Tell us what Kingdom Keepers VI: Dark Passage is about.
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Aboard the Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural passage through the new Panama Canal, the Keepers and their holograms uncover a puzzle hidden within the pages of a stolen journal. The point of that puzzle will reveal itself in the caves of Aruba, the zip lines of Costa Rica, and the jungles of Mexico. A destructive force, dormant for decades, is about to be unleashed. The five Kingdom Keepers are to be its first victims.
Tell us briefly about your path to publication: Traditional or independent? Recently or further in the past?
I am the author of 15 or so novels for young readers. It all began with 2 events. The first: While reading Peter Pan to my daughter one night, she asked me, "How did Peter meet Captain Hook in the first place?" That led to partnering with Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, Dave Barry, and the Peter and the Starcatchers series. The second: While leaving Disney's Magic Kingdom one night, I imagined a world of trouble between the Disney characters while we all slept. My background was crime fiction--I have published around 30 suspense novels--and so I tried to bring the excitement and adrenaline of a crime novel to younger readers.
What top factors do you believe put your e-book where it is now?
The Kingdom Keepers series, about five teenagers who get inside the Disney parks after dark, has steadily grown in readership. We were lucky enough with the sixth book to have an audience ready and eager to snap it up. Through social media--our website, several Twitter accounts, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr--we got the word out early and readers of ebooks pre-ordered Kingdom Keepers VI:Dark Passage, and I'm guessing those pre-orders are what made this a strong selling on the best seller list.
How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.
(See above) In addition to the social media Disney has a major publicity marketing plan underway, most of which did not/does not kick in until this week. Some of it, like a Disney 365 on the Disney Channel won't begin for another few days. So all-in-all it feels like social media, word of mouth, and the momentum of the series are responsible.
What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?
I'm a tech oriented author. I embrace e-books, but am now cautious and concerned about the copyright violations being supported by some of the biggest companies. I hope and trust the day will not arrive when we authors must reserve e-book rights in order to protect our interests! That would be such a shame. Meanwhile, I'm doing some groundbreaking work with Coliloquy and Disney to launch the Kingdom Keeper Insider app that is allowing readers (older and young alike) to help me write the 7th and final book in real time. What an exciting project!
Is your book available in print format?
Kingdom Keepers VI: Dark Passage is a print book available in e-book format.
How do you see the world of e-publishing for children within the next 5 years?
I think e-book format will make steady gains in publishing in the coming decade. It would be a shame to lose the tactile experience of paper books for young readers.
Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts you as an author? How?
E-book format -- as long as it protects copyright, which right now is in danger of being circumvented by libraries and others -- is a terrific way to meet the needs of travelers, people in need of large print, and those of us too busy to lug big books around with us. I use e-books all the time, and even use e-pub to go green and read my own early drafts without using paper.
Ridley has plenty of ways for you to learn more about him and his books: his website, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and the Kingdom Keepers website. He also has a free Kingdom Keepers app available.
And don't forget to check the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten authors!