Interview with Ridley Pearson
RP: I’m first and always a storyteller. I love having multiple projects underway simultaneously as it keeps me fresh and wanting to get back to characters I love.
BAM: It is fascinating that through your research you were put on an FBI task force to help find the Washington DC sniper – did that experience help inspire your writing afterwards?
RP: For years (a decade or more) I had been interviewing and borrowing from law enforcement officers to build my story(s). When I realized I had come across some technology the FBI might have overlooked, I contacted a chief of police I knew with ties to the FBI and sure enough, my prior research looked promising to them. Today, this is still used in investigations, although my suggestion did not help directly with the sniper case. It was just an honor to be sending my crazy ideas to the task force through my connection for nearly 2 weeks. Terrific experience for me.
BAM: Lock and Key: The Initiation is an origin story for Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty. What inspired you to write about these two classic literary characters?
RP: The setup came at the suggestion of David Linker, an editor I admire and a man I’d known from my work with Disney Publishing. David knew I enjoyed collaboration (with the right minds!) and we played tug-o-war with character and story until a truly exciting narrative surfaced.
BAM: Reading Lock and Key: The Initiation makes me picture the story as a movie or TV show – when you have an idea like this, do you write the stories in anticipation that it will be on TV or on the big screen?
RP: Not at all! I do, however, have a particularly visual approach to writing. Since today would have been my mother’s 95th birthday, I will credit her work in fine art of nearly 8 decades. She taught me to keep my eyes open.
BAM [Samantha Boettner/Rebecca Seymour]: What/Who is your biggest/greatest inspiration, and why?
RP: At this point in my career, my inspiration comes from readers and the story and characters in the story. I get so excited, so involved in the writing of a book like Lock & Key: The Initiation! I live inside these characters, I share their adventures. I want so badly to take readers on a “wild ride” and have them forget the clock, forget everything and just enjoy what I hope is a good read. It’s an endless challenge.
BAM [Joel Schwan]: Where do your best ideas come from the most?
RP: Observation. I have a creative mind so that when I see something, hear something, overhear a conversation, read a news article, in minutes I’ve jotted down the basis for an entire novel. I’m blessed.
Before James grew up to be a ruthless, remorseless villain, he was a curious boy from Boston, with a penchant for trouble and an acid tongue. Thrown into a boarding school against his wishes, James winds up rooming with a most unlikely companion: a lanky British know-it-all named Sherlock Holmes (Lock to his friends). An heirloom Bible, donated by the Moriarty family more than a hundred years ago, has gone missing, and it doesn t take long for the two to find themselves embroiled in the school-wide scandal.
The school is on lockdown until it s found, strange clues keep finding their way to James, and a secret society lurks behind it all. It s a brave new reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes series as only master of suspense Ridley Pearson could envision. As Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, says, “This tale will change the way you see Sherlock Holmes and leave you dying to know more.”
BAM [Jeremy Simpson]: Ridley, first of all thank you for the Kingdom Keepers series! It’s fantastic! Lock and Key: The Initiation is a take on Sherlock Holmes. What was your influence to write a different take on Sherlock? Was it a re-read of the original stores or was is something more recent such as the BCC series Sherlock or movies or American retellings?
RP: I LOVE WRITING THE KINGDOM KEEPERS! Thanks for mentioning that series!
Sherlock Holmes has been written about, imitated (occasionally well!) and filmed. I became interested in writing (grown-up) crime novels in large part from reading the Sherlock short stories and becoming interested in forensics — this is back when crime writers weren’t interested in forensics, believe it or not! I credit Conan Doyle with my start in crime writing.
BAM [Ellorah J. James]: You’ve come so far having your books published and take off. There must have been moments when you doubted yourself. What did you do to get past them or keep moving when you felt very low and unsure of you career?
RP: I doubt myself every day. I think most writers do. It’s part of the process. It’s in part what keeps you trying to write better each day, each book. If you were ever completely satisfied, I think you might just move on to something else. So you persevere. My bandmate, Stephen King, says successful writing is 5% talent, 5% luck, and 90% perseverance. You hit walls, reviews, dead-ends, editors, trends, and you wake up in the morning and keep going. You write for the joy of writing. It’s the best job in the world. I never—never—take this opportunity for granted. I try to earn it every day I’m in the chair.