The following is a recent interview with Death Masks author Kim Richards on the Eternal Press blog:
EP: When did you seriously sit down, and say to yourself, I’m going to write a novel?
Kim Richards: I’ve been writing in one form or another most of my life. After my first marriage broke up, I decided I wanted to take writing seriously. Then I found out how much I still needed to learn so I went back to school and took journalism, started attending conferences and reading everything how-to I could get my hands on. I’ve been lucky to have found mentors online and some great critique groups along the way.
EP: What do you find the most difficult to write? Dialogue? Back story?
Kim Richards: The most difficult for me are transitions from one scene to another. I often get my point of view mixed up there in the first draft.
EP: Have you ever found that you didn’t like your Hero or your Heroine? If so, what did you do to change that?
Kim Richards: I’ve never experienced that. I have had a secondary character end up being my protagonist after I got to know the characters a little better.
EP: If you were to start again, with the knowledge you have now, what would be the first thing you do?
Kim Richards: I wouldn’t let anyone discourage me and I’d not let making money replace the writing. For me writing is something I need to cope with depression so it’s more than just an occupation. It’s my life and I need it.
EP: Do you have the support of friends and family? Meaning, do they understand when you are writing that you cannot be disturbed? Or do you have friends that think since you’re home, you don’t work?
Kim Richards: I do now and it’s wonderful. My previous mother-in-law used to ask when I was getting a ‘real job’ and I took business classes because I believed others who did not find writing an occupation. I’ve had to make it important to ME and shrug off what others think. And yes, when my sons were young, many of their friends’ parents would send their kids to my house after school. You simply learn to deal with it. I figured at least I knew where my sons were at, even if the house regularly got trashed.
The best thing I did for writing is get a ‘do not disturb sign’. I haven’t had to use it in years but it does get the point across when you can hang it on the door and just point to it when you are interrupted. At first people laugh; then they get the point.
EP: What was the biggest hurtle you had to overcome in your career?
Kim Richards: Taking myself seriously and believing my writing worthy.
EP: What genre do you write? Do you write more than one, if so, what?
Kim Richards: I write mainly horror, fantasy and some science fiction. However, if an idea comes, it doesn’t matter what genre it is. Sometimes you don’t see it in your story. I wrote a children’s book back in 2000, thinking of a fantasy market. It was another author who saw it as a kids book. It was published that way.
Death Masks is a thriller. When I wrote it, I had horror in mind. It wasn’t until I started to submit it, that I realized where it best fit. You have to write the story and then worry about what mail slot it fits in.
EP: How do you research for your books?
Kim Richards: I love research and have to be very careful or I spend more time doing that than writing the actual story. I start online but am picky about my resources. If a website doesn’t list resources of its own, I tend to skip it unless there’s a bit of information I think I need...but I focus the research on finding supporting documents (or the lack thereof). I always end up with new books on my shelf when I research. I’m full of what my sons refer to as “useless trivia”.
EP: How do you develop your characters?
Kim Richards: My stories usually start with a what if. When I start worldbuilding and researching, the characters form on their own from the culture, the setting—it often falls into place naturally.
EP: Are any of your characters a person you’d like to be? If so which one?
Kim Richards: Lots of them. They’re usually stronger or smarter or more admirable than I am.
EP: Who inspired you to write?
Kim Richards: Many, many people. An 8th grade teacher who taught me to write my dreams in a notebook; a high school teacher who taught me to journal; authors I’ve met; hokey stories I thought I could write better. It amazes me how there are many more people who do inspire me to write than discourage me, yet in the past it was the negative ones I listened to. Maybe they talk louder.
EP: What is the most humorous writing experience you’ve ever had?
Kim Richards: Meeting a man in an elevator at World Horror Convention. He saw my name tag and had read my science fiction novel out at the time. He lectured me on how I killed off his favorite character.
EP: If a new writer came to you for advice what would you tell them?
Kim Richards: Perseverence. Wrap it around your shoulders and tie it tight.
EP: Do you have a book coming out? If so what? Do you have a web site? Do you have a blog? My space?
Kim Richards: Death Masks is available from Eternal Press. I also have a story out in an anthology of dragon stories by another publisher.
Check out the trailer for Death Masks. The metal band is from my home town, Roswell, New Mexico. You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp2zpDNMfmM
My website is: www.kim-richards.com. I’ll be doing a virtual book tour in June, 2008 so check there for the blog visit schedule. There will be prizes!
You can find me at Myspace, Livejournal, Facebook, Blogger, Good Reads and Writer’s Chatroom. All under the username Kim Richards.
I do have one announcement I’d like to make. I’ve just accepted the position of Marketing Manager for Eternal Press. I’m thrilled to be accepted on the team and excited about the upcoming possibilities for me and for the publishing house.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions for the Eternal Press blog. Good luck with your writing.
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