Welcome to the latest in my series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am pleased to introduce, Owen Richards, multi genre author of number of novels including, “A Fool’s Errand” and “Neither Here, Nor There.” Owen has opted to take the self-published route with his novels and has offered some cogent advice for anyone planning to undertake a similar journey.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Owen G. Richards is a pen name – I take the credit/blame for all my efforts as Owen.
Youngest child of nine, went to sixteen different schools by the time I was sixteen – due to travelling with the family.
My work experience has included Telecommunications, Information Technology, Building, Plumbing and Electrical work and international contracts, ranking from basic dogsbody to manager and back again.
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, which tends to be periods of short duration, I fill my time either playing mind numbing games to eradicate any lingering thoughts relating to any of my work, or I’m messing about with Twitter, which is a fairly recent development. TV? No, don’t have one.
3. Do you have a day job as well?
My occupation is that of a teacher of English as a foreign language and it can be very demanding. However there are times when the rewards far outweigh the effort I put in to the lessons. Most recently a student commented that it had been a pleasure to have the lessons.
4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I first started writing at school, though my early efforts were stifled by the requirement for essays in place of fiction. I resumed writing later in life perhaps mid-thirties when I realised that with my ex-wife in control of the television, the evening’s entertainment would consist of soap operas, soap operas and more soap operas. I finished my first novel (an epic) within six months, if I recall correctly.
5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
The genres that chose me to write them are predominantly SciFi, Fantasy and Horror, though I am experimenting with others. As for where the ideas come from that’ll be anything, anywhere and at any time. One story was provoked by someone saying – “It doesn’t matter.” – at an inappropriate time.
6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a right royal pain in the butt, and when we first encounter it, it seems insurmountable. But there are various methods for getting round it, from taking a break to changing the subject to one you wouldn’t normally write about. It takes time to identify what works for you, but don’t be afraid to try anything.
7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
A bit of both, and it depends which story I’m working on. Sometimes there is no time for planning as the story demands to be told NOW!
8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
There are too many to mention, from a wide variety of genres, though my reading has been dramatically curtailed since I started writing. I actually studied English Literature for a while and if I have to blame anyone for the pleasure I get from writing it would be my English Literature Teacher.
9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (self-published or traditional)?
I am self-published, but I am not someone who is any good whatsoever at the marketing aspect. I produce the book, publish it and usually make a single announcement just to say it’s out there on the bookshelf. I can’t ring the bells and bang the drums and shout – “look at me and my stuff”.
10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
With any first efforts you’re either a total genius, which I’m not, or you have regrets. My biggest regret is impatience. I rushed to write, without gaining any real experience and without remembering how others wrote their books. And I rushed to publish and perhaps should have tried harder to find an agent or publisher.
11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Answered that one – I’m bloody useless at it.
12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
I love all my books. I’m hoping to take my current WIP – probably a trilogy – down the agent publisher route. People seem to be quite excited about it when I describe it, or share snippets.
13. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
My WIP – a sixteen-year-old orphan is thieving from a military shipyard in an effort to produce something to provide him with a future that does not include the draft. He gets shanghaied by an escaped blob of pico-technology and finds himself starting his adventure aboard a salvage vessel – the Resurrection. His father died in an experimental spacecraft, his mother subsequently committed suicide – at least that is what he believes. You’d need to follow his adventures to find out if he is able to discover the truth, or not.
Nope, not good at writing a synopsis either!
14. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Some small (undisclosed) parts are based on experience, but a lot of it is fiction. To write without including something of yourself in the story – even in horror stories – leaves the writing a little flat. Experience, desires, aspirations are all good elements to include. If you can’t feel it, your readers won’t feel it either.
15. What project are you working on now?
The Trilogy – Resurrection, Renegades and Revelations are the three working titles – the saga of Thomas Andrew McNulty.
16. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Soon, no… I hope to finish all three books before I begin touting them around.
17. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I take each and every theme on it’s own merit. Maybe I do revisit some themes because they are related to the better qualities of the human animal. I’d revisit characters if they could be written into stories with continuity, or episodes.
18. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest – a report written about my first story, produced by a “reader”, whom I am pretty sure was on her menopause – though I will admit it was badly written – she gave 0 encouragement – hence I had a long hiatus before returning to writing.
The best feedback – when a reviewer compared my most recent publication to ‘Game of Thrones’ – they said it could have been an episode.
19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Learn from any source, any person, any other written work but mainly be prepared to learn from experience – and those can be the best lessons, though some will be brutal, some will be sublime.
20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
To my (few) readers I say – thanks for taking the time/making the effort to read my work. And fans… don’t know that I really have any, but I’d like to say – I hope that I can continue to produce works/commentaries that you can appreciate and enjoy.
Please join me in thanking Owen Richards for his candid and insightful responses regarding the publishing industry and for sharing his journey as a writer. If you would like to ask any further questions, please use the facilities available below and show your appreciation by checking out his work on Amazon.