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.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I would like to have a conversation with them just as much as anyone else who has read any of my works. I try my best to take criticism anywhere I can get it, so as long as there is something useful I can pull out of their tirades I just want to have a conversation.
What would you say to your readers?
Thank you! Every person who dedicates a few hours to reading some of my books is a person who is donating their time and money to my dream, so thank you!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
Currently I live in Texas. It is hot, hot, hot. I have a beautiful wife of seventeen years and two amazing kids.
What is your day job if you have one?
I am an analyst. I crunch numbers and answer questions. If you have a bunch of data I can create some sort of story out of it.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I am a huge professional wrestling fan. I follow as much of it as I can. I also like music, I play guitar and little bit of trumpet. Of course I write, books, stories, poems, songs...
Did you have a happy childhood?
I did. I loved my Leave it to Beaver, suburban upbringing. I really mean my upbringing was like Leave it to Beaver. So much so that friends would come over and be surprised that we would eat dinner as a family seven nights a week, usually home cooked meals.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
If there was it was before I really remember things. I have always liked to write and create. I love to draw and paint and play music... Always have. I gravitate towards writing because I think I excel at it the most.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have unfinished, unpublished books. I am finishing up one right now that is a historical fiction about the professional wrestling world in the early 1900s. I have a bizarro book I am working on about a couple of guys that go on a treasure hunt for a lost indian treasure in Arizona. Then there are a handful of others, a comedy about a leprechaun trying to get promoted at work, a trio of time travel stories that all start with the same origin, but delve out from one another, a sci-fi about a sociologist who colonizes a new planet. They are kind of all over the board.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I think there are a lot things missing. I think there is a focus on measuring kids rote memory. There is a lack of discussion and focus on mastery over time. I think self paced competency based is much better. In the current system I could fail a section of a semester, but do so well in the others that I pass. But in true competency based learning I would redo the parts that I failed until I understood them. So rather than needing to understand 70% or 80% of the semester, I need to understand 70% or 80% of each section. There are about a thousand more things here. I could write a dissertation on it.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
My kids used to ask this all the time. So I've considered it a bunch.
I think right now I would go with
1. I wish for everyone to be as happy as possible for them in every moment
2. I wish for no one to feel the effects of scarcity in any material or non-material thing (money, food, water, love, friendship...)
3. I wish for everyone to live in a peaceful and fully accepting world
What is your favorite music?
I like lots of music. I grew up with my dad liking 60s and 70s rock and psychedelic. My mom liked 50s and 60s pop. My sister was into 80s underground and industrial. My grandparents on one side listened to big band and the other side liked classic country from the 60s to 80s along with a random bit of 20s Boogie Woogie. I myself initially was a big fan of 90s grunge, metal, and rock n roll. Over the years I have evolved to like some modern pop, but really like folk, americana, bluegrass... Over the last few years my favorite bands have been
Amigo the Devil
The Dead South
Poor Man's Poison
check them all out, they are amazing
Share a secret with us 🙂
Not sure if it qualifies as a secret, but from 2016 to 2019 we moved seven times. In those seven moves I became accustomed to new surroundings, new neighbors, new cities, new everything. They say you can't go home again and I believe it because nowhere feels like home anymore. I feel like I am meant to be a nomad at this point, home is where ever is new to me at the time...