From the Orlando Sentinel....
In the mind of Ridley Pearson, Disney villains have plans to take over the world, "it's a small world" dolls are their henchmen, there's a jail beneath Pirates of the Caribbean and mysteries are solved by kids who turn into holograms after the theme parks close.
When Pearson transfers those thoughts to the printed page, the result is one of his "Kingdom Keepers" books, a fantasy-adventure novel for young people. His next book, "Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play," will be released Tuesday, and he will attend book signings at Disney World locations on Monday and Tuesday.
"Power Play" is the midpoint of his seven-book "Kingdom" series.
"The middle act is always about getting to know the characters better and complicating the story," Pearson said last week.
The lead characters are kids who were selected as models for hologram guides seen in Disney parks. The glitch: When these kids go to sleep, they wake up as those holograms. Here they vie against the Overtakers, a collection of Disney villains, including Maleficent, Frollo and Chernablog from "Fantasia." The bad guys want to take over the parks and beyond.
"Book four is really a study in control and power, and it all stems from the Overtakers coming up with this ability to now become holograms themselves," Pearson said.
The books spotlight real places and attractions on Disney property.
Disney fans are known for attention to detail, but Pearson says he receives few corrections or contradictions from readers.
"Power Play" begins at DisneyQuest, a gaming center at Downtown Disney. It's all done with the company's cooperation and blessing: The books are published by Disney Hyperion, the publishing arm of Walt Disney Co.
His status allows him access to behind-the-scenes locations — including little-seen parts of Disney Cruise Line ships, where the fifth book will be set when it publishes next year.
"I've been in the engine room, I've been all through the security stuff, all through the galleys — every galley there is — the hidden little back elevators and room and corridors and on and on and on and on," Pearson said.
"It's really simply been incredible the access they've given me, but it's going to make a much better book," he said. "They were brilliant to do it."
Pearson said the most rewarding books are the ones he writes for kids.
"They don't care about me, they don't care about the film rights or attorneys or any of that. They care about the story, and I love that about them," he said.
Pearson writes 11 hours a day, he said.
"It's an abundance of blessings, but I sort of painted myself into a corner that I'm happy not to get out of," he said. "But the result is that I'm working like a dog right now."
If you go
•What: Author Ridley Pearson will tout his new young-adult book, "Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play," at book signings at Walt Disney World on Monday and Tuesday.
•When: 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday at Once Upon at Toy at Downtown Disney; 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday at the Writer's Shop inside Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.
•Cost: No charge at Downtown Disney; regular park admission applies to the Studios appearance.