Nov 18, 2008

Q&A With Richard Roach, Author of Scattered Leaves

Welcome to my interview with Richard Roach, author of Scattered Leaves. I want to thank Richard for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk with me about his writing process, inspirations, and publication journey. I also want to thank Dorothy Thompson from Pump Up Your Book Promotion for placing me in contact with Richard Roach.

1. How long did it take to write Scattered Leaves? Did you have an outline of the plot beforehand or simply start writing and let the characters guide you?

About three months for the first draft.

2. Do you have a particular spot that you like to write in (i.e. behind a desk in an office, in a comfy recliner, outside on the porch, etc.)?

Nowadays, I have an office in my house that’s quiet. There’s a desk with the computer, keyboard, and printer on it, and I sit in a chair somewhat like typists used to use in days long gone by. (I don’t know what they sit in now.) Years ago when I wrote Scattered Leaves, I used the typewriter that was on a small table beside my desk where I conducted my business. (I owned an oilfield service equipment manufacturing company before I retired.)

3. Was it difficult to find a publisher? What was the process you went through?

I hope to tell you it was difficult to find a publisher. The process I went through was very simple. I’d spent my working career, after the service, in the oilfield and didn’t know anyone in publishing. So, I procured a book of publishers and started writing to them. Mostly, I got rejections but a few, very few, asked to read the manuscript. But, finally, one said okay and that was it.

4. When did you decide to write full-time? Was it a tough decision?

More or less in 2000. No, it wasn’t a hard decision, I was retired in the sense that I no longer worked in a nine to five job. I had been writing off and on since 1985 but in 2000 I decided to get something published. (Prior to that the publishing bug had not bitten me.)

5. I've read that you were once in the Air Force. How did that prepare you for your writing career? And how did this experience provide you with insight into the criminal mind?

The Air Force gave me the opportunity to grow up! The service sent me to schools taught by Trinity University (This was all conducted on Lackland Air Force Base. Not at the college.) I spent my years learning what made people tick—being a drill sergeant is not like in the movies. You are in command of sixty young men and the responsibility is like a heavy weight bearing down on you, get smart or it will crush you. Being in the training command is ninety percent mental, you must win the competitions or you will not advance. You have to use your brain, that’s why you spend so much time in various schools.

I first got into the crime end of it when a recruit allegedly slit his wrists in a barracks next to my flight. I was appointed (ordered) to investigate and ascertain if it was a crime or if the recruit had committed suicide. As I mentioned, basic training is stressful. The squadron commander must have liked my work because after that he had me do various chores of this sort.

However, the way I learned about corporate thieves was by having my hard earned cash in the form of common stock stolen from me by experts in the oil business. You learn quickly about fraud when it's your money. I had no idea that corporate offices were filled with criminals. I was a lamb ready to be fleeced. It was a wonderful, but costly, education.

6. Please describe you writing style and influences.

My writing is for the common man; therefore, it’s written in shirtsleeve English, the kind I use. Erle Stanley Gardner and John Dann MacDonald have the most influence on my writing.

7. Do you have any favorite authors and why?

The ones mentioned above. They transport me to a land where everything comes out right and you don’t have to worry about the real life and death experiences of tomorrow. No matter how black the night, or how cold the day—in Perry Mason’s world, he’s in control and everything is jake.

8. What are you reading now or do you have any book recommendations for my readers?

Lawrence Sander’s McNally’s Luck

Thanks again to Richard Roach for taking time out of his schedule to talk with me about his writing process.

Would you like a second entry into the contest for
Scattered Leaves?

Leave a comment here about what you liked best about Richard Roach's interview.

If you forgot to leave a comment on the Scattered Leaves review post, you better do it to make sure you get that first entry, otherwise the second one doesn't count!

Also don't forget to leave an email or working blog for me to get into contact with you if you win! Good Luck!

Don't forget to enter the contest:
Win a copy of Off the Menu by Christine Son (Deadline is Today Nov. 18)


Anonymous said...

I really liked the questions you asked. They were absolutely generic and interesting to read. No spoilers :)

Anonymous said...

3 months! He must have written every waking moment.

Serena said...

VioletCrush: Thanks for taking an interest in the contest and the interview.

BermudaOnion: He is I guess he just wrote all day everyday!

Jeannie said...

Hi Serena. I really enjoyed your interview and especially liked hearing about a little about Mr. Roach's experiences with the Air Force.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for hosting Richard today.


Ladytink_534 said...

Good interview! No need to enter me. I'm really, really trying to cut down on the books I own until I get some of them read lol.

windycindy said...

I enjoyed reading about his life experiences and how they made him the person and author that he is today. Please enter my name in your drawing for his book. Thanks, Cindi

Anna said...

Great interview! Mr. Roach sounds very personable, and I like that he writes for the "everyman." No need to enter me, though. I have too much to read already!

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