Today I welcome author Rich Bullock. Rich loves to read and write adventure stories. In his writing, he puts regular people into dangerous situations that change their lives forever. Interestingly, all his main characters are female.
LC: Welcome, Rich!
When and why did you decide to become a writer?
RR: After years in a corporate job that became more and more process driven (read that: a meeting to plan the next meeting about the next off-site meeting), I was looking for something creative. Since my early grade school years, I immersed myself in stories of adventure, strange planets, and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Sounded good. I mean, how hard could it be to write a book like that?
LC: What is your writing process: where do you write, how often do you write, are you a full-time or part-time writer, do you outline or do you plot as you go, etc.?
RR: I’m retired except for writing, so my schedule is flexible. That’s not necessarily a good thing. I usually write several days a week for 3-4 hours. After that, I have to get up and go do something physical.
LC: Where do you find your inspiration for your stories? Do you draw from your own experiences?
RR: The inspiration for the story plot comes from the characters themselves. I begin there, write some scenes, learn who the character is and what they want, see where they live. It happens organically and is a messy process that often (always) requires uncounted hours of revision, but the story develops from the character’s perspective, not mine as the author. My firm belief is that it’s the character’s story; I’m just writing it down.
And, yes, I do draw from every experience I’ve had my whole life, especially when it comes to settings that pull the reader into a real world. I’ve had readers tell me they want to live where my stories take place (mostly Storm Lake) and hang out with the characters in the story.
LC: That’s a real compliment from your readers and says a lot about your writing skills!
Who is one of your favorite characters from your story(ies), one that you enjoyed creating and writing about, and why?
RR: I can honestly say they are all favorites when I’m writing them, but Teal Kinshaw in Desperation Falls is one that caused me some tears as I penned her story.
Fifteen, a runaway from dysfunctional foster care, desperate for a family and some place to belong. Yet she has strength, spirit, and a good heart. The terrible things she’s been through are not her future. I’m very proud of how she turned out (and is still turning out as she appears as a returning character in Glass Revenge.
LC: Do you incorporate (or inadvertently find) any of your own personality traits into your characters?
RR: Mostly, I find traits of my mom in one of the secondary, continuing characters. Mom divorced when my brother and I were young and in a time when a divorced woman was tainted. She had trouble renting places (landlords didn’t trust not having a man responsible), worked long hours, yet was an indomitable spirit that pursued fun for the three of us. And, thankfully, she had some great lines that appear in my books.
LC: What a nice homage to your mother.
Do you find your stories are more plot driven or character driven? Please explain.
RR: Definitely character driven, as I mentioned above. It’s the character’s story. However, the plot (I think of this as external forces) is what disrupts the character’s world, blocks the path forward, and forces them to overcome great obstacles. So, the plot is critical, but only so much as it reveals the character.
LC: Did you read much as a child?
RR: I remember a summer reading challenge before 5th grade where I read 30-40 books that summer. I loved all the old masters of science fiction and the worlds they created, and I practically cleared the library shelves in that section. Looking back, the writing wasn’t always top notch, but I was hooked on stories from then on.
LC: How important do you think reading is for writers?
RR: If I never write another word, I can’t imagine not reading. I always have an audio book or two going, and one or two other ebooks that I read on my iPhone (I don’t have a Kindle or other device). I watch for craft ideas: how the writer reveals secrets, paints a scene, or twists words. I also read for research. Cade Courtley’s SEAL Survival Guide: A Navy SEAL’s Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster. I used that one for Lilly Glass’s training in Shattered Glass.
LC: Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books? What draws you to them?
RR: I read Twilight before everyone was talking about it. And I loved Stephenie Meyer’s The Host and especially The Chemist. All my main characters are female, and I want them to be kick-ass strong like Meyer’s multi-alias heroine. Dean Koontz is a master of description and twisting stories in directions I never imagined. But I read some of those Montana cowboy romance stories, too. Gotta know how the female mind works, you know?
LC: Very smart to read stories with female leads, and cool that your main characters are women.
Anything new in the works?
RR: I keep trying to write a Christmas novella, sort of one of those Hallmark movies that are so popular and would sell really well. But I haven’t figured out how to create warm and nostalgic when dead bodies keep showing up. Sigh…the difficulties of being a suspense author.
However, I do have a couple of more viable projects going, one with a midnight Internet radio host (a young woman, of course), and another story following Kris Stone from my Glass and Stone series. One of them will sort itself out pretty soon.
LC: Good luck with those. The Hallmark one? Interesting if you work that story out. 🙂
Do you have anything you’d like to add?
RR: Technology—everyone knowing everything all the time—is making it difficult for writers whose characters need to be kept in the dark at times. I mean, how many characters now days constantly have dead cell phone batteries, forgot their chargers, or are in a dead zone?
And what happens when your robot dog chases a self-driving car? Should we be worried?
All those science fiction stories from my youth are coming true.
LC: These are definitely serious obstacles. 🙂 Thank you again for sharing your writing with us, Rich!
Rich Bullock writes stories of ordinary people put in perilous situations, where lives are changed forever. He is the author of the Perilous Safety Series, including Perilous Cove, Storm Song, and Desperation Falls, and the Glass and Stone Novels: Shattered Glass and Glass Revenge.
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