Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Richard Dee #interview #writerslife

Delighted to post my interview with Richard Dee

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
Thanks for inviting me here today. My books are broadly Science Fiction, based either in the future or an alternative now. To be more specific, I write in several styles within the genre. I would describe them as either Space Opera, Steampunk or Crime/Mystery in space.

However, I like to mix things up a little, blur the lines between genres. In this way, I’ve attracted readers who would not normally be Sci-fi fans. In general, they seem to have enjoyed what I write.

What made you choose that genre?
It’s always fascinated me, ideas about what the future will hold and what we will find. I try to make my future a recognisable extension of our now, I think it makes it more relatable.

In the same way, with my Steampunk books, I took a point in our history and bought it up to date it in another way. So that we still have the technology that we have today, just done differently.

Crime mysteries, in the style of Agatha Raisin, Miss Marple and Jonathon Creek are also a favourite of mine, with clever plot twists and unexpected endings. My books in that style are really a homage to them.

How long does it take you to write a book?
It varies, I can get inspired and write a first draft in a little over a month, other ideas can take a lot longer to develop. I have several stories in progress at any one time, if I run out of inspiration on one, I can try something else.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I try and write every day, usually early in the morning and late at night. I’m retired now so I like to spend the day doing something else. Unless it's raining; when I might write all day. 2000 words is a good daily average, that includes blog posts and short stories, as well as novels.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
I’ve guided a 166m long passenger ship through Tower Bridge…, BACKWARDS.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started writing my first novel in 1979, at the age of 21. I finished it in 2012. Now I’m a little quicker.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I bake bread and cook using local produce, walk around the cliffs near my home in South Devon, see my grandchildren, go out for lunch with my wife, all the usual things.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I could do it. And that it didn’t involve much effort. Once I get an idea, I see the story playing in my head, like watching a film. I can rewind and slow the action, but I can never fast-forward. I just write what I see and hear. The ending is as much a surprise to me as it will be to the reader, after all, we both came to it at the same time.  It scared me at first, now it’s as natural as breathing.

How many books have you written?
In October, my twelfth novel (a crime mystery) will be published. I’ve also published two collections of short stories and several separate ones. I’ve appeared in a collection of stories based on the Battle of Hastings. (I wrote a time travel story about it). I’ve also written a textbook on World-Building.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?
No, I’ve resisted, apart from checking that my website is visible to search engines. Richard Dee isn’t my real name. Not that my real name is a secret, I just thought Richard Dee looked better on a book cover.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to see the world. I achieved that in a forty-year career at sea. Amongst other things, I’ve been around Cape Horn, up the Amazon, been shot at a couple of times, was on a jumbo jet that crash-landed, was in Gdansk, Poland in 1981 and left Kuwait just before the invasion in 1990. Everything else has been a bonus.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
Seven or eight. That number never seems to decrease no matter how much I write. There are sequels, prequels and spin-offs to many of my stories, as well as some new ideas. I also get suggestions and questions from fans, which often lead me to write an “explanation” of something. The last time I explained a comment, it took me nearly 90,000 words to do so. Not only that, it raised enough questions for part three of the original story!

I'm Richard Dee and I'm from Brixham in Devon. I was never a writer, at least not for ages. I saw stories in my head, based on dreams and events in my life, but I never did much with them. Life, a wife, three daughters and now three grandchildren have kept me busy.

I spent forty years in shipping, firstly at sea, then in Port Control and finally as a Thames River Pilot, with adventures to match anything I could imagine. When I retired, I just moved them out into space, changed some of the names and wrote them down.

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective. When I'm not writing, I bake bread and biscuits, cook delicious meals and walk the Devon coast.

My first novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of The Rocks of Aserol, a Steampunk adventure, and Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space, the first of a series featuring Andorra Pett, a reluctant amateur detective.

Sequels to most of them have either followed or are in production. I also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection of alternative history stories. I'm currently working on more prequels, sequels, and a few new projects.

Life and Other Dreams, a dual-time psychological thriller
Survive, a Space Opera
Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space

You can find me at

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