Name Ryan Uytdewilligen
Where are you from
I was born in Lethbridge Alberta and raised on the family farm. My mother absolutely loved movies so at a young age I got a heavy dose of film education. My Father loved the outdoors so we’d go camping and hiking. I am an only child but I was lucky to have those two pass on their interests to form my writing and entertainment tastes.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Writing! Always writing! My second book, a fiction novel called Tractor was released one month ago and I continue to press on to write more.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As an only child I did have a wild imagination to keep me company. I wrote adaptations of my favorite movies like Star Wars. I even planned to open my own bookstore as a kid and sell only my books. I always wrote in some capacity through school, secretly enjoying essays and literature class.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It’s hard to admit being a writer, especially when you haven’t gotten anything out into the world. Luckily I worked as a copywriter for a couple radio stations and the actual title of that job was creative writer. So Technically I always officially was. Since I left that job to pursue novel and script writing, I’ve always had something written so why not call me what I am?
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was and remain to be a super big film fan! This book called 101 Most Influential Coming of Age Movies describes what it’s like to grow up in each decade and what movies captured each little era. It was like a time machine writing the thing, going back and watching old films. I love that world and I love the coming of age genre… anything John Hughes is my favorite!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Write what you’d know I’d say. I wrote the movie book because I do have a massive memory and interest for the subject. My novel Tractor explored leaving a small town and growing up on a farm when you’re not really that interested. So whatever I write there’s a little piece of me in it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The movie book title is pretty self explanatory but Tractor seemed like just a simple yet odd say to introduce people to the novel. You don’t really know what it’s going to be about yet it sums the whole story up!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Of course! Life is a journey and you got to explore it. Get out and find what you love! It’s okay to feel stuck and alone and confused about who you are. But you just gotta try and find your passion.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I grew up in an agricultural town not wanting to pursue agriculture. Isn’t it funny that’s mostly what I write about now? Tractor has so much of me in it. My thoughts on life, religion, travel, girls, and future. It was refreshing to get it all out there.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
This is always tough to answer. I love Jack Kerouac books – especially the freewheeling style of On the Road (which inspired Tractor in a way). My favorite book is Catcher in the Rye which is probably the best coming of age piece of work ever made. I grew up on Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings… now I read a lot of classic stuff. I’d have to stay film has influenced me more when it comes to storytelling. John Hughes and Cameron Crowe would take the cake for writing and style!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
New Authors… that’s tough because sadly I don’t read a lot of new material. I’m heavy into classics so unfortunately new authors are a bit lost on me – but I know there is a ton of good work out there! My favorite has got to be JD Salinger – such a mysterious man that got to the route of the young mail psyche.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Film school really kept me going because it showed me there were people in the writing industry that have gotten work out there. They cheered you on and sort of showed you the ropes.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Oh of course! I’m trying but it’s tough. I’ve optioned a few scripts now and am starting on a new novel. Those always a project to do, they key is getting into the right hands. It’s a tough world but I’m young – I think if I keep pursuing I can carve out a life in the writing world.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There are spelling mistakes… but it happens. You know, I said what I wanted to say and I’m proud of what came of it. So no, I wouldn’t change it!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Watching movies and TV with my Mom and trying to write down what I saw. I would write fake episodes for shows like Friends. I don’t know when it dawned on me that this was more than just a hobby but I’d say I was five or six.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I bounce around from screenwriting to fiction. I am in the midst of writing a sci-fi coming of age script (a genre I have never tackled). I am also writing a novel called Akela which focuses on a turtle as the protagonist… so that should be interesting!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time of course! But getting feedback can be challenging. You should always give your writing to people to review and give notes but many people aren’t honest. You got to find select great people whose opinion you trust. The people you know will read it and want to help make it better. And of course spelling mistakes are pesky!!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No so much. I recently did a speaking engagement in Oklahoma regarding writing so I made a nice road trip through the USA out of that. It’s funny, I set my novel there but I had never been to Oklahoma. I based what I saw in movies and read in other books as the description and feel. After going there I think I managed to get it right!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My aunt Patti actually does great work so she graciously designed the one for Tractor! I love it and I thank her so very much for her hard talented work!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Powering through, even when you lost a little faith and doubted why you were writing the thing in the first place. You just gotta keep writing. Make a habit out of it. It took me 5 months but I managed to get through those struggles.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
It’s very time consuming! I learned that writing and especially editing takes up a lot of your time! You have to really set aside allotted time to get it done.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Oh boy… that’s tough! The lead in the novel is a young teenage male… They’d have to have a rugged quality to them but be quiet and shy as well… I’d have to say Colin Ford maybe… he was in We Bought a Zoo.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write. Find time to write. And don’t just write one thing, explore and do as much as you can in other genres and mediums. Commercials, blogging, scripts, kids books, novels, nonfiction – there’s so much opportunity and you widen doors when you try all of them out!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope the book resonates with you and helps comfort you as you graduate high school or college. Check out 101 Most Influential Coming of Age Movies too if you like that kind of style. May it act as a fun movie matching guide! And please buy by next book once it’s done!!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Bruce Springsteen’s biography! Love that guy! I read a lot of biographies, especially rock ones. Their lives are just so off the wall crazy.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Oh boy… I have memories of my Mom reading Dr. Seuss to me and that classic tearjerker I’ll Love your Forever. On my own though, Harry Potter for some reason sticks out.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Parody and topical humor! I’m a big fan of SNL and eighties comedies. Cry… eighties romantic comedies. Yep… I’m not ashamed to admit it!
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Cameron Crowe lives the life I’ve always wanted. That guy worked as a rock journalist in the seventies, wrote novels in the eighties, and directed his own films ever since. He’s done so many cool things! The conversations we could have!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
My last name. It’s so long I don’t think anything else would fit on there! I love the word creative… so if that was stuck on there somewhere. Anytime someone says “you’re very creative” I just gush. There’s no better compliment.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I walk everyday and think about writing! I love camping and hiking and fishing and of course going on trips to exotic new lands. Hobby wise I honestly use all my free time to write. My favorite place to be in a pub back home in my small town with my best friends.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Forest Gump, The Graduate, and Almost Famous are my favorite movies. TV’s shows I like older sitcoms. SNL, Cheers, Taxi are always great. I’m a sucker for How I Met Your Mother and The Office though.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite food is Mexican (Tacos), Color is green (always has been always will be), and music… I love classic rock. Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, The Eagles, John Mellencamp, The Who, The Stones – all the good stuff!
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I have a broadcasting background and still enjoy that world. If not, perhaps an English or film teacher!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Sadly no but I’ll give you the book’s twitter page!