Renowned sci-fi novelist Orson Scott Card, who was born in Richland, is perhaps best known for his novel, Ender's Game.
And now that story is being made into a movie and scheduled for release in 2013. It stars Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin and Ben Kingsley.
His latest bestseller, Ruins, was released Oct. 30 and is available in bookstores. But theater, not writing, was Card's first love.
"Writing came in by the back door," Card told the Herald via a recent email. "When I was directing plays whose scripts were not very good, I started fixing the problems until they worked on the stage."
Those rewrites led to adapting historical and scriptural stories into original plays.
"At that point, my mentors were Shakespeare and Shaw," said Card, who now lives in North Carolina. "I devoured their writings and set my hand to learning the forms they worked in."
Card was born in Richland when his father and uncle were working at Hanford. Soon after his birth, the Cards moved to San Mateo, Calif., then Santa Clara. His aunt and uncle, Sherm and Delpha Park, stayed in Benton City where they grew grapes and fruit trees and raised seven children.
"Delpha is my father's sister, and Sherm was my mother's brother," Card said. "Our favorite summer vacation was to drive up to Benton City from Santa Clara and spend a few weeks on the farm.
"I have fond memories of many places in Benton City, Richland and Walla Walla."
After Sherm died, most of the farm was sold, but Delpha and several of Card's cousins still live on a portion of the Benton City property, he added.
"Benton City remains a kind of Mecca for much of my family," Card said.
Card, 61, said he has been a voracious reader since he was a child. He developed into a prolific writer, but not because he is full of boundless energy or overly hard-working.
"I'm one of the laziest people I know," he said. "There are two reasons it looks like I work hard: I write quickly, which is essential to creating the oral style that I find most effective, and I haven't died yet, which means year after year there's more published work to add to my shelf in the bookstore."
Some readers and critics label the action-packed Ender's Game as graphic and a bit gruesome, but Card disagrees.
"Ender's Game is not graphic at all," he said. "I barely describe anything in my fiction, and I certainly give no gruesome descriptions of anything. The vividness of some scenes in the book comes entirely from the imagination of the reader, which is a sign that the story is working well.
"The more emotionally involved in the story a reader becomes, the more vividly the reader imagines the scenes in the tale."
Once he released the book to producers, he learned how difficult it was for filmmakers to understand how Ender's Game worked. He was not involved in writing the screenplay for Ender's Game.
"Gavin Hood, the director of the film, is the sole writer of the screenplay, without any input whatsoever from me," Card said. "The filming of the live-action scenes was completed last spring; now, the computer graphics people are working their magic. It will be interesting to see how well they translate the story to the screen."
But even though Card might be a bit disappointed in how Hollywood interprets his book in film, he had no complaints about how it was cast.
"Harrison Ford is a terrific actor and his contribution to the film extends far beyond his own excellent performance," he said. "I'm grateful he's in the (lead) role of Colonel Graff."
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org