Title: The Key To The Kingdom
Publisher: Deep River Publishing
Grayson Hawkes learns how imaginative and elaborate Walt Disney World is when he accepts an invitation that lands him in a world he never knew existed. Suddenly unraveling a perplexing puzzle and trying to solve a mysterious disappearance . . . Hawkes navigates through the Magic Kingdom where the knowledge of seemingly unimportant Disney facts and some divine help may be the only way he can discover the answers and get back out.
Soon the lines between right and wrong begin to blur. Telling the difference between the real and unreal becomes nearly impossible. Loyalty to faith, family, and friends is stretched to the extreme in a pulse quickening adventure through a place where dreams really do come true. In this world, Disney trivia is no game...and the ancient key is the only way out.
1) How did this story come to you?
The origin of the story actually began with a love for the creations of Walt Disney and a fascination with the powerful way the Disney company tells a story. As a preacher and storyteller I have always been on a quest to tell stories in a way that not only connects with the hearer but also can change their lives. I had the opportunity to sit down with a Disney Imagineer and ask how we as a church could learn to tell the story we tell each week better. I can still remember the Disney stories I saw and read as a child. The ability to tell a story that becomes unforgettable is in many ways a lost art form. I get the chance each week to tell the Greatest Story Ever Told and I desire to tell the story in ways that people will never forget.
2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I had never written a novel before so I jotted down a notebook full of notes and ideas. Just like putting a puzzle together I began to sort through the pieces and started connecting them into a real storyline. I submitted a concept idea for the book through a manuscript submission group and was contacted by Deep River Publishing.
Once the contract was signed I took the rough copy of the story and began to tweak and fine tune it (or so I thought.) The most humbling moment came when the editors contacted me and told me that the story was way too long and I had to lose a significant number of pages. Working with the editor was fantastic because it really began to teach me how to craft a story that was not only readable but also how to bring characters to life and keep them moving at a pace the reader would enjoy. The end result is a page turning thriller and I am excited about the response people are having to the story.
3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
First, I am part of a group of people building a Christmas theme park for terminally ill children and their families. It is a place where parents will bring their children to experience one last Christmas. It is called Christmas Dreams... because some children just can't wait for Christmas.
Second, I wrote the bulk of the original storyline for The Key To The Kingdom while watching college football. There is just something exciting about the game and there were moments that I was listening to the game and I just could not type fast enough.
Third, I actually have been Goofy at Walt Disney World. Now don't misunderstand me, I don't mean I was acting silly while visiting Walt Disney World. I really was the character Goofy in the theme park. It was fantastic and the job of a lifetime.
4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I am working on a sequel to The Key To The Kingdom. The reaction to the adventure of Grayson Hawkes has been phenomenal and I immediately began receiving mail asking "what next?" I am excited about answering that question and I think that fans of this story will like the next installment a great deal.
5) Parting comments?
I am just thrilled and amazed that people are connecting to this story like they are. I have gotten e-mail from all over the world and people sending me stories, pictures, and questions about their family vacations to Disney World and allowing me to catch glimpses of their lives. For people to want to open up their world just a bit and allow me to be a part of it means more to me than words can express.
6) Where can fans find you on the internet?