I’m so pleased to have this interview today with author Tony Riches. This is one of a series of posts aimed to appeal to writers, fans and potential readers alike. Tony is a successful Indie Author of Historical Fiction.
Do you mind me asking; was the success in your writing career a gradual process or very sudden?
Hi Diana thank you for inviting me to your blog. I’d been making a regular income writing magazine articles for years, then in January 2012 I decided to expand one of the articles (about Agile Project Management) into a short eBook and publish on Amazon. I had to code the book in HTML, so it wasn’t easy – but to my amazement that little eBook it became a best-seller in the US. That was the boost I’d been waiting for, and was encouraged to write full time.
What a wonderful encouragement for you Tony! …
Are you single minded in your writing? Do you treat It as your main work and plan your day accordingly, or write when the mood takes you?
I like the saying ‘a page a day is a book a year’, so what works for me is to have a target of 500 words a day. I usually spend the summer researching, write in autumn and winter, then edit in the spring. (During lockdown I’ve been writing 500 words a day on one book while editing another!)
We would call your main genre Historical Fiction? How would you describe your writing style to potential readers?
My style of Historical Fiction is biographical, as the starting point is always a real person, (preferably one who isn’t too well known). I take care to ensure historical accuracy in my books, so many months are spent researching primary sources, such as original letters, and visiting actual locations. This means I’m writing with a knowledge of the subject’s voice, and the landscape they lived in. For my last book, Katherine – Tudor Duchess, I was able to spend time in the actual rooms at Grimsthorpe Castle where Katherine Willoughby lived, and visit her private chapel.
Can you give fellow writers any marketing tips?
A good tip is to have a blog with a mix of posts about your books, reviews of other books you’ve read, new book launches and guest posts from other authors. I’ve built up the traffic on my blog, The Writing Desk to around 15,000 visitors a month, and have direct links to samples of my books in the sidebar. Posts are shared with 33,200 followers on Twitter, as well as Goodreads, so it’s become a useful (and free) way to raise awareness.
Have you one annoying habit you can share with us?
I often start my research with a specific aim, then find I’ve been diverted into something quite different. This often happens when I visit a castle of museum. (On a recent visit to the Tower of London, I found Sir Walter Raleigh’s herb garden, which might well feature in a future book.)
One of the joys and trials of research ~ being distracted.
What pastimes keep your feet on the ground, or maybe not, when you aren’t writing?
I love sailing and sea kayaking, and live in Pembrokeshire which has many beautiful bays and islands to explore by boat. Before the lockdown, I also loved visiting the Greek islands – and will return there when I can.
Was there a single moment in your writing life when you thought ‘YES, THIS IS IT’? Can you describe that moment for us?
I’d been researching the life of Henry Tudor (who like me was born in Pembroke) and realised I had enough material for at least three books. In a moment of inspiration, I realised Henry could be born in the first book, come of age in the second, and become king in the third – and the idea of the Tudor trilogy was born. I’ve since continued to follow the story of the Tudors, all the way from Owen’s first meeting with Queen Catherine of Valois through to the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
We’d love to hear your latest news:
The final edition of the first book in my new Elizabethan series is due back from my editor, and will be published in the autumn. I’m enjoying showing Elizabeth through the eyes of her courtiers – and learning about the strange world of the Elizabethans.
And finally Tony, do you see yourself writing in five years time and have you ever been tempted to write in a different genre to surprise your readers?
I enjoy writing, so plan to keep on working on a book a year over the next five years – and have several exciting ideas ‘pencilled in’. I’ve written one modern day thriller, The Shell, inspired by an incident in Mombasa, where my wife and I were accosted by a group of armed locals on the deserted beach. (While I was writing the book, another couple were kidnapped from the beach, so it was a close call.) I also wrote an eBook about the last space shuttle, Atlantis, (and became accredited by NASA) so I might return to outer space one day.
Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Tudors. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and his blog, The Writing Desk and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches
Thank you Tony for a very interesting interview. I look forward to keeping in touch on Twitter.
Writing blog: https://tonyriches.blogspot.com