Paul Gillebaard lived in Nassau Bay, Texas during the moon shot years, home for many of the Apollo astronauts. Living among these men who would make history inspired Paul to write this book. Paul received a Mechanical Engineering degree from the California State University at Fullerton. He resides in Orange County, California with his wife and two children.
Kristin Centorcelli: Paul, will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Paul Gillebaard: I am a small business owner of Gillebaard Engineering Corp. I graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I coach track at the local high school. My wife and I have been married 20 years and have two wonderful daughters. We live in Orange County California.
KC: Will you tell us a bit about your novel, Moon Hoax, and what inspired you to write it?
PG: China claims the moon landings where a hoax, hoping to humiliate America and become the top superpower of the world. America must prove we won the space race of the ‘60s or lose worldwide prestige. Peter Novak, son of a moonwalker, is selected to race China back to the moon on a dangerous mission to prove we did land. The patriotic book is an action packed thriller intertwined around a passionate romance.
Inspiration: Living among the men who walked on the moon was my inspiration. I lived in Nassau Bay Texas during the moon shot years, which is right across from NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Many of the Apollo astronauts lived in the small neighborhood (examples of moonwalkers living close by were, Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Gene Cernan).
KC: What kind of research did you do for the book?
PG: Much of my research was done on the computer. That is the great thing about writing books today, we have the internet. You have instant information right at your finger tips, and this information is current. So for example, I could Google, “Problems docking with the Space Station” and all these great articles come up. I also interviewed a handful of NASA astronauts that had some great technical suggestions. I had one astronaut do a final technical read.
KC: What, or who, are some of the biggest influences on your writing?
PG: That’s a challenging question to answer because I am not your typical first time author. Because I am not really a book reader (I have read only a handful of nonfiction books…which were mostly books by astronauts), I can’t say I was influenced by any particular writer. I basically have no background in writing (other than English courses in school). In fact I never had any aspirations to be a writer. The story of Moon Hoax started out as an idea in my head that developed into a page of notes. After months of prodding from my wife, I decided to attempt writing the book (having no idea how to start). A year and half later I had the first draft. So I guess you could say my biggest influence on my writing was my wife, who was my first editor and my number one supporter.
KC: What did you enjoy most about writing Moon Hoax?
PG: I find I like writing stories that could happen, that’s why getting all the technical details right was so important. Every event in the book is described (without using overly technical jargon). Nothing just happens magically or with some none developed futuristic contraption.
KC: Will you tell us a bit about your writing process?
PG: I let each chapter take me to the next. Originally I thought I needed an outline (as taught to me in school). But I quickly came to realize that was not my style. When I am working on a scene/chapter, I often play it out in my head (like a movie) and ideas come to me on where the story should go.
KC: How do you like to spend your free time?
PG: Free time…what is that? With my own business, writing a second book, marketing the current book, coaching a high school track team and being a parent…I find I don’t have much free time. But I have to say, this is a good time in my life. Though I am busy…it’s a good busy.
KC: What’s next for you?
PG: Since the reviews have been so positive for Moon Hoax, I have decided to write the sequel, called Space Hoax (see the cover design here – PaulGillebaard.com). The manuscript is coming along great and should be done be the end of summer. The book will be released early 2014.