This week’s author interview features Dr. Rich Meyrick. Rich is from the UK but now lives in Canada where he spends his days writing books and posting on his blog.
On a side note, though the initial response was gratifying, I find myself running out of interview subjects by mid August. If you haven’t been interviewed, or even if you have and you have a new release coming out, please feel free to contact me to be interviewed at email@example.com. I will send you the information and get you scheduled.
You can check out the 210 author interviews I’ve conducted thus far on my Author Directory page HERE.
Now, let’s meet Dr. Rich Meyrick.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I’m sure most authors want their work to be original, in one way or another. Having said that, there’s not much point producing stories nobody wants to read. As far as Jaspa’s Journey is concerned, I certainly aim to provide something original. Yet I also hope that one day, when asked what they want, readers will reply, “Something like Jaspa’s Journey!”
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
“Before you begin approaching potential publishers for the first time, make sure your manuscript is as polished as possible.”
I made the mistake of thinking publishers would see the potential in my first book, Jaspa’s Journey: The Great Migration, and their editors would then help me refine it. By the time I found out that this is not the way the World works for unknown authors, I’d already blown my chance to make a good first impression with quite a few publishers.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Anything by Terry Pratchett.
Now to anyone living in the UK, where I originally come from, this will sound absurd, as Sir Terry was (is) a household name and his books are widely loved. But here in Canada, where I now live, most people have never even heard of him or his books. It’s a great shame, because they’re marvellous!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
The short answer is no. You need thick skin to be a writer (or at least to have readers), yet mine is way too thin.
My wife, Sue, on the other hand, does read reviews of my books, and tries to bolster my confidence by sharing the good ones with me. She generally keeps any unkind reviews to herself. (Although it just occurred to me that perhaps her silence on this front because no one has made any negative comments about my books! I can live in hope!)
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Absolutely! For example, in the second Jaspa novel, The Pride of London, (and also the fifth, The Ses Collector of Venice, which I’m currently writing) there’s a character called Elwood Carn. His appearance and style is loosely based on Noel Coward (someone most of the target audience won’t have even heard of). The character’s name is even an anagram of his muse.
The books also contain hints and references to characters and places that feature in past, and even future, instalments in the series. On a more personal level, many of the characters are named after, or even based on, friends and family. Very occasionally I take this a step further and someone will appear as themselves.
Do you Google yourself?
No. (See Question 4.)
But I understand Sue Googles Jaspa and Jaspa’s Journey quite regularly.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I suppose it depends which part of my childhood I’m considering. One that particularly sticks out is the English translation of Emil and the Detectives. I especially loved The Hobbit. And Br’er Rabbit. And Dragonfall 5. I could go on and on!
There was also a series of books about an international team of four astronauts, including a Russian called Serge, which I frustratingly can’t put a name to, but which will now bug me for months. Thanks for that, Don!
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
This is a tough one, since I never even considered being a writer in my youth, or indeed until my 30s. That being said, it would probably be something as simple as start taking (even) more pictures when travelling at an earlier age. I often find I wish I had (more) images of mundane things while writing: they’re so useful for bringing descriptions to life.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Roughly 18 months, give or take.
The forth Jaspa book, The Hermit of Kennecott, has been a bit different. When I first began the outline, back in 2007, it was going to be book three. But roughly a third of the way through writing it, I changed my mind and pushed it to book four.
Once Jaspa’s Journey 3: Jaspa’s Waterloo was finished, I eventually got back to The Hermit of Kennecott. Yet there always seemed to be something more pressing: book signings, building Jaspa’s website, arranging more book signings, editing the first three books for publication, yet more book signings, and so on.
Then, a few months after getting back to seriously focusing on The Hermit of Kennecott, I got the opportunity to revisit Venice, the location for book five. So The Hermit was once again shelved, while I wrote the story outline for The Ses Collector Of Venice, in advance of our trip.
As you can imagine, finishing the first draft of The Hermit of Kennecott last December, a full decade after its inception, felt like quite an achievement!
The first three books in the Jaspa’s Journey series are available from Amazon (search for Jaspa’s Journey in your country’s version of the site). In the States you can also get them from Barnes and Noble and in Canada through Chapters Indigo. You can also get them direct from the publisher, Speaking Volumes, or signed copies from Rich!
Rich is the fingertips behind everything associated with Jaspa’s Journey. Born in Wales, he developed a fascination in geography, history and the environment at an early age, interests which culminated in a PhD from the University of Cambridge (UK) and a post-doc at the University of Waterloo (Canada).
After subsequently working four years as an environmental scientist in Weimar, Germany, Rich married Sue and returned to Waterloo, this time permanently. Since then, when he and Sue aren’t actually travelling with Jaspa, Rich spends his days writing books and blogs about Jaspa’s adventures. It’s a Journey he hopes will continue for many years to come.
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