Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meet children's author Ransom Noble.

Katie: It is my pleasure to introduce to you today Ransom Noble. Ransom’s recent release by 4RV Publishing is The Art of Science. Ransom’s love of reading and the sciences has led her into writing and a career in mechanical engineering.

Can you please give us a brief overview of your book?

Ransom: Janie Hunter is trying to be a typical 7th grader. She loves art, but her mother is afraid she’ll follow it as a career – as in starving artist. Once she’s accepted into a special science program, her mother pushes her into changing her entire outlook of the year to fit it in. She learns that both good and bad things come with this change.

Katie: This is a young adult book. What prompted you to write for this age group?

Ransom: I like to write for 13 year olds. They’re becoming independent from their parents. It’s hard to explain, but I think they’re fun. (Remind me of this when my daughter hits those terrible teens!)

Katie: Your book is a wonderful balance of art and science. Can you share how you came up with this concept?

Ransom: I took two subjects I liked when I was in school. I suppose that doesn’t narrow it down, because I enjoyed most of the things I studied. I don’t see a lot of fiction with girls who are good at science or math; most of the fiction toward girls seems to focus on their interpersonal relationships. Not that it’s bad, just that I wanted to be different.

Katie: Your character, Janie Hunter, and her mother differ in what is good for Janie. Where did you come up with the idea for this conflict?

Ransom: Well, in junior high, it always seemed to me that parents and kids were starting to be at odds. I wanted to have a good reason for them to be in conflict. It seemed to fit well for the mother to be the major breadwinner of the family and also be very concerned about her daughters’ future. Taken to extreme, it provides a sticking point for both of them – plenty to explore!

Katie: When writing the book, how did you keep the facts and events straight? Like using an outline, index cards, and so forth?

Ransom: I worked from a general outline on this one. Sometimes it isn’t easy to keep events straight, and that was one thing that had to be ironed out from the initial draft to the final manuscript. Revising isn’t easy work, but it makes the written work shine when finished. I’m so much happier with this final than the original.

Katie: Give us an overview of a typical writing day.

Ransom: This is a really good question. A typical writing day used to be every spare moment (like when I was putting off doing the dishes). Right now, I try to squeeze in what I can during my daughter’s naps.

Katie: Your book was released in Spring, 2009. What process did you undertake to find a home for your book, i.e. query letters, etc.

Ransom: I didn’t do any of that. I knew a woman running a contest online for her publishing company. She encouraged me to send my manuscript. I was so surprised when I won! Since I found out last February, I’ve been working with Vivian and the editors at 4RV Publishing, LLC. to get it ready. We had a few setbacks, but released the book within days of my daughter’s birth. I call them the twins.

Katie: What three tips would you give to another writer aspiring to write a blended story like you have?

Ransom: 1. Know and love your subject matter. I think it’s important to show that it’s all right to be excited about all kinds of subjects, and that kind of enthusiasm can open someone’s world. 2. Handle it with a light hand. No one wants to read fifteen pages about how to solve a math problem unless tomorrow’s homework depends on it and there is no other way to understand it. If you can weave in small details, I think people will look into it more if it intrigues them. If it doesn’t, they have the rest of the story to keep them occupied. 3. Always keep the story in focus. If the details get in the way, you’ll lose the audience. I hope I managed to do all of that!

Find Ransom Noble at

Visit 4RV Publishing at


Vivian Zabel said...

Very good interview, Katie. Ransom is an interesting person and writer. I had nothing to do with the judging of the contest, but I did read all the entries. I was delighted that Ransom's manuscript won -- it was the best.

Ransom, I hope you're still enjoying the "twins."


Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Congratulations on your book, Ransome. I enjoy ya novels. Middle school years are filled with teens trying to find themselves. Your characters sound typical of that age group.

Nice interview, Katie.

Best of luck to both of you.


Ransom Noble said...

Thanks for the interview, Katie!

So glad you two could stop by. The twins are still keeping me hopping.

Unknown said...

Great interview with Ransom! I have been a friend and fan of hers since the beginning, and I am enjoying the book. I love writing for the 13-18 range, so naturally I love reading it too.

Ransom Noble said...

You're always cheering me on, Crys. Thanks!

Vivian Zabel said...

But, Crys and Ransom, that's the age group you're in, correct?

Ransom Noble said...

Backwards, perhaps! ;-!

Unknown said...

*giggles* Backwards, I'm 52- so that's going the wrong way for me. Sometimes I do wish I could be a teenager again-- I would do so many things different and enjoy myself more. I think that's why I like to live through my teenage characters.

Deb Hockenberry said...

Katie & Ransom,
Thanks for a great interview. I got lots of advice out of it since I'm working on a YA book right now!

Ransom Noble said...

Good luck, Deb!

Anonymous said...

Is "Ransom Noble" a pen name? That's just about the coolest name I've heard in a while. A great fit for an author of books about art and science!

Jamie Eyberg said...

I can say that it is a great book. I read it a couple of days before I 'interviewed' her. Great book with memorable characters. Nicely packaged. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Ransom Noble said...

Thank you, Cristina. Yes, it is a pen name, but I appreciate the compliment!

Good to see you, Jamie.