Paul Gillebaard                Gillebaard writes with enthusiasm, humor, empathy, and the precision of a keen mind.
Ed Gibson - NASA Astronaut

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Published: July 2, 2012 9:09 p.m.


Rancho man writes 'Moon Hoax'


RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA – Paul Gillebaard of Rancho Santa Margarita is the author of a new book, "Moon Hoax," a space adventure about China and American's rivalry for space exploration.

Here Gillebaard talks with the paper about his book and how he got started in writing.

Q. Why did you become a writer?

A. I had no aspirations to be a writer. In fact, I rarely read fiction novels (I have read only one in my life, "Jurassic Park"). It was more I had a story I wanted to tell (and my wife encouraged me to write the book, saying "I was a good storyteller"). I learned the process of writing as I wrote the book and found it enjoyable. I am currently working on my second novel.

Q. What is your background?

A. I have no background/education in writing (which is probably unique). My degree is in mechanical engineering from Cal State Fullerton. I currently own my own rep business, Gillebaard Engineering Corporation. My inspiration to write the book was living among many Apollo astronauts in the small neighborhood of Nassau Bay, Texas, during the moon shot years. Some of these great men were family friends and a few helped me with the book.


Q. Who do you consider your audience?

A. Though I thought the book would be more driven to a male audience, I have found woman love the book equally. I feel the love story draws woman in (which was added due to my mom's suggestion after she read some early chapters). I feel this love story is the backbone of the book.


Q. Tell us about your book?

A. 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 book is very relevant for today.


Q. What are you saying in your book? What message are you trying to get out?

A. We have been the leaders in space exploration for over 40 years. But now we do not even have a way of getting our own astronauts up to the Space Station, of which we own 75 percent. Instead, we must rely on Russia to get our men in space, and we have to pay them $50 million for each astronaut they take up. I am hoping to get people excited about space again.


Q. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

A. First and foremost, be entertained. I love hearing people say they couldn't put the book down because of how much they were enjoying it. Getting positive feedback is very rewarding, especially from people I don't know. I also hope readers get a little education on both the past and present space programs.


Q. Where can people get your book?

A. Barnes & Noble and (Costco carried it for three months, and are considering it again in fall) I did various book signings at Costco. Right now the best price is at my website, .


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