of familiar places. I also entertained the idea that if my series was every made into a movie, everything would be in place for filming, and kids could visit Mount Dora as a side trip on a visit to Orlando’s attractions. I had my setting.
To Be Continued