Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Richard Sutton

Another edition of The Same Six Questions! Today's guest is historic fiction author, Richard Sutton. Welcome, Richard.

Hello, Andy. I'm an ex-hippie commune goat herder who spent twenty years in the trenches of NY Advertising. Born in California in '52, I hitch-hiked to NYC in 1972, to see if I could find something useful to do. I became a copy writer and advertising designer. In 1985, on a lark, my wife and I decided to try our hand at trading in American Indian arts. I sold my Design business in 1989 to pursue full-time trading, opening a bricks and mortar gallery which took most of my time until 2007, when we moved the business online. I had written two novels, behind the register, those last five years, and finally decided fiction was my game, since my steel string guitar playing wasn't ever going to make me a living!

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Those first books became The Red Gate, which was released in 2009, and its sequel, The Gatekeepers, in 2010. Both are historic fiction with a touch of fantasy. Set in County Mayo, Ireland, my readers first met Finn O'Deirg in a muddy pasture sink-hole in 1911 as he discovers an ancient secret in the meadow below his sheep. The second book takes place during the Irish Civil War, ten years later, as the family struggles to hold onto their secret legacy. Both are available from Amazon and B&N (in ebook and print formats) and in other eformats through Smashwords.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I've always enjoyed writing. Probably the first time I consciously thought I'd like to write stories for other people was when I'd uncovered one of L. Frank Baum's lesser-known Oz books in my grandmother's attic. I read it in one sitting and decided to learn how to do that. It took me another forty years to get around to finally testing what I'd learned. Standing up behind my gallery cash register, when business was slow, I began to assemble some notes and ideas into a novel draft. It took five years to do it and by that time, after nineteen years, it was time to close up the bricks and mortar operation and move it online, so I got more time to write as a side-benefit.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?
I'd written stories in College, of course, and a few in the years that followed, as well as some really, really awful poetry. I lost most of those in the move to NY, but hung on to a couple of the poems -- for what reason I can't tell you. They will never see the light of day. I wrote a couple of short stories, longhand in the margins of my day book during the 1990s, based partly upon our experiences as traders in New Mexico. The longest was titled Leaving Santa Fe. I will probably work it up with a lot of other tales into a memoir of our trading experiences since 1985, but that story actually transformed sideways, into a novel tentatively called Sullivan's Homecoming, set in Santa Fe, which I'm currenhtly shopping around.

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?
If you mean, write well enough to sell, it was during my time running the Main Street Association in our small town where the gallery was located. I wrote an emotional appeal/proposal for some Federal/State funding for an improvement project we had in the works and it netted us $50K. I'd by that time been writing press releases for clients for years, as well as advertising copy which I'd been paid for, but I really didn't get the idea my fiction was saleable until some of my beta readers for The Red Gate, told me so. I do my own covers, which helps cut down costs, too.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?
Finn, of course. We have some things in common including truncated formal educations and our understanding of solitude as well as sheep and goats, who I still think are some of the best folks I've ever spent time with. We agree on most things, although he places a lot more trust in the Grace of Providence than I do. He also is a secret musician -- me too.

6. It's a dark and stormy're alone in the house...there's a knock at the open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?
One of my cats. We never let them outside, but worry about them escaping every day. Every time we leave the house. I guess you could say we're a little obsessed, but inside cats live longer than outside cats. We've had both kinds over the years, and have learned the hard way.


Thanks for stopping by, Richard! For more information on Richard's books or his occasional political and social rants, be sure to visit his blog and news site. You can follow his tweets and there is an evolving Author Page on Amazon.

Thursday's guest will be Riven Owler! See you then!

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