I was excited to interview Randy Ribay on his new book, An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes. Randy is a fellow member of the South Jersey Writers’ Group and he has a short story published in Hypothetical Press.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in the Philippines, then grew up in Michigan and Colorado. I went to the University of Colorado, Boulder. After I finished my undergrad, I joined “Teach for America” and came out to Camden New Jersey to teach. I taught middle school in Camden for four years, then moved to Boston for graduate school at Harvard Graduate School of Education where I earned a Masters of Education in Language and Literacy. Then, I moved back to Camden, New Jersey, but ended up teaching in Philadelphia at Boys Latin Charter School where I chair the English department.
I call myself a nerd of all trades and, I’m very interested in video games, table top games, books, movies, sci-fi, fantasy; a little bit of everything.
Would you call yourself a geek?
I’ve included the interview I did on you for Hypothetical Press, but what type of stories do you prefer to write.I definitely like writing young adults, partly because that is the age that I teach and, I read a lot of young adults because I want to be knowledgeable about what’s out there in order to make recommendations to my students. I also write book reviews for the Horn Book Guide and Magazine. I’m reviewing a lot of young adult literature and at first, I read a lot for the two reasons, then I realized that I just preferred it.
You know it’s an interesting time in people’s lives and major changes are happening for a lot of people in their teenage years. Those changes can determine the rest of a person’s life with trying to figure out where you fit in the world and who you are.
I tend to write all over the place. The story for Reading Glasses was sort of magical realism and An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes is kind of contemporary. I have another story that I’m working on that is urban and I have another story that I’m working on that is dark fantasy.
Is An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes a science fiction story?
No, it’s contemporary, but the characters in the story are all nerds that have bonded over Dungeons and Dragons and the title comes from one of the things one of the characters says at one point.
Where did you get the inspiration for this book?
I think it came indirectly from my life. There is nothing plot wise that mirrors my own life, but I identify as a geek in there. I’ve always felt that I was on the outside growing up and so I wanted to explore what it’s like in more depth in a narrative perspective.
I started with one character and as I wrote about his friend, I figured it would be more interesting to explore what was going on in all his friends’ lives. I ended up with four main characters; three boys and one girl. They’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons since sixth grade and are about to start their senior year in high school. They’re getting to a place in their lives where things are beginning to become real and they are forced to deal with real life situations.
Do you think your high school students will look forward to reading this book?
I think so. I write stuff that I think my students would enjoy reading and I think that kids will connect with this story including kids that are into the geek culture and for kids that feel like they are on the outside.
When will your book come out?
An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes will be available online and in bookstores October 16, but you can pre-order it now through Indiebound, Amazon or Barnes and Noble: