Monday, July 6, 2020

2020 Interview: Randy Ryan

My name is Randy Ryan. I have a master’s degree in English from Youngstown State University and a post bac in secondary ed English from Westminster College. I live in New Castle, Pennsylvania and work as a full-time substitute teacher at Shenango Area School District. 

Do you have any hobbies?

I enjoy weight-lifting, drawing, reading, watching horror movies, and spending time with family and friends. 

What is your favorite vacation spot?

Eerie, Pennsylvania. 

If you were given a ticket to anywhere and spending money to indulge, where would you go?

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History. 

Do you have pets?

Two dogs—Lilly and Grizzwald. 

What is your favorite color and what do you love about it?

Green. The Hulk and a lot of dinosaurs are often depicted as green. Its also the color most associated with nature—the rainforest, grass, trees—and as a kid, I thought that Godzilla was green, although he’s actually charcoal grey (depending on the version). 

What was your favorite book as a child?

The Last Dinosaur by Jim Murphey and The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by RL Stine. 

What is one thing about yourself you’d like to change or are trying to work on?

My need to feel structured and productive all the time. 

What music genre/singer/band is your go-to for a bad day? For working? 

I like all genres of music. My favorite artists, going back to my childhood, are Kid Rock, Eminem, Limp Bizkit, and Disturbed. 

Do you re-read books? If so, is there one in particular?

Very rarely, only because there are so many good books out there to read! Occasionally, I have reread classic literature, namely because many of those works are collected in various volumes, along with new stories, that I like to buy. The few works that I have reread are Dracula by Bram Stoker, the collected works of Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft, Shakespeare’s plays, and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. 

Are you an introvert, extravert, or ambivert?

Introvert by far. My idea of a good time is being home during the evening with a good book or movie…or both!

Does pineapple go on pizza?


How many places have you lived?

I’ve lived in New Castle my entire life. 

What was your first job?

Cashier and stock at K-Mart. 

What is your favorite down time activity?

Reading and watching movies/TV. 

Are you an outdoor type? Have a green thumb?

Yes. I love the outdoors. Some of my fondest childhood memories are going camping in the mountains. The idea of living in a busting urban metropolis is about as unappealing to me as anything. 

If you could live inside a movie, which would you choose and which character would you be?

The Washingtonians. It’s an hour-long B-movie created for Masters of Horror, an anthology show that ran from 2005-2007 which was kind of like The Twilight Zone, only scarier. I would play the role of protagonist Mike Franks, who must protect his family from a secret society of men and women who like to dress in colonial garb. I love Revolutionary War history, and these types of stories, so this would be my choice. 

Are you the type to take a dare?


Do you have a favorite motto or quote that applies to your own life?

“The robbed who smiles steals something from the thief.”—William Shakespeare. 

What is one thing you’ve learned through experience that you’d love to pass along to others?

Be passionate and imaginative when it comes to as many things as possible. 

What books, other than your own, would you highly recommend?

IT and The Stand, by Stephen King. Mister B Gone by Clive Barker. The Collection by Bentley Little. This list could go on forever. 

On to writing: what inspired you to start creating stories/non-fiction? How long ago?

I started writing when I was eight or nine years old. I found an old typewriter and began typing novelizations of some of my favorite Goosebumps episodes. I started writing that day, and in school, and I have never stopped since. 

How do you choose your settings (fiction) or topics (non-fiction)?

In my three novels, the setting of Willow Falls is based hugely on New Castle. It is perfect for the fall and winter seasons that the stories take place in. I take the features I’m attracted to in real life and try to make them as vivid and atmospheric as possible. 

Can you tell us a bit about your path to publication?

I wrote a one-page paper when I was in sixth grade for an object writing assignment where I went to the batting cages and turned into the baseball. My mom liked the story so much that she kept it, and about the time I turned twenty, she suggested that I use it for a story idea, which is where my first book, which was a children’s book, came from. The protagonist in each of the stories, a boy named Hunter, goes to his first professional baseball game with his father and experiences the thrill of the game by becoming the ball. I wrote the story, submitted it, and it was accepted. The publisher that I published by first five books with has since gone out of business, but both of my novels have been republished as second additions by another publisher, who is also putting out my third novel which will feature illustrations done by me. I have also had a short story put out in my new publisher’s yearly anthology, with another one on the way this year, and we are going to republish my three children’s books in a single volume omnibus as well. I am currently working with my editor, who also runs the publisher, on editing my fourth novel. 

Finally, please tell us about your books and add your website so we can find you:

My three children’s books are My First Baseball Game, My Trip to The Museum, and Hunter’s Christmas Memories. The main character is named Hunter because he searches for something new in every book, and the series is about childhood imagination. I made it a point to try and write about things that all kids like—sports, dinosaurs, Christmas. 
My novels are Perspectives, which is a meta-novel about the power of words as told through creepy stories that take place in a small, rural town on Christmas eve, and Haunted Revengeance, which has since been republished as Haunted Farm. It is my tribute to my favorite film, John Carpenter’s Halloween, and my favorite season of the year. My newest novel, Mediums, which is a psychological examination of how art in all its forms impacts our daily lives, will be out later this year.

You can find me on Facebook under my personal account or under Randy Ryan Author Page. 

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