Name R. M. Ridley
Age Well, let’s see – I was born in 1972, so I’m…wait – what year is it now?
Where are you from?
I’m from the country of Canada, the province of Ontario and the city of Windsor, which is located just south of Detroit. Confused? Windsor does this little hook around under Detroit following the Detroit River.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’ve been married for over half my life and, most of it, very happily so. Our children are either furry or feathered, as they are easier to train – I mean, I wouldn’t want to have raised me. We live in an old school house, outside a tiny town. |From my front porch I can see the middle of nowhere perfectly.
I am a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), which means I like to dress in historical clothing, make jewelry (anywhere from Viking to Venetian). I am self-taught in the art of jewelry making but after a couple decades I can almost pass off that I know what I’m doing, and some of the most fun in the SCA is fighting! For me I love playing with a rapier… and an actual opponent!
I am on disability due to mental health (like dressing up in the clothes from five centuries ago didn’t clue you in to that). I have severe bipolar, plus a smattering of other catagorize in there to make sure I multi-task. I’ve never been one to shy away from admitting it, as I have no reason to. Some people are born with muscle defects, or immunity issues, my wiring is wrong in my hard drive – that’s all it is.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just had my third book ‘Bindings & Spines’ published not very long ago by Xchyler publishing. It is the second novel in my Occult Detective world, ‘White Dragon Black’ but they are written so that you can pick up any book and read without missing out, because I hate finding a great sounding series but can only get book three of seven.
Currently I’m working on the first round edits of an Urban Fantasy novel that is set in a world I put aside for the last few years as I worked on the Occult Detective. There are six book written and cued up to be editted in the White Dragon Black series, so I thought I could take the time to return to this world, which I admit exists because I read all of Charles de Lint’s ‘Newford’ books
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing for the majority of my life. my parents remember me doing it in public school – though I believe, to everyone’s good fortune, they didn’t keep any of those writings. I wrote during my lunch hours, and often my coffee breaks, with every job I ever held. I didn’t get serious about it until I got on disability, however. Basically, I suddenly had a lot of free time- too much free time – and the writing is a wonderful way top escape the chaos that can brew in my screwy grey matter.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I got a short story printed, for pay, in a new magazine. It was, actually, a story set in the Urban Fantasy world I am returning to now and it gave me the ability to say – ‘Hey, this isn’t a complete waste of my lunch hours’.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have been telling myself stories, since the first time I was being punished for doing something and my mother made me go stand in the corner for ten minutes of ‘time out’. As a punishment it fell rather short, because it simple meant delving into my mind and making up my own adventures. Somewhere along the road, those stories took on depth, breadth, and heart… now I share them, in hopes other people will find an escape
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
No, I have a style for each world it seems – much to my editors chagrin. They way I wrote the Urban Fantasy, in voice, character, and description is very different to what a reader will find between the covers of the White Dragon Black books. In the WDB I break the conventual rules of grammar and ‘voice’ all over the place – but it is the way the story works. It is how I felt the world would be best conveyed and, from readers and reviewers responses, I was right.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I’d love to claim that I worked hard to find just the right words, to be splattered across my cover art, but the truth is… the titles just float up to the top of my thoughts as I’m writing the books.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There was never a clear message that I went about lacing into the plot, but when it was all said and done, it’s hard not too see one there. In my world using magic creates the effect of using hard drugs, a high and a low – the white Dragon and the Dragon Black. In this novel, my protagonist’s battle with his addiction is brought to the front line, as he tries to go clean.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well, I do try to keep the mundane realistic, but it is a fantasy book. Bipolars have addictive personalities as a general rule and also experience rush and drop in their mental states. I can definitely say that my mental health , the way my brain chemistry is, and learning to ‘ride the waves’ as I have, do come into play when writing about many aspects of my protagonists daily life.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
As mentioned, Charles de Lint altered the way I understood fantasy could be. But I cut my teeth on Ursula LeGuin’s ‘Earthsea’ Trilogy, and my world was shaken up and made new by Susan Coopers ‘The Dark is Raising’ series, and as with many, Stephan King taught me so much just by being aware of what he was doing with his words…even though it took much prodding, cajoling and time to finally get me to read his works.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes – not a career for people who like paying bills and eating food but a perfectly viable career in all other ways. When people ask me what I do I now answer that I’m an author.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No – well… I might make all the corrections that occurred to me over the many number and of edits I put in myself, and also those my brilliant editor lead me to see in the edit rounds with her. If I was that talented a writer, however, I might just become bored with it.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, I don’t have to go anywhere to build and write my worlds. My White Dragon Black world is a construct of my imagination. The city of New Hades, is set across the border in New York state but close enough to me that the weather I write, is the weather I know. The Urban Fantasy world is actually set in my home city of Windsor, though tweaked and twisted a bit to be more like it was when I was growing up in it so I can revisit it easily whenever I want as it is only an hour drive away.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My cover artist is the extremely talented Luke Spooner of ‘Carrion House’. I tell him the concept the images that carry thru in my mind from the book and sends back an image that just captures it perfectly. He is getting more and more work as people see his art, and I think that is just fantastic.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
In many ways, the hardest part is writing for both those new to the series and those who already know it. I want anyone just coming to the series to be able to pick up any novel, or anthology, and dive in without having read any other stories. There are those, however, who have been around for the ride since the first short story was published by Xchyler in the ‘Shades and Shadows’ anthology. These readers don’t need to get swamped with the same information over and over. Telling that information in a way which is fresh, and fun, for either reader is my biggest challenge
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Michael Shanks, when he’s playing a scruffy character, looks so much like I picture my protagonist, Jonathan Alvey, he has to be the one. I also think he’s a damn fine actor so that would make me comfortable with that casting.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
RUN! No, actually my biggest advice would be to learn to love edits. Start thinking of them not as a chore but a game. It is spinning the perspective, looking in from an other angle, and juggling words. The writing is catching the concept and feeling, the edits are turning your magic into magic for someone else.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Wow – that’s what I want to say. Wow, your excitement and enthusiasm over my characters and little corner of the vast make believe universes leaves me flabbergasted
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m actually between books. I finished reading an anthology of Raymond Chandler’s short stories, figured if I was writing ‘noir detective’ I should read some, and with edits of the urban fantasy on the way, my reading time has got to that task.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I want to say it was ‘Over Sea Under Stone’ by Susan Cooper but I know it wasn’t, that series is just the first burned indelible into my mind.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Myself from the past – so I could let him know that it will all work out, just keep stumbling along.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
‘The final book in the series is hidden somewhere in Windsor’
Just because it would be fun to mess with people’s mind – and hey, maybe it will bring tourism to the city.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I have the SCA – which is a hobby which contains with-in it, oh so many other hobbies.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I have a pretty wide spectrum, I can enjoy an episode of Downton Abby, and then watch Doctor Who, and then delve into Deadpool
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
A good burger is a thing of beauty, ice-cream- no matter the season – is good for the soul, and white chocolate is divinity made eatable.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have liked to be a musician, they can transport others to another place just as a writer can, they bring joy or sorry as they wish. Luckily I can write because I have all the tone perception of a deaf toad in an egg carton
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
No – I did for a while, but there are only so many hours in a day, and I finally decided to give it up and close it down.