Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
RAM: Hi everybody! I’m Rick A. Mullins, but my closest friends call me, Moon, (from the old ‘50s, 60s, & early 70s comic strip Moon Mullins). I’m less than three months away from my 65th birthday (September 10th). The reason I always add my middle initial is because I used to make independent films and the film industry is like horse racing … no two can have the same name and there’s a Christian writer named Rick Mullins … so I added my middle initial.
Fiona: Where are you from?
RAM: I was born in Madison, WV, grew up in New London, Ohio, and have lived in Norwalk, Ohio since a year after the second time I got out of the service in ’82.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
RAM: I’m the second of five children, three brothers (the oldest, Randal, died in 2010, Gregg and Mark) and the youngest, a sister (my tech-geek, Melissa) … I graduated in ’71 … got drafted during the Vietnam era and joined the Air Force (so I wouldn’t have to kill people for politics), where I was a Nuclear Weapons Tech in South Dakota (and ‘still’ got spit on and called a ‘baby-killer’).
After discharge in ‘75 I went to Ohio University for one year (it was too much like high school, so I moved on), then did two years of ‘working travel’ where I would move somewhere, explore the local area for three or four months, then move somewhere else and repeat.
In ’78 I joined the Navy to travel overseas, and as a Hull Tech I was the Assistant Fire Marshal on the aircraft carrier Midway (Oh, the stories I could tell, including fighting fires while wading through shin-deep fuel oil). After discharge in ’82 I did another year of working travel before returning to Ohio where I became a (union) factory drone till I retired in July of 2015.
I’ve driven through, lived in, or hitchhiked through every single state except Alaska (been there on the way to the Midway, but they wouldn’t let me off the plane to ‘touch foot’ on the ground).L Bummer … still ‘planning’ to add the fiftieth to my list.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
RAM: I recently had a little trouble getting cover artand kept writing but didn’t publish for over a year. Back on track with a new artist, I published my most recent novel, “Changeling Moon” (my sixteenth total, twelve e-books only) in February, and will publish “Deluge” in late July or early August (as soon as my sister finishes the cover), and “Final Extinction” in late October or early November, then “Cretaceous Empire” (the sequel to “Cretaceous Anomaly”), early next year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
RAM: When I was twelve, my older brother, Randal, turned me on to “The Hobbit”, then the entire Pellucidar series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and I immediately started writing my own stories. I have a large stack of handwritten tablets full of stories, but never (self) published through a vanity press (1st Books) till 1999.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
RAM: Three different times … in ’64 as soon as I started writing after finishing “The Hobbit” and the Pellucidar series … then again in 1999when I (self)published “Cyberneural Symbiote” … then finally ‘knew’ I was a writer in 2014 when I published “Dragonhome” through Amazon e-books
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
RAM: I’m going to go with “Cyberneural Symbiote” in 1999,(book one of the Cyber Human trilogy), with this one. I used to read every issue of “Scientific American” from cover to cover and read an article about nanotechnology, (cell-sized robots that could be injected into the body). I imagined what would happen if you could inject nanites into your body and control them mentally … and the story grew from there.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
RAM: The ‘hero’ in the story meets and alien who ‘gifts’ him with a symbiotic implant that grows inside his body under his direction through a cyberneural link. The implant repairs all medical defects and can construct additional, microscopic tech advances under the skin and within the body … basically, a Cyberneural Symbiote under his direction.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
RAM: I read what is called grimdark (progressively dark, apocalyptic doom and gloom), and some horror … but I don’t write in that style. I don’t write graphic, overly descriptive violence. There’s death and violence, but it is mostly restrained … except for the monsters, which sometimes get blown up.J
I also don’t do relationship drama where the male and female characters can’t decide whether to kill each other or jump in bed till the last chapter. My married and unmarried couples get along and don’t have weird or rebellious children.
Second question: Nothing. Writing is about the easiest thing in the world for me because my stories write themselves, (including in my dreams where my themes originate or problems and speedbumps are ‘fixed’) … I just pound the keys the story tells me to hammer on.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
RAM: I write science fiction, but I try to use as much ‘real’ science as I can, (‘adjusted’ just enough to fit the world(s) I’ve created), as well as throwing in the occasional ‘personal’ opinions regarding integrity, morality, and life experiences as they pertain to politics and faith.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
RAM: I’ve traveled so much that I don’t ‘have to’ but since I love to travel I have no trouble taking road trips to add to a story. For instance, soon after I retired I took a road trip from Ohio to New Mexico for no other reason than to get a feel of the southwest region of New Mexico for “Cretaceous Anomaly” and that helped me change the part about the Rio Grande. In my book, the river was wider and had a dense population on both sides. In real life, where the river goes by the town of Truth Or Consequences, the Rio Grande is barely wider than a two-lane road and the western side is sparsely populated. It didn’t take long to adjust the story to fit the reality. If I haven’t already visited or lived there, I use MapQuest, which has satellite views as well as normal map views.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
RAM: I get pictures from both iStock and local (tattoo) artists … then my sister constructs my covers from the artwork. She’s awesome by the way and without her every one of my books would be nothing more than files on my laptop. J
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
RAM: All my books project a positive message of morality, inclusiveness, and cooperation while dealing with natural and manmade obstructions through logical preparations and resistance. I do try to add humor whenever the circumstances of the plot allow and have no problem allowing redemption for the ‘less savory’ characters.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
RAM: There are too many of both to list. I’ve lately focused on Indy authors for my reading both to gauge how I compare and to support their work … but I do have several trad authors who I read whenever they put out something new.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
RAM: Actually, none before I got published … but since then, other Indy authors have supported me tremendously, especially at the group APC (Author Publisher Co-op). The founder, Jessica Wren, started the ball rolling, while ‘everyone’ in the group is like a Family that helps and supports everyone else.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
RAM: I see it mostly as a lifelong passion … but since I do very little marketing or self-promotion, (it interferes with my OCD writing time), having it turn into a career at my age (less than 3 months from 65) would be a welcome surprise. 😀
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
RAM: Nope! (Unless a reader points out something missed in the many edits). 😀
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
RAM: I’m usually writing several books at the same time, (I currently have five finished in various stages of editing and awaiting covers … and another seven that are more than 90% finished) and am ‘always’ learning something new in my craft. I consider any day you learn something new a ‘good’ day. 😀
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
RAM: I couldn’t begin to choose … but I would try my best to do the same as Stan Lee and get a cameo with a speaking line. 😀
My great-great grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee and several of my main characters are full or part Native American, so I would ‘hope’ that a movie with those characters would also have Native American ancestry instead of being some ‘famous’ white guy with heavy makeup.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
RAM: Read, read, read in your chosen genre (both trad and Indy), and (if you pay attention) you will learn more about ‘how’ to write than any other way … and when you finish a story, put it away for at least two weeks and read something else before you edit it … then repeat two or three times MINIMUM!
Also, make a ‘formatted’ template with cover page, disclaimer, dedication, table of contents, and chapter headline … and use it for every new story. Make a list of ‘useless’ words (mine includes that, had, as, very, which, and starting sentences with so or well) and when you edit, say sentences with those words ‘out loud’, with and without those words. If it sounds good without, delete it.
Also: This is something I see quite often in Indy works (and catch on my own edits) … pay attention to whether or not you use a word or phrase more than once in the same sentence or paragraph. If you do, you might want to make a change.
One last thing: If you publish e-books, don’t be in a hurry to publish a paperback. Wait a couple of months and re-edit the e-book AGAIN and you WILL find more mistakes. Make e-book changes first, THEN do the paperback and it’ll cause you less stress and better reviews.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
RAM: If you’re tired of excessive violence and relationship drama, and just want a ‘fun adventure’ in the science fiction multiverse … I know where you can find a dozen good examples (wink-wink) 😀
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
RAM: In between re-re-re-editing my five finished novels, I just started “Storm Unleashed” by Indy author Michael R. Stern
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
RAM: “The Hobbit” followed by the Pellucidar series by Edgar Rice Burrows … then I got ‘hooked’ on both reading and writing. Up until my early twenties I regularly read a book a day … but that was when books were rarely longer than 200-250 pages. In high school, I always had my ‘current’ novel with me instead of textbooks and got called on it frequently. My answer was that I already read the textbooks (I did the first month of the year) and the teacher was so good they told me everything I ‘needed’ to remember from then on, (which usually worked). J
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
RAM: Just about everything from babies to family to friends to politicians …
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
RAM: Nope! Experience has shown me that meeting your heroes is usually a letdown because you don’t expect them to be as human as you.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
RAM: Just one … writing. J(But I have been known to jump in the car, drive in a random direction for a day, get a hotel and party an evening, then drive home the next day.)
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
RAM: I cancelled cable nine or ten years ago, don’t subscribe to Netflix, and only buy science fictionDVDs (which I rarely watch), because TV interferes with my writing. Like I said … writing OCD <shrugs>
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
RAM: You can’t beat a good surf-n-turf, lobster and steak with steamed veggies and squash, and red potatoes ‘smothered’ in real butter … all the colors of the rainbow are awesome, but lavender draws my eye first, then a bright yellow … alternative rock, folk, and 60s and 70s classic rock.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
RAM: I have an EXCELLENT imagination … but it’s not THAT good … 😀
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
RAM: I was born of stardust … it was a fun, exciting ride … to stardust I return.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
RAM: My website is http://dreamquestbooks.com/index.html … and if it wasn’t for my awesome tech-geek sister I wouldn’t even have that … 😀
I have some lower prices but work too hard to ‘give away’ my work (Except for the occasional, promotional ‘giveaway’ on somebody else’s event … and my writing OCD gets in the way of anything/everything else.
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