Tag Archives: Background to writing

Tony Riches ~ 3rd Summer Special of Successful Indie Authors

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.

Hello Tony,

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!)

Click for Amazon.co.uk

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.

Click for Owen ~ Book One Available on Amazon

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.

Literally?

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. 

Links:

Website: https://www.tonyriches.com

Writing blog: https://tonyriches.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyriches

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonyriches.author

Podcasts: https://tonyriches.podbean.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5604088.Tony_Riches

 

 

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Writing Plans for 2016

‘In a nutshell,‘ if you’ll excuse the cliche, my hopes for my writing life for the first quarter of 2016 are:

January:

  • To plan the book launch celebration of my Fife Fantasy, ‘From Redundancy to Rejuvenation ~ A Writer’s Fantasy Walk Along the Fife Coastal Path.’  
  • To promote the book in tourist centres and bookshops around the south east of Scotland
  • To return to blogging. I have two blogs. This one is of all things writerly and my other http://www.selectionsofreflections.wordpress.com will continue with the theme of Pilgrims and Allegories but will be interspersed with stories of my life here in Fife and in our campervan down in the south
  • To get back into the life of social media after a break

February

  • To begin to support a dear friend and fellow writer to complete her debut novel
  • To focus on social media promotion of new novel/memoir including giveaways
  • To reflect on the business needs and focus of Eventispress and how my move to Scotland will reflect on the direction it will take in 2016

March

  • To begin to set aside time to write again. (This is a huge one for me having been out of the habit of writing regularly for well over a year!)
  • To support one of our authors in Eventispress to get his book into paperback form

Having just moved from our home in Bedfordshire to our new life back in Fife, Scotland my mind has been preoccupied of late with unpacking boxes, visits to IKEA, helping hubby to build shelves and deciding where to put up pictures – so much so that there has been little room for my writing life. Then there was Christmas and New Year too!

Now the fog in my writing mind has begun to lift, it has been so helpful to begin to plan 2016 and in sharing my thoughts with you it has not only helped me, but this has also become a commitment so I thank you for being there. I’ll let you know how I get on.

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The Many Layers of Proof Reading – A personal experience

I have learnt so much since my early years of writing a decade ago and something I’ve discovered quite by chance is that proof reading has many layers:

The writing in progress – layer of proof reading

At the end of every writing session I have tried to get into the habit of printing out a copy of the day’s writing. I leave this aside until my next ‘writing’ time and then I sit down and read it aloud. At first my husband thought I was forever talking to people on the phone and joked as to how little writing I must be achieving. As my characters took on voices of their own I can imagine it sounded just as if I was talking to someone. Most of the time I try to do this when he’s out, so that I can stretch out on the sofa in the lounge, but otherwise I have a small couch in the office and I close the office door. In this way I get rid of many glitches as I go along and it also settles me into a rhythm, ready to write again the following session.

The specialist chapters – layer of proof reading

With the nature of my current project I have the support of many experts in their own wide ranging fields from fishing to The Hampshire Regiment. As I prepare a section to be sent to be scrutinised I read it several times before I’m fully satisfied, often leaving it several days and rechecking before putting it  in the post or clicking the ‘send’ button.

The feedback can lead to mainly minor but occasionally major changes and then I need to scan the chapters once more.

The overview – layer of proof reading

I have to put my hand up here and admit the error of my ways. In my ignorance, and also because I was rarely free for a long enough period of time, I did not proof read ‘Riduna’ from cover to cover over a short period of time, before I had a request to send the full manuscript off to Pegasus Elliot Mc Kenzie. I can only thank them for their patience at that stage of the project, as they guided me though a proof reading process which sorted out any discrepancies in the story, as well as any errors I’d missed along the way.

This time I have carried out an overview proof read long before the novel is ready to be sent off.

The writing Buddy – layer of proof reading

How does your story read to someone else? Have you painted a picture of your characters or made the most of a dramatic, moving or humorous chapter? I get together with my writing partner about once every three weeks. We put the world to rights before talking about our writing, passing sections over for each other to read in the mean time. I find feedback of this nature as I am writing vital. It is wonderful to be spurred on by positive encouragement, but it is also excellent to discuss sections that do not scan so well or scenes which have not been set as effectively. A writing group would be equally beneficial and supportive in a similar way.

It’s all in the detail – layer of proof reading

Now, this is the layer that can be time consuming. I’ve heard it recommended that you do this by reading the sentences backwards, but that doesn’t work for me. There is also the common comment that an author reads what she/ he wants to read and not always what’s actually in print.  That’s certainly true. (I’ve found mistakes the following day on my blog when I’m sure that I have proof read it carefully before and after publishing) As you scrutinise the writing for errors in punctuation, spelling, grammar, repeated words and phrases, you mustn’t forget inconsistencies of formatting too, like an extra space or unnecessary line space.

It’s been said many times before, but it’s worth repeating that getting a friend whose knowledge of English you trust to check it at this stage is an excellent idea. Mind you, this is a totally different favour to ask than the friend who gives you piecemeal feedback on the content of the novel.

Well –so there you have it. Do any of you know of any other layers I’ve missed?

And remember the old adage – The mistakes are all mine and mine alone!

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