Jan 24 2012
For my first interview of 2012, I’m delighted to have author Richard C. Hale as my guest. He is a thriller and paranormal writer who draws from his diverse background and interests. As his bio states: “His stories weave humor, angst and a touch of the unusual to bring the reader to a place they could not find on their own.”
Thanks for being my guest this week, Rich. Tell the cool peeps about yourself.
Thanks for having me Molly. I know you’re a little picky, so I’m honored you asked me to hang with you. I’m an Air Traffic Controller by day and make an attempt at pushing the proverbial pencil across the paper by night. Born and raised in a military family, I chose not to pursue that route in favor of becoming Billy Joel. When that didn’t work, I decided sucking mucus out of smoker’s lungs was the next best thing so, naturally, the field of Respiratory Therapy grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go for eight years. Very rewarding but highly underpaid. My growing family needed food and I was struggling providing it for them. The FAA and its screening program took a chance on me and 21 years later, every day, I get to tell pilots where they can…well, I tell them not to run into each other. Complex, yet simplistic in its nature. Mixed in there were jobs such as construction worker, mechanic, greens keeper, bartender and shepherd. Ok…the shepherd thing never happened but that might be cool. Writing came to me a bit later in life, and now I realize how much it would have saved me all those years.
A great number of writers have always loved to write. But you hated it from grade school throughout high school. How did you end up transforming into a writer?
I blame it on my English Composition teacher my first year in junior college. Or maybe I should say, he showed me the light. He was a bit of an oddball. He stood up in front of the class the very first day and said, “This grammar book you were required to purchase? Throw it away. It’s crap. We’re going to write what you love, what you need, and whatever your heart desires. Go!” We all sat there staring at each other for a minute, and I, being the ever bold one, said, “Now?” His response was, of course, “Now.” So, I wrote. And fell in love with it. He encouraged us to tell a story, truthful or not, big or small, funny or sad, and make it our own. He wanted to hear what we had to say, and if it had grammar errors, he didn’t care. Poetic license was his mantra and I took to it like gravy to roast beef (I was going to say a duck to water, but that’s been done). I received the highest grade in his class and everybody hated me, but I had found something no one could take away. Me.
You’ve worked several different jobs, including bartender, greens keeper, musician, respiratory therapist and an air traffic controller. Would you tell us more about your diverse employment history?
I guess my excuse for having such a wide range of professions stems from the fact of not only soul searching during my youth, but trying my best to keep boredom at bay. I find drudgery usually creeps its way into my activities after a while. I tend to get bored quick. But on the other hand, the three exceptions to this stigma are my family, my writing, and the Air Traffic Controller field. Those three have never been boring.
You’ve published a book called Near Death. Please, tell us all about the book and how it came to be.
NEAR DEATH was one of those things where two separate ideas came together as one. I had been surfing the web and ran across a website about real near death experiences. I was fascinated by some of the accounts and read through quite a few. A couple of days later, I was watching some Discovery show on TV and they were discussing how MRI technology was being developed that could read a person’s mind, up to a couple of hundred words based on a rudimentary vocabulary. Something clicked in my head and I wondered what would happen if science could actually prove there was life after death. The actual fictionalized version that is told in NEAR DEATH radically changed from that original idea, but that’s how the story started to form in my head. Here is the blurb from the cover:
For Jake Townsend, the loss was shattering. And every night for the past two years, he has relived the horror of what happened. The moonless night. The piercing screams. The horrific crash. The night his wife was taken from him. The last time he saw her alive.
Everyone tells him to move on. But for Jake, there can be no closure. A message appears in his dreams—a warning he is reluctant to heed.
The omens ignored, Jake finds himself caught between the desire to see his beloved wife again and disrupting the delicate balance of life and death.
The technology he developed has shown him the path, and others will do anything to use it, but at what price?
He must choose, and the consequences may ultimately shatter his world.
I hear you have a new book coming out called Frozen Past. Can you tell us what it’s about?
It’s a crime mystery. I know it’s a bit of a departure from the genre I normally write, but I love this kind of stuff and I had a blast putting it all together. So far, my test readers are really liking it and I’m pretty excited about it. A little sneak peek will be showing up on my website soon, but Molly, you’re going to be the first to hear a little about it.
Luke is only fourteen. Eliana is his whole world and for a fourteen year old, the burden is immense. You see, Eliana is being stalked. Stalked by a madman who wants nothing more than to see her dead. The madman knows things that no one should know and sees things that no one should see. He tells them if they say a word to anyone, they will both die. And Luke can’t let that happen. Eliana’s past is catching up with her and Luke must do anything to save her. Anything.
How would you describe your work? What are some of the common elements readers might find in your books?
I love twists. Not necessarily the all out shocker on the next to the last page, but the part where I take the reader to a place they didn’t see coming or expect. I also love the paranormal and even if the story is not horror or fantasy, I like to put a touch of the occult or unusual into it. Or make it seem as if there are things at play beyond this earthly plane. I read way too much Stephen King as a kid.
What is the writing process like for you? Any routines, quirks, mad-artist moments you’d like to share?
I’m still fascinated by the process. The first book I wrote, I walked around with this grin on my face for months because I was discovering the story as it wrote itself. Most authors know this feeling, and when you experience it for the first time, it’s almost like being born. I couldn’t wait to get back to it and see where it took me. I don’t like to outline and in most cases I don’t even like to think ahead. At least, not until I’m getting close to knowing how it’s all going to end. It’s crazy, I know, but I like to be surprised, and when I get into the zone, my mind takes me to places I didn’t even know it could. I can write in public places and even pick up the thread within a matter of minutes and shut it down just as fast. I can’t listen to music when I write, though, as it distracts me. Weird, huh?
What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing part 2 to NEAR DEATH. It will be a trilogy and the second one is shaping up to be a little darker than the first. The antagonists are pretty psychopathic and, for lack of a better word, evil. I’m liking it so far.
The world of publishing is changing so rapidly. It’s hard to keep up. Any thoughts about the ever-evolving landscape? Predictions?
I could write pages about this subject, but I won’t. Briefly, my thoughts: Right at this moment, I feel the opportunities for independently published authors offer much greater advantage over traditionally published authors. I earn higher royalties, I can have more control over the content and cover design, I can pick my editor(s), I can put the book out faster and cheaper than the traditional publishers and thus price it more attractively, and I earn higher royalties. I said that twice for a reason. As the rapidly changing electronic market guides the publishing world over the next few years, I continue to watch and pay very close attention to what is going on. As for predictions, some feel the big six will crumble because they refuse to embrace the new technology, but I disagree. They are huge corporations that monitor their products carefully and adapt. The ones that take advantage of the change quickest will survive and the ones who fight it will more than likely perish. It will be very interesting in the next few years. Right now, I’m sticking with Indie.
Social media can be a freakin’ crazy, demanding, and time-sucking beast. I know many peeps have a serious love/hate relationship with it. How do you feel about it? What do you think are the best and worst ways to feed “the beast?”
It is a huge time suck, but also enjoyable. I just have to monitor my time and make sure I’m actually producing something to read as opposed to spending all my time tweeting and blogging. It’s important to have a presence out there and since most of it is free, a huge marketing mistake if you are not taking advantage of at least some of it. There are millions of potential readers out there and I’m doing my best to introduce myself to each and every one…just not during football season. I was lucky enough to meet you on Twitter and consider that a blessing. Lots of cool peeps out there!
If you could have a dinner party and invite your favorite fictional characters, who might we see seated around the table?
I can read just about any genre and right now I’ve been into thrillers, so I’d love to talk with Jack Reacher, Myron Bolitar, and Cotton Malone. From the past, Pennywise (the clown from It), John Coffey, and Tom Joad.
You’re a husband and father of four girls. Wow! What’s it like to live in a house filled with women? ☺
It’s all about drama. There is always something dramatic happening in their worlds, whether it be real or imagined, and it makes for an interesting time. I wouldn’t change a thing. They are my world.
What do you hope to know in five years that you don’t know now?
How to be a grandpa. I know it’s coming soon and I have no idea if it will be harder or easier than being a father. Or writer. Or air traffic controller. I’m sure it will be entertaining.
I’ve been forever called picky, but I maintain that we’re all picky creatures. What are you picky about?
Vegetables. I’m not a huge fan and I’m pretty picky about which ones I’ll eat. Brussels sprouts are a huge no-no. I’m learning, and beginning to enjoy a few new ones, but I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Oh…I also don’t like sweater vests…just saying…
Any parting words for the masses? Any shameless plugs? Where can people find you online?
I like to have fun on my blog and keep everything light. So far, my stories have a tendency to be a little more intense. I haven’t figured out why yet. But if you’d like to see the lighter side of me, visit my website here:
My book can be found at Amazon in Kindle format or print:
Thanks Molly, for having me and have a great New Year! Be well!