By Catherine Kolonko
Biotech executive-turned-children's-author Douglas E. Richards enjoys writing about science fiction as much as he did reading it when he was the age of his literary audience.
A Carmel Valley resident and creator of the "Prometheus Project" trilogy, Richards is scheduled to appear at Comic-Con International in San Diego to talk about his books that feature the unusual adventures of a brother and sister of middle-school age who must battle an alien world to save themselves, their parents and all that they believe in. The 48-year-old author is among a group of guest writers invited to attend the annual event in San Diego that attracts lovers of comics, science fiction and fantasy worldwide.
"It's really exciting to be a part of that," Richards said in a recent interview from his Carmel Valley home. He considers it an awesome honor to be in the same group as Stan Lee, Ray Bradbury and other well-known artists who are slated to appear at Comic-Con 2010, which runs from July 22 - July 25.
Kids seem to enjoy the fast pace of the Prometheus Project series, "Trapped, Captured, and Stranded," written for ages 9 to 14, said Richards. He has heard from teachers and parents that the series is even popular among youth who typically don't favor the written word — educators call them reluctant readers. Teachers are desperate for books that boys will want to read and apparently what they like is the action and adventure of the Prometheus Project series, Richards said, noting that girls and even adults enjoy the stories too.
At the beginning of the series the two main characters, Regan and Ryan, are faced with an unhappy relocation from San Diego to Pennsylvania. The initial boredom they feel in their new town quickly dissipates when they encounter the first of many mysteries they must solve without their parents who are themselves in jeopardy.
"They are trapped in this underground city and they can't find their way out," Richards explained.
Richards' children were the same ages as his characters in the series when he first began writing but now they are teenagers. The characters are named after them but otherwise they have their own personalities, says Richards — A point he makes again later in the interview when his daughter enters the room and he tells her that he has already explained that Regan in the book is not his daughter Regan. She thanks him and moves on.
The author says an added advantage to his books is that he writes science fiction that actually uses science. But he doesn't like to talk too much about it. If you make too big a deal about it, it's akin to something that tastes good and is good for you — the kids might not like it, he said.
"I really strive to be accurate," Richards said "Somehow science teachers pick up on that."
Still, if there's some way...
"Whatever you do, don't tell kids that educators like it," Richards said half-jokingly. "Let's keep that a secret."