Exclusive Interview with
Richard W. Kelly
When did you start writing?
I've been writing since I was a child. Some of my first stories were done in preschool with sentences like 'he bot a joos and sum cande'
What makes writing your passion?
When I was growing up and people asked me what I wanted to do for a living the only answer I ever had was "I want to make people smile". Writing is the most direct route I have to that goal.
How long have you been writing?
Not including the stories I wrote growing up. I have been writing professionally since 2010. I made a goal to publish my first novel before I turned thirty.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
It was a huge accomplishment at the time. Something I had dreamed of since I was a child.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My characters are all kinds of different things. Main characters are often pieces of me. It is my best and worst traits magnified. Side characters are often friends from the present and past. Sometimes they are the embodiment of a specific personality trait or habit.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I love to write and tell stories. I love to make people smile and be excited to find out what's next. I am not a marketer or a salesman. But, these are very important pieces of having a writing career.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
A few different ways. Largely it is powering through and ending up with a few dozen pages of useless boredom. Sometimes I ask someone for a suggestion of what to write about and try and flesh it out. But most of the time my writer's block is telling me I haven't developed what I am writing enough to write it. So I shelve it and move on to something else.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
It is all about the dream. The dream of being able to support my family with nothing but my passion. My advise would be to avoid the idea that you are going to do it your way. Give in an try to be a marketer or a salesman. Take interviews, write for websites, talk to local book stores and libraries. Be open to signings and appeareances.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would suggest trying to get my work out there earlier. I should have started when I finally spell and write a sentence. Definitely should have been reaching for the stars by the time I hit high school.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I read them. The bad ones I typically find funny as long as it shows they read it. You have to be able to deal with rejection. Try and take the insults away from the helpful criticism and realize that you can do better next time.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
It is a good feeling. I want to make people smile remember... But, I still look for the small hints of things that I could have done better. Although, I like the good ones because I feel accomplished and it might help me spread my name a bit, the bad ones help more from a creative aspect.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
All the time. But, most of the time it isn't so much events as it is habits and nuances. You have to write from experience to some degree.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Like I said most of my main characters are me to some degree. Charlie's tendency to prioritize family over himself was the part of me I was focusing on. In Drew Darby it was my high school self that felt controlled by my parents. In Kings of One Color it was Moshe's feeling of purpose...
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I wish it weren't, but I have bought books based solely on the cover. I can't say I have skipped a book based solely on the cover, so maybe it isn't quite as important.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love to talk to readers. Everyone should feel free to connect with me through my website meenduk.com. Or on Goodreads.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I am odd when it comes to recognition. I don't like a lot of attention or awards in any avenue of my life. But, it feels good to know that people are connecting to my writing.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Stephen King. I swear the man could write a thousand page novel about a tree growing old and it would be captivating. I think he writes in a perfect tone that makes everything interesting. He also writes in a multitude of genres and lengths and voices...
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Well, Stephen King. But seriously if I can reach all my life's aspirations there are three big, feel unobtainable, goals.
1. Win an Oscar for writing a screenplay
2. Host SNL
3. Write and be credited for a major professional wrestling storyline
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I am planning on starting to go back through my books and start revising them into a second edition. It is something I would like to do because I have learned a lot over the last twelve years and think I can improve them.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I'd switch places with anyone who is making writing their full time income. But, if I really had to pick someone I think I would trade places with Carlton Mellick III. He is quite prolific. He comes out with a few books a year. But he is synonymous with a genre. If you know bizarro, you know Carlton Mellick III.