The Book of the Moon
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Rick Stroud Rick Stroud is a television director and writer. After Oxford University he joined Granada TV where he directed Coronation Street and was an Associate Producer on Brideshead Revisited. Since then he has directed many of the big names in British television including Joanna Lumley, David Suchet, Charles Dance, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Tim West, Nigel Havers and Neil Morrissey.

He wrote, produced and directed the BBC's celebration of the life of John Betjeman. He has received BAFTA and Emmy nominations. Most recently he directed the very popular 'Monarch of the Glen' with Richard Briers and the children's series 'Living It' for CBBC. He has two children, four step children and lives with his wife on a houseboat in Chelsea, London.
The Book of the Moon - What it is and why I wrote it

I first became interested in the Moon as a small boy growing up in the suburbs of South London. My brother and I converted our dad's small garden shed into a Moon Rocket. We nailed bits of wood to the walls, these were the levers with which we would control our flight. Above the levers we chalked the instruments with which we would monitor every aspect of the rocket's performance and which would be vital to our survival in case of an emergency. We made space helmets out of cardboard boxes and every weekend we climbed into the shed, sealed the airlock door, strapped ourselves into the pilot's seats and began the tense countdown procedure that precedes any Moon mission.

Following university and in between bouts of directing Coronation Street, I researched drama - documentary ideas for Granada Television. I wanted to make something about NASA and space travel. I read Norman Mailer's 'A Fire on the Moon' his epic account of Apollo 11 and the first Moon landing. When Mailer described the Eagle settling onto the Sea of Tranquillity I shook with excitement. When Armstrong took that small step for a man I was right there with him, venting the oxygen from my cardboard helmet. I recently returned to Mailer's book and got the same rush.

I once even touched the moon. I worked with a film producer who had a necklace into which was set a tiny piece of Moon rock, a souvenir from her work on a film about NASA. Now I live on a boat in Chelsea and the very water I float on is subject to the massive gravitational influence of the Moon.

The Moon excites me and it is to capture that excitement that I set out to write The Book of the Moon. I wanted a volume packed with technical detail, lists, diagrams and drawings. A book full of the derring do of the astronauts as they juggle their rockets across the quarter of a million miles that separates us from our nearest stellar neighbour. A book that I might have had as a manual as we waited for lift off in the shed.

But I also wanted book that describes the mysterious, strange side of the Moon. The Moon that hovers above my boat and whose power is so colossal and subtle and playful it makes the Thames disappear twice a day.

I wrote The Book of the Moon for people who like a complicated piece of engineering, a piece of machinery with bolts and armoured tubing and sliding pistons and hydraulics. People who love the idea of pounds per square inch, Tritium 3, and carbon dating. But I also wrote it for people who are spellbound by the moon's mystery, it's gods and secret creatures, its magic and its power over our inner lives.

But really I wrote The Book of the Moon for the nine year old me in the shed. The Command Module Pilot anxiously scanning the dials and issuing last minutes orders to his co - pilot as the final seconds of countdown tick away. Tensing for lift off he waits the titanic forces that will hurl him through the suburban sky into the black depths of space and the beginning of his epic journey to that strange, frightening and exhilarating planet The Moon. I hope it will see him safe through.

Rick Stroud
HB Veronica
Public Appearances
Rick Stroud will be appearing at the following:

21 - 25 January 2010: Jaipur Literature Festival

22 February 2010 @ 18.45: The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, Powis Square, London W11. Click here for information and tickets.
Click below to order your copy of The Book of the Moon. The book was released on the 7th of May 2009 in the UK and on the 23rd of June in the US:
Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US
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