A M Rycroft, Galaxy of Authors

A M Rycroft, Galaxy of Authors

A M Rycroft

‘Beware imps bearing gifts.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I can’t say for sure what made me start my first story when I was very young, but I loved creating stories, even when I shouldn’t have been. (Homework? What homework?) That love just carried through into my adulthood, until I decided I didn’t want to do anything but write.

Tell me about your series.

Her father’s last wish will probably kill her.

The Cathell series starts with Into the Darkness and the sell-sword Aeryn Ravane who has lived a haunted life, haunted by her father’s voice telling her to finish his quest to find Aric, a sword of untold powers. But when she finds the sword, she discovers that it guards a dark secret that threatens all of Cathell. It’s up to her to find a way to master the sword’s powers before the evil she unleashed destroys everything and everyone she cares about.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Five in actual type and two exist just in my head. Two of the five that are in type are almost complete. They’re in the final stages and will be released in early 2018. One is book 4 of the Cathell series and the other kicks off a new sword and sorcery/horror series. The others are later books in the Cathell series.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

I’m generally against it, because the reasoning behind it is usually some kind of moral judgment against the books. I don’t think anyone has the right to say what someone else should or shouldn’t read. Let the reader decide if a book has merit for themselves, not for other people.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

How do I pick just one? Well, if I have to, I’ll pick the young thief Theo, because I usually talk about Aeryn or Thystle.

What’s memorable about her? She’s an orphan who has had to live most of her young life as a thief on the street. So she’s naturally cynical and older than her years in a lot of ways. But she also still has the vulnerability and immaturity of a ten year old. That’s very obvious in The Joy Thief. She likes to act like she’s fine being alone, but she’s really afraid of being abandoned again. She’s also really funny in a sarcastic kind of way.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

I started out indie, but now the imprint I started publishes other authors, so I guess you could say I’m published by a small press now. I started indie, because I was impatient, and I didn’t want to wait on rejection letters and acceptances. That’s the absolute worst reason to go indie, by the way. I got in over my head as a result. I used the first iteration of my first novel as a learning experience, though, and figured out how to publish the right way. Now I help other authors get their work into print.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

I think you at least need to start out reading a lot. Being an avid reader will give you a basic understanding of story structure. But reading alone won’t make you a good writer, no matter what anyone might tell you. Formal training is very helpful. I can tell right away which authors took creative writing courses and which haven’t. I don’t recommend every author get an MFA prior to writing their first book, but taking a handful of creative writing and composition courses goes a long way to making you a better writer as well as being an avid reader.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The worst is not knowing whether a new book will connect with readers. That’s the thing that keeps me awake at night more than anything.

There are so many great things, though, that outweigh that doubt. I get to travel to undiscovered places and learn about my characters every single day. I have lived a dozen lives through the pages of my books so far, and that number just keeps going up. Plus, I get to meet a lot of fun people, both writers and readers, each time I do a book event.

Honestly, I’ll take the bad with the good any day, if it means I get to be an author for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for any other job out there.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I always tell people that I am an organic writer. Pantser just sounds somehow obscene to me. I prefer to watch a character and their story grow organically, like the branches of a tree.

I know plotting works for some people, and I say do what works for you. But plotting has always felt restrictive to me, and like I’m butting into my characters’ lives too much.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Oh, wow. I’ve never gotten that question before. The answer is yes. There are scenes in some books that have been borrowed from real life, as well as some particular traits of my characters are ones inspired by things that affect me.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

Photography and art. I’ve done both of those almost as long as I’ve been a writer. When I was about 11, I started taking pictures with an old Polaroid camera my parents had, and my grandparents were always buying me art supplies. I’m also very into football and hockey.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

There are badly edited, poor quality books on both sides of publishing. That’s a fact traditional publishers don’t want you to know. The difference is in how much care the publisher, be they the author or a publishing house, takes when preparing a book. If a lot of time and effort is put into editing and developing a novel, it’ll shine. If not, the flaws will show.

Although, I will say that the number of indie authors who insist on self-editing their work has contributed to the notion that indie published works are of lower quality. No matter how many times you read your own work or send it through Grammarly, you’ll never catch all the typos and mistakes in grammar or structure. So get an editor. Even editors hire editors to read through their work.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

Sword and sorcery dark fantasy, of course. I don’t know why. I guess I’ve always been fascinated by heroes, dragons, swords. Although, when I was a kid, most of the heroes were male. I usually write about heroic women.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

Probably not. I enjoy my modern conveniences a little too much. Although, I’d consider a day trip.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

When I started writing my first novel, I had trouble listening to anything with words, so I wrote to mostly instrumental soundtracks. But that changed after I hit book 2. In terms of instrumental stuff, I like the Constantine soundtrack and the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtracks best. I also listen to Bjork, Tool, Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin, Hellyeah, and older Shinedown, among others.

Tell me three unique things about you.

1) I first cut my hair short when I was really young. I caught some flack for being too tomboyish, but I didn’t really care.

2) My favorite thing to do in the gym is weight lifting, and I don’t mean little weights either. When I do bent rows, I pick up the 60lb free weights. I’m not a big fan of cardio.

3) If I had been given the chance to play tackle football as a kid (that wasn’t an option, unfortunately), I would have played defense. I love watching defensive players sack a quarterback or pick off a pass, and I think that would be the greatest feeling to get to do that.

A. M., thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Steve Harrison, Galaxy of Authors

Steve Harrison, Galaxy of Authors

Steve Harrison

‘Every major literary work began with a blank page, so all writers begin each story on an equal footing with every great writer who ever lived.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I wish I knew. I was in my late twenties and working in a boring office job when an idea occurred to me for a science fiction story. I quickly wrote it, looked up some magazine addresses and posted it off. It was accepted and I became addicted!

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

I was hooked from an early age on CS Forester’s Hornblower novels, which led me on to Dudley Pope, Alexander Kent and Patrick O’Brien, to whom a couple of people have kindly compared my writing style. Their novels certainly had a heavy influence on my published novel, TimeStorm. Other contemporary influences are Stephen King, Bernard Cornwell and Lee Child.

Tell me about your book.

Hornblower meets Jack Reacher

TimeStorm follows a British convict ship en route to Australia in 1795 as it miraculously survives a strange storm and limps into Sydney, where the convicts rebel and escape. But the year is now 2017…

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have one other finished book, the first of a proposed YA science fiction adventure series, called Blurred Vision, currently out with an agent, and I am halfway through a crime thriller.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Traditional. I decided I would only publish if someone independent was willing to invest cash in my work. It took many years to sell TimeStorm, but I have no regrets and it was very satisfying when I signed a contract.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

I don’t know if that’s true. For me, I read far more than I write and can’t imagine doing anything else. But, like all generalised statements about writing, I don’t think there are any limits to creativity or how a writer approaches or produces their work.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The best thing is living in a fictional world while writing. I find it very therapeutic to step outside the real world on a regular basis. The worst thing for me is actually starting to write, as I am a terrible procrastinator.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I’ve tried both and I’m a ‘kinda’ pantser these days, in that I don’t make any written notes. My ideas form in my mind and I run them through a process similar to watching a movie. It’s as though I see the story broadly from a high aerial shot and as the story comes together I slowly zoom in on the detail. Eventually, I have a completed ‘movie’ version of the story in my head and I write what I ‘see.’ I don’t have an opinion on other methods as the best one is the method that works for you or the particular work at hand.

What are you writing at the moment?

A crime thriller about a serial killer and the human organ trafficking trade.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

Overall, I share that belief, though I have read several excellent self-published novels by authors who went the extra mile to hire highly professional editors, proof readers and cover artists to ensure their work was as good as any novel published by the majors. Traditionally published novels go through a rigorous process before being released and it’s easy to see from the first few pages of any novel if these processes are lacking. I like to read the preview pages of novels on Amazon and I see a lot of work that appears rushed and would have benefitted from additional editing.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

None. If I have any writing ability today it’s because of all the mistakes I made along the way and I wouldn’t want my younger self to avoid any of them. I was quite stubborn and suspicious of writing advice (I still am!) and often tried to prove it wrong, particularly when people said ‘you must’ or ‘you can’t.’

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

I try to match music to my writing, so for TimeStorm, an epic and violent adventure, I listened to a lot of music by movie trailer specialists, Two Steps from Hell. Writing my current thriller, I am alternating between the wonderful TV soundtracks for Westworld and The Handmaid’s Tale during suspenseful moments and the soulful songs by Cigarettes After Sex in the quieter sections. I become obsessive when I hook into great music.

Tell me three unique things about you.

1) I spent 10 years trying to break into screenwriting and almost sold a Pixar-esque animated screenplay to Fox (a very exciting couple of weeks!). The script was also nominated for an Australian Writer’s Guild (Awgie) award.

2) I was a movie and extra here in Australia in the late nineties and early noughties and appeared in The Matrix, Moulin Rouge and Mission Impossible II, among many others. My left shoulder is prominent for more than 10 seconds in the racecourse scene in MI2!

3) I was partnered with a young Hugh Jackman in the chorus of a 1989 amateur musical production of Paint Your Wagon. It is widely understood among the rest of the cast that I made Hugh look and sound so good he became a major international star…

Steve, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Robert Lee Beers, Galaxy of Authors

Robert Lee Beers, Galaxy of Authors

Robert Lee Beers

‘I haven’t a clue.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I started in elementary school because it was fun and most of the things the teachers had me doing wasn’t.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Have you got room to list several hundred pages of names? Every author I read has influenced me to some degree. Off the top of my head I was say Heinlein, Campbell, Pratchett, DeChancie, Byrn, Foster, Eddings, McCaffrey, Stevenson, Dickens, Tolstoy…

Tell me about your series.

The funniest Supernatural Mystery series on the planet.

The Tony Mandolin Mysteries are an urban / noir fantasy series set in current San Francisco. As with most of the classic PI books, it is first person, told with much the same inflection found in Rex Stout’s Nero Wolf mysteries, except Stout didn’t have vampires, fairies, trolls and wizards in his cast.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

None, actually. I am currently writing three and all are due to be published.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

It is an evil, and it presupposes that parents should set aside their responsibility to the state. Frankly, it is part of a very real slippery slope that has manifested in far too many countries. I’d rather ban those who suggest book banning.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Let’s go with the primary guest star in the Tony Mandolin series, one Franklin Amadeus Jackson, Frankie to his friends. Frankie, portrayed superbly by the masterful Elliot Dash in the Graphic Audio audio books, is nearly 7 feet tall, weighs over 300 pounds and was a raging drag queen in the first book. He is also a gourmet cook, a crack shot, inhumanly strong. A pop culture sponge with a chameleonic personality. He has also saved Tony’s life a dozen times over in the series so far.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

It’s true. The best writers have always been prolific readers. In reading you learn what to do and what not to do, if you have the capability of learning such things. Not all do, but then, not everyone can swim. I’m one of those.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The worst is the constant rejection, and the best is being accepted. Even the top-selling authors in the world experience this. You can have a thousand five-star reviews on a book and that single one-star is all you can think about. Beyond that, it is the creation process itself. Finishing a paragraph or a section of a story that just WORKS, all caps are intended, is one of the most satisfying feeling there is. Having to delete a couple of pages because you just read it and it is crap and you know it, is the other side of that coin.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I do both. My outlines are a series of words and phrases that tell me where I want to go. But more often than not, the characters or the story itself refuses direction, and I’ve learned to listen to the voices.

What are you writing at the moment?

A Scottish historical novel set in the time of the ‘45 right after the battle of Culloden dealing with the aftermaths of the Jacobite Uprising. It is called The Tartan and I should be finished with it in about two months.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

When I stop finding traditionally published books full of typos and continuity errors I’ll tell you.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

Fantasy. I like the freedom of imagination it allows.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

Not on your life. I’d mouth off to a troll and wind up a pink smear on the ground.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Do not waste all that time trying to find an agent.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

I prefer instrumental. There is a YouTube playlist titled Epic Pirate Music which is my favorite.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That I was actually very good at it.

Robert, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Rick Partlow, Galaxy of Authors

Rick Partlow, Galaxy of Authors

Rick Partlow

‘I began writing novels for publication because there weren’t enough novels being written in those genres that I wanted to read.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and it’s always been a desire to tell the stories I wanted to hear that no one else was telling.  As an adult, I began writing novels for publication because there weren’t enough novels being written in those genres that I wanted to read.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

The first and always the most influential was Robert Heinlein. His juvenile novels introduced me to SF as a child and I still reread them all periodically. After that, William Gibson and his cyberpunk novels and Walter Jon Williams were also big influences on me when I was younger.

Tell me about your book / series.

I have four series in all.

The first was a military SF trilogy called “Duty, Honor, Planet:” i. Duty Honor Planet  ii. Honor Bound  iii. The Line of Duty

This series is about a pair of young military intelligence officers who wind up rising quickly through the ranks as they confront what initially appears to be an alien invasion but winds up being a conspiracy rooted deep in the fabric of their society.

The remaining series all take place in the universe of the Human Commonwealth, and they share a common history but focus on different characters and situations.

The “Birthright” series focuses on Caleb Mitchell, born into a society of pacifist technological simplists on a religious agro-colony.  He winds up a biologically-enhanced Glory Boy commando fighting against the alien Tahni in a war that has dragged on for decades.

Glory Boy is a prequel that deals with his time in the military and service during the war.

Following that is the “Birthright” trilogy: i. Birthright ii. Northwest Passage iii. Enemy of My Enemy

The trilogy deals with Caleb and his friends, family and former Glory Boy teammates as they deal with a Corporate Council conspiracy to gain control of ancient alien technology.

After that is the “Recon” series, which is centers on Randall Munroe, the son and heir of a Corporate Council scion who abandons that life and changes his identity to enlist in the Recon Marines during the war with the Tahni in the first book. The rest of the series deals with his experience as a mercenary after the war, working initially for and then against the Corporate Council. i. Recon: A War to the Knife ii. Recon: A Wolf in the Fold iii. Recon: A Battle for the Gods iv. Recon: A Fight to the Death

My latest series began with a prequel that takes place during the war with the Tahni, a book called Last Flight of the Acheron, which tells the story of Sandi Hollande, the black-sheep daughter of a high-ranking Fleet Admiral, and Ash Carpenter, who chose the military over life as a low-level criminal in the Trans-Angeles slums.  They form a close friendship in the Academy and wind up serving together in a new command of small, fast-attack starships

I am currently working on the first book in the series about them taking place after the war, called Tales of the Acheron.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

None.  All the books I completed are published.  I have about a dozen books with maybe 10-20,000 words done on them that I abandoned at that point, but I might go back and finish a couple of them.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

Banning by who?  By governments?  In that case, I’m totally against it.  If you mean anything else by the term, I would need it clarified.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Caleb Mitchell of Glory Boy and the “Birthright” series is memorable in that he goes from being a boy brought up in an insulated, pacifist, religious society far away from more advanced civilization to willingly becoming a high-tech commando, and in doing so is willing to be exiled and shunned by his own people.  He repeatedly has to leave, perhaps forever, the home and people he loves in order to protect them.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

I tried to get traditionally published back in the mid to late 1990s.  I had an agent and she was shopping the first “Duty, Honor, Planet” and “Birthright” novels.  It didn’t work out and I basically gave up on writing for publication.  Then self-publishing on Amazon became a thing and once I put those books out as e-books for Kindle and sold 30,000 copies the first year, I never even considered submitting a book to a traditional publisher again.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

I totally agree.  I read almost compulsively when I was a kid and I still try to read as much as I have time for.  It’s more difficult now, since writing takes up so much of my time.  But what I read as a child and a young adult shaped the writer I am now.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The best part is not having any set hours.  The worst part is also not having any set hours.  I write what feels like every spare moment and I do it till I reach my word count goal for the day and if that’s 1AM, then it’s 1AM.  I’m my own boss, but my boss is a slave-driving jerk.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I used to be mostly a pantser until last year, when I made a total conversion to plotter.  Prior to last year, I would plot maybe a chapter or three ahead at the most and generally let my characters guide me.  I still love doing that, and think it’s a much more fun and fulfilling way to write, but it takes way too long.  I averaged a book a year pantsing and they were invariably over 120,000 words each.  With tight, high-detail plotting, I can finish a 70-80,000 word book in a month and a half or less.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Sometimes, I’ll name a set of characters after something specific, like NFL QBs from the early 2000s or a cast of actors from a certain film.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

I have spent far too much money and a lot of time pursuing wildlife photography.  I’ve been to the Yellowstone/Grand Teton area 17 times since 2006.

What are you writing at the moment?

I’m writing book number one in my new “Tales of the Acheron” space opera series.  It’s about two former war hero Fleet pilots who wind up on the run from the law, the Pirate World cartels and a vengeful bounty hunter.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

I think that a certain percentage of ALL books, indie or traditionally published, are badly edited and low quality.  There are just MORE indie books than traditional ones so you get to see more of them.  I think the most badly written and badly edited ones never get read by anyone anyway.  But I’ve found typos and editing mistakes in books by Tom Clancy and Stephen King.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

Science fiction in general and military SF and/or space opera in particular.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

I’d definitely live in my Commonwealth universe. It has its drawbacks, but it’s wild and wide open and has some cool worlds in it, like Demeter, where they’ve established a huge nature preserve for re-engineered extinct mammals.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

I would have kept writing after the first two books, so that when the time came that I self published on Amazon and had amazing initial success, I could have followed it up with sequels immediately and not taken a year to get the first one out and lost all that momentum.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

Sometimes.  It varies, but I find Awesome Mix Volume 1 from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie is very inspiring.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

How easy it is to write once you’ve established good writing habits and gotten practice at them.

Tell me three unique things about you.

1) I still have my wisdom teeth, my tonsils and my appendix.

2) I’ve been to all but 4 US states, but only two foreign countries.

3) I’ve run two marathons.

Rick, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Richard H Stephens, Galaxy of Authors

Richard H Stephens, Galaxy of Authors

Richard H. Stephens

‘Durned elf.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

During the school summer break, when I was nine years old, I found the long summer days dragging out and becoming boring. One sweltering afternoon, while my best friend and I were reading Hardy Boy books, we had an epiphany. We thought, “We could write one of these.” And so, I did.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Definitely. Obviously, Franklin W. Dixon in the beginning, but it was Stephen R. Donaldson and Terry Brooks who were the catalyst to my love of Fantasy.

Tell me about your book.

A forgotten hero, scorned by a kingdom for the death of their queen, is called back to duty, but he fears that should he re-enter the fray, he may end up killing them all.

Soul Forge, is an epic fantasy about an embittered warrior, Silurian Mintaka, who has secluded himself away from society for fear of unleashing his vengeance upon a disillusioned people.

An old man reaches through his darkness, and convinces him the people’s need outweighs his loathing of them. Befriending a few eccentric characters along the way, Silurian Mintaka and company face a whirlwind of drastic choices, that once made, may lead them down a path of no return.

Embarking upon the greatest journey of their lives, they travel the uncharted waters of the Niad Ocean; not across, but beneath, on a fool’s errand to recover the lost enchantment of his fabled blade.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Several. My earlier stuff, sci-fi, and other genres will forever remain in a box. My focus going forward is the series, Soul Forge, due for release at the end of 2017, and its sequel, The 13 Eyes of Helleden is scheduled for spring 2018.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

I am not well versed on this subject, but I think it is a tough call in this day and age. Unless it can be 100% considered hate literature, how can we judge someone else’s content? Just because I believe one thing, doesn’t mean you must also. Those decisions are best left to those people wishing to spend their energies on this matter.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

We first meet Silurian Mintaka in Of Trolls and Evil Things (Published Nov 1, 2017) The book is about him and his sister, who find themselves orphaned and trying to survive the hostile environment of a seedy city, and the dangerous mountain wilderness surrounding it. The book illustrates that no matter how bad things get, Silurian’s good character always brightly shines through. Even faced with starvation and being beaten, he finds a way to walk the high road.

In Soul Forge, the reader finds this same person, a disgruntled, angry person who hates the people of the kingdom almost as much as they hate him. In the intervening dark years between Of Trolls and Evil Things and Soul Forge, life has managed to beat down this once morally upstanding citizen. After rising to the status of King’s Champion, a series of events spin the lives of Silurian,and those around him out of control, stripping everything he has, and everything he loves, away from him. Silurian’s need to discover those responsible for murdering his family and abducting his sister, finally breaks him. The epic fantasy series, Soul Forge is a journey of self discovery for his once beautiful, forgotten soul.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Either. I decided to go Indie after a meeting with an Agent who asked to see more of Soul Forge, and then never got back to me. That is the frustrating part with traditional publishing. Especially after someone pointedly requests more information. How hard is it to fire off a quick email stating they aren’t interested?

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

For sure. Reading is a writer’s lecture hall.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The best: holding your work in your hands after it has been published. The worst? Hearing people complain about the price of a $2.99 e-book that took months or years to write, edit polish, and proof, and will provide hours of enjoyment and you will have forever, while these same people sip on their $5.99 coffee, that took five minutes to make, and will be consumed ten minutes later. Really? Come on, people.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

Oh, I am a total pantser. I can’t be bothered world building, or plotting, or whatever those organized people do. I sit down in front of the keyboard and simply make my character put one foot in front of the other. That’s all the work I need to do. From that point on, I just follow the character out the door into his or her world. I get to see the land unfold before their eyes at the same time they do. I get to feel their emotions, go through their hardships, when they do. If there’s a babbling brook up ahead, I’ll know it when we round the next bend.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Absolutely. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

Playing sports. Soccer, hockey, hiking, biking, kayaking, whatever.

What are you writing at the moment?

Soul Forge is nearly through its editing stage, then it’s off to my wonderful Beta readers. The 13 Eyes of Helleden has been idling over the lastcopuple of months as my main goal has been the publishing of The Royal Tournament, released in September, and now,Of Trolls and evil Things, scheduled for Nov 1.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

I believe there is some truth to that. There is a belief amongst some writers that they need to get as much out there as quickly as possible, and if their works are riddled with errors, oh well. I know. I have seen it said many times in different writing groups I follow. Sad really. There are also many authors who don’t have the resources to pay for a good editor, or quality cover art, and that, too, is unfortunate. You can’t tell me people don’t judge a book by its cover. Of course they do. That’s what gets the book noticed on the shelf, unless you are already familiar with the author. If an author wants to be noticed, the cover art and their polished work will ultimately be the deciding factor on whether they are continually successful or not.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

Fantasy. If I want to write in a purple tree, you can’t gainsay me. You have never been to my world. I like science fiction as well, but I am not technically knowledgeable, so I would be ripped a second one by those who would rather spend all their energy dissecting a story’s legitimacy than enjoying the ride.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

No. I like my modern conveniences.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

Yes. I listen to a variety of different music, depending on the mood of the story that I am writing at the time. Generally, I listen to heavy metal, alternative rock, and epic music. The song, Stand Up and Fight, by Turisas, would be the theme song for Soul Forge, if it ever became a movie.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

How easy it is to actually publish a book. I lost a little hair, but not nearly as much as I had anticipated.

Tell me three unique things about you.

1) Although I write about swords and fighting, I am squeamish when it come to looking at blood and cuts.

2) I am a terrible speaker.

3) I have one ear larger than the other. (My kids call me Nemo!)

Richard, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

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