WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?
Short conversations throughout November with the stellar talent behind the revolutionary short-story anthology THE KINDLE ALL-STARS PRESENT: RESISTANCE FRONT
Today I’m talking to Richard Roberts, also known as @MadeOfTeeth on twitter. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the interview, and maybe even buy Made of Teeth or Wild Children!!!
FS: How did you come to hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?
Richard: My friend Keri told me about it! I don’t remember exactly how it happened, just a lot of people descending on me and shouting ‘You! Contribute something! NOW!’
FS: What’s your contribution called?
Richard: ‘A Rat’s Tale’, which is probably the worst name I’ve ever given anything. Except that first it was ‘A Rat Story’, which is worse.
FS: And without giving too much away, what’s it about?
Richard: It’s a fairy tale about love and ambition and how people destroy themselves. And sometimes those people are rats.
FS: What was the main inspiration behind it?
Richard: Good question. I wrote it ten years ago, during a few months when I was writing a lot of fairy tales because… well, I like writing fairy tales. Still do.
FS: Did you write it specifically for the Kindle All-Stars, or was it written prior?
Richard: Long, LONG prior. I was in the middle of writing Quite Contrary when I was contacted. I didn’t want to let that inspiration go to write something else, and didn’t think I had time anyway! So I grabbed an old story and polished it up a tad. A trice. A niblet. Some.
FS: Obviously the primary goal behind this anthology is to make some money for disadvantaged and abused children. But secondary to that, it is to promote fresh, new writing talent – the punk rock of literature – and show that Indie writers are out there, dedicated and working hard to produce Class-A work.
If people take notice of what you’ve written for this anthology, what do you hope the outcome is of that attention?
Richard: That they will read more things that I have written. I would like that to be an ever-spiraling process! I spent a long time learning how to write. Now I want to share.
FS: How do you write? Are you a plotter? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? When do you write, and where? I write at night, at the dining table, when the kids are in bed and the place is finally peaceful and quiet. And I work everything out on paper before I sit down to write. What have you found works best for you?
Richard: I write in two stages. First, I construct a plot. This is all very left-brain organized logical stuff. I work out the central theme, the ending I want, the beginning I want, and create a chain of events that connects them. I decide it it’s sufficiently complex or powerful, and add elements as necessary.
Then, when all of that is done, I sit down at the keyboard and bleed. (Complete aside – I’ve referred to how I write and how it feels to write that way for a long time. To my joy, I recently found out that many other writers have used the same description.)
FS: How did you find the editing process with Bernard? I found it to be like a smack in the mouth and a pat on the head at the same time, saying “I like this” at one point, to a specific sentence, and then “You need to stay in Active Voice!” the next. I learned a lot, and I think I have a much stronger piece of writing now than I did when I submitted it. What was your personal experience?
Richard: I reduced him to incoherent swearing. He threatened me with death repeatedly. A couple of times I had to flat out tell him ‘No, you don’t get it, this is crucial to the story and I don’t care if it doesn’t fit tidy rules of grammar.’ It was an immensely painful and very rewarding experience. The story is ten years old, needed a LOT of cleaning, and I needed to learn how to deal with being edited under rough circumstances.
FS: Is there anyone in particular who’s contributed to the anthology that you’re excited to be included alongside?
Richard: Not really. I don’t think that way. My writing ability isn’t measured by who I’m writing beside. I think it’s generous and thoughtful of Foster and Ellison to contribute to this process, and I hope their fame helps me be seen, but I’m not actually a better writer because they’re in the same anthology.
FS: We know that there will be a KAS 2 at some point. Plans are already afoot. Is there a dream name you’d like to see involved in it the next time around? Me personally, getting published in a book that includes a story by Alan Dean Foster is one of those “Wouldn’t it be great if one day…” things that I can now tick off of the list.
Richard: Again, I just don’t react to that.
FS: So when you’re not helping to fight evil, what do you get up to in real life?
Richard: Hmmm. Two main things. I like to drown myself constantly in creativity, mine and other people’s. I draw strength from being surrounded by art, ANY kind of art. And I like computer games, especially ones I can play with friends. That is a rich social experience.
FS: Are you working on anything now? Anything you’d like everyone to know about?
Richard: I’m not working on anything now, because as we type I’m a few days after finishing my latest novel, Quite Contrary. That will need proofreading and cover art before I’m ready to publish it, so it’ll be awhile. I’ll no doubt do some more Doll House stories in the near future, but I’m still emotionally exhausted. While I let that recharge, I’m processing Wild Children so that in the next few weeks I can get a paperback version orderable from Amazon.
FS: And to your readers – both potential and existing – is there anything you would like to say? They might be reading this months after Resistance Front has landed, wanting to know more about you. What would you like to say to them?
Richard: I’d like to take you to strange worlds and show you what it’s like to be strange people, and make you laugh and cry and love where you never thought to look for those feelings.
FS: Thats it! Time’s up! Hopefully we’ll the chance for a much more in-depth chat at some point in the near future when KAS is out on sale!
Richard’s Amazon writer’s page is http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005XOLGVU
Wild Children (his most AWESOME book) is at http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Children-ebook/dp/B005UQHU0M/
Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Teeth is at http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Dreams-Made-Teeth-ebook/dp/B005KTQ0GO/