Today I’m going to start profiling the men writers of northwest Arkansas.
Dusty Richards is the anchor of our weekly crit group that meets in Fayetteville every Thursday. When we unruly writers get too disorderly, he quickly gets us reined back into line. He was quick on the draw and returned my questionnaire (with answers) in record time!
My favorite answer from Dusty is #3. Love his wife’s response.
Author name: Dusty Richards
1. I’m always interested in the writer’s process. How often do you write? Do you have a daily word count goal? Give me an overview (or detailed if you really want to go there) of your writing life.
I write every day I am at home. My days at the computer run from 6 to 15 hours
per day when I am here. I like to turn out ten pages of a book per day. Some
reach 20 others three. But then there are rewrites, editing, proof reading, research on some subject. Since I am now acquiring western books and short stories that cuts into my production.
I also write several columns and short stories my life is varied. Farm and Neighbors, an ag magazine in this area, a monthly one in Maryland, a quarterly one in Storyteller magazine. Plus speak at conferences and involved in writer group conferences
2. Do you also work a full-time non-writer job or career?
I am board president Ozark Electric Cooperative and their representative on the Oklahoma statewide Electric Coop board. A member of the Rodeo of the Ozarks board of directors. President of Ozark Creative Writers Conference, President elect of
Ozark League Writers, Next June I will be the President of Western Writers of America. I am not on face page and all those others. I answer all my email on the days I am home—that’s enough.
3. How supportive has your family been of your writing time? Have you ever had to fight for your right to write?
I had not sold a book back in the “80’s I was using a Commodore computer. My wife and I drove all over one Saturday. I had to put the header on the page then print it again to have a manuscript. There were scads of computer stores but none could sit me down and show me how they worked. Till we got to Megabit in Fayetteville—they set me down at a Mac and I quickly typed two pages with headers and page number.
I was thinking it works and how easy. I wanted to think about paying for it.
My wife Pat said, ”Aren’t you going to buy it?” “I am thinking about it.”
“If it was tractor you’d already bought it. Make the deal, you need it.”
That’s the kind of support I have gotten from my family.
4. How long does it take you to write (from start to finish) a novel?
108 novels under my name and pseudonyms Some take forever to write, like pulling teeth without a pain killer. Some go so fast you think you won the Kentucky Derby writing them. Books vary in size from 225 pages to 300 on to 400 manuscript pages.
The fast ones are as good as the hard ones. They’d all be fast if I could write them.
5. What route to publishing did you take (agent, traditional, self-pub), and how long did it take from finish to publication?
Major publisher take from eighteen to 24 months to get a book out after you write it
for them. Small publishers can get it out in 3 months.
My agent and I have had a great relationship. She like most of us are finding less and less slots available for her customers. She and I have climbed over the mountains looking for writing deals. We continue.
6. Is there a theme, or premise you’d really like readers to connect with in your latest book?
7. Where are you going now, are you working on a sequel, or something entirely different?
I have a new series coming at Berkley (current project) The Chaparral Range War. The Brynes Family Series for Kensingtom #2 book “Between Hell and Texas” coming in Dec In Nov “The Outlaw Queen” Frank Brothers Series Cactus Country Publishing I enjoy writing the west. I have tried some others genre. They aren’t my thing. I have written about many factors, cattle drives, outlaws, law men, horses and the west after the civil war.
I must not do bad. I have received many nice awards including 2 Spurs. The Will Rogers Medallion, a Fictioneer finalist, Spur finalist last year. The Cowboy Hall’s best book Wrangler award. True West named me as the greatest alive western writer last march and I am on the Arkansas Writer Hall of fame with Dee Brown and Charles Portis.
8. Where do you find inspiration for your stories and novels?
In old diaries, historical events in the west. I have a very extensive library and I read all the time. I have walked most of the ground I write about. I don’t change the events of history simply walk through the trees.
9. With all the focus lately on authors providing a lot of their own self-promotion, what are you doing in this respect?
Fired my web master and hired an aggressive one. Doing more things to get exposed and get my books out there. And looking at a book club of the month More on that at The Cactus Country publishing. Look us up.
10. Who or what would you say has been the biggest influence on you as a writer?
I have lots of people to thanks but Dr. Frank Reuter who is retired now took
three of my early books and scalded them. Each time I re did them but by the third one I guess I knew what I needed to do. Scathing no holds barred critiques and from them I knew what not do and the third one he did, he said he’d not edited hard enough he was so busy reading it. That was Noble’s way and my first novel to
sell in New York. The N W Ark Writers I attend every Thursday in Fayetteville that I am home is the second source of any improvement I made.
11. Where can we find your book? Is it available in e-format as well?
Many of my books are on Amazon and in E book form there too. Cactus Books look them up. Try a book store they can usually order them They treat books like magazines they won’t be there long. Many people want my back books have to go to used books stores I’m here this week I will be in a meeting in AZ next week.