So I’m here waiting in a 5-star hotel in London for superstar author Richard Parry to arrive.
Okay, fine I’m in a 4-star…okay fine, a 3, 2, 1. Okay, we interviewed via the web thingy – which is fair enough given the UK to New Zealand travel distance.
An interview a long time in the making, and it’s taken a while to get on my website (entirely my fault) so please enjoy and do check out the remarkable work of Mr Richard Parry. A like-minded individual, and my unofficial mentor.
Ideal writing location and conditions?
I’d like to say, “On a Hollywood movie set, surrounded by superstars,” but in reality that’d be far too noisy. I tend to roll best in places with minimal distractions. This is generally my study but can be a cafe (provided the noise-cancelling headphones are charged, in place, and my resting fuck-you face is switched to 11). The ideal is quiet. I get into a flow state when writing. It takes a good 5-10 minutes to reach a groove, and if someone interrupts me for “just five minutes” it triggers a murder impulse I can’t describe in words. TL;DR: In a nuclear bunker, wearing nothing but my bathrobe.
The food and drink required to get you through an all-day writing session?
Suddenly, I’m hungry. My day is a delicate balance of caffenation and alcohol. In the AM, jack up on the mental ‘roids of a fresh cup of joe; in the PM, it’s downers all the way. Food is always a decent breakfast, and lunch is something light. Too many calories and I want to slip into a sleepy-time haze, which isn’t good for wording.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was about seven or eight, but we shouldn’t talk about that. More seriously? Nine years.
What are you reading right now? Besides these questions…
I’m deep into Neal Asher’s The Soldier, as well as the D&D Arts and Arcana hardcover. I don’t think I’m ready to recommend The Soldier, but the D&D artbook is outstanding.
Best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Real artists ship. No, I didn’t know Steve Jobs, but the quote’s an important one. Getting the product done is vital. The first draft doesn’t need to be perfect – it’s a draft! You can edit it! But if you don’t finish it, and then if you don’t get it out there, you’re not completing your work.
And, rather obviously, the worst piece of writing advice you ever received?
Write every day. This is a massive fallacy because it gives you no time for rest. It’s okay to take the weekend off, or even a holiday: my word counts go up if I rest, and continuously trickle down if I don’t. Worse, the quality of the first draft is, in the language of my people, “Shithouse,” if I don’t get breaks.
Talk to me about your latest project – go nuts. And please tell us where to check it out, we need links!
I’m doing a 15-Day Story Challenge. Some friends and I are minting a full-on story in 15 business days, to give away to our mailing list fans. It’s been a super-fun process: writing in tight constraints, but also having collaborative water-cooler conversations over Skype or whatever to get a team spirit vibe. The story I’m writing is in my Ezeroc Wars universe; the working title (90% likely to stay the same on release) is “Tyche Forever.” The stories we’re writing all have a common element – the Fountain of Eternal Youth – and seeing how we each realize this in our various forms of urban fantasy or science fiction is fascinating. We’ve created a video journal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcxWcr7d4gw&list=PLrmg81aNQqo83lU-RsOaCKJm8oAQD6TCW
And there are excerpts on my site: https://www.mondegreen.co/category/15-day-story-challenge/ I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s been some competition. One of us cheated before we even started, producing words before the gunshot. Others are working weekends. I’m naturally *winning*, with the longest story, completed four days early. If you want updates, https://www.mondegreen.co/get-on-the-list/ gets you on the list, but I totally understand why you might not want more spam in your life. https://www.books2read.com/TychesFlight is where the series starts, and Tyche Forever will join the other six books in that series on storefronts, sometime later in January / early February.
Easy. The Cloth Merchant’s Apprentice, by Nigel Suckling.
Favourite Graphic Novel?
Much, much harder. I’d say it’s the Black Widow collection (“Homecoming” and “The Things They Say About Her”), penned by Richard K. Morgan.
Procrastination Platform – Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? Or other?
Eh. I change this as often as my socks. Right now, it’s “Kindle;” I tend to waste time reading books. I deleted social apps from my phone in a fit of rage against blatant Xmas-advertising waterboarding. It’s probably Facebook tied with Twitter under normal circumstances.
How do you read – paperback or e-book?
eBook. I made a call a while back to minimize “stuff” where possible; digital seems to destroy the planet less. Also, I can sync my place across 900 devices, which is useful for someone who has a bunch of e-readers in various states of “not charged” to “barely charged.”
Easy. Blade Runner.
I watch bad movies a great deal. More than’s healthy for your brain, definitely.
Go to soundtrack while writing?
I minted my own: “Punch the Sky.” It’s a list that helps me write epic battle scenes and dazzling dialogue. If the scenes and dialogue suck, it’s because my phone was flat and I couldn’t get into the Spotify vibe.
Where in the world are you?
Aotearoa New Zealand.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to play the lead role as you?
Robert Downey Jr, because we’re basically brothers from different mothers.
Go to activity to take a break from the keys?
I play a *lot* of video games. The trick for me is getting into a flow state that takes my mind somewhere else. I don’t like “hard” games, but rather story-based ones where I can just kinda cruise. Witcher 3 I suspect took more hours of my life than we should talk about in polite company.
Star Wars or LOTR?
This is really, really hard. I think if Lucas hadn’t made the prequels, it’d be Star Wars, and if Jackson hadn’t made the Hobbit trilogy it’d be LOTR, so… eh. I suspect my therapist wants me to say, “Star Wars.”
If you could live in any fictional world where would it be?
To be contrary: Middle Earth.
IF, and it could happen, you were to become a wrestler in the early-90s what would your name be? AND, just as important, your entrance song?
Thunderstruck’s the entrance song, and my wrestler name would be Sandman Swagger.
The first thing that springs to mind, the character backstory for – Trent Rogers a mid-30s Space Detective, this dude’s travelling the galaxy.
Well, he’s got to be an alcoholic to start with. It’s tempting to give him a tortured past, but I’d give him a loving background complete with a wealthy family. He’s drunk his way adrift, noped out of a real job in the Space Force, and now does odd jobs finding people’s escaped space alien pets. The real terror starts when one of these is actually a rare alien zygote that infects the station he’s on, creating a horde of zombies. He needs to work out whether he’s drunk or sober, before solving the real mystery: is this an accident, or a deliberate xenomorph weapons test?
Separate storyline – create a world backstory, based on the below image…
There’s a lot of LSD in that picture. I think we’re going with mirror worlds with split dimensions. It gives us the duality of facing cities, the mixture of technology, and the opportunity for people to ‘fall’ from one to the other. I still think the protagonist should be an alcoholic. They say it’s best for authors to write what they know.
Tell me a horror story – in 20 words.
The itch under my skin’s incessant. The buzzing in my ears sounds like insect wings. They come when I sleep…
And if you made it this far huzzah, okay for the road, tell me a fun fact about yourself…
I was born in the Philippines. If you don’t know why that’s “fun,” you need to go drinking with some Filipinos.
So in closing summary:
- UK to New Zealand is a long, long way – face-to-face interviews once world domination has been achieved
- Richard, and Robert Downey Jr, would make handsome women detectives – elementary
- Pace yourself and keep putting your product, whatever it may be, out into the big wide world
- Sandman Swagger is a dude you can cheer for any day of the week
- Resting fuck-you face is a tool all authors should have in their toolbox
- If your skin starts itching and there’s a buzzing in your ears – go see a doctor or an exorcist.
Thank you Richard for taking the time to humour me and answer those questions, and apologies for taking so damn long it loading the interview to my blog – it’s a graveyard on here but hey quality, not quantity. Readers, please do check out Richard’s work, as you’ll see from his Amazon and Goodreads reviews he’s onto something big. 🙂