Ramona Richards’ interview

» Posted on Sep 16, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Ramona Richards’ interview

If you want a chance to win a copy of the Face of Deceit, please leave a comment with your email address or email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawing ends Sunday night.

Ramona Richards’ interview:

1. What made you start writing?
I can’t remember NOT writing or wanting to be a storyteller. When I was 7, I thought it meant copying another book, and my older brother taught me the word “plagiarism.” He told me if I was going to be a writer, I had to make up my own. So I did. I loved making up stories and watching people’s faces. I used to put doll dresses on my cats and make them sit and listen to me. (I was a very determined child.)

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
A long time passed between those first stories and the first book. I had a lot to learn. I published my first article at 18, and I wrote a lot of those over the years. The first book didn’t come until I was 42.

3. How do you handle rejections?
When I first got started, they devastated me. But they’re part of the business, and I gradually understood that all writers get them. They aren’t personal. I take what I can from them (even the form letters), and move on. The trick is to KEEP WRITING.

4. Why do you write?
Because I have to. When I don’t write, I get cranky, depressed, and hard to deal with. I think this is a drive, a gift from God, and I need to use it. When I use it for Him, life is MUCH better.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
I have no idea. Probably working in a dive shop somewhere in Florida, schlepping scuba tanks and hanging out at the beach. Reading a lot. And cross-stitching. I love to cross-stitch, and I never, ever have the time to do it. I’ve been working on the same project for my mother for 10 years.

6. What are you working on right now?
More romantic suspense. A new proposal for Steeple Hill for three books about sisters in Nashville. Also a single title about a cold case specialist who tackles cases in small towns across America.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
A few things bleed over, but I want to keep my heroines bright, lively, and different from the ones who came before. We may share common interests, but I’m far more likely to steal a quality or quirk from a friend or colleague than use my own. I love to “people watch,” so I’m always searching for new looks and characteristics.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.
The idea for THE FACE OF DECEIT came when I visited a local pottery studio and saw a plaque with a face on it. Before I got home, the basic plot that plunges potter Karen O’Neill and her “face vases” into a murder mystery had formed in my head.

Karen witnessed the murder of her parents when she was 7, but she’s suppressed all memories of it. Now her vases are getting a lot of attention in the art world, mostly due to art crime investigator and historian Mason DuBroc. When a collector is killed and someone starts destroying vases, Mason becomes convinced that the face on the vases belongs to the killer.

When the killer turns the attacks on Karen, she and Mason face the fact that her mind is slowly revealing details that not only involve long-held and destructive family secrets but the identity of the killer. What did Karen’s parents do to provoke their murders? Do the answers lie somewhere besides in Karen’s blocked memories. If not . . . can she remember the killer in time?

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
First and foremost, KEEP WRITING. When the rejections come, keep writing. When friends and family criticize your work or don’t understand why or what you write, keep writing.

Next, never stop learning. Learn your craft. Hang out with other writers (groups, conferences, online) and listen to them. Network to learn the industry. Read industry blogs.

There has never been an easier time than right now for a writer to learn from other people. Agents and publishers blog and interact; so do published writers. Online classes are everywhere. All you have to do is pay attention.

10. How important is faith in your books?
This isn’t an easy answer for me. My own faith journey has had a lot of rough jumbles and tumbles. I left the church at one point in my life. God just never let go and kept reminding me He was still there. Some of my early writings were, shall we say, quite secular.

So for me, the faith in my books reflects what it is to be human, to struggle, to doubt, to heal. In THE FACE OF DECEIT, both Karen and Mason are believers, but Mason has let his faith drift because he lives and works in a very liberal, secular environment. So when he meets Karen, he struggles with how “lukewarm” he’s become toward God.

11. What themes do you like to write about?
I like to write about people struggling to heal emotionally from the past. I often write about the search for “home,” with the basic ideal that “home” isn’t so much a physical place as a state of mind, a group of people who love and support you without fail.

Of course, I mostly want to write a snapping good thriller that makes readers keep turning the pages!

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
Ouch. That’s tough. I fall in love with each book as I write it, and I have to let go in some ways so I can move to the next one. I love THE FACE OF DECEIT because I got to indulge my love of using a potter’s wheel, and I fell totally in love with Mason. (Of course, my physical model for Mason was Johnny Depp with a Cajun accent, which made the writing a lot easier!)

In my next book, THE TAKING OF CARLY BRADFORD, my heroine, Dee, is a strong woman who’s been through a devastating crisis. Her healing is part of the story, but I also get to give my police chief, Tyler, his own romance. He’s grown up over the past three books, and it’s about time. So, right now, CARLY is my favorite.

13. What is your writing schedule like?
I have a day job and I’m a single mom, so I write in spurts. I try to write about 30 minutes in the morning, 30 at lunch, and at least an hour at night before bed, sometimes longer. I don’t always make the time goals, so I focus on word count. My goal is 100 to 2500 words a day. If I get 100 written, I’m happy. If I make that 2500, I’m delirious. And they don’t have to be 100 words on the current novel. One of the easiest ways to get bogged down or blocked is to focus solely on one work. To stay fresh, I often just brainstorm, blog, or draft a character sketch. All of it is writing; all preps you for the next stage of your novel. And to give your readers perspective, the word count on this blog is about 1200 words, so I’m already a happy camper for the day.