Interview with Richard A Lester

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I find great joy in the process of the actual writing. I love stepping out of reality for a while, and exploring a different world. Even though my characters and events are grounded, they are removed from things in my daily life. I get to play somewhere else for a while.

I also love being able to share my writing with others. I have had amazing feedback from readers. Everyone has been so supportive. I like the sense of community that it brings.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't know that I would refer to my readers as "fans," per se. They are people who love to read, and happened to like my book. I think the world of them. It's so difficult to spend two years of your life writing, editing, and marketing a novel. A reader's comments make it all worth it. Even if they have criticisms, it means they care enough to think about the work.

I have been constantly astounded by the support I have gotten since releasing my first book. Readers have seemed very excited by it, and I appreciate that to no end.
What are you working on next?
Right now, I am promoting The Check Out. I am learning the ins and outs of the marketing side.

I have outlined my next novel, and written a few sample pages. I'm trying a new style of writing, so I'm taking my time before jumping all in. I will begin the book in earnest very soon. It's a much darker tale than The Check Out, but does center around one of the characters from that book.
Who are your favorite authors?
Honestly, I haven't read a ton of fiction. I've read the classics, and some of the popular stuff. Two authors that have really captured my attention lately are Donald Ray Pollock and Ethan Rutherford. The Devil All The Time is an fantastically dark story with amazing characters. It's one of the best books I've read in years. Rutherford's book is a collection of short stories that really moved me. The stories range from humorous to fatalistic. His characters are so well defined and so rich. I can't wait to see a full length novel from him.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am constantly working on something. I tend to get bored without several projects going on. I am also a videographer with a background in independent film. I run a film review blog called A Reel Indication. I have an author blog, as well. There's very rarely a time when I'm not writing something.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I have been writing since I was a kid. I used to write all kinds of short stories. When I was young, they were all horror and sci-fi. I don't remember the very first one, but I do remember one I wrote in 6th grade. It was a total knock off of Carrie. In my version, however, she controlled lightning, rather than having telekinesis. It was probably about 30 pages, and was pretty terrible. I'd love to find a copy of that and read it today!
What is your writing process?
For lengthy projects, like novels, I spend months collecting details before I sit down to write. I carry paper and pens on me at all times. When I see an image I like, or overhear a snippet of conversation, I jot it down. I spend a lot of time in my head, trying to piece these things together. When I finally have enough of them, I write an outline. Once I feel like that's in good shape, I plan my writing time. I try to do 2 hours a day, at least 3 times a week. In the beginning, I try to go to a coffee shop to write. That way, I'm not distracted by the dogs or internet. Once the story is in decent shape, I can work on it at home. After the first draft is complete, I edit, edit, and edit some more. Then, I send it out to editors.
How do you approach cover design?
I don't! I firmly believe in having a professional cover, and I'm not a photoshop wiz. For The Check Out, I used a website called Crowdspring to find a graphic designer. I gave him a very rough idea to work with, and he brought back magic.
What do you read for pleasure?
I have only recently begun reading a lot of fiction. I have usually had a harm time staying focused on it. It's very easy for me to get knocked out of a story by writing style, or dialog. I tend to read a lot of historical non fiction, or even science books. I've read nearly every book about the Apollo space program that's ever been written. I've read tons of books on evolution, and several on World War II. I love reading about real events, and seeing how people deal with them.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I think social media has been the key for me. That, and public appearances. I've actually sold more print copies of my book than digital, which is unusual. I have a good relationship with employees of my local bookstore, and I try to make it to as many author events as possible. Just talking to people, handing them a business card or bookmark can make a huge difference.

Facebook and Twitter are essential in getting people interested, and telling them where you'll be. I also try to be as entertaining as possible. I hate reading post after post about someone's book without getting to know the author.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Check Out is about a group of terrible people who work at a grocery store that decide to heist prize money on the same night. I worked at a grocery store when I wrote the book. I would get bored throughout the day, and dream up absurd ways to make the job more interesting. I added a lot of influences from exploitation and film noir to round out the plot. It's meant to be a fun romp that should have you racing through the pages.
Published 2013-11-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Check Out
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 63,600. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
The Check Out is a satirical thriller that will appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen and Christopher Moore. It is the story of a $10,000 giveaway, and the employees who independently decide to heist the money on the same night. They each see the prize money as their only lifeline, and are determined to do everything n