Richard Raven has become a cherished friend over the last several months. We have talked about his writing and books and publishing for hours. He has a delightful sense of humor and really loves his fellow writers and readers alike. I always love when he sends me his latest story to read and can highly recommend his books. He has surrounded himself with an awesome support group of friends who edit, read and sometimes make covers for him. If you don’t know him or haven’t read his stories I highly suggest that you do, you will never meet a kinder man who truly appreciates everything you do for him. Please help me welcome Richard Raven to Roadie Notes………..
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
Ten or eleven, if I remember correctly. It was an essay about little league baseball I wrote for the extra credit in class, but my teacher liked it so much that she had it published in the school newspaper. I was in my mid-thirties, and a lifetime of hell-raising already behind me, when I decided to make a serious attempt at writing. I say serious attempt, but it was mostly a pastime at first to amuse myself. It was in 1997 when, on a whim, I entered a short mystery story in a contest sponsored by a writing group based in Memphis, Tennessee and won first place and a $50 prize that I realized I truly did have the ability to write a story that someone other than me would read and enjoy. I’ve been writing, off and on, ever since. It was about six years ago that I began developing a style of writing that I felt was right for me and would one day, hopefully, make me a published author.
2. How many books have you written?
At present, I have two published novels, For The Evil Returned (horror) and His Debt To Her (a murder mystery), and two collections of shorts and novellas (all horror). These four books were published under the name Jackson Sullivan. I also have two book length manuscripts I wrote from 2004 to 2009 that I’ve never submitted. Someday, I may pull both out of the boxes I have them stored in, knock off some of the dust, bring them up to date, and see what happens.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
Courtroom dramas. Almost without exception, I find stories like this painfully dull and dreary, and it’s hard to get me to even sit through a movie involving a lot of back and forth legal wrangling. Anything else, no problem.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I’m 54, which amazes me and anyone who knew me from my late-teens right up until about the time I turned 30. During those years I traveled the country from coast to coast, border to border (sometimes not even bothering to stop at the borders), living out of a suitcase and from either a Harley-Davidson or a Trailways bus. Never married, and no kids, but there is a lady in my life. Quite a lady she is, too, in that she can put up with me on a daily basis – the only woman I’ve ever known who could do it. I’ve worked many kinds of jobs over the years but, right now, I’m trying to concentrate solely on writing.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
I’m happy (as happy as any writer can be) with everything I have published. Having said that, I feel my two novels are dead even as far as my favorites. Both were inspired by events that hit very close to home with me, so there is a personal connection with both stories. In the case of the murder mystery, that story stemmed from a family tragedy in which an aunt of mine died in a car crash.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
The who, first and foremost, would have to be Stephen King and Robert R. McCammon. It was King’s IT and McCammon’s Swan Song that inspired me to write horror, and both stories remain the most incredible and moving tales I have ever read. Writers like Clive Barker, Ray Garton, James Herbert, John Everson, and Ruby Jean Jenson have also heavily influenced the kind of horror I write. The list, however, doesn’t end with these legends of the horror genre. I have read many, many different and diverse authors over the years – from Stephen Ambrose to Ken Follett to Frederick Forsyth – and they have all influenced me in some way. As far as the what, I have had a love for most of my adult life of movies (mostly horror, mysteries, and thrillers), and I’ve had the privilege of knowing many people over the years who loved nothing more than to spin an interesting tale. I still get the chance every now and then to sit and visit with someone who will gladly regal me with a story of a bygone time. I find these stories endlessly fascinating.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
Well, writing is a lot of fun, of course! When I’m not doing that, however, you can usually find me in front of the TV watching some slasher flick or a World War II spy thriller. I love the outdoors and enjoying fishing and camping, when I get the chance. I also love car and motorcycle shows, and you can usually find me on pretty Spring and Summer weekends at the local convenience story visiting with the many bikers that pass-through town on road trips or poker runs. I’m also a fanatic for hard rock music, as I’m sure everyone who knows me on Facebook or has ever seen my timeline is well aware.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Well, one thing that has become a kind of tradition is that I like to spend some quiet time, usually alone and late at night (when I typically finish a story), during which I say goodbye to the story itself and the characters I’ve created. After all, each story and its characters have occupied my mind for days, weeks, months, and sometimes much longer than that. Case in point, I spent over fourteen months writing and polishing For The Evil Returned. When I type THE END, it takes me a little while to let go of that story and start thinking about the next one.
9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
I have a room, a man-cave if you like, in my apartment where I write. The hundreds of books in my personal library fill that room, along with the various and minor awards I’ve won with my writing over the years, as well as autographed pictures of various bands and musicians I’ve met. My own little world, I suppose. Usually, especially if the writing is going well, it’s as silent as a tomb in that room. But if I’m hung on a plot issue or stuck for whatever reason, I always have music playing and my headphones on. Either that, or one of the many books on CD I have.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
As far as what I write and have written, no. Of course, as is the case with every writer, I suppose, I always feel the story I’m working on could do with another polish or isn’t as perfect as I could make it. But you must finish it at some point and let go of it. For me, that can be the hardest part of the whole process. If there is one thing I wish I could change is that I started writing seriously (by that I mean with the idea of getting published) much earlier than I did.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
Maybe not so much to become famous (not a threat to either Mr. King or Mr. McCammon, though reaching a point in which I could make a little money would be nice), but more to be remembered as someone who, on his good days, could write a decent story. The day my first novel went live, I felt that I had finally done something positive that just might be read, appreciated and remembered long after I’m gone.
12. Where do you live?
About an hour north of Hot Springs, Arkansas in a little town that isn’t much more than an intersection for 3 state highways and 1 U.S. Highway. I’m only a few miles from Lake Nimrod, a beautiful manmade lake that stretches almost twenty miles through the valleys of the Ozark mountains. I mentioned this lake in one of my novels.
Any hungry stray that shows up at the front door.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
*grins fiendishly* Being the one in charge and making all the decisions. It’s incredibly fulfilling to create a character, give them an identity and personality, and decide how they will think and act in any given situation. I must admit that creating the antagonist is often the most fun. Just how bad or evil this character or that character will be often takes me to strange places in my mind, and I find myself thinking about things that have never occurred to me before. Some of the places I venture to often surprises me when I read the finished story. Writing also is an escape (and a far safer one than some I’ve lived through to tell about). Like any writer, I suppose, I lose myself in a story and, for however long a writing session lasts from day-to-day, I’m a part of that world I’m creating.
15. What is coming next for you?
I’ve had a two-volume horror novel in mind for some time now; I have a finished first draft of book one and recently began work on book two. It’s proving to be an ambitious project, and I hope it will become my third published novel, this time under the name of Richard Raven. I have a possible fourth novel that is still in the planning and outlining stages that I hope to turn into a horror trilogy or maybe even a series. I have also been writing some long novella, short novel length stories of 18,000 to 25,000 words that I hope will be the first Richard Raven collection and paperback.
16. Where do you get your ideas?
Inspiration is where you find it, and ideas can come from anything, at any time. Something I read, see in a movie, hear in a song, or it could be something someone says to me. A few of the short stories I’ve written are based in part on personal experiences, but always with a twist or two straight out of my imagination. I’ve never had a shortage of or a problem getting ideas. Sometimes they come to me fully formed and it’s only a matter of writing the story in a moment of true inspiration. Often, though, something will come to me and I can see a possible story, but the idea takes time to come together. It can take days, weeks, even months before it fully forms to the point in which I’ll start writing the story.
I would like to remind everyone that I’ve just released my fourth Richard Raven eBook short on Amazon. There is also, of course, that short, In A Blood Red Haze, that made it into the Devils 2 anthology from HellBound Books, and it shares space with some excellent stories from a group of fantastic writers. I also have three other shorts submitted to other anthologies, including one I hope will grace the pages of another collection from HellBound Books. I also have a fourth short that another publishing house invited me to write for an anthology they are putting together, and it’s due out some time after the first of the year. There is also a fifth short I was invited to write for a private anthology, and I’ve decided to co-write this story with a lady who has a lot of untapped talent. I wish I could, but I’m not at liberty to reveal any more about either of these projects right now. The official word will be coming soon on both. It is my hope that there will be no shortage of Richard Raven stories for those desiring to read them. Lastly, thanks to you, Becky, for this chance, and I’ve enjoyed doing this. Spooky reading, everyone!
You can connect with Richard Raven here:
Some of Richard Raven’s books: