E M Richmond is a pen name
My name is Leanne Warr
I live in New Zealand
Romelia: WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE AN ACTIVIST, AND WHAT KIND?
E.M. Richmond: I think the character most likely to be an activist would be Abby from my very first novel, Phoenix. Her journey starts off trying to get justice for someone so I think she would join an activist group looking for harsher sentences for certain crimes.
Romelia: DO YOU PLAY MUSIC WHILE YOU WRITE – AND, IF SO, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE?
E.M. Richmond: I sometimes do, depending on my mood. Queen have always been a favorite. Again, it depends on my mood.
Romelia: HAVE PETS EVER GOTTEN IN THE WAY OF YOUR WRITING?
E.M. Richmond: Ha, ha, yes. I have a cat that loves to cuddle. She’ll either hop up on the desk if I’m working on the desktop or she’ll want me to cuddle her while I’m working on the laptop and she’ll step on the keys.
Romelia: IF YOUR BOOK WERE MADE INTO A MOVIE, WHICH ACTORS WOULD PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS?
E.M. Richmond: This is a hard one, since I’ve written a few now. I couldn’t even think of any actors who would play the characters in my current work in progress. Mostly because one of the characters is someone I think every reader will hate, even though he’s really good looking. I did once have thoughts about who would play characters in Phoenix. I’d have to actually see the actors using the words I’d written, of course, but someone like Justin Hartley (Smallville, this is us) would be good for the male protagonist, Michael. I did once think about Crystal Lowe (Smallville, supernatural) to play Abby. It would depend on her ability to play a ‘dual’ character as Abby becomes Phoenix in the book.
Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER KILLED OFF A CHARACTER YOUR READERS LOVED?
E.M. Richmond: Hmm, I don’t think he was ever loved as a character as he’s a bit of a sleaze in Phoenix, but I killed off the bad guy in the sequel, From the ashes. Well, he was one of the bad guys.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN ABOUT WRITING?
E.M. Richmond: Hmm, I think to have someone else edit your work. While you can do a lot of editing yourself, another set of eyes always helps to pick up mistakes.
Romelia: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE WRITING SKILLS?
E.M. Richmond: Just to keep writing. I’d been writing short stories and fanfics for years before I finally published my first novel and looking back at my old stuff, I can see how much my writing has improved. Of course, it always helps to talk to other writers, or take a course in writing. If your grammatical skills or your punctuation needs improvement, use online tools to check your work.
Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO HELP OTHERS CREATE PLOTLINES?
E.M. Richmond: Think about your character’s journey. What are their motivations for the journey? What is your theme? Are you trying to convey a message through the theme? Sometimes I don’t have a firm plot in my mind, other than the germ of an idea. I might be inspired by something that happened in the media. I think the best advice in creating plotlines is to read a lot, especially news articles to see if they inspire something. Start off with the idea and build your world by creating your character. Develop their backgrounds. Often if you have an understanding of where your character comes from, that guides their growth.
Romelia: WHAT HAS HELPED OR HINDERED YOU MOST WHEN WRITING A BOOK?
E.M. Richmond: I tend to procrastinate sometimes. I have also struggled with mental health issues which can affect my motivation to write. However, it can help too as if I’m feeling down, it can sometimes inspire a piece of writing that lets me work through those emotions.
Romelia: DOES WRITING ENERGIZE OR EXHAUST YOU? OR BOTH?
E.M. Richmond: As above, it has helped me work through some emotions so it can be energizing. When I’m on a roll, so to speak, I can get kind of buzzed. It’s a natural high for me. Having said that, it can get a bit exhausting, because I do have to push myself, especially when I’m getting to the end of a project. Writing is the one thing that has kept me going through really low periods. I’ve said it in my non fiction book about my journey with depression – I think in many ways it saved my life.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE BEST MONEY YOU’VE EVER SPENT WITH REGARD TO YOUR WRITING?
E.M. Richmond: To be honest, I haven’t had a lot of money to spend as I’ve been out of work for much of the last few years. I will say that the covers have been the best investment. A friend of mine in the US does them and maybe I’m biased but I think they’re beautiful. A good cover not only attracts the eye of the reader but it also can help convey something about the book that attracts the interest.
Romelia: WHAT ARE COMMON TRAPS FOR NEW AUTHORS?
E.M. Richmond: I think it’s having unrealistic expectations. It’s not easy getting an audience and it can take years before you develop a fan base, so do not expect to become a best-selling author overnight.
Romelia: HOW MANY HOURS A DAY DO YOU WRITE?
E.M. Richmond: If I’m working full-time, it’s usually about two hours a day. Weekends I tend to write more.
Romelia: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS OR WEBSITES FOR WRITERS?
E.M. Richmond: I don’t really have any, to be honest.
Romelia: AT WHAT TIME OF THE DAY DO YOU DO MOST OF YOUR WRITING?
E.M. Richmond: I guess it depends on whether I’m feeling inspired. Mornings are usually the best, especially if I’ve thought of something during the night. It is true that a writer can wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for a plotline or a scene in a story.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH CHARACTER NAMES FOR YOUR STORIES?
E.M. Richmond: I often go on the internet and look up different names. Say I want a maori character – I will look up maori names via different websites to see what suits.
Romelia: DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN WRITING CHALLENGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA? DO YOU RECOMMEND ANY?
E.M. Richmond: I sometimes participate in fanfic challenges, but that’s pretty much it. It’s mostly for fun. These are usually through sites like live journal.
Romelia: IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO CURE A DISEASE OF YOUR CHOOSING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
E.M. Richmond: I don’t know if I would call it a disease, but if there was a way to cure depression, I would love that power.
Romelia: WHEN YOU’RE WRITING AN EMOTIONAL OR DIFFICULT SCENE, HOW DO YOU SET THE MOOD?
E.M. RICHMOND: I just had this the other day, writing a very difficult scene for my current work in progress. I just had to make sure it was very quiet in my immediate area so that there were no distractions. Thankfully my neighbor wasn’t outside working. This scene was a really tough one and emotionally draining because of what happens in it and it really is important to ensure there is nothing to distract you when that happens.
Romelia: WHOM DO YOU TRUST FOR OBJECTIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM OF YOUR WORK?
E.M. Richmond: That’s a hard one. I sometimes get imposter syndrome which makes me question my ability, even though I’ve had people for years tell me I’m a talented writer. As much as you think your close friends will provide that much needed objectivity, they can be too close. Having said that, when my current novel is finished, I’m sending it to a friend in Australia who is an editor. He’s seen the first two chapters so I think he’ll be really helpful in pointing out inconsistencies or where I need to make improvements.
Romelia: WHAT BOOKS DO YOU ENJOY READING?
E.M. Richmond: I have a few favorites. My main favorite author is a man named Robert B. Parker. He wrote a series about a Boston private investigator who is both intellectual but a bit of a tough guy. My second favorite is a new Zealand writer named Margaret Mahy. When I was a teenager, I found a book called The changeover. It had a supernatural theme but I liked the character’s growth in it. I also enjoy reading Harry Potter, although only the main series. I haven’t read any of the others. A classic novel I enjoy is Alexandre Dumas’ The count of Monte Cristo. It’s a fascinating exploration of how a man can be the master of his own fate, in a way.
Romelia: ARE THERE ANY BOOKS OR AUTHORS THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
E.M. Richmond: Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels inspired my detective series, which I actually started writing in my late teens. I only started writing that again about four years ago. I don’t think I had the maturity to handle the character. He didn’t exactly inspire me to become a writer, though. I discovered my ability through an English teacher, who encouraged me in my writing.
Romelia: NAME AN UNDERAPPRECIATED NOVEL THAT YOU LOVE.
E.M. Richmond: I think The count of Monte Cristo is somewhat under-appreciated. There have been a couple of movies, but they just cannot do the book justice.
Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.
E.M. Richmond: I don’t really know how to answer this. I have a weird sense of humour. What I find funny some others may not. I tend to take things too seriously sometimes.
Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.
E.M. Richmond: I’m very much an introvert. I tend to be quite shy in social situations, so I don’t talk much unless it’s a subject I’m very passionate about. It bugs me sometimes but people can be talking about something and I’ll want to contribute but then someone else will start talking and I lose the opportunity. I’m always too polite to interrupt. I’ve struggled with depression, but I think I’ve come out the other side now.
I hate how unequal things are, especially between genders and ethnicities. I hate how one particular culture pervades everything and acts superior. I believe in respecting other cultures but I also believe that a person should be judged by their character, not by the colour of their skin or their gender. Why do we need to pigeonhole people and put someone down because they don’t conform to a certain way? We should celebrate diversity, not condemn it.
As my latest book is still a work in progress, I don’t have a link to that, but I can link to my website which lists all my books so far.
Contact: email is firstname.lastname@example.org.