He’s No Angel – Ryan’s third novel, is available now wherever books are sold!!!!
Ryan Uytdewilligen the author here.
A lot has happened in the years since I decided to become an author.
In 2016, I published both my first fiction novel and first non-fiction novel – Tractor and 101 Most Influential Coming of Age Movies.
Since then, I’ve penned the Will Rogers Medallion winning novella The Cattle Driver, the anthropomorphic sea turtle adventure Akela, a hometown history book about Lethbridge aptly titled The History of Lethbridge, and a Hollywood urban legend called Killing John Wayne. Along the way there’s been a few thousand newspaper articles, blogs, columns, sketch comedy, short fiction, stand-up, and some hard-hitting community journalism about new red pandas falling in love at the Vancouver Zoo.
Now, comes my seventh book and third fiction novel, He’s No Angel.
I’m very proud of how I’ve grown as an author over the past five years and improved in my writing skills – each book seems to get better and better.
He’s No Angel is by far my most engaging tale and perhaps even my most personal story to date.
Charlie Fritz is a Hollywood talent agent hanging onto his career by a thread. After embarrassing himself at a movie screening, he’s in need of a comeback and a superstar client. Luckily, success comes his way in the form of his presumed-to-be dead father.
When Bernie Fritz mysteriously arrives in the middle of Los Angeles by taxi, it’s evident he doesn’t remember anything about his prior life, but the white-robe-wearing man does have a cryptic message from the afterlife to share with anyone who will listen.
Is he an angel from above or someone who’s simply lost their memory?
When Bernie’s message goes viral and creates a social media sensation, Charlie seizes the opportunity to become his dad’s agent. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to finally connect and find a little meaning in their lives—even if for one of them, life is technically over.
Behind the Book
I wrote the book back in 2018, though COVID-19 and the very molasses-like world of publishing slowed the process down.
I had the idea after going for a few walks in the summer of 2017 – it had been five years since my father had passed away.
I wondered what it would be like, while on that walk, if I ran into him. The questions I’d ask. The story that would be. Then I wondered, “what if I ran into my dad who has been dead for five years and he didn’t remember me or anything about his previous life.”
Finally, I thought in all likelihood he would be an angel if that were the case, and he probably would be back because he had a message to share. Thus the story was born and my mind went wild from there!
I’ve always been obsessed with Hollywood and movie-making. Being set in modern times, this book gave me the chance to satirize Hollywood, fame, and even social media. It was a blast coming up with my own movies and production companies. It really colored the world and I allowed myself to be as “out there” and goofy as possible.
I think the end result is truly something special.
Before the book was complete, my dear friend Ted Andrew took a look and gave me some feedback. He enjoyed it and encouraged me to keep writing. A few months later, he passed away from cancer.
The book deals with loss and grief and getting that chance to reconnect with that parent or that person you lost way too early. What would you say? What would you want to know? How would this change how we live our lives?
Ted wouldn’t get to see the finished product, but he helped shape it into what it became. I even named a character after him, though the narcissistic newscaster who bears the same name has none of the same qualities as kind and sweet Ted.
Thus, the book is dedicated to my friend. The first page reads “To Ted, an angel too soon but a friend forever.”
The book is being published by BHC Press, the same fine folks who put out my previous novel Akela. I can’t express to you how much I love the cover and can’t stop staring at it. I hope you feel the same way.
So, if you read He’s No Angel, officially available wherever books are sold on July 26th, I believe you will laugh, cry, and maybe even guffaw and snort laugh a couple of times? It’s wholeheartedly original and I’m over-the-moon proud of it.
Thank you to all of my friends and family (especially Mariana, Uncle Mike, and Analog Books) for supporting me and reading drafts and encouraging me to keep writing.
If you do want to keep in touch, find out what’s new, or see what other books and projects I’ve written, please visit my website ryanuytdewilligenauthor.com, or on Facebook at RyanUytdewilligenAuthor and Twitter @R_Uytdewilligen
There’s lots more writings to come like a charming children’s picture book and more things about movies, but for now, pick up He’s No Angel in soft, ebook, or hardcover at your local independent bookstore or wherever you purchase your fine reading material.
Thank you for your support!
Inspirations Behind He’s No Angel
A few movies played a role in inspiring me to write He’s No Angel and helping with how one can be playful and creative with the afterlife.
In my book, there’s Red Lobsters on every cloud, departed celebrities hosting rambunctious parties, and comfy robes that inspired the Snuggy… well, at least according to recently-returned-from-the-dead Bernie Fritz.
If you liked the book and want to see more things like it or wonder what kind of tone my absurdist comedy is, then read on!
Oh, God! (1977)
A strange low-key comedy where George Burns plays the big man himself and country music star John Denver plays a grocery store manager tapped to be his messenger. The comedy comes from Denver’s confusion and resistance, but what’s charming, beyond Burns’ characterization of God, is that the story is about a simple man in a simple job living a simple life. No time for special effects, cinema tricks and twists, or even sappy story lines.
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
I’m a sucker for this sweet comedy where Warren Beatty plays a football player who dies at the incorrect time and is stuck in the body of a millionaire while something else can be arranged. Half sports drama and half romance, what sticks out is the straitlaced afterlife sequences with James Mason and Buck Henry trying to solve a problem… proving they might not have it all figured out up their either.
A Guy Named Joe (1943)/Always (1989)
Either version you watch – though, I’m a sucker for the Spielberg one because Holly Hunter is a huge crush of mine – you can’t help but shed a tear for the mushy romance. After the untimely death of a pilot, he returns as a spirit to help the great love of his life move on with a new man. It’s overly sweet, but the themes of letting go of the ones we lost is used in my own book to quite a large extent.
Defending Your Life (1991)
Albert Brooks can do no wrong. Here, he has fun with the possible bureaucracy of heaven by having to go to meetings and eventually make a case of why he deserves to make it to the “next stage of existence.” A sweet and extremely clever way at looking at why we might think when we look back at our lives and make good on our mistakes – the movie is a true underrated comedy.
Rain Man (1988)
The odd man out – yes – but hear me out, here. The movie was nicknamed by it’s cast and crew as “two shmucks in a car,” which is essentially what my book turns out to be as well. You have one character who is vein, money-driven, and has a short temper while the other is developmentally delayed and uncertain of their surroundings. In the end, these two characters and my two characters bond through their experience. The perfect setup!