TGON had the opportunity to interview C.R. Richards, author of the fantasy series “The Heart of a Warrior”, currently with two installments: The Lords of Valdeon and The Obsidian Gates. Richards lives in Colorado and is a part of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Group and has won the EPIC eBook award for Fantasy in 2014 for her book Phantom Harvest.
TGON: What made you want to write and share your stories?
Richards: I grew up in a household of storytellers, so it was fun as a kid when my Grandma would tell me stories about fairies and gnomes that would put candy in our slippers when we would stay at her house. I would always tell my own stories with my friends and cousins when I was a kid, and it got to a point where I thought i should put my stories down into a book and put it out into the world.
TGON: Looking at your biography online, your grandmother gave you the initial sense of fascination for fantasy worlds and stories. Are there stories that she told you as a child that play a role or influence any of your books?
Richards: When I was a kid, my grandmother had a picture book about German gnomes that she would read to me often and I remember her talking about the environments that they lived in, which is a basis for a lot of the settings that I put into the novel. Another influence for me is simply going outside and into the wilderness to get a sense of setting and how I might want the story to play out. Some of the things that I write are dark fantasy, and a lot of that is influenced by classic horror movies like Frankenstein and Dracula.
TGON: Who are your author idols? Who do you look up to as inspiration for creating fantasy stories and settings?
Richards: Terry Brooks is one of my all time favorites and I am very excited to be on a panel with him. I obsess over his series that he writes and I am very fortunate to be with my idol. Other inspiring stories include the Lord of the Rings series and seeing what Tolkien was able to create.
TGON: Are your characters based on real-life people?
Richards: I collect bits of personalities from everyone close to me in my life, so I can’t say that a specific character is a direct resemblance of someone I know in my life. The next book in the “Heart of a Warrior” series, the main character is thrust into the military, something I was able to draw from as I grew up on a military base, so I was able to draw from my experience with military veterans and those who are still active.
TGON: Why do you use your initials instead of your real name?
Richards: Something that I have noticed in fantasy is that readers often expect the author to be male, and that female authors do not get the same recognition that male writers do when using their real name. When I go to signings or conventions, I sometimes bring my brother with me and they ask him for the pictures and the autographs when I am the one that wrote the books.
TGON: Advice for aspiring writers or writers stuck in a rut?
Richards: I used to be an aspiring writer, and I joined Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers where they offer critique sessions and classes for work that you are doing. There’s nothing like being supported from other writers who can read your stuff and give you tips and pointers. The encouragement from them to continue my stories has been tremendously helpful and jump-started my love for writing. My advice for those stuck in a rut is also from a place that is near to my heart. I was asked to write a non-fiction book on project management and achieving your goals. I got 4,000 words in and I still haven’t finished it. Writers have to take a hard look at what they are writing right now and see if that’s what they really want to put their time and energy into. Maybe it’s just not the time to do it, so you need to put that aside and work on something new to get your mojo back.
C.R. Richards has a website: www.crrichards.com where you can find the links to her novels and all of her social media platforms.
C.R. Richards will be appearing at Denver Pop Culture Con 2019, which is made possible by Pop Culture Classroom. Pop Culture Classroom is an education initiative that aims to inspire a love of learning through pop culture and entertainment like films, television, games, comics, and more. Pop Culture Classroom inspires a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.