Richard Fierce is a fantasy author best known for his novella The Last Page. He’s also one of the creative brains behind the Allatoona Book Festival, a literary event in Acworth, Georgia. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.
My name is Richard Fierce and I write fantasy. My day job is in the tech industry, but my passion is writing. I hope to be a full-time writer by the end of 2018! I have 4 dogs (three huskies), three cats, two birds and a dwarf hamster. My wife and three step-daughters are animal fanatics and “No” apparently means “Yes” in my house. My daily commute is 4 hours round trip. The office I work at is 82 miles from my house, and I drive through Atlanta traffic. People in Georgia drive like they aren’t afraid to die if that tells you anything.
When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing since I was in elementary school, but I really got serious about it in 2007/2008. I self-published a novella that had been collecting dust and began my publishing career. I began writing because I love telling stories. The creative side of my brain is constantly coming up with ideas, so I always joke that I have more unfinished story ideas than I do friends.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a writer, even before I was published, but I didn’t consider myself an “author” until my first book went out into the world. I think a lot of writers have that backward, though. They don’t think they are writers until they have something published. I disagree with that view. Regardless of whether or not you are published, if you write, you are a writer.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
My book is titled Dragonsphere. It’s the first in a completed four book series and sets the stage for the events that happen across two kingdoms. These kingdoms have been at war for as long that no one really remembers why they’re even still fighting. When a dragon starts ravaging cities of both kingdoms, they have to put their differences aside to stop it. The top of each chapter has a quote from someone, either a historical figure in that world or a current character, and gives insight into the history of the world that isn’t in the main narrative.
The Kingdom of Talvaard had a great persecution break out against wizards, and so they do not have wizards to help them against their enemies. The Kingdom of Oakvalor has wizards but no weapon smiths because Talvaard has assassinated all of them. Both kingdoms have an advantage over the other, and this is what forces them into a truce, however temporary, to stop the dragon.
What inspired you to write this book?
The idea for Dragonsphere came to me as I was helping my wife in the nursery of a church. She was watching the younger kids and one of them was playing with a toy ball that had buttons all over it. When you pushed the buttons, it played music. I thought to myself, “What if there was something inside that ball, and if the music didn’t get played so often, it would escape?” That idea slowly turned into this book.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m always working on my craft, but I can’t think of any “style” that I have aside from being a “narrative” writer. I aim to entertain readers, but not with the beauty of language or anything. I use descriptive language so that readers can envision or imagine the scenery and characters.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
The title came about as a play on words. It’s Dragonsphere, which is an item in the story, but the play on words is dragon(s) fear. Classic fantasy always shows people being overcome with an intense fear when dragons show up, and I thought it was rather fitting to play into the classic trope.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?
When I write, I try to weave things that people can relate to into the story. One of the main characters in the book is a monk, and he struggles with faith. I think that’s something many people can relate to. I know I do. The character poses questions, both philosophical and honest, and learns about different beliefs as the story progresses. While not direct events, I have experienced this in my own life.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Good questions! My idols are R.A. Salvatore and Margaret Weis. I find Margaret’s storytelling to be so in depth and well thought out. Salvatore is a master of storytelling as well, and I love how he keeps you engaged with the characters and shows you their inner thoughts.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?
Yes, actually. Pdmac is a sci-fi writer I met at a convention a few years ago. He lives in the same area as I do and we talk at least once a week. We share each other’s WIPs with one another for feedback. He’s a mentor in that he makes me think of things I hadn’t considered before and poses questions that make me re-think why I’m writing a scene a certain way or points out passive voice. He’s a mentor and an editor, I suppose.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
Saeed Ramez did the art. I chose him because his style fits what I was looking for (and he let me use the art for free!) Sapphire Designs did the formatting and typography. I posted my original cover in the 20Coversto50K Facebook group and she had some pointers on how to make it better. I’m not a designer, so when she offered to fix it up for me, I was more than welcome for the help. She charged me a very fair amount, too.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Even the most prolific writers suffer from self-doubt. I find the way to fight through that doubt is to keep writing and working on my craft. Don’t let your work die in the hands of the critics. As I see the sales starting to increase, it adds to the feeling that you are doing something worthwhile. My worst critic is self, but I always remind myself that no one lies to me more than I lie to myself.
Cover Artist: Saeed Ramez