Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Talking With Author, Trekkie and Friend Ruby Moon-Houldson!

Ruby, thanks so much for being my guest spotlight author! I hope you don't mind that, at least today, I've used my favorite photo of you when you were a child! It reminds me of our working together through the More Than Angels Series. I'll be changing it as time goes by!

Right off, I'd like to ask some questions that I know will be of interest to your readers. Ruby, when did you start writing?

Thanks, Glenda, for your welcome and for spotlighting me. I feel like I've been writing all my life, but, it was in high school – grade 9. It wasn’t until my junior year that I wrote my first tiny short story that caught my teacher’s attention. She took me under her wing so to speak and guided me in writing my first Star Trek book.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
About 12 years ago

You know, that's really not very long, considering the number of books you've already written. And, if I remember correctly, it was just last year that you were awarded your doctorate! I admire you so much! Tell me, Where do your ideas and subjects come from?

Thanks again, Glenda. My ideas come from what’s forming in my head—I imagine how people or imaginary beings could act or be different. I see real life situations and then incorporate them into a book (Ex: GPS systems in cars, ID chip, etc.). For instance, I have written a nursing guide book and a parent’s guide book related to Internet Chat. Ideas come from dreams. I listen to the news. I visit places of interest.

Did writing come natural to you or is it something that you had/have to work on?

It comes natural for I have a great imagination and a head full of ideas.

Does your writing come from your life or from other people?
Some of it comes from my life experiences (I have written health related books, a parenting book), and some comes from dreams or just random thoughts.

Did you go to school for writing?
No. But I have taken English Comp classes and Writing classes while pursuing my Masters and PhD degree. I now teach an “Intro to Fiction Writing” workshop.

Have you always had the desire to write?
No. My first love has been teaching (I am a college professor. I teach psychology, sociology, and nursing. I’ve earned my PhD in Psychology).

What made you want to be a writer?

I had so many stories in my head that I had to find a way to get them out. I set the stories to paper, people read them, liked them, and then one thing led to another with the stories becoming books. I wished to share my tales with others. Also, I write for Roddenberry and for PlanetXpo (an entertainment company in CA). They always give me great writing challenges.

Did you ever think that your writing would get you to where you are today?
No. I travel across the United States for book signings and for guest appearances. I’ve been to Hollywood, CA several times and have met so many famous and wonderful people. Meeting my hero (from childhood and including to the present time) has been one of the greatest, most magical things to ever happen to me. My hero is Leonard Nimoy.

Ahhh, yes, Mr. Nimoy! It was he that brought you and me together when I first raised the question about your character in a book. And we both announced we were Star Trek fans, of course, you much more than I, in reality! So, Ruby, who were the people or person that inspired you to write?
My English teacher in high school; a good friend of mine, Leonard Nimoy (Spock on Star Trek); and DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy on Star Trek).

How many different drafts of a manuscript do you go through before you publish?
10+ It seems to never be truly as perfect as I want it to be, but there needs to be a stopping point to self editing. Give it up when you thinks it’s the best you can make it and send it on.

Ruby, I'm thrilled to have you say that, especially as more and more writers decide to self-publish. It is so important that writers spend the time to first write their book...and then spend time editing and proofreading! From a reader's standpoint, nothing provokes me more than being stopped in the middle of a sentence to figure out what is being said because there are either editing or proofreading issues that disrupt the flow!

I already know the answer to this question, but am going to ask it for other readers. What has been your favorite story/subject that you have written about and why?

Of course, you know! My favorite is known as the “More Than Angels” series. It has a lot of my own life incorporated into it as well as my hero’s. I can identify with the main female character, Thia. This book has received rave reviews, high recognition, and awards.

And the honors are well deserved!

A second favorite book series I’ve written is the ‘GUARDIAN’ series (a vampire/romance series). It has been well accepted all across the United States (over 5 million readers) and the first book has even been translated into an India language--Tamil. The film company, SONY, provided picture stills for the 6th book, etc. S. King, a New York Book Reviewer reviewed the series and gave a favorable report. The ‘Guardian’ series has been a great selling series that has caused me to receive over 800 e-mails a day with people commenting about the story and the characters. I like to write this series because I can do just about anything I want to with the characters, and I have become attached to the characters seeing that I have written so many books about them. I have watched the characters grow and develop. The Guardian series now has its own music soundtrack CD called “Night Sins.”

And, readers, I have just been asked to review this series! How cool is that! Look for my reviews in the near future! Ruby, I know you have a family and busy work life--What kind of environment do you prefer when you’re writing?
My bedroom is useful with inspirational music playing. I also like to ride around in the car (with music on). I get a lot of ideas that way, too. I now have my own building created especially for me. It’s very quiet.

Wow, a special building--you'll have to tell us more about that sometime soon! But, now, for our readers, What tips do you have for aspiring writers?
Take plenty of English grammar and comp classes. Have someone look over your work and edit it. Start in as soon as possible at finding an agent because it takes a lot of time. I have an agent in New York.

Ruby, what is your favorite part and least favorite part about being a writer?
My favorite part is the travel, getting to meet interesting people (and famous people), and also seeing the finished work in my hands. The least favorite part is delving through all the research that is involved.

Where do you see yourself and your writing in 10 years?
I’ll probably be on book number 50 (I’m on book 35 now), and still be traveling across the US conducting book signings.

And I'll still love reading your books, I am sure! Who knows what futuristic sci-fi you'll get into next! But, tell me, do you ever get stuck in writing, that is, writer's block?

No, fortunately, I have never had writer’s block yet. I may "worry" over a certain part of a story, but that is more editing issues.

You mentioned research earlier as being your least favorite part of writing, and yet I know that it is a very important part. How do you become knowledgeable about the topic you want to write about?

I look for information online. I conduct interviews. I tag along with people and watch them at work. I go to libraries and look up information. I travel to places I am going to write about and I look at the area with my own eyes (I’ve been to England – Stonehenge, California, Nevada, Canada, etc.)

Has your storyline/subject ever changed direction after you have begun writing it?

Yes, many times. I first create an outline of the story. I then begin to write it. As I write, I may add things or even decide to take parts away and not include certain scenes into the story at all. Sometimes the characters take over and I allow them the opportunity to do so—up to a point.


Have you ever wanted to quit? What did you do when that thought struck you?
Yes. I then panicked because I still have stories in my head that need to be told, and I have stories outlined on paper that need to be made into the final book form. I really need to run out of stories so that I can finally rest – but I don’t know when that will be.
Well, I hope you don't mind my saying that I hope it will be a long time from now...as long as you stop to "smell the roses" in life as well...So, What are you working on now?

It seems like we say "stop and smell the roses" to each other a lot, friend!

I am working on the 10th book of the ‘GUARDIAN’ series. I am also working on ‘More Than Angels: Once Upon a Dream’ (3rd in the series). I have been working on a book titled ‘Home Sweet Homeless’ (which much of my research was conducted by watching homeless people and by my traveling to Biloxi, Mississippi and New Orleans for two weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit). I am working on another Star Trek reference book.

What projects do you have for the future?
Possibly more “GUARDIAN” series books (only a thought at the moment), a child’s book, and a diary book.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment to date?

My “More Than Angels” book series—they have been nominated for Oprah’s Book Club and have won the National Indie Excellence Award for ‘Best Fiction’. They have also received several great reviews. I’m writing the 3rd book in the series now. Also, my “Guardian” series now having its own music soundtrack.

Do you belong to any interest groups?
I’m a member of the Trek Writer’s Guild, a member of the Indiana Literacy Coalition, the Greene County Speaker’s Bureau, and the Greene County Writers Group. I’m President of “The Moo
Promotional photo of the cast of Star Trek dur...
Promotional photo of the cast of Star Trek during the third season (1968–1969). From left to right: James Doohan, Walter Koenig, DeForest Kelley, Majel Barrett, William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, and George Takei. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
n-Houldson Foundation” which provides assistance to up-and-coming writers and to nursing students. I also serve on the Carnegie Heritage and Arts Center Board as Secretary—I’m also one of the founders of this organization.

Ruby, how about sharing more specifics about where and how fans can find you!

FYI: Also, writers/authors usually have a website where readers may go to view what books an author has written and to see what is coming out. Mine is www.publishedfictionauthor.com or www.rubymoonhouldson.com . I also have stuff on my MY SPACE, along with videos. I’m working with someone to set up my own page at www.rubymoon.ning.com.

Books I’ve written (or are in the works):

The ‘Guardian’ series

Guardian of an Immortal Soul
Guardians of the Immortal Realms
Guardians of Immortal Humanity
Guardians of Immortal Life
Guardians of Immortal Destiny
The Guardian (reviewed by Stephen King – New York Reviewer)
Guardians of Immortal Unity
Guardians of Immortal Truth
Guardians of Immortal Faith (coming soon)
Guardians of Immortal Night (coming soon)

Dragon’s Fire, Insanity’s Reign
The Man Within
The Mark of Cain
Romancing the Professor
Dark Shadows

More Than Angels: Once Upon A Broken Heart (reviewed by J. Deveraux and reader nominated for Oprah’s Book Club)
More Than Angels: Once Upon A Lifetime (National award winner for Best Fiction)
More Than Angels: Once Upon a Dream (coming soon)

Bought With a Price
Home Sweet Homeless (currently writing)
Your Child’s Secret Language
Smart Tool for Nursing School
For Only a Year (Star Trek)
Ni Var (Star Trek)
A Tribute to Spock
A Tribute to James Doohan ‘Scotty’
A Tribute to Walter Koenig
A Tribute to Nichelle Nichols
A Tribute to George Takei
Celebrating Trek’s 40th Anniversary
Stargate Atlantis – A Reference
Diary of a Moon Child (in the works)
Coin – The Imaginary Friend (currently in the works)
Man Made (working on this)

Ruby Moon-Houldson
rubymoon@node1internet.com
rubydiane2000@yahoo.com

Ruby, thanks so much for sharing with us. May you future be full of ideas and adventure!