Interview with Jim Ricca

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Quite a few of my friends urged me to write a complete novel after they read my numerous short stories and crazy Christmas letters. And, most of my books began as short stories that just got away from me. For example, The Circle of Wounded Souls was written on a dare by a few ladies who challenged me to write a romance novel because they were interested in what I'd produce after they read a funny short story about my wedding. The Circle started as a short story, but again, it got away from me and didn't end until it was a four book series with 1,600 pages total.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords made publishing my books so easy that it was almost unbelievable. I didn't need to submit hundreds, if not thousands of query letters to disinterested, and agents who desperately need to fit every author into a very narrow genre. In addition, I don't have to pay that agent 10 to 15% of my royalties plus any expenses they might toss in to pad their paycheck. There are no hassles with publishers or printers and no worries about unsold books being returned to me. Distribution is very simple and the site is easy to navigate.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I get a hell of a thrill whenever someone recognizes my name and tells me how much they enjoyed reading my books. I also get a kick out of the number of people who ask me to put them in my next book, since all characters in my stories are real, although their behavior and characteristics often bear no resemblance to the real person.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! I write for them, and not for critics or for my own self aggrandizement. I do not rip off my readers by writing short chapters with lots of blank spaces, nor do I use large print fonts to eat up space. The print is relatively small and there are few blank pages. My readers work hard for their money and I want to cram as many good stories into my books as possible for them. I also respond to every e-mail they send me.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently writing, "Running Down Terror" A story about a man who overhears terrorists plotting to create "accidents" across the country in order to kill as many Americans as they can without anyone realizing the accidents were terrorist acts. He tells the FBI and HSA but they don't believe him, so he sets off after the extremists with a couple of friends to hunt them down and wipe them out. It's going to be a hell of a road trip and one very wild ride across the country.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I was recently forced to retire due to cancer, but I still manage to do some woodworking, maintain my cars and other powered equipment around the house. I love surf fishing, target shooting and am currently in a major battle with the groundhogs that infest my property.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Word of mouth, and surfing the various web sites
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I got into quite a bit of trouble for my first story, which was actually an incident report I'd made when I was a Military Policeman. I'd written two, one was written according to standard procedures to be submitted to the Provost Marshal and another was done with quite a bit of exaggeration and humor, but unfortunately, the wrong one made it to his desk and I lost a stripe because of it.
What is your writing process?
In the style of Hunter Thompson, my process is purely Gonzo. No notes, outlines or ideas where the damn story is going to end up. I sit down and start banging away at the keyboard as the story unfolds in my mind. Not exactly the method recommended by every writing coach and English professor on the planet, but it works for me and my readers.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Except for the mind numbing garbage required by my teachers, which was about as boring and predictable as any story could be, there was nothing memorable until I read the book, "No Time For Sergeants" at the age of eight. I recall that the librarian refused to let me check it out and I had to get my mother to borrow it for me. I later saw the movie and after it was finished, I said, "The book was a lot better. Who ever made the movie was an idiot for leaving out all the good parts." I was a strange kid.
How do you approach cover design?
I just try to have the cover reflect what's inside the book, but also attract the eye of prospective readers.
Who are your five favorite authors, and why?
I have to group all of Hunter Thompsons books as one. The guy is as crazy as I am but can write as good or better than anyone on the planet.
Patrick McManus's books must be grouped together also. The man is funny as hell and can really tell a story.
Mark Twain has a very unique voice and sense of humor.
This may be a bit of a surprise, but Rod Serling in my opinion is one of the great American writers of all time. You may know him as the creator of the old Twilight Zone TV series, but I strongly suggest you at least read his Requiem for a Heavyweight. One of the greatest unrecognized pieces of American literature.
Also from an expected corner, Winston Churchill. While the man was a great and inspiring leader, he was a complete idiot when it came to military tactics and strategy. But the man could write!
There are quite a few others who I hold as favorites, but I could go on for days.
What do you read for pleasure?
Humor, military and world history, horror, suspense, accurate police stories, various magazines like Smithsonian, Nat Geo, etc.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Nook or I-pad
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
word of mouth, but I'm about to hire an internet marketing company to see if they're effective
Describe your desk
EPA superfund site
What's the story behind your latest book?
Running down terror came about one evening while I was watching a NOVA show about the 747 that went down off Long Island. I thought, what if someone planted a small bomb near that fuel tank? And then I began to consider other similar plane crashes, the huge forest fires out west and the various industrial accidents across the country, in addition to the pipeline explosions etc.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Northeast Philly. As Nicholas Cage said in the movie Birdy, "You have to be crazy to grow up in Philly" and he wasn't lying.
When did you first start writing?
I didn't really get serious until I was hired by a company that provided me with a computer for my job. That was back in 96. Thankfully, I was never caught at it. I bought my first computer in 97 and have been hard at it ever since.
Who are your favorite authors?
I already answered this one
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Breakfast! Whiskey and Wheaties, the breakfast for washed up action adventure authors.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I don't have just five favorites. I can't even pick out one from the 300 plus books I've kept for the past 40 years.
Published 2013-08-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Hunting and Hunted in Alaska
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 83,300. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Men’s adventure
Jim Richards, an avid outdoorsman was enjoying the quiet life in the wilds of Alaska; hunting, fishing and living off the land. As far as he was concerned, nothing could go wrong, until one fateful evening.
Running Down Terror
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 102,990. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
RUNNING DOWN TERROR A new thriller by Jim Ricca Tom Carazo, like many Americans, felt secure the U.S. government had terrorism on the run. But one evening, he overhears several men discussing plans to unleash horrific attacks on the US. When no one at the FBI believes him, Carazo and his friends go after the terrorists alone. If they fail, the U.S. will be destroyed, if not the world.
Kathryn's Summer
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 30,810. Language: English. Published: October 10, 2013. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Social Issues
Anyone who has ever experienced a first love at the very tender age of thirteen will certainly identify with this story of two shy teenagers. Unsure of their emotions, but positive they’re feeling a brand new sensation and not quite knowing how to deal with it, they embark on that first, bittersweet journey into the unknown world of hope, friendship and love.
Legacies, An American Journey
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 194,760. Language: English. Published: October 9, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » War & military
Legacies; an American Journey, recounts the history of one family of Italian-American soldiers and policemen, and their long battle against the Mafia, Fascism and Communism. It details their sacrifices, triumphs and losses. This book recounts their flight to America to escape the Mafia’s and Mussolini’s vengeance, and their military service in the American army during World War II and Vietnam.
The Alien's Reward II, The Alliance
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Series: The Alien's Reward, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 143,810. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
After the earth's population is almost completely wiped out, the planet is resettled by alien races who join with earth's human survivors to defend their new home against attackers from all over the galaxy.
The Alien's Reward
By
Series: The Alien's Reward, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 204,590. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Ralph Butler was no fool. A well educated, very practical professional, he believed only in what he could see and feel for himself. Butler considered UFOs and ETs figments of overactive, alcohol and drug soaked imaginations; until one fateful morning when Butler attempts to help three strangers and sets off a series of events that changes his life and the world forever.
The Circle of Wounded Souls, The Broken Circle
By
Series: The Circle of Wounded Souls, Book 4. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 176,160. Language: English. Published: June 5, 2012. Category: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
This is the final book in the Circle of Wounded Souls series. Follow the lives of Jim, Bob, Mary and Rachel through the war and its effects, to adulthood, parentage and with this book; middle to old age. If you were thrilled by the heat of combat and steamy passion of the first three books in this series; you’ll be overwhelmed by this final chapter in the Circle of Wounded Souls.
The Circle of Wounded Souls, The Circle of Survivors
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Series: The Circle of Wounded Souls, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 198,620. Language: English. Published: June 5, 2012. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
This is the third book in the Circle of Wounded Souls series, and it relates how a man and his family, who have everything, can lose it all through one horrendous incident, and then regain it with the help of his family and friends.
The Circle of Wounded Souls, Book Two
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Series: The Circle of Wounded Souls, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 229,950. Language: English. Published: June 5, 2012. Category: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
This is the second of four books in the Circle of Wounded Souls series. The series concerns three young adults, all suffering deep emotional scars inflicted through years of physical, abuse, emotional neglect, rape, and isolation. They meet and begin a journey of healing through unconditional love, incredible miracles and acts of heroism and devotion.
The Circle of Wounded Souls, Book One
By
Series: The Circle of Wounded Souls, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 224,370. Language: English. Published: June 5, 2012. Category: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
The Circle of Wounded Souls, book one is the first of four paperback books in the Wounded Souls series. This epic saga is about three young adults, suffering deep emotional scars inflicted by years of physical abuse, emotional neglect, rape, and isolation, who meet and begin a journey of healing through unconditional love, incredible miracles, and acts of heroism and devotion.