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A Tale of Dragons & Epic Adventures

A Writer's Prompt Author Interview

Cambridge, a growing community in southern Ontario, Canada, is known for its historical sites, festivals, open-air markets, theatres and art galleries. But, did you also know that it is home to Epic Fantasy writer Richard H. Stephens? Let's learn a little bit more about him before we begin the interview.

Richard began writing circa 1974; a bored child looking for something to do. ​A trip to a local bookstore saw the proprietor introduce him to Terry Brooks and Stephen R. Donaldson, and his writing life was forever changed.

Richard worked in a warehouse for 22 years before going back to school. Graduating with honours, he joined the local Police Service.

In 2017, Richard resigned from the Police Service to pursue writing full-time. With the support of his family, he has finally realized his boyhood dream and has currently published 13 novels with many more on the way.

Hello Richard, and thank you for joining me today. I am excited to learn more about a fellow Ontarian and find out what makes you tick. Let's begin with "What inspired you to become a writer?"

When I was 9, I was sitting around on summer vacation in 1974 with nothing to do. I glanced at a copy of one of Franklin Dixon's Hardy Boys novels in my bedroom, and I thought to myself, 'I could write a story like that.' So, I did.

To have such confidence at an early age is inspiring. I lived on a farm when I was nine. I chased chickens around the yard, got stuck in the mud and ate cucumbers right off the vine. I had no idea what I wanted to be or do.

It is safe to say we know the answer to this next question, but let's ask it anyway - How long have you been writing?

I've been writing on and off for 47 years, Not with the thought of becoming a published author, but because that was something I loved to do 5 children and 2 careers later, and thanks to my supportive wife, I have finally left the so-called 'real' world behind and have been able to finish the book I started when I was 17. 36 years after dreaming up the epic fantasy story that has become the foundation for everything I've written since Soul Forge was published in August 2018. From that modest first step into the publishing world, I am now working on book 14 in my Soul Forge Universe, and there is no end in sight.

That is wonderful. Having a supportive family makes following your dreams easier What type of writer are you? For example, do you plan out your storyline and have a bio for each character, or do you let the creativity flow and see where it leads you?

I'm a hybrid. When I first started out, I simply kicked the main character out the door and discovered my ever-expanding fantasy world through his eye. As we explored the land together, I began entering each person and place on an excel spreadsheet, accompanied with detailed descriptions of what the reader learns so that in future stories, I never have to go back and read through four hundred pages to recall what colour Silurian's eyes are…Hmmm, let's look…Ah, yes, Ice-blue.

I wish I had been that organized with my series; I am constantly flipping through copies of the books for information. Do you follow a strict writing schedule, or do you sneak writing in when you have time?

Before I retired from my last career, I wrote and edited every lunch hour at work, quickly ate, put on a pair of headphones, opened my old laptop, and ignored those around me. 😊 Now that I'm a full-time writer, I follow a loose schedule. I get up in the morning and venture down the social-media rabbit hole to catch up with my readers and attempt to gamer more After that; I edit what I wrote yesterday. If I write 2500 words today, I will edit 2500 words tomorrow. Not only does that immediately tighten and correct what I have recently written, it sets me up to begin today's writing. I sometimes get an hour of writing in before lunch, eat, and then write for 2-3 hours in the afternoon. I take weekends off as I'm a firm believer that my creative mind needs time to mull over things in the background.

I might have to try your way and see where it takes me I edit as I write; it takes me forever to write a paragraph. LOL. What is your writing style? For example, are you a meat and potatoes leave it to the readers' imagination kind of writer, or are you a heavy with description, dialogue, and lots of extra gravy writer?

As writing epic fantasy is harder than many other genres when it comes to leaving things to the reader's imagination due to the strange lands and creatures involved, I