Kiesa Kay
Special to The Gardner News
On Ryan Beane’s 16th birthday, a lifelong dream came true. He received a letter from Mirador Publishing saying that the company wanted to publish his first novel, Injured Umbrella.
“It was the greatest birthday present ever,” Ryan said.
The publisher hadn’t realized that Beane was a minor, so his parents had to step in to help with negotiations and signing a legal contract, but Beane, a sophomore at Gardner Edgerton High School, led the way all the way. Now his book has come available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.com. The title has metaphoric resonance for Beane.
“Umbrellas are supposed to protect us from the storms but what if our personal umbrella was deformed, injured, weakened by society?” he said. “Would it still be able to protect us from the rain?”
As a writer, Beane chooses words with care. For his book title, he chose the word injured, not broken.
“Something injured can be fixed,” he said.
He wrote Injured Umbrella in first person from the perspective of Apollo Murray, a nine-year-old boy who finds a jagged, bloody hole in a hedge, and gets shrugged off by adults when he tries to discover what’s happening. A mysterious friend appears in the mansion where he lives, warning him of monsters.
“This new friendship forces Apollo to uncover twisted secrets about society that prove to be even darker than his imagination,” Beane said on his book jacket. He set the book in the 1800s in Mississippi.
“The town remains unnamed, and it’s a small thing, but of big importance,” he said. “Small stories can have a big impact.”
He enjoys coming up with new ideas and crafting fiction from them. He’s already beginning work on his next novel.
“When I’m writing something, I try to make it as fresh as possible,” Beane says.”Before I even write, I look it up to make sure hasn’t been done before. Here’s the good part: An idea isn’t the whole story. It’s only a fraction of the story. Characters and motivations make it different.”
Beane was born and raised in Gardner, in a supportive family that includes his father, Mike; his mother, Sara; and his brother, Patrick. A teacher in Gardner, Robbie Smith, helped develop his talent when she taught him in second and fourth grade. He also has learned a great deal from his mother, a media relations specialist with a background in reporting. Ryan takes a spontaneous, free-flowing approach to his work, allowing ideas to unfold and interweave until a story begins to take shape on the page.
“I start with a very general idea on my first draft, and write and see where it will take me,” he said.
Beane has created several youtube videos and can be followed on Twitter at RyanBeane_03. Once venues open again, he will explore doing readings at libraries and area bookstores. Getting his novel published has reinforced his belief in dreaming big and never giving up.
“As long as you keep with it and hold out hope, any dream is possible,” Beane said