1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I started writing poems when I was 16 years old. Throughout my life, I’ve always written poems and songs, but I never really thought about writing a book. As a graduate student at UCLA, I was heavily immersed in the writing process for my thesis. After my program finished (2011), I sat down at the computer and began The Halloween Crystal on a whim.
I worked at it and revised it a lot and the story grew. Then, I put it away for about 7 years and completed it during the summer of 2018. I immediately self-published my book on Amazon.
I’ve been very happy with the reviews and success my story has achieved, and I can’t wait to expand the story by writing more books!
2) What inspired you to write your book?
My career as a teacher inspired me to write Mr. Moonbeam and the Halloween Crystal. I wanted to write a book about the difficulties of teaching and present Sloan Moonbeam as a hero/teacher!
Halloween inspired my book. I love Halloween, so I wanted to write a fun, spooky Halloween story that people could enjoy every fall.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I hope that young people and adults who choose to read my story reflect afterwards on the complexities of teaching and the sacrifices teachers make for the communities they serve. Perseverance is a big theme throughout the book. With guidance and support from Mr. Moonbeam, Elliott learns to believe in himself and improve his magic. I hope that kids will enjoy Elliott’s success and see him as an inspirational character for their own lives.
Halloween is presented as a magical time of year – not a gory, macabre event. I think that is important too. As a society, we need to bring innocence and magic back to Halloween.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I was inspired by a cartoon I used to watch as a child called, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The He-Man cartoons were written with action, excitement, and magic, but they were also written to teach kids important lessons. I wanted to create a magical world with magical beings and adventures that also taught kids valuable lessons similar to the He-Man stories.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I would also ask Elliott to predict where he thinks he’s headed in the series…
I would ask Sloan Moonbeam for his advice on how to make the stories even better!
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Facebook! I love my Facebook fans. They always support me.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Give your manuscript to a few people you trust and ask for their honest opinion before publishing. Then, make changes if you need to. I’m new to this, but I believe it is good to hear the viewpoints of others. I also think it is good to step-away from the project from time to time. For me, writing should be a combination of work and enjoyment. I get my best ideas when I walk 10,000 steps!
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I am busy planning and writing the sequel to Mr. Moonbeam and the Halloween Crystal tentatively titled, The Legends of Moonstone. I would also like to publish my collection of poems.
I am hopeful that my books will make a difference in the world of children’s literature. ☺
About the Author
Ryan Cowan grew up in a small town called Middleport, Ohio. He currently lives in Hawthorne, CA. As a teacher with almost 20 years of experience, Ryan has taught all grades from K-6th. He currently works as an assistant principal for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Mr. Moonbeam and the Halloween Crystal is his first children’s book. A magical story with complex themes, Mr. Moonbeam and the Halloween Crystal highlights the difficulties of teaching while also chronicling the important problem solving relationship between a teacher and his student. A sequel is currently in the works.
Ryan has degrees and/or credentials in education from the following universities: Marshall University (BFA Music Theory), UCLA (M.Ed. Urban Education), California State University Los Angeles (Multiple Subject Teaching Credential), and California State University Dominguez Hills (Administrative Services Credential).