I am honored to have on my blog today
and Tomorrow Wendell
About the Author
R. M. Ridley lives in rural Ontario on a small homestead, raising a menagerie of animals, including a flock of sheep and a swarm of foul. He has been writing stories, both long and short, for three decades, the themes of which range from the gruesome to the fantastical. As an individual who suffers from severe bipolar disorder, R. M. Ridley is a strong believer in being open about mental health issues because myths should be kept to stories.
Social Media Links:
G+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/103878401513714757703/about
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/r.m.ridleyweb
Twitter – @RavenMRidley
Website – http://ravennotathome.wix.com/rmridley
Blog – http://creativityfromchaos.wordpress.com/
About the Book
by R.M. Ridley
Paperback, 255 pages
Published June 28th 2014 by Xchyler Publishing (first published June 17th 2014)
When predictions tell Wendell Courtney he’s going to die, he turns to the one man he hopes can help. Jonathan Alvey’s no stranger to the strange. But, unlike the private investigator’s run-of-the-mill zombie cases, he can find no trace of magic around Wendell, and no hint of an adversary. Alvey certainly has magic and wits enough to solve the mystery, but is his offering to the insatiable dragon black sufficient? Or is Wendell truly destined to die?
Chatting with the Author
I am so happy to have the chance to talk with R.M. Ridley
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been alive for just over forty years and spent more than half of them married to the same incredible woman. I lived the majority of my life in mid-sized cities and then, ten years ago, moved from the city to the middle of nowhere, Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Our children are furry, feathered or fleeced.
I’ve held a number of unexciting jobs but in my heart, have always been a writer.
I’m severely bipolar and see no reason to hide the fact because I believe myths should be kept for history books and anthologies.
2. Can you tell us about the characters in you book?
I think this quote from the editor-in-chief at Xchyler Publishing sums up my protagonist quite accurately and eloquently; “I also love Jonathan Alvey because he’s just sort of shoved down the road of life and does good against his better judgment.”
3. What made you want to write a book?
I wouldn’t say want – I just write. I’ve written four full novels, numerous short stories, and have another two and a half finished. Three different universes, three different styles, and then the White Dragon Black series started and it was just – it was the world. I love the other places I’ve created, and hope to someday return to them, but as soon as Jonathan Alvey came into my mind I knew it was the one which I finally had to get serious about publishing.
4. How do you come up with the characters names?
Names are important to me. Even though everyone in the novel has ‘normal’ names they have to have meaning that fits for how I see the character or reference to a historical person that fits the character’s role. My main character is called Jonathan Alvey – it’s a boring name but if you start looking at it, there is fun there. In the bible Jonathan was killed by Philistines and Alvey means elf battle. It is very rare that I just randomly say ‘Bob sounds like a good name, I’ll use it’.
5. How long does it take for you to write a book?
On average, it takes about nine months. I’m getting faster at writing them but they are getting longer as I go, so the time stays about the same. I often get short phases of ‘not writing’ that last about a month, maybe two, which drag out the process and frustrates me, but one can’t argue with a Muse. Perhaps most annoyingly however, is that all too often my Muse messes with me, and gives me a short story to write, just about the time I reach the middle of a novel. That certainly affects the time line.
6. Do you have any advise for aspiring authors?
Yes – Learn to love edits. Once you can see editing as the flip side to writing, your life and writing will become better by degrees unimaginable. Edits for most people, including myself in the early days, is sheer drudgery. But if you can come to understand that it is a creative process, perhaps even more creative than the original writing was, you can actually learn to love the process. If you attain this enlightened status; your work will go easier and faster, your words and plot will get stronger, and perhaps most importantly – editors and publishers will love you.
7. Do you have a specific time during the day that you find better to write?
I try to write first thing in the day…well, after coffee, of course. Before coffee, I cannot form coherent thought, leave alone find my computer. That being said, there are some nights that, after I finish watching a movie, instead of going to bed, I find myself sitting down in front of the computer. Two hours will pass in a blur, and I’ve found that I wrote over two thousand words. Those episodes are golden.
8. Have you ever written a character and realized you just didn’t like he/her and had to change it?
No – but when writing Tomorrow Wendell I did write a character that was wonderful but, as soon as I finished the scene, I knew that character had to wait. It wasn’t their time yet, in the scheme of the series on a whole. It took until the fourth book before I could pull that scene out, dust it off, and finally let the character flourish. It was worth it, as far as I’m concerned.
9. What books are you reading now?
I am currently making my way through the collected short stories of Raymond Chandler and have ‘Graveminder’, by Melissa Marr, waiting in the wings.
10. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
If it’s warm weather, which, in Ontario, Canada, is not nearly as long a window as I would like, I enjoy gardening. Something about encouraging the new growth is soothing to me. Growing fruit and vegetables is rewarding and watching the new blooms arrive is magic of its own.
11. When you read what format do you prefer to read in (Paper/Hard Cover or E-reader)?
I’ve never even tried to read e-format books. I’m not against them, but I do a lot of reading on the screen as it is, with my own writing and edits. When I want to lose myself in someone else’s words, I want the comfort of holding its weight in my hand, the feel of the page under my fingers.
12. Can you share a little of your current work with my readers?
I’d be delighted to give a teaser. I am beginning the serious edits of the second novel titled, ‘Bindings & Spines’ and this is scene is from the early part of the novel.
‘That was when he saw dull red, streak left, towards the secretary desk, and out of sight, in the front office.
“Oh come on! Still?” he yelled.
Almost two weeks ago, a tribe of Redcaps had mistaken the building for abandoned, and moved in to claim it as their own.
It wasn’t that Jonathan couldn’t understand the mistake. In the entire five stories, only two offices had been rented at that time. Surprisingly, the new arrival to the building, a real estate start up called Judas Enterprises, hadn’t exactly been generating a lot of traffic flow off the streets.
But Redcaps were nasty little bastards; their name alone said it all. They were called Redcaps from the simple fact that they dyed their hats with the blood of their slain enemies. It didn’t matter to them that they were only two feet high; an enemy was whatever got up their nose.
Redcaps were the fey equivalent of a stereotypical drunk Scotsman with an unfortunate anger management problem. This meant that, often, all it took to have a Redcap decide you were its enemy was to be in its line of sight.
Having decided that the building was their private castle, they were overly upset to find ‘invaders’ in it.
Jonathan had done his best to convince the horde that his right of claim outdated theirs. He asserted this declaration with spells—including one to raise blisters, rituals to create pain if a barrier was broken—such as the one into his office, and hexes, and curses—everything from turning their iron weapons brittle, to joint pain.
They had come to a stand off after five hours. It had been fun. Although the screams and crying his secretary had indulged in during that time had indicated she hadn’t shared his opinion.’
13. If you can recommend one book for someone to read what would it be? (not including yours)
I’m going to cheat here by saying, if you have a child (or are one at heart) find Susan Coopers ‘The Dark is Rising’ series and let them read it. ‘The Dark is Rising’ was the pivotal novel in my childhood. However, as an adult, I would recommend getting your hands on Erin Morgenstern’s ‘The Night Circus’. A finely wrought plot, beautifully told, and filled with wonder.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me.
Thank you very much for me letting participate in this, I had fun.
Just the Facts Please
Random Facts about my Character – Jonathan Alvey:
1 – His telephone is an old, rotary dial, Bakelite
2 – He has been able to see ghosts since birth
3 – He hates using telephones
4 – Not one of his family members has talked to him in nearly two decades
5 – He never wears a hat (no matter how hard I try to write one in)
6 – He is addicted to magic
7 – From his fictional City of New Hades, it is 170 miles to the Canadian Border by car and only 53 miles across Lake Ontario and he has never touched foot on Canadian soil
8 – He is the son of an Anglican priest
9 – He knows how to make his own ammunition
10 – He takes his coffee black
The two silent zombies came towards him in a flanking maneuver. They didn’t moan, shuffle, or lurch as popular media often portrayed; the corpses came at him like heartburn after bad Mexican food.
Jonathan tossed the glass of bourbon at the zombie on his left as he dodged the wide swing of its hairy-knuckled fist. He kicked his chair out at the one on his right, scooped his Beretta out from the top drawer, and vaulted onto his desktop. An avalanche of books tumbled onto the floor.
He took less than a second to aim the nine-millimeter before taking the shot. Shooting zombies is considered ineffectual at best. They felt no pain, were animated with spells, and also, already quite dead. But that didn’t mean a firearm couldn’t be put to use against them.
The key was to target the appropriate body parts.
The report of the gun in the small room was thunderous and followed by shrill screams from the front office. Jonathan dropped the Beretta; he wouldn’t get much use of it again in such a fight.
He slid off the front of his desk and ran headlong at the zombie in his doorway.
Hitting the body felt like tackling a hanging side of beef, but it did move, which is what Jonathan needed. The corpse toppled back and to the right, as its bullet-shattered kneecap gave way.
Jonathan scrambled over the chest of the creature and couldn’t resist giving it a kick to the head.
He had managed to get one down for the count. Now, he just had to draw the other two out of his office; there were too many valuable volumes and rare texts in there.
Once in the front office, the ear piercing shriek emanating from behind his secretary’s desk had become more strident. He tried to think of comforting words to tell her. He tried to think of comforting words to tell her, but ‘shut the hell up’ was the best he could come up with.
He spun around to look back at the other two zombies.
Both goons had clamored into the front office. Jonathan moved to his left, away from the strident screeches, and further into the room. He hoped to draw them further in with him. It also put him out of the reach of the one-legged corpse.
The two came at him, one stepping on its felled companion.
Jonathan took another step and reached blindly behind him. His hand felt the smooth wood of the coat rack and he grabbed it. He attempted to swing it up, only to find its weight awkward and uneven.
With a curse, he spared a glance to figure out what was wrong and saw a pink, fluffy coat dangling from one of the tines.
Taking out zombies could be done with relative ease, as long as you had access to a hot enough flame. Once started, the things went up like balsa-wood carvings. The tricky part was stopping them from bumbling about, setting the whole building, or yourself, on fire.
Jonathan shook the coat rack, trying to dislodge the coat his secretary had, for some ungodly reason, hung on it. He finally managed to get the article unhooked and swung it around, hoping to corral the corpses long enough to set them on fire.
The coat rack collided into the side of the brute and cracked. It didn’t slow the creature. An upper cut lifted Jonathan into the air and he landed against the far wall. Jonathan found himself on the low bookcase, his face a raw ache, his back a single spasm. He had put up with enough.
He had them as close as he could hope for, and at least one of them wouldn’t be wandering about.
He brought up his right hand and rubbed his middle and ring finger together. He began to chant the words of power, of focus. After being hit by a ham hock of a fist, his jaw felt like rigor mortis was setting in, which made pronouncing the proto-Egyptian language of the spell tricky.
Luckily, it was a short invocation.
Jonathan felt his energy swell as though the earth itself were rising up through him, and reached further still. He tapped into the beyond and pulled the forgotten forward, through him.
He rode the White Dragon.
Sweat soaked into his clothing. His skin felt abraded with the heat.
He hated this spell.
His chest burned from the inside out, his heart pumped lava through his veins.
He hated necromancers.
As his mind spun through infinite harmonies, every molecule of his body danced violently. The fire he had formed leapt from ethereal to physical. A flame that burned deep-orange engulfed his hand, its flickering edges sending swirls of black soot into the air.
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