Today’s post is a transcript from a recent conversation with author R. M. Ridley over tea. Mr. Ridley is a prolific author, and blogger, and acquaintance of mine through Xchyler Publishing. Enjoy:
J. Aurel: Hello Mr. Ridley. Would you care for some Tea? I am pleased to have you here and (one lump of two?) I understand that you have a new work of fiction. Can you tell us a little about your story?
R. M. Ridley: Actually, black is fine, thank-you. I’m glad you asked Aurel, because this short story, which comes out this October from Xchyler Publishing, is very dear to my heart. I have been writing this protagonist for a little while now and have accumulated over a dozen short stories, and two novels, featuring him so far. This particular story, titled ‘The Cost of Custody’, however, will be the first time my character, paranormal private investigator, Jonathan Alvey, will see print. In this tale, Jonathan Alvey quickly learns that an apparently simple battle for child visitation rights is far more than it seems. With the child missing, and her au pair dead at the hands of a type of djinn, Jonathan must make the two parents trust in him, and his magic, if they are going to rescue their daughter. There is little time to find the girl and save her from the fate the creature has in store for her, and he needs the father to stand strong if they are to have any chance.
J. Aurel: Sounds fantastically captivating, where did you find the inspiration for such a charming tale?
R. M. Ridley: I am one of those blessed, or cursed, depending on your view-point, authors that writes organically. I get an image, or phrase, that just forms in my mind unbidden and once I start to write it, the rest of the story just flows.
J. Aurel: Ah, I see. And tell me Mr. Ridley How is it that you came to be published by Xchyler Publishing? Scone?
R. M. Ridley: They look delicious, thank-you… do you have any jam, perchance?
J. Aurel: Ah the jam. Yes, here help yourself. I have brought out the red currant, elderberry and of course grape.
R. M. Ridley: As for how I found myself in this anthology, is was providence, or fluke. I was looking for a publishing house for the first of the novels featuring my ‘hero’ and liked what Xchyler was presenting. I decided that I would submit to them and after doing the necessary steps to prepare my submission and sending it out, I noticed the call for short stories they had. It was my genre, and the theme was a match to the one particular story I had. Figuring it was a smart move to submit the same character for the anthology, as in the novel, and that it could possibly garner more interest in my work this way, I went ahead and submitted ‘The Cost of Custody’. I couldn’t have been more shocked, or pleased, when I received the missive letting me know that my short story had been accepted.
J. Aurel: Wonderful. Oh, and do help yourself to a crumpet, I am not entirely sure what they are, but they sound delicious. Has your work been published elsewhere?
R. M. Ridley: They are a soft cake made on the griddle, and quite nice toasted with fresh butter, as I see these are.
I have been fortunate enough to have my work published in a couple of other anthologies, both of which were of the horror genre, in which I also dabble, and I had a urban fantasy short story accepted to a magazine, more than a few years ago now. I have not been as avid at submitting my work as I have been at writing it, an odd thing, perhaps, for an author, but there you have it.
J. Aurel: Well done chap, I expect that may be the a common malady among authors of our ilk. Oh, and my automaton does a fine job at the griddle despite my ignorance doesn’t he?
Pardon me while I fill my pipe. Can you tell us about some of your most favorite authors?
R. M. Ridley: I love the smell of a pipe, please.
J. Aurel: Nothing quite like pipe smoke ‘eh? Though I can’t stand to breath in the stuff myself, I just like to have it lit nearby.
Sorry, about the authors?
R. M. Ridley: That question is a loaded one, is it not? A scan of my bookshelves would reveal a wide variety of names, and genres. The list could go on and on, however; one of the most formative authors of my young was Susan Cooper, I can no more turn away from a Charles di Lint story than stop my own heart, and Stephan King can teach you so much about writing by simply reading a short story.
J. Aurel: What is it that inspires your writing?
R. M. Ridley: Ah well, there it is – the question that has no satisfactory answer. I lay each and every tale at the feet of my Muse. My inspiration is the images and words she whispers into my ear, that I then try to do justice to with what skill I have.
J. Aurel: Simply tantalizing! Do you have any words of wisdom for the burgeoning authors reading this interview?
R. M. Ridley: Yes, absolutely. First would be that you must learn to love editing. The creativity that is required to edit a story from rough stone to jewel is just as exciting as the original writing, once you realize that, you will understand what writing really is. Second piece of advice would have to be to get other people to read your work, after you have edited it to the best of our ability, of course. Find one or two readers who know the rules of the language, and understand what makes a story work, and most importantly will be brutally honest about what you share with them. Finally, the standard one – Read! Read in your genre, out of it, and all the literature you can get your hands on regarding the art of the craft itself. Stephan Kings ‘On Writing’ will show you so many secrets, and offer so many brutal truths, that I think it should be mandatory for anyone wanting to be an author.
J. Aurel: Very good then, what is next for you?
R. M. Ridley: Next? Well there is always a Work In Progress with me. I am about to start the edits on the second of the two novels I mentioned, and I am writing the third novel, as well as finishing up another short story, featuring Jonathan Alvey. I find writing is the best way to be a writer.
J. Aurel: Well put my friend. Lastly, if you had the choice between Atlantean Aqua Polo, Light Saber Cricket, or a Plasma Pistol Duel, which would you choose?
R. M. Ridley: Well, as much as anyone, I enjoy a good Plasma Pistol Duel, I can’t deny that, but Light Saber Cricket, though it might seem pristine on the surface, allows for a level of underhandedness, and backstabbing, that is just too rich to pass up… plus those cucumber sandwiches are just so divine.
J. Aurel: Very well then, Cricket it is! I’ve got a small field below the veranda with a thriving colony of Andromedian black back Lockusts (far more vigorous than your standard Xeno-cricket in my opinion). If you haven’t got your saber with you I have a spare you can avail yourself of, I hope red is OK. Shall we?