Meghan: Hi, Richard. Welcome welcome. It’s been awhile since we sat down together. What’s been going on since we last spoke?
Richard Writhen: Not a lot. I released three books in 2017, so it was kind of a purge of my activity up until that point. Then, I spent over two years working on my new book, which was released just this past April.
Meghan: Who are you outside of writing?
Richard Writhen: I am not terribly social. I believe in pretty much keeping to myself and not engaging people for the most part, as they can be difficult. But conversely, if you actually are the kind of person that I get along with, then it’s all good.
Meghan: How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?
Richard Writhen: Most of the few people who have read my work are fellow writers whom I would consider friends. So I am fine with that, I guess. My relatives don’t read any of my work that I know of.
Meghan: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
Richard Writhen: Both. Being able to express yourself artistically through prose is a joy, almost beyond understanding. But then, when your “baby” goes out into the world, and people start picking on it, that can be disheartening. I am beginning to understand that the more talented you are, the less likely it is that people will “get it.”
Meghan: How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?
Richard Writhen: I try to incorporate all the real-life cities in which I have lived when writing fictional ones. As for the way I was raised, IDK maybe it helped make me a sort of perfectionist, to a fault.
Meghan: What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?
Richard Writhen: I probably do a lot less on-the-spot research than most writers, but maybe that’s because I have spent my whole life teaching myself. I pick up all sorts of stuff online that may not surface in my work until years later… mostly horror stories about people being picked up by serial killers and the like.
Meghan: Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?
Richard Writhen: This is kind of a non-issue for me, as my first four books were written completely out of sequence, both their location in the overall timeline and the prose that comprises the scenes themselves. I plan to finally get off my a** and outline the next book, The Crack of the Whip. I think it will help, as I got quite confused while writing the last one.
Meghan: Do you outline? Do you start with characters or plot? Do you just sit down and start writing? What works best for you?
Richard Writhen: As I said last question, I haven’t to date. I want to start, however. I used to subscribe to the “nulla dies sine linear” aesthetic and try to at least write a few sentences every day, but I no longer have a desktop setup at this time, and have to write at the library. It’s gonna slow me down for awhile longer, but not forever.
Meghan: What do you do when characters don’t follow the outline/plan?
Richard Writhen: I go with it, absolutely. That’s the best part of the discovery process, when your characters discover their free will.
Meghan: What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?
Richard Writhen: Well, if I have a valid goal, i.e. story idea, plot synopsis for a novel or novella, finding discipline to actually write is actually the easy part; for me, anyways. But, if you have a flimsy premise, the work will not write itself that way, and you find yourself slogging.
Meghan: Are you an avid reader?
Richard Writhen: Absolutely.
Meghan: What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?
Richard Writhen: While I grew up reading traditional SF/ F/ H, my current favorites are more in the vein of noir crime fiction and non-supernatural horror, authors such as Dennis Lehane, Richard Price, Paul Tremblay, Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, Kea Wilson, and Daphne Du Maurier. I like to read works around 300-400 pages, with very dark and shady characters, moral ambiguity, and unhappy endings. I really want to write something like that if I can ever get my dark fantasy stuff finished.
Meghan: How do you feel about movies based on books?
Richard Writhen: I feel that adaptations are always going to be hit-or-miss. If it’s something like Fight Club, it almost transcends the source material. But, if it’s something like Let The Right One In, you can have two films in two countries, and neither is quite as good as the book.
Meghan: Have you ever killed a main character?
Richard Writhen: Are you kidding, lawl…? In my second book, I killed two. In my third, three. Might be a pattern…
Meghan: Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?
Richard Writhen: Enjoy…? Not quite. I enjoy giving them trouble if it furthers the narrative. I espouse the “Don’t Kill The Messenger” adage. I’m just the author, I just tell the story. Do I wish ill upon my characters…? No, never. But, my fantasy world is a very dark and grotesque place, much like Earth. I, like Charles Dickens or Joe Abercrombie, am attempting to satirize reality, and it often comes out cartoonish.
Meghan: What’s the weirdest character concept that you’ve ever come up with?
Richard Writhen: Well, there’s a living dead girl in A Host of Ills. Aside from that, I have a toad-boy hybrid and a hyper-intelligent female sex-bot in separate unwritten works in development.
Meghan: What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?
Richard Writhen: Best…? “Words were used to paint worlds, evoke emotions, and sing a story to me.”
Worst…? I was told that my characterization was paper-thin in one book review. Same book as above, lawl.
Meghan: What do your fans mean to you?
Richard Writhen: Oh, all six of them mean the world to me.
Meghan: If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?
Meghan: If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?
Richard Writhen: I would love to finish A Song of Ice and Fire. It would be about death, of course.
Meghan: If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?
Richard Writhen: I have indeed been discussing a collaboration with another author, who shall remain nameless at this time. The work would be outside both of our respective worlds so as to avoid IP wrangling, and would be more of a take on traditional horror rather than be anything like our respective fantasy and UF undertakings.
Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?
Richard Writhen: I have six more series books that I have committed to, and they’ll probably all be self-published. Then, I want to do a witchcraft-based series that would continue some of the narrative arcs featured in The Angel of the Grave. I also have been toying with a couple of standalone ideas. One would be about a kind of mafia war in Nehansett City, which is my Manhattan. The other is about a young man who is forced to become a worshipper of the chaos god Golaz at an early age, and then his life spirals completely out of control as he gets older. It would be my first work to be written completely in first person.
Meghan: Where can we find you?
Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview or the last?
Richard Writhen: No, that about covers it. And of course, I would like to thank the fine people who purchased or downloaded one or more of my four books over the past three years. Any and all support is appreciated, as it is very few and far between. I, like many self-published authors, operate in what I like to call a “support vacuum.” Every share on FB, every mention in a post, every review on Goodreads helps, it really makes a difference. Also, thank you, Meghan’s House of Books, for this interview.
Having imbibing a steady diet of fantasy films, horror television and universal monster movies throughout the eighties, Richard Writhen then briefly attended college to study music and video. He began his first online serial six years ago, and has since been e-published on several notable blogs and websites. Richard is also the independently published author of two novellas and two novels on Amazon. He is currently working on several short stories, as well as the second book in The Celestial Ways Saga, The Crack of the Whip.