C.R. RICHARDS SHARES WHAT SHE WANTS READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM HER STORIES

Denver Pop Culture Con 2019

Edited by Ariel Landrum

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C.R. Richards is an award winning author who created of the Heart of the Warrior series. This popular series follows two men through a country threatening civil war. I was fortunate enough to speak with her during Denver Pop Culture Con 2019.

What makes the horror and dark fantasy genre so appealing to you?

Richards: I’ve been that kid who always loved the classic monster movies. Dracula is my favorite [monster]. Not the sparkly, Dracula but the classic Dracula. I’ve just always loved those stories. I love ghost stories too and actually when I go out of town, everywhere I go, I would take a ghost hunt or a ghost tour or try to stay in haunted hotels. I think that it is just fascinating and a lot of fun. When I write fantasy or whatever I write, there is always this spooky element of horror that creeps into my books, because I am such a big fan of the classic horror stories.

Is there a favorite movie or book you have that is in this genre? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite

Richards: One author’s series who had a big influence for me was Tad Williams and the first book in his series was Dragonbone Chair. In that book, there were fantasy elements and there was a quest but Williams took the time to really develop the main character. You really cared about him; he was almost real. Williams is really good at developing characters like that. I think he is somebody I aspire after, and I try to make my characters true to life rather than super heroes. I go for the character element and who they are as people first.

What inspired you to create the Heart of the Warrior series?

Richards: 99% of my story ideas come from dreams and this particular story, I had a dream about a young boy kneeling besides his mother’s grave and there was a Spaniard comforting him. It looked like it was in the 1700’s along the Irish coast. Why I dreamed about that? I don’t know. I’ve never been to Ireland either, but I looked into those characters and I wrote them down and I thought “I’m really interested, who is the Spaniard? How did the Spaniard get to the coast of Ireland? How did this kid’s mother die? What is their relationship moving forward?” From there it kind of just exploded and went forward, and it turns out that I made that boy my main character, Seth.

I can imagine that there are stressful times when you hit writer's block. What do you do for self care?

Richards: You are so right about self care! For me, the most stressful time is the final edit. I am actually doing it for book three right now. I make sure that I walk every day, walk my dog at Cherry Creek State Park. I get out in nature and quiet. I make sure I meditate and I make sure I eat right. If you don’t take care of yourself, you are going to wind up sick. I have done that before where I’ve gotten to the point that I got so worn out, I don’t enjoy the book release because I was sick. I finally learned my lesson and the closer I get to the final edit and the book releases, the more I ramp up my exercise and my meditation time and really try to take breaks throughout the day so I really don’t stress myself out.

You’ve been quoted in saying, “One person can be a catalyst for change. Whether it be a hero struggling to find his way or a young woman exploring her power, I hope you see a bit of yourself within their stories. Let them inspire and encourage you to live your dreams no matter the hardships.” That is a very inspirational quote. For you, what was your catalyst for change and did it inspire you to be a writer?

Richards: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I come from a family of storytellers and that’s where I got my love for writing and wanting to tell stories. As far as a catalyst for change, I found that I mentor a lot of junior project managers and writers who are just starting out. It didn’t occur to me how much of an impact I had as a person being me until I met up with these people again about six months later, and they’re so excited because either they finished their book, or they were successful with their project. They will tell me “You're the only one who has ever inspired me and encouraged me to try and reach for something that’s difficult.” Helping people empower themselves to be who they want to be and to change into something better, it’s a snowball effect: they would go out and help other people and you never know who you are going to touch, who you are going to reach, just by encouraging somebody with their dreams.

What do you hope your fans take away from reading your books?

Richards: What I want my readers to take away from my stories is that no matter how dark the days seem right now, if we ban together and decide what we want our society to look all inclusive, we can ban together and really make it happen. Even if it’s one, two, or five people that start that inspiring quest, I hope that everyone can see that they have potential to help us get where we need to be.

Lastly, what is your favorite food and why?

Richards: Hahahaha! No contest, hamburgers. I love my bacon and cheddar hamburgers.

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