HomeFamily FunD23D23 Exclusive: Q&A With Kingdom Keepers Inheritance Author Ridley Pearson

D23 Exclusive: Q&A With Kingdom Keepers Inheritance Author Ridley Pearson


Kingdom Keepers Author Ridley Pearson Book Signing Event at Disney Springs Feb 23rd
D23 Exclusive: Q&A With Kingdom Keepers Inheritance Author Ridley Pearson

D23 Exclusive: Q&A With Kingdom Keepers Inheritance Author Ridley Pearson. Fresh off his book signings at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, D23 caught up with the author Ridley Pearson for an interview.

Fans of New York Times best-selling Disney author Ridley Pearson have something very special to celebrate today—the publication of the newest installment in the Kingdom Keepers Villains’ Realm trilogy! D23: The Official Disney Fan Club had the opportunity to sit down with Pearson to discuss his latest book and how it fits into the Kingdom Keepers universe. As an added bonus, Pearson shared an excerpt from the book to give both new and returning readers a taste of the adventure to come.

D23: This is the second entry in the Kingdom Keepers Inheritance trilogy. How did you approach writing the new series?
Ridley Pearson (RP): When starting a series, I work hard to develop an overall story and character arcs to be as fulfilling a read as possible. But it’s so important to any series to make sure each book can be read as a “one-off.” For the writer, that means finding ways to include events from the story or stories that came before while not giving too much away.

D23: What do you hope new readers take away from your new book?
RP: Well, I also work hard to deliver books with a good deal of action and characters you care about. My aim is to keep young readers reading! I’m a firm believer in “the more you read the smarter you get,”—but that’s, ironically, a take-away that might turn off young readers. For the young reader, I hope they come away with a sense of wild entertainment and a new or renewed sense of the importance of teamwork. In Inheritance 2, the Kingdom Kids must learn to trust each other, to listen, to push when they need to push: to relate. As a team they are capable of things impossible on their own.

D23: What do you think fans of the original series and first book in the trilogy will enjoy most about this new book?
RP: Continuing series readers will appreciate how the children of the original Kingdom Keepers remind us of their parents, in their skill sets and their determination and friendships. I have so much fun in combining personalities and “supernatural abilities” that result from these adult partnerships. Eli Whitman has his father’s determination and his mother’s ability to “push” objects without touching them. The original Kingdom Keepers make cameos and refer to earlier times.

D23 Exclusive: Q&A With Kingdom Keepers Inheritance Author Ridley Pearson
D23 Exclusive: Q&A With Kingdom Keepers Inheritance Author Ridley Pearson

D23: In what ways does the new book build upon the first in the trilogy? The universe of Kingdom Keepers?
RP: There are new ways the Disney Villains (Ursula and others) are once again working to change the in-Park experience in favor of Villains’ stories being featured, and our beloved stories being pushed into the background.  It’s a disaster in the making, and the Kingdom Kids have their hands full.

D23: What inspired the plot this time around?
RP: The plot of Inheritance 2: Villains’ Realm revolves around two things. (Remember, this is 2040, not 2024!) Disney had built a new attraction, the Villains Realm, that proved incredibly popular. It also ended up providing the Overtakers (Disney Villains intent on changing the Disney world) a haven and headquarters to regroup and attempt to change things. Disney executives shut down Villains Realm for the problems they saw—but mysteriously, they decide to reopen and build new Realms. That is not good! Connected to that is the fictional Walt Disney’s magical ink—the ink he used to draw all our memorable characters, and the ink the Kingdom Kids use to open portals to and from EPCOT. Ursula is working to duplicate Walt’s ink, and if that happens, look out! The charge of the Kingdom Kids is to find Ursula’s secret lab (and destroy it if possible) and prevent her from obtaining the duplicate ink.

D23 Exclusive: Q&A With Kingdom Keepers Inheritance Author Ridley Pearson

D23: What inspired you to focus on Ursula, and what areas of EPCOT might readers expect to experience anew given the book’s apparent lead villain?
RP: The kids and their famous parents reside in the CommuniTree, a small city of 40,000 that live in a planned community surrounding EPCOT (once part of Walt’s plans for Walt Disney World, and my homage to the great man). So, we are all over the place inside EPCOT—and other Disney Parks. With Maleficent unseen and unheard from for years, following the Kingdom Keepers series, Ursula and others (Evil Queen anyone?) have taken the lead to destroy Disney.

D23: Characters in prior Kingdom Keepers books were described as employees of The Walt Disney Company. This time around, the plot includes the fictional CEO of the company. Who or what inspired the depiction of the novel’s CEO character (and the tip-off that something is amiss when the CEO orders that Villains Realms be built in every Disney Park across the globe)? Might the blue-sky presentation at the Disney Parks panel at D23 Expo 2022—featuring conceptual images of such a realm—have influenced its inclusion?
RP: I’ve had the honor of meeting several Disney executives, and am always so impressed at how they care so deeply about continuing the magic. I wanted to put one “onstage” for a few minutes. As to the Villains attraction concept… we won’t go there…

D23: You conduct in-depth research for all your books. This includes behind-the-scenes research after hours in Disney Parks, which is such a fascinating opportunity. Can you share some memorable moments from your after-hours research for this book, or others in the series?
RP: I think the one that surprises readers the most was my experience in “it’s a small world. It’s too long to recount here, but let me say, while alone with an Imagineer guide, in a boat in that attraction, with no lights, no music, and the dolls turned off, two of the dolls moved. I literally jumped off my seat in the boat. That gave way to a full chapter in Disney After Dark.

D23: Were there any discoveries this time around that surprised you or impacted the trajectory of the story?
RP: I’m constantly surprised how characters that I write end up dictating to me things I don’t expect them to do or say. This may sound absurd, but it happens. My unexpected joy in the Inheritance series is bringing The Fairy Godmother (the marvelous FGM) to the forefront. She is funny, adorable, forgetful, and oh, so sweet. I’ve had so much fun getting to know her.

D23: What did you enjoy most about writing the new book? What was the biggest challenge?
RP: The biggest challenge is always “getting it right.” I hope I have and that readers enjoy the series. Now, what do I enjoy? Every single minute! I also had the pleasure of working with Editor-in-Chief of Disney Books, Kieran Viola, who, at every wrong turn, steered me back onto the page. Kieran, a writer herself, had such good instincts and intuition of where these books could be improved, the characters strengthened, and the plot made clearer.

D23: Readers of D23.com are the ultimate Disney fans. Are there any Easter eggs in the new book that they should keep an eye out for?
RP: Readers will see my vision of what 2040 will look like. I add in attractions that I hope are there in 2040—all fictional.

D23: Can you share any details about how this book will connect with the third book in the series?
RP: Book 3 is the finale not only to the Inheritance series, but likely to all the Kingdom Keepers books, so it connects in many, I hope, unexpected ways. I rarely get emotional when finishing a book. I always know how much more work there is to do to “get it right.” When I completed the first draft of Book 3, I cried. That says it all.

D23: Anything you can tease that is to come?
RP: We all know Vanessa (Ursula’s alter ego) is beautiful… but just wait until you meet her in Inheritance 3. You do not want to have this woman over for dinner! Nor, do you want to run into her on a beach–which is exactly what happens to Eli…


D23 Exclusive: Q&A With Kingdom Keepers Inheritance Author Ridley Pearson
D23 Exclusive: Q&A With Kingdom Keepers Inheritance Author Ridley Pearson

D23 Exclusive: Q&A With Kingdom Keepers Inheritance Author Ridley Pearson

Greg Gatelyhttp://TheFUNaticsBlog.com
Greg "The Blue Hair" Blogger. If you are traveling around the Central Florida area you wont miss his Blue Head walking around, probably taking images. Co-Owner, Photographer, Podcaster, All Around Nice Guy, and curator of the most fantastical Disney Blog. You can listen to Greg on The Live Podcast show every week, along with seeing him live on Funatics Diary with Sam's Disney Diary. Once an Audio Engineer and Tour Manager with bands like Felix Cavaliere's Rascals, Collin Raye, Dispatch, just to name a few. Having retired from touring Greg spends all his time bringing the World of Disney to you. With over 3000 Articles written, and countless Images taken, Greg still enjoys living this amazing lifestyle. Thank You for reading!

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