April 10, 2012

New York Times Bestselling Author – Appearance at Aljoya

Era Living News

Ridley Pearson: Appearance at Aljoya Thornton Place

Mystery writer, children’s book author and composer Ridley Pearson added mightily to the neighborly atmosphere of Aljoya Thornton Place during his April 10 appearance.  The New York Times best selling author kept his audience of 35 Aljoya neighbors enthralled with tales of his adventures on the road and in public appearances mixed in with stories of his disciplined work in writing and musical composition.

Pearson stopped off at Aljoya at the invitation of resident Dr. Alyn Duxbury (Dux), who served as consultant expert on Puget Sound tides for Ridley’s first novel, Undercurrents, a story that joined police investigator Lou Boldt and staff psychologist Daphne Matthews in their initial fictional partnership.  Undercurrentsis set in Seattle and a key to solving the murder is understanding the currents of Puget Sound and how a body would float in them.  Ridley asked around and found out that Alyn was the expert in such things.  The author and the scientist worked for several weeks together to map out the details of the crime for the book.  They have stayed in touch over the past 30 years.

“Dux straightened out my thinking on where a killer had to put a body in Puget Sound to get it to surface off Alki Point,” Pearson told his Aljoya listeners.  “Dr. Duxbury does know his currents.”

Several Aljoya residents are working on books or stories and asked questions that they thought might bring them good advice from a respected, successful author.  “The secret to an author’s success,” Pearson declared, “is steady, never-ending writing, which includes rewriting, integrating new ideas into a story, and revising language again and again.  Writing is a job that demands working everyday.  Writers need to be persistent and success comes from 90 percent hard work—writing and research, five-percent inspiration and five-percent luck,” the author said.

In addition, Pearson says, prospective authors have to become “gourmet readers,” savoring reading – especially in the genre in which you are trying to write.

Ridley also noted that authors need to have a beginning, middle and an end before they start to write so they don’t get lost in their own story.  Ridley re-writes his manuscript four to six times before it is ready for his editors and publication.  As Pearson left, some of Aljoya’s regular readers agreed that a big problem of too many books is that they have too much middle.

Ridley grew up in a busy household were he was the youngest of seven children.  He had an imaginative childhood filled with adventure and creativity.  His grandparents were storytellers and he was immersed in stories early.   He left college to become a musician and would perform at night and write in the daytime.

He and Dave Berry are authors of the Starcatcher series written for young people.  It is the prequel to Peter Pan and tells how the magic started.  The idea came from Ridley’s daughter who asked where Tinkerbell came from and how did Peter meet the pirates when Ridley was reading her the story of Peter Pan.  These stories are the basis of the play Peter and the Starcatcher.  The play, produced by Disney Theatrical has 12 actors playing 50 roles.

Ridley and Berry have a rock band, the Rock Bottom Remainders, which has raised $2.5 million for charities.  The band also includes authors Stephen King, Amy Tan, Scott Turlow, Mitch Albom and others.  The band, which has been playing for 20 years, will have its final performance this summer.  Ridley has written about 350 songs.