Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
First, I’d like to thank you for having me here. I’m Richard Rumple, officially, R.C. Rumple on the book covers, but please, I’m much more comfortable if you call me “Rich.” I’m at the ripe old age of sixty-four and getting younger every day.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I currently reside in Lexington, Kentucky in the USA. However, I’ve lived in Rhode Island, Indiana, New York, Mobile, Alabama, and spent much time in Europe, much of it in the Mediterranean.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I graduated high school, attended Indiana University for a year and then made the decision to go into the military instead of going in debt with student loans that seem to never get paid off. I took many college courses by correspondence while serving and returned to college after the military. I had no trouble with the courses or grades but found myself floundering with discontent as I no longer wanted to pursue becoming a lawyer. I’d always been more on the creative side of life … one to be in front of a crowd instead of dealing with corporations or sham artists. So, I packed up the books and began a career as a Rock Radio Disc Jockey. I enjoyed that for many years. One night, I represented the radio station at a comedy club. Upon coming offstage, I was invited to return to host the weekend shows. It was a door opening that I couldn’t refuse. After years of traveling the comedy clubs, my wife decided that I needed to decide … family or living on the road. I remembered my commitments and vows and entered the corporate world as a training director. I retired early for my sanity as the need to be creative was still bubbling within. Two weeks after leaving the business world, I started my first book. As stated, I am married and have two wonderful daughters. Of course, they now have families of their own and provide me the joy of four grandchildren to tease and annoy.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
This last week, the flood gates opened for me. Suddenly, my followers have increased tenfold, and the number is still rising. I’ve been asked to be a part of a short story collection that will feature the works of many prominent artists, which causes me to sit back in awe of the opportunity. I just completed my first major event, Scarefest 2018, and was amazed at the number of fans that showed up to either purchase and sign their books, or to autograph those they already owned. The response was so great that I’ve scheduled myself to be at another show in October. I’m currently working on two more novels, one paranormal and one a comedy/horror tale, as well as the short story mentioned earlier. I’ve also been asked by two beginner writers to mentor them in hopes of refining their skills. Besides that, there’s not much happening.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Unofficially, when I was eight or nine years old. I was an obsessive reader thanks to my mother. Yet, not always a happy one. After reading a book, I’d discuss it with her and ask, “I wonder why they ended it that way? Why didn’t they …” She would tell me to rewrite it in the way I felt is should have ended. So, I did and handed her the results. That was the true beginning. I always found any writing assignment easy in school and loved the chores of creating new takes on old ideas. While in the military, my letters home weren’t written as standard letters, but as stories of what was occurring in my life, complete with dialogue. During the last year of my enlistment, I sent a short story to a science fiction magazine to see what would happen. It was published, and I was sent a small check for my effort. Back in civilian life, I created my own shows in radio, developed my own jokes in comedy, and wrote various training manuals in business, some of which are still in use. Yet, my official entry into writing took place four months after I’d retired, in May 2017, when I released my first novel, “Horror Across the Alley.”
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t. I’m a storyteller. Writers are elite members of society that deserve the honor and respect of not only their peers, but of all highly educated individuals. Their books are filled with words that most must look into a dictionary to find meaning. They have sentences that become quotes to remember, words of wisdom if you will. I’ll never be in their class. To be blunt, I have no desire to be.
Instead, I’m a teller of stories. I don’t write to impress. I’ve always been the entertainer and will never change. It is not my wish for a common person to set my book down and never return because it’s too much work for them. Instead, I want them to enjoy the story, as if I was sitting next to them around a campfire. Too many forget that the primary reason the majority read is to escape from reality, be it the trials and tribulations of everyday life or the boredom with reality. They seek to enter a world unlike their own in which they can face danger, travel different places, and enjoy the ride from the safety of their overstuffed chair. And, I can’t forget those that enjoy a good book while soaking in a hot tub. How could I be there with them if I required them to have a dictionary there? No, Tolstoy was a writer. I’m only a storyteller.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
“Horror Across the Alley” came from many areas of my life. There are events in it that I experienced while living in an old house while attending college. Of course, they were minor, but a storyteller tends to enlarge events to draw interest and keep attention. I had just been berated by a friend for not putting out a book. She had read much of my work on a writing website and blogs, and somehow decided that putting words on paper suited me. She was relentless. I finally gave in and decided that my background in comedy made perfect sense in writing horror. Don’t ask. I never said I was a sane individual.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I remembered looking out my window at the house I would later move into while living in a garage apartment. If I’d have known the reason people only lived there a very short time, I would probably not moved across the alley into it. I resided there for several years. When the landlord came to collect the rent every month, he always seemed surprised to still find me there.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I like to call my style “Common Folk Writing.” As already stated, I’m not trying to impress. I want to entertain. In doing so, my target audience is the common person, one with enough education to enjoy reading, but probably not the one that is looking to increase their vocabulary through the endless distraction of looking up word meanings. The story is the main concern, as it should be. If others wish to knock my style that is their prerogative. I could care less. I wish only to allow a person to enjoy the read, finish the book, and say, “What a story. I wonder what else he wrote that I can read?” If that happens, I’m happy.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My first two books have several instances of “it happened to me or an acquaintance.” I won’t say what they were as that would tend to be a spoiler for some. I’d rather keep them guessing. My third, “Gabriela: Tales From A Demon Cat” was entirely created out of thin air, except for the fact I have a demon cat named Gabriela. It’s a collection of short stories that travel many of the realms of horror. Please don’t think it a group of bedtime stories for children. It’s far from that.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Oh, I’ve visited a graveyard or two, but not for the story. More for the mood. There’s something about staring at headstones and wondering what the stories could be about those they represent that stirs a feeling inside. I have an elderly father that I keep tabs on by visiting every other week. It’s a two-hundred-mile journey to see him. Many times along the way, I’ll find myself observing my surroundings and envisioning stories occurring in the landscape. When I start creating, many times I recall those visions and include them in my tales.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I have a good friend who resides in Jamaica that did the first one and the last. I hired a commercial designer for my second, “They Lurk In Summer” but have never been totally satisfied with what I received. My friend wants to have a crack at it, so it will probably change soon.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’ve attacked many problems people face in my novels but do so from the characters and how they handle them, instead of standing on a soapbox preaching. “Horror…” contained the problems facing the elderly, religious extremes, how greed and depression go hand in hand, and others. “They Lurk…” hit hard on pet desertion, child and marital abuse, and again, greed. “Gabriela…” includes tales involving protests, Satan worshiping, living with Alzheimer’s Disease, social networking, as well as how history repeats itself and many others. I feel the need to bring these up as they face us, but they can’t take away from the story. It is a must that they add to the tale, not detract.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
There are many, but I hesitate to name any for fear of leaving some out and offending them. My favorite author has always been Kurt Vonnegut. The man was ahead of his time. “Slaughterhouse Five” was the first book I read of his. I remember feeling, “Wow, this is fantastic” upon completion. I continued reading his work and never was disappointed. His ability to create visions in the simplest of terms made reading fun. There was no frustration that he didn’t use fifteen letter words. Instead, enjoyment was present. He was there, next to me, telling his tale, not lecturing a college class. It was then I decided that was the route for me to follow.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Jason V Brock … my mentor with the Horror Writers Association. The man is a true genius. Did he run me over hot coals? Of course, and I’m so happy he did. The man viewed my weaknesses and taught me how to make them strengths. Our time together was sparse as he has so many of his own projects to attend to, yet, he said so much in the moments we shared that I don’t feel slighted in the least. The program was to last three months and started in January of this year. The man is still by my side and has become a good friend. I owe much to him, and so do my readers.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’m retired. Creating is an enjoyment for me, not a job. The editing and rewriting are difficult at times, but when the finished work is finally ready to go to print, a feeling of tremendous satisfaction makes all the effort worth it. I’m not going to put out a book a month as some do. I’m more interested in creating a work of quality, a work that comes from the soul instead of some formula that seems to be popular. If I’m not happy with it, I won’t put it out for the readers. A job makes one do such things. Retirement allows one the room to say, “No, not this time. I can create something better.”
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes, I wouldn’t do it in the same manner. I tackled “Gabriela…” all at once. Most that have been creating for years will tell you never set out to write a short story book. Instead, write short stories along the way and compile them under a common theme when you have enough. I found creating thirteen different stories, plots, groups of characters with their own idiosyncrasies, antagonists, and endings—and have each sounding different than the rest—became a labor of dread rather than a labor of love. In all, I wrote over twenty different stories and tossed out those I didn’t feel right in putting in front of my readers. I’m very happy with the book but was totally burned out when it was finished.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, how to tolerate the extreme profanity I tossed at myself as deadlines approached. Actually, the lesson I learned in the previous question covers this one.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
This is where ego raises its ugly head. If “Horror…” were made into a film, I’d like the primary supporting role. I’m not up on who would fit the lead as I don’t follow younger actors much. Most tend to be here today and in the “Look At Them Now” pages of the paper describing their fall from stardom tomorrow. He would have to be athletic, look mature as he was a veteran of the war in the Middle East, and halfway intelligent. Please tell me, who makes your heart beat faster that fits that description and we’ll see if we can’t make you happy.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Put it on paper (or, at least type it out on the computer). There are millions of would be creators that never take the time to see what they could do if they only applied themselves. Writing is not a competition. Forget that thought. In fact, the more quality that hits the market the more people will read. This community is one about supporting one another. I’m sure there is some, but I’ve seen no backstabbing going on in it. Instead, we love and support each other and to our best to assist. It’s the only group I’ve ever been associated that works in this manner. Don’t miss out on becoming a part of it.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Read to enjoy, not judge. Open your minds and let the visions take place. You’re a vital part of the story. Relish being there. Last but far from least: I sincerely appreciate your love and support!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just started “Them” by a good friend of mine, James Watts. What I’ve read is amazing. It grabs you from square one and doesn’t let go. I’ve been asked to review one of Richard Raven’s books, also. I’m looking forward to reading that, as well.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
That’s like asking most, “Do you remember the first candy bar you ate?” When I was young, I go to the library on Monday and check out three books. On Friday, I’d return those and check out three more for the weekend. By the time I reached sixth grade, my mother wrote a note to the librarian to allow me to check out books on the adult side of the library as I’d read all on the children’s side. When “The Autobiography of Malcom X” hit the stands, I was probably the youngest child in Indiana carrying a copy of it atop his school books. No, I really can’t remember my first. I loved them all.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
This is going to make me sound like a weak man, but happiness does. To see the happiness in a person that achieves their goal that was well above their dreams makes me tear up and feel the lump rise to my throat. When the crowd used to applaud my comedy performance, the acceptance of my efforts and knowing I was able to make their day a little better did the same. I’ve always hid it well as I was raised “to be a man” in respect to the standards of the 60’s. My wife, in anger, has even accused me of having a cement shell around my heart. She is now, after thirty-eight years together, only realizing how wrong she was.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
The obvious answer for one in the genre of Horror would be Edgar Allen Poe. I love his material but feel he would be either under the influence or extremely full of himself in real life. Another obvious would be Stephen King. However, he now seems to be wanting to discuss politics more than horror. Another star who has forgotten that he’s an entertainer, not a statesman. If anyone, it would be the one I try to emulate in my writing, Kurt Vonnegut. From all I’ve read, he never considered himself above anyone, but remained humble through is successful career. I’ve always said, “If you get too full of yourself be careful where you go. It might be embarrassing when the buttons pop off your shirt.” People are people, some simply (either by luck or effort) are looked up to by others. The only difference most of the time is in their bank accounts or egos. Be yourself.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy life and making people I meet smile. I’ll crack jokes and start up humorous conversations stand in lines wherever I go, be it shopping or waiting to renew my driver’s license. There is too much hate in the world today. People have forgotten how to laugh. I hope to remind them that it’s fun to do so. Other than that, I enjoy reading, experimenting with my camera to become a better photographer, trying to keep my wife happy, and am a huge fan of college basketball (especially the Indiana University Hoosiers).
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I cannot tell you the last television show I “actually watched.” I’m hooked on multi-tasking. I set up a workspace and computer in the living room to keep my wife from feeling she was a widow. The television sets off to my left from that. I will glance at shows but listen more than watch. Today’s entertainment is so concerned about being politically correct that it has become boring in nature. Society if following in the same direction as people have forgotten how to tolerate and compromise. I do enjoy a good movie now and then but find most made today are either poor remakes of old ones or concentrate on action instead of story content. I keep a few on the DVR for my “go-to” noise while creating, such as “Fargo”, “Big Fish”, “Hatari”, and “Twister.” I’ll admit an addiction to any of the James Bond films, also.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I’m not a picky eater and do enjoy trying new foods, either at restaurants or by preparing them myself. The “Cream & Crimson” of Indiana University have to be my favorite colors, even though I have to admit I always love blue in my youth. Music? Again, I’m an obsessive. I still own over fifteen-hundred vinyl albums from years past, as well as over ten thousand CD’s. I have a room in the house devoted to them. I’m even one that gets on Amazon at 3 am every Friday morning to download the new releases as soon as they become available. I used to say, “Music is my life.” My wife corrected that statement to say, “Music takes over my life.” She might have something there. Rock (of all types), Blues, Smooth Jazz, and Folk are my favorite genre’s, but I’ll listen to most anything that reaches one’s soul. (Notice that today’s Pop Music wasn’t included in my list for that reason.)
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Go back to performing comedy. An entertainer needs a stage of some sort. Otherwise, why live?
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d write a goodbye letter to my followers and friends, gather my family and make any amends I could, and write down the thoughts of a dying man. Hopefully, I could create visions that would help to inspire someone to make changes in their lives to help them enjoy the time they’re on this planet.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here lies a man who made you smile
Gave joy and visions for a while
Now he’s here laid at rest
Hoping you’ll just be your best
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is : https://www.richrumple.com
My author page on Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/RCRumple
I’m on Twitter at: @RichRumple1
And, I’m on Amazon (in the U.S.) : https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Rumple/e/B072F6JDDC/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1538077587&sr=1-2-ent
(in the UK) : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-Rumple/e/B072F6JDDC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1