Firstly, may I extend my sincere thanks for the invitation, Kath.
I was born in Southern England when food rationing was the norm. Coming from a working class family, life was tough, but I really enjoyed my childhood. That has to be down to my parents and I can’t thank them enough. My dad told me a story from his own vivid imagination, every night. I still remember the tale of the dragon; he even made me a sword, but mum was none too pleased when I hacked down her giant sun flower.
I wrote a few poems at school and over the years a few more, probably from boredom to be honest. My reading was spasmodic until I discovered The Lord Of The Rings. All my birthdays had arrived in one day and hooked, I was.
Over the following decades I began to write one or two lines, made a few notes but going nowhere if you know what I mean. I even wrote about 15,000 words of a novel but those pages are hidden in a dusty box somewhere.
After several operations in a short space of time, the walls closed in and I was going nuts. I asked my wonderful wife what I could do, but when she suggested the ironing or washing-up, the thought of Hara-kiri came to mind. Luckily she followed up with the magical words. ‘Why don’t you write a story?’
I was up and running in no time. My first effort was utter dross, but I am very proud of my novella, Bolt Out Of The Blue. The words of wisdom in your review stayed with me and I amended about twenty per cent of the book. One reviewer subsequently posted that it was unusual for any tale to be lacking in cynicism. As that was my initial aim, my smile could be seen for days.
I was even prouder to see my first novel, Evil Never Dies, in paperback. It was love at first sight with the cover and my mind was completely blown away when I viewed the YouTube video.
I love writing. Medieval fantasy is my passion but I write short stories and Drabbles in any genre. My Drabble, Spectral Morning, has recently won an international Drabble competition and that really made my day.
To cap it off, The Portsmouth News carried a three page spread on my life. I had no control over the poetic licence but the main reasons for me commencing writing are all true. They even put my mug-shot on the front page.
My motto is LAUGH LOUD-LOVE ALWAYS-LIVE LONG.
And wherever the writing journey takes you, make sure you have FUN along the way.
I think most people who attempt a book have written shorter things in their youth.
Who are your favourite authors?
Without any doubt, J.R.R.Tolkien is my idol. His work changed my life. The genius of the man will live forever. He created not only a massive story, but races of believable people, fantastic plot lines, a world and a language. Wow!
The late David Gemmell has also inspired me. His mastery of heroic fantasy has kept me awake well into the early hours on many an occasion.
I also love the work of Bernard Cornwell, especially his Azincourt series.
Some good books in there!
Do your preferred reading and writing genres overlap?
I would have to say yes and no.
I enjoy reading medieval fantasy as well as writing it. But at the same time I love funny stories; my favourite being, Bob Monkhouse and his autobiography ‘Crying With Laughter.’ I write a few humourous bits and pieces, but Bob was the absolute master of his genre. My attempts are quite feeble by comparison.
I write short stories and Drabbles in almost any genre but when it comes to reading I can be very picky. Simply put, I have so many things in my life to do, that I can only find enough time to read a book that I am really interested in. Second World War Stories are a prime example. I am currently reading about the exploits of the British 6th Airborne landing in Horsa gliders and via parachute at Pegasus Bridge in Normandy on June 6th 1944 – D Day. Having visited the bridge, I wanted to learn more but had never seen the book until recently. Makes you feel proud of our fore-fathers doesn’t it?
I do read all the stories from my local book club, even when our beloved leader, Carol, insisted that we wrote a romantic tale. Romance! Me! She did indeed, but I’m not going to share her critique.
I don’t think I could write romance either. Not without making myself laugh!
What are you currently working on?
I have written about 7000 words of my follow up novel, Heroes Never Fade. Unfortunately the plot line has dried up. I am at the crossroads of whether to continue or start again. With my first novel the words arrived quicker than I could type (I am very slow, unlike you lovely ladies) but this time, poo!
I have also submitted several tales into competitions and have nearly finished a story come travel promotion about a Greek island.
Writing is the nastiest, craziest and most fulfilling addiction known to mankind. At times I want to break free, but naturally, that is impossible.
And finally – any great ambitions, whether connected with writing or not?
It’s a great pleasure to be here, and at my age it’s a great pleasure to be anywhere. As long as I continue to wake up, write and enjoy my life, then thank you very much. I truly believe that writing has saved me from the steep slope of decline.
Of course I would love to sell enough books to cover my initial outlay, yet hearing the words ‘I love your book’ is more important.
I am still a beginner in a tough environment. Yes, I have learnt a great deal, but there is so much more to take in.
My only real ambition would be to have the gift of promotion; to know how to put my work in front of those readers most interested in my genre. I expect most other writers feel the same but if anyone has some good advice, please let me know.
It’s been a pleasure, Kath, and I thank you most kindly for the opportunity.
Thank you, Rick.
And here’s Rick’s Amazon page so you can have a look at his books.