A boy’s journey to save his parents | Daily News
[RYAN TO THE MOON]

A boy’s journey to save his parents

Ryan to the Moon will be launched on March 24 at 4pm at the Park Street Mews (Checkerboard) where Eranda will read his favourite chapter and sign copies which will be available for purchase.

 

I was walking with my wife and then two year old son along the deserted neighbourhood lanes on a warm Sunday afternoon. It was one of those days when you could see the pale white moon floating against the clear blue sky. That was three years ago but I still remember how my son lifted his head up and pointed his tiny fingers at the moon.

In his baby words I thought he said “Give me”. I smiled with my wife and said “Son, I can give you anything, but not the moon...” That’s when I got the idea. What if a little boy wanted to go to the moon! By the time we returned home it was dark, the moon was higher and I had the entire story laid out in my mind.

Ryan to the Moon is a fantasy tale written for children aged six to eight. It is a story of a young boy and his adventures through the magic forest with his friends Tim and Jack, as they journey to the moon to rescue Ryan’s parents from the evil Dragon. It took me only a week or so to type the script. But it took over three years to find somebody who could illustrate the characters and scenes to suit my imagination. The book is scattered with beautiful and imaginative illustrations drawn by the talented artist and designer Ruwangi Amarasinghe. The long three year wait was worth it.

Having being selected by M.D. Gunasena, the unmistakable brand that taught the nation to read to publish my first book is still unreal to me. I remember the numerous times that my father took me to their bookshop in Pettah where I spent hours and hours discovering treasures buried under piles of books or hidden behind the racks. I usually win at least 10 prizes at the annual prize giving of my school, Prince of Wales’ College. The prizes were M.D. Gunasena vouchers. By the time I left school, I had a small library in my room.

Many of my friends are surprised to hear that I wrote a children’s story book. Even I’m surprised. I always thought I’ll continue Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey. But all I have written is about dozen short science fictions which are collecting digital dust inside a hard drive. Big books with big ideas never made it beyond the third chapter. But I have surprised myself, again.

It was no easy task writing a children’s storybook. You have to think like a six year old, use simple language and short sentences that rhyme too often. You have to build characters they can relate to, add just the right suspense to keep them interested. Most importantly, teach a moral lesson for their life. Ryan to the Moon is about an ordinary boy doing something extraordinary.

I didn’t want to create another modern cartoon hero with special powers because I think there are plenty of them around these days. I wanted to write a good-old fairy tale with a touch of modern fantasy. If you get a chance to read my book, you will see that I have indeed blended science into the fantasy in a more child friendly manner. The many Russian translations which I read as a child must have influenced the humanized characters in the story. Perhaps it’s a book for young and old. But one thing is for sure, when you read it out to kids, they listen to you with open mouths. I’ve seen it happen. “I just want children to read my book. That’s it”.


 

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