Originally from Rhode Island, Richard Writhen also lived in NYC for about ten years. He has been e-published on several notable sites such as the MightyThorJRS Blog, Techzwn.com, Grimdarkmagazine.com and Ragnarokpub.com and is the author of three novellas on Amazon KDP: A Kicked Cur, A Host of Ills and The Hiss Of The Blade. Richard also writes short form stories in the styles of Gothdark, Grimdark, GDSF and Psychological Horror, and will eventually be exploring the weird west.
Please help me welcome Richard Writhen to Roadie Notes………
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
First off, thank you very much for having me here on Roadie Notes! I am very happy to be here. In answer to the question, I actually started out reading a lot of Stephen King and Clive Barker’s stuff even before I picked up comic books in my teens in the late eighties. Then, I tried out writing a few rudimentary stories; which I unfortunately didn’t wind up saving. I also tried to write a short piece about a cult in my twenties and a prototype version of my first independently published novella in my early thirties, both later discarded. I’m not sure why I didn’t take the craft seriously until I was in my mid-to-late thirties. It must have had something to do with focus level; after I had spent four solid years as a copywriter in real life, I found that I finally had the tools to get serious about being an author.
2. How many books have you written?
I have three existing works up on Amazon KDP presently; I am working on the fourth. The first two of them were originally written in serial form on Techzwn.com and WordPress.com respectively and are in my homespun genre that I like to call Gothdark; it’s a variant of Grimdark that is also basically fantasy, but whose influences are weird and gothic fiction, rather than the traditional sword and sorcery. The third novella, which was written over the latter half of last year, is my attempt at a purer Grimdark style, a pseudo-medieval drama that takes place on the same planet as the others, which is named Cedron, but a couple of hundred years later, when other gods have taken prevalence and thus control over it.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
I attempted to write Erotica and failed miserably. It just comes out all ridiculous, the man-root and throbbing love cave kind of thing. I can do a hint of romance, but I have no real interest in highly explicit sexuality in prose, and of course pedophilia and bestiality. I am interested in exploring modern, dark speculative fiction in many forms; if I feel that the genre is a bit milquetoast then I’m really not interested in it. I probably won’t be doing much Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy for instance, because I feel that it’s kind of all been done.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc …
I quietly turned forty last year. I have never been married or had kids; hopefully that will change someday. As for physical jobs, I have done mostly food service and retail; a few years cooking, a few years in jewelry sales, and my first couple jobs ever were actually at movie theatres back home. I really enjoyed those … hey, free films and popcorn, sure can’t beat that.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
I am currently enamored with my new one, The Hiss Of The Blade. It was very difficult to get the scene sequencing correct, and I hit over thirty characters with lines by the time it was done. Again, I was really trying to write the kind of Grimdark book that I would ideally want to read; but in many tiny ways, it came out as gothic as my other work. But, having read stuff like The King In Yellow and The White People between novellas two and three, I found a strange romance plot-line winnowing its way into the narrative almost without any conscious thought on my part. When I came to realize that I was going to self-publish it through KDP, I then re-edited the first two books in full and made sure to put them up first, for completion’s sake. They were originally intended to be books one and five of a six book cycle, but as they take place so far apart chronologically, seventy-five earth years, that I figured I’d break them up too and simply have three trilogies.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
I mentioned King and Barker before; in my early thirties I read a bunch of classics, almost all of Lovecraft’s stuff, and then later on the five existing books of ASOIAF. I had been copy-writing at that point for four years, and had even begun to read the Bible more seriously, when I came across a Craigslist ad looking for writers on speculation. So, I drafted quick articles on HPL and ASOIAF for them; it was almost like a confluence of things sliding into place. But I had always toyed with the idea, and I wrote the first novella as an amateur for almost three years before beginning paid market submissions; still got my fingers crossed for a short form acceptance.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
I’m not very athletic overall, but when it comes to sports, the occasional jog or pickup basketball game is fun. I love electronic gaming, but I’m between systems for the time being. I would also like to pick up the guitar again as well; I used to play when I was younger and loved it, I’m all about stringed instruments in general.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
I’m the kind of guy who will literally go get a burrito or some pasta or something, maybe a bucket of chicken. I don’t have expensive tastes at all when it comes to food and drink. That may change someday, of course; I hear a good whiskey is especially gratifying. But the point is that I’m easy to please; though I did take a few days off when I was done with the last novella, just under a week. That was nice, because I write every night without fail usually; I try to practice “Nulla Dies Sine Linear” … not a day without a line.
9. Where do you write? Quiet or with music?
I tend to do my best work when listening to extremely heavy metal-core or death-core music. Matter of fact, that’s what I mostly listen to just for pleasure as well, and it seems to inform my work through a strange literary osmosis; and there are sometimes a few almost theatrically “aside” references to songs, films and even video games that wind up in it. But I listen to other kinds of music as well, some 80s favorites and dub-step and the like. Recently, I’ve been just throwing on podcasts while working; but that’s the exception, not the rule.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
It may be a bit heavy for some, in terms of theme. There are a lot of metaphysical, magical realism, mythical creature and personal transformation plot lines, but with the relatively new sub-genre of Grimdark’s overall trope inversions and “grey characters.” I really don’t shy away from the inherent revulsion and violence of dark genres, but in a world of extreme horror fiction and the like; not to mention the true horror of reality, anything that I may write is going to be all light and fluffy compared to most. So, I just let the content really ride, and there’s nothing truly objectionable in it that would turn off your average publisher … but it certainly won’t fit in everywhere.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
I’m just getting started out really, and haven’t thought too far ahead about where I’m going. I have three of twelve planned novellas finished and I’m currently working on the fourth one as well as four new stories for submissions. Much like any other writer, I think it would be great to eventually be able to write for a living; as I do enjoy doing it despite the time it takes and the lack of immediate rewards. Fame, fortune … of course, that would be great too, as anyone would appreciate more money, or even just some form of human approval for what they do best; but all in due time, as they say.
12. Where do you live?
I currently live in and originally am from Newport, Rhode Island. I also wound up moving to New York City for almost ten years, working in Manhattan and living first in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, Queens and then Woodhaven in the South Bronx. I also had a brief chance to visit Greenpoint, Brooklyn in May 2015 and that was really great. Since I moved back home, I even miss NYC sometimes.
No, I don’t have any currently. I love both cats and dogs, but I’m unfortunately allergic to cat dander. I love mammals in general, but mis-like insects greatly … I’m probably not alone there. We had a black lab and then a dachshund when I was younger; it was really nice and I’d like to get another dog or two in future if I can.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Finishing a piece! No, but seriously, the development of the Mind’s Eye, the increased conceptual thought, has enriched my life and organized my self and personality in a way. I feel that being an author, a writer, an artist, or even what have you is something that you discover that you are as much as something that you do; I’ve even heard it likened to sexual orientation, and I find that allegory pretty much valid. In the pursuit of my work, I’ve also met so many gifted individuals online, and with my attention span, I need that; death before boredom! And at the end of the day, it’s the joy of creation that makes being an author great above all else, really … the discovery process of finding those distinctive characters and unique places, that makes the literally endless work worthwhile.
15. What is coming next for you?
All three novellas are actually each the first in a planned trilogy series; with A Host Of Ills being the first in The Shades of Cedron, A Kicked Cur being the first in The Rotes of Rena, and The Hiss Of The Blade being the first in The Celestial Ways Saga. So before I can do the three stand-alone that I have planned, I actually have to write six more novellas in those series; the first of them, which will be the second book in TSOC, is slated for completion somewhere around September 2017, and will probably then be self-published as well if my situation doesn’t change, what with representation and publishers and the like. The stand-alone novellas are set to be in the sub-genres of Psychological Horror, Grimdark Science Fiction (which there is no clever name for yet), and Weird West respectively. Anyways, in summation, thank you and the readers very much for your time.
You can connect with Richard Writhen here:
FB Author page:
Gothdark Speculative Fiction FB Group:
A Host Of Ills:
A Kicked Cur:
The Hiss Of The Blade:
Two other articles / features about my work:
I would like to thank Richard Writhen for letting us get to know him better.