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Richard L Sanders Interview

04d68e_b0e6e962445c4b13a3391ac753bd3f69.jpg_srz_p_312_448_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzHere are Geeklore we have been lucky enough to get an interview with Richard L Sanders, the Author of The Phoenix Conspiracy and here is what he had to say.

Geeklore What inspired you to become a writer?

Richard L Sanders As a child, I was slow when it came time to learn to read. My parents would have to bribe me to get me to sound out the words of some children’s story or other, by rewarding me with candy or gum. The effort paid off though and one day it just sort of all clicked and I found myself captivated by some story or other and the feeling that reading was a chore evaporated. Like I’d unlocked the magic. Ever since then, I’ve always spent a lot of time dreaming up stories, and characters, and conflicts, and would frequently write up scenes, entirely out of context, for stories that were never going to be completed, just for the enjoyment and exercise of doing so. Before long I had developed that itch, to write a novel and tell a story entirely of my own. I started that process as a teenager and felt generally proud of my accomplishments, even though my early works were very immature and will never see the light of day. They helped make me who I am now. I hope that by continuing to write, my writing (and stories) will continue to improve both in depth and maturity. I can sense that I am rambling so, back to your original point, what inspired me to become a writer was no particular thing. I was born a writer because I was born a dreamer. I just needed to be given the tools of language.
Geeklore Do you have a writing routine that you stick to?

Richard L Sanders I always write my books chronologically, I never write scenes out of order. I used to, I tried that in my early days, but found I just didn’t like it very much. I am also religious about having a scene-by-scene detailed outline of an entire book before jumping in and doing any writing whatsoever. That acts as my roadmap and I fill in the blanks with my imagination as I go, but I try to have very few blanks because I want the story to be coherent, have the kind of flow that I like, and in order to do that I need to see the big picture of the story all put together before I can dive in and start putting the actual sentences of the book together. Oh and I also don’t like the idea of chapters. I get that they can help split up a reading experience to give the reader a natural place to pause, but I find inserting chapters to be a difficult and unnatural process. When I write a book, I always finish the book before cutting it into chapters. Which is probably why many of my chapter breaks seem so arbitrary. It’s because they are. Chapters simply feel unnatural to me.

Geeklore How rigidly do you plan and prepare each book?

Richard L Sanders Very rigidly, especially for a story as intricate and complex as The Phoenix Conspiracy. Because I have so many organizations, and players, each manipulating one another, each making deals, and each betraying the others in order to get what they want, there is a great deal to keep track of. I do not think I have done a perfect job telling the story, far from it, and even I find it confusing if I don’t refresh myself on the core details fairly often, but I’m grateful that I planned out the primary story arcs well in advance, and planned for them, or else I would be utterly and hopelessly lost.

Geeklore Could you see any of your books as movies or tv shows?

Richard L Sanders That depends. Do I think they could make for excellent TV shows or movies? Yes, absolutely. There is enough suspense and action to keep them going (I think) but to do them justice would mean to target a more cerebral audience. Because of that I think they would probably be very niche and might have trouble getting enough mass appeal to survive financially. Because of that I don’t think anyone will ever make a show of them, without crowd-funding it or something, but I have other stories coming down the line and maybe one of them will have the kind of mass appeal you need to get that kind of attention. Right now the formula seems to be: young adults, dystopian conditions, female protagonist preferred, and ideally some sort of love triangle. That’s all well and good but I don’t really write that—at least, I haven’t tried to yet. Absolutely you need to have a romantic conflict at the heart of your story (no pun intended) to get the kind of audience response that leads publishers and producers to take serious interest in your work. A space story about spies and conspiracies running all over the galaxy, with some romantic elements but not ones that are overly central to the key conflict of the story… I don’t see a lot of shows that fill that space. So I’m inclined to think that space doesn’t exist. But then again, if it did, there wouldn’t be a lot of competition so that would be a big help. I guess with enough money behind the production, and enough talent, I think some great television or film version of the story could play out incredibly. But I am skeptical enough to think it’ll probably never happen, I’m just not that “big” of a writer. I have my small little audience of mostly English readers (an audience I’m very proud of and love dearly) and so long as I keep writing the kinds of stories I want to write, I’m probably stuck in some niche or another, ultimately kept out of mainstream entertainment. I’m okay with this, so long as I can ultimately afford to keep going. Which is its own very serious question right now.

Geeklore What drew you to the sci-fi genre?

Richard L Sanders I think I’m a nerd at heart and always have been. The bread and butter of my childhood was first a deep love for Star Wars and later a love also for Star Trek. I read a great deal of Orson Scott Card growing up and, although I am not necessarily a fan of much of his work, I’ve never encountered a more creative mind nor have I encountered prose (for its own sake) that I thought was better than his. So while I’m not in love with many of his stories, finding them almost to strange to appreciate—though his creativity itself is beautiful—I can and do respect the man for his writing skill that I have always considered genius level. I think another thing that drew me to sci-fi in particular is that my father writes software for rockets and would often bring home posters of various rockets and rocket systems for me to hang up and it was just kind of cool having a dad around who I could brag was a real-life rocket scientist.

Geeklore Who are the Authors that inspire and influence you?

Richard L Sanders There have been many. Recently I have read a great deal of George RR Martin, but those who have influenced me the most have to include Gene Roddenberry, Timothy Zahn, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, countless others I can’t even remember, but no one more so than JK Rowling and Orson Scott Card.

Geeklore What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?

Richard L Sanders I love to ski. I picked it up a few years ago and have found that I really quite enjoy it. I live where there’s usually a lot of snow in the winter so, if I have to shovel mountains of it off my car every morning in January just to get anywhere, I might as well also reap the benefits of it. Aside from skiing, I love to play chess—I even study it (how geeky is that!)—and I do a lot of reading. I like to debate and discuss everything, especially history, philosophy and science, and enjoy just shooting the breeze and having deep conversations with friends, or whoever. I like games. I follow a few sports. I’ve always been a big Utah Jazz and San Francisco 49ers fan. And I’m a bit of a motoring enthusiast, one who knows very little about the wizardry under the hood but who loves the sport of driving itself. So of course my daily ride is an MX-5 that’s seen a few years.

Geeklore Do you base your characters on people you know?

Richard L Sanders No. I hear that a lot of authors do this. Some find it to be some form of therapy, others find it easier to make the character feel three-dimensional, or something. But I just don’t do it. Not so much as a matter of policy but the approach doesn’t come natural to me. I think if I associated a particular character with a particular person a bit too much, it would influence how I treat the character in the story, and I don’t want that. The one exception here, and it really was quite by accident, is that Calvin (I am told) greatly reminds people of me. He and I are different (and we even have different tastes in many things, and we think differently and act differently) but there is a striking amount of similarity there as well. At least, so says the rumor mill.

Geeklore Anything else in the pipeline for us to get excited about?

Richard L Sanders Yes, I’m excited to wrap up The Phoenix Conspiracy by the end of the year and, you’ll be excited to know, I’ve already begun laying the groundwork for a new series (this one NOT set in space) that I’m eager to get cracking on. It’ll be set in a fictional world during a historical period that is a blend of elements from Hellenistic Greece to the Akkadian Empire, to Imperial Rome, to the Spanish Inquisition, to the Mayans, etc. None of these cultures or people themselves will appear in the world (it’ll be an entirely fictional world) but I want to create an old-fashioned fantasy story that is NOT set in what feels like middle-ages, feudal England. I’m a bit bored with dragons, knights, castles, and rainy forests, and feudalism, etc. (If you’re reading this George RR Martin, you’re the exception, I’m not bored with you so please finish that damn book). So for me to tell an authentic story that is my own, I want it to feel more original, and one way of doing that—I believe—is to go for a setting that is less used. Ideally one that is ultimately the product of my own pure imagination. I am also, and very importantly, including elements of fantasy and the paranormal, and I have the core conflict set out and developed along with many of the critical characters. I even have my cover artist working on ideas for the cover. There’s no title yet, but think about a world that is a blend of various architectural, technological, and cultural cues from history, then imagine in that world there are men (and women) who are willing to oppose gods. And beings of great power who assert themselves as gods over humanity. They are neither pure evil nor pure good. And the question of what makes them gods, if they are gods, is central to the fight. I hope that whets your appetite a little without going overboard with spoilers.

Geeklore Thank you very much for taking time to do this interview.

Richard L Sanders My pleasure. Thank you!

If you want to find out more or even listen to the free audio book take a look here
Or like me go download the first book for free on amazon

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