2015 Debut Author Bash: Randy Ribay

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The Debut Authors Bash is an event that YaReads started in 2013. This is an event to promote debut authors through reviews, guest posts, interviews, promo posts, etc.  The Book Beacon is proud to participate in this incredible event again this year!  Today, we are please to introduce Randy Ribay, author of An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes.

randy ribay bookAs their senior year approaches, four diverse friends united by their weekly Dungeons & Dragons game struggle to figure out real life. Archie tries to cope with the lingering effects of his parents’ divorce, Mari considers an opportunity to contact her biological mother, Dante works up the courage to come out to his friends, and Sam clings to a failing relationship. When the four eventually embark on a cross-country road trip in an attempt to solve one of their problems–and to avoid the others–the journey tests their friendship and they quickly realize that real life is no game.

Told in the narrative style of Akira Kurosawa’s RASHOMAN, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES is at turns geeky, funny, and lyrical as it tells a story about that time in life when friends need each other to become more than just people that hang out together.

“Level up in this compelling adventure that tests the heroics of four friends who can’t use cheat codes to solve their personal trials. Experience Points await readers!”-Adam Silvera, author ofMore Happy Than Not

“A captivating and beautifully written book!”–Natasha Sinel, author of The Fix

“Debut novelist Ribay gives the story a distinctively diverse and nerd-centric cast.”–Publishers Weekly

“A legitimate geeky book written by an awesomely geeky man who understands the classic geeky teenager. And. it. Was. On. Point. The trip of a lifetime. You want a diverse, thought-provoking, hilarious book? This is it. Join the party.” –YA Books Central

“A novel written by a geek, for geeks, that manages to touch on so much, and packs a surprising, emotional punch. The characters and their journey together will stick with you for a while.” –BookRiot

interview_edited-1randy ribay

Can you tell those who don’t know a little about your book?

Four seniors who have been playing Dungeons & Dragons together since middle school face problems in real life and then go on a road trip.

Have you always known you wanted to be a writer? What inspired your debut?

I’ve always loved stories and language, and so I knew I wanted to do something with that. However, I didn’t start seriously writing seriously until a few years ago. Nothing specifically inspired AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES beyond wanting to tell the stories of those you don’t often see..

Talk to us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?

As a teacher, I have two writing seasons. During the school year, I wake up at about 4:30 or 4:45 am, walk my dog-children, and then write until about 6:30am when I have to leave for work. During the summer I wake up a little bit later and write usually until lunch time.  

Why do you write?

I enjoy the challenge of trying to create a story out of nothing that not only entertains but also makes the read think or feel along the way.

Which novelists do you admire?

Oh so many. In adult fiction: James Baldwin, Sandra Cisneros, Junot Diaz, Haruki Murakami, Salman Rushdie, Jose Rizal,Shirley Jackson. In YA: Walter Dean Myers, Gene Luen Yang, Jacqueline Woodson, Adam Silvera, Jason Reynolds, Coe Booth, Melina Marchetta, Matthew Quick, MT Anderson, Mindy McGinnis. There’s probably a hundred other people I’m forgetting…

Describe the route to your first novel being published.

I wrote the first draft over a summer, did a round of edits, and then started sending out queries. I got rejected a million times, set it aside, wrote another book, and got rejected a million more times. So I went back to INFINITE and spend another half a year on heavy edits, pitched it at a pitch slam at the Writer’s Digest conference in NYC, and ended up getting both my agent and my publisher from that.

What didn’t you expect to discover on your journey to publication?

Other authors are awesome. I’ve gotten to know many through our YA debut group The Fearless Fifteeners, and I didn’t expect that it would be such a great community.

What advice would you give to an aspiring novelist?

Everyone says it, but WRITE.

What kind of life lessons—if any—has writing and publishing taught you?

Nothing is perfect at first.



Randy Ribay was born in the Philippines and raised in Michigan and Colorado. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he specialized in language and literacy. He is the English Department Chair at an all-boys high school in Philadelphia, a reviewer for The Horn Book, and a nerd-of-all-trades. Randy lives in Camden, New Jersey with his wife and two dog-children.

Visit his website at http://www.randyribay.com and find him on Twitter @randyribay.



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