Lance Justin Peter Okones is the author of a brand new science fiction/fantasy series, ‘The Realoscope of Ringgold Valley.’
TCBR: Tell us about the book and the inspiration behind creating this series?
Lance: The inspiration for the book comes from a feeling. Remember when you were very young, that feeling you had when you went to spend the night with a friend. It was Friday night and you had the whole weekend ahead of you. That’s the inspiration for this series!
The Realoscope series and it’s first book ‘The Realoscope of Ringgold Valley’ are about three friends, Brian and Lisa (named after my cousins), and of course, Deedle, their alien friend. In their normal everyday lives in which things are expected of them and in which, things can get boring, they happen across an incredible invention. The Realoscope! They meet Deedle along the way and suddenly there are almost no limits to where Lisa and Brian can go and believe me, moon dust from the moon is only the beginning. Heart pounding adventures and places only dreamed of await Realoscope readers as they leap to the moon, journey to where comets are born, see new worlds, and escape incredible danger! Hop on! Let’s ride the Realoscope!
TCBR: How long did it take you to complete ‘The Realoscope of Ringgold Valley’?
Lance: I finished the first draft in a couple of hours. I believe I was driving and started telling the story into a tape recorder (remember those). Then I copied it down on paper and filled in what was missing. After that it was just editing, which was done over a period of weeks. You know, you write the story, leave it alone for a week, come back, read and take out anything that weights the story down and repeat the process until you’re happy with the result (or have reached your required word count-HA!).
TCBR: What is the most important lesson you hope readers will learn from your book?
Lance: In The Realoscope of Ringgold Valley you can sense Lisa and Brian’s enthusiasm for learning. OK, Brian’s a bit of a negative ninny at first but give him credit, once he learns of the Realoscope and sees that they can get real moon dust he’s all about getting it done (sort of). I hope my readers will see that learning and exploration can be fun, even exciting!
TCBR: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book?
Lance: You mean other than the fact that someone wanted to publish my work- HA! Probably that Cruithne (pronounced Croo-een-yah) is a real place. You know what I mean. Not necessarily with aliens and little space ships on it and it doesn’t really orbit Earth, but it is an asteroid that follows us around the sun and is one of our neighbors in space.
TCBR: Can you give us any clues as to what to expect in the upcoming books?
Lance: I sure will! Three more Realoscope books are in the works right now. In book two Lisa and Brian and Deedle journey to ‘the place where comets are born’. In books three they go to a place that has only been dreamed of. In book four they face almost certain doom in one of natures most powerful and destructive forces in space!
TCBR: Did you always aspire to be a writer and when did you first consider yourself a writer?
Lance: The answer to the first question is a simple one word answer. No. When I first considered myself a writer…hmmm. When I was laid off from my job back in 2001 I wanted to find a way to put my computer at home to work for me. Also, about this time I noticed a lot of interesting story ideas I had in my mental file cabinet but I didn’t know how to construct them. I’d right a paragraph’s worth of material and have said everything I wanted to say and didn’t know how to create the rest of the story. I received something in the mail about this time from the Institute of Children’s Literature inviting me to take a test to see if I could write. Evidently they thought I could. I took their two year course and on my second assignment my instructor said it was publishable (is that a word?) so I guess at that point I thought of myself more seriously as a writer.
TCBR: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect or writing for children?
Lance: Coming up with fresh ideas that I think will be really entertaining.
TCBR: What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of writing for children?
Lance: Their responses. Kids will tell you what they think.
TCBR: What do you do in your spare time?
Lance: Let’s see, spare is what you have when you’re not at work or cleaning house or mowing (we use a reel mower) or taking grandchildren to the pool. I like reading about lives of the saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church. I plunk on a guitar every now and then and I like to watch FOX news. I’m a Bill O’Reiley fan!
TCBR: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Lance: Be involved in the good things in life. Remember, learning and discovering is fascinating. The world and the Universe is big and there’s so, so, so much to learn. Go out for an after school sport. Play ball with your friends. Go on picnics. Read a good book before bed. Say a prayer of thanks to God who gives people the ability to write good books. Do something nice for someone. Spend some time with your Mom and Dad and Grandparents, they’re very fun people when you give ‘em a chance. Go after the good things in life and stay away from the bad.
TCBR: Thanks so much for your time, Lance!
Links of interest:
Lance Justin Peter Okones’ official website.
Lance Justin Peter Okones’ myspace page: Readers of the Realscope series can read blogs and post comments and get personal answers from the author.
Lance Justin Peter Okones’ facebook page: Add Lance Justin Peter Okones as a friend and talk with him, if you like.
The Ottumwa Courier article.
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