This installment of my 2019 author interview series features author Richard Dee. Richard selected 10 questions from my list and his responses will tell us a little bit about him.
- What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I get up and write at 0530 most mornings. It’s a hangover from when I was working, early starts have always (unfortunately) featured in my life. If I get into the flow, I can have a good number of words down by breakfast. I might do a bit more in the evening; the rest of the day, I’ll do a little editing or light marketing, check my social media, update my website and generally relax. My wife and I might go out for lunch, or a picnic on Dartmoor/the coast if the weather is good. If I can, I like to get 2-3000 words a day down on new projects. Once you get into the routine, it’s easy.
- What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Having more than one project on the go at a time. The idea is that if I run into a block on one story, I can switch to another. I currently have about six or seven half finished novels or short stories in progress. Many of my novels spring from short stories, after I read them back, I can often see how they could be expanded.
- What do you think are the elements of a good story?
Location, plot and believability. I usually start with an idea for a plot, then I devise a location and a few characters that maximize its potential. Next comes loads of research to make sure that everything hangs together and sounds plausible. I used to think you couldn’t research the future, of course that’s true but it all has to start from where we are now, and that must be right. There’s nothing worse than having a good story spoiled because there is a credibility gap in the setting or the technology. I spend a lot of time on science websites and in reading news reports about the latest ideas.
- Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or are there some combination of the two? Why?
I’d like to think that we are all one family, there are more than enough readers to go around. You have to remember that not everyone will like what you, or anyone else, writes. The Independent author community is full of people who have helped me tremendously, given me advice and encouragement without hesitation and I’m grateful to all of them. They have never seemed like anything more than friends. In an effort to do my part, I host a weekly spot on my website for other authors, to help them get more exposure, I know that you, and a lot of others do that as well. If we all help each other, there will be no limit to what we can achieve.
- What writing advice have you found to be the most useful? (Book, blog, etc.)
Write. Just get the words down. Until it’s on paper (or screen), it isn’t a story, it’s an idea. You can always edit it, you can’t edit a blank page. And while we’re on the subject, should you choose to self-publish, make sure that your work is professionally edited, formatted and has the best cover you can afford. Make it indistinguishable from a traditionally published book. Then have the confidence in it to tell everyone about it. The best feeling is when someone you’ve never met sends you a message to say that they loved it. It’s even better when they ask you what happened next.
- What tools do you use to write? (Computer, notebook, software, etc.)
I use ordinary word-processing software on my computer and my phone. I bought a plug-in keyboard for my phone after having a great idea and typing it with my thumb on my phone’s touchscreen. Never again!!
- Do you outline? Are you a ‘pantser’? What techniques do you use to get started on a story?
Pantser all the way. My ideas come to me like watching a film in my head, I merely write down what I see on the screen. I can pause, view in slow motion and rewind to make sure I get all the action and detail. But, and this is the most frustrating part, I can never fast-forward. I only see the end of the novel when I get there. It’s as much a surprise to me as it will be to the reader (I hope)
- Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?
I write Sci-fi, Steampunk and Cozy Crime, although the crime stories, featuring my reluctant amateur detective Andorra Pett all take place in a sci-fi setting. The science is never more important than the fiction, rather it’s another character, in the same way as I try to make the setting as important as any dialogue. Within that, my themes are mainly the triumph of the individual over faceless bureaucracy; corruption; love, loss and redemption and all that sort of thing. I have dabbled with Historical fiction and short stories set in the present but Sci-fi is my greatest passion. For my latest novel, Life and Other Dreams, I’ve combined the present and the future in a way that should get you guessing about the relationship between dreams and reality.
- If you could interview a famous author, who would it be and what three questions would you ask him/her?
I’d like to interview Arthur C. Clarke, one of the masters of Sci-fi. I’d like his opinion on the way that science has caught up with the ideas that he and his contemporaries of the forties and fifties had. I wonder if he realized that his dreams would be reality in so many ways. Also, I’d like his advice on writing about Alien and artificial intelligence, as it’s something I don’t feel able to tackle. Finally, I want to know how he came up with so many brilliantly quotable phrases (check them out if you never have).
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Walk along the cliffs near my home and let the ideas swirl around. I also bake pretty good sourdough bread and love cooking all the incredible produce we have in Devon. Having three daughters and several grandchildren also keeps me busy.
I’m Richard Dee and I’m from Brixham in Devon. I was never a writer, at least not for ages. I made up stories in my head, based on dreams and events in my life, but I never did much with them. Life, a wife, three daughters and now three grandchildren have kept me busy.
I spent forty years in shipping, firstly at sea, then in Port Control and finally as a Thames River Pilot, with adventures to match anything I could imagine. When I retired, I just moved them out into space, changed some of the names and wrote them down.
I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective. When I’m not writing, I bake bread and biscuits, cook delicious meals and walk the Devon coast.
My first novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of The Rocks of Aserol, a Steampunk adventure, and Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space, the first of a series featuring the character.
Sequels to most of them have either followed or are in production. I also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection of alternative history stories. I’m currently working on more prequels, sequels, and a few new projects. I run my own website and review fiction for several web-based book review sites.
Find Richards Books:
My books are on sale at Amazon and all other major retailers, or directly from my website, here are a few of the more useful links:
Connect with Richard:
My website is richarddeescifi.co.uk. Head over there to see what I get up to, you’ll find free short stories, regular features on writing, book reviews and guest appearances from other great authors. Click the FREE STUFF tab or the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free short story.