Richard Xander Ellison grew up in South Africa on the east coast. He began writing stories to share with friends and family when he was just 8 years old...he's never stopped. A child of the technological age, Richard is able to disassemble a computer to its squiggly bits and put in back together in 20 minutes flat!
He is an avid gamer, musician and film buff...enjoys very short walks on the beach or looking at it from a distance while at his apartment in the city.
After two false starts to his tertiary education with journalism and music, he spent a year as a blacksmith's apprentice before taking a series of ridiculous jobs in the information technology sector. A few years later he befriended a successful author who rekindled his passion for writing. After accidentally spending six exciting years in the marketing field he decided that it was time to share his first novel with the world.
Richard writes for at least 6 hours every day. 90% of his correspondence is to the post office, asking why his royalty cheques don't seem to be arriving.
What is your writing process?
If you'd asked me this a couple of years ago I wouldn't really have a decent answer for you...now :) Hmm... I guess I've settled in to something of a routine, of course that's subject to change quite regularly. The only constants have always been sitting in the dining room with a cup of coffee. Sometimes I like listening to weird music to get the juices flowing and change my brain waves. Most of the time I prefer that it's quiet so that I can hear myself think!
An idea can come from anywhere, especially when it's a short story...like "Always tip your waitress" started because a friend and I were having a little back and forth over email just talking about stuff and then he gave me that line about 'mental communism' and that's when I thought, 'hey, let's turn this in to a story'. Then sometimes it's a little more profound like with "The price of metal". I'd got some really terrible news and I was just really restless. I thought about the coin that's on the cover of that book and the whole story just kind of evolved from there. I didn't start that one knowing how it ended, it just evolved on its own and I wrote all day and night till it was done and it was out of my system.
"Purgatory Blues", was by far the biggest killer for me because I'd spent about 8 months writing that. I knew exactly what story I wanted to tell...in a broad sense...I started in the middle, went back and did the beginning and then edited through and THEN wrote the end. I couldn't afford an editor and it was my first book so I ended up taking 12 passes at it all by myself. Sometimes I'd get horribly blocked because I knew what was supposed to happen but getting from one moment to another and joining everything together was quite nerve wracking at times. To put myself in that character's headspace was one of the biggest challenges of my life. I literally had to live certain moments FOR the character to understand his perspective. Trying to put myself in the character's mind made me a very depressing person to be around. I would have to literally 'be' that guy to feel what he was feeling and describe what he was going through.
Then there's stuff like "Jane8086", which is pretty much my happy place. When I'm feeling good I'll try to write some of that...and it's not that difficult either because it's all 'pretend' and everyone enjoys that kind of stuff. She's got the potential to become a great character.
Essentially...what's my process? Coffee and bleeding fingertips!
Oh, but then there's research too. I've had this sci-fi thing that I've been conceptualising because everyone wants a novel based in the "Xyggy and Church" universe...so I'm having to come up with the technology and time frames and characters...the hows and whys and create a nice road map for myself before I even start that. I've got the first few chapters penciled out but it's nowhere near ready just yet.
Sometimes I sit by myself at a bar or something and just scribble down notes. I suppose we're always thinking about something so that's what I do. I think Andy kind of rubbed off on me a little more than I'd have liked!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Wow, my first book? I don't know if I could remember what it was exactly. I think the first thing my dad bought me was a "Knight Rider" book, "Trust doesn't rust", but I was probably like 5 or 6 years old and comic books were a little more appealing at the time because they had pictures in them. I think I just liked the cover with the car on it so that's why I asked him to buy that for me. The book didn't do anything for me at all, I think I read one page and tossed it in to my toy box!
I think I first started reading heavily when a friend of mine from the neighbourhood gave me a copy of the "Dragonlance" series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Yeah, that was it...I totally devoured those books and then another friend of mine introduced me to "The deathgate cycle", which I enjoyed even more and then from that point on I was just a maniac. My mom would take me to the library, it wasn't really close so we had to drive, and she'd leave me there for a little while...or sometimes we'd go together and I'd take maybe 5 or 6 books with me at a time and clean them out, more during the holidays.
Ah, wait...the impact it had on me? I suppose that reading books that were part of a series introduced me to the grandeur of world creation with words. The fact that it was fantasy and then sci-fi started me thinking outside the constraints of reality from a really young age.
And now I've just noticed that the question wasn't about my first book, it was my first story!
That would have to have been...I think my grandfather bought me a comic book from the local store. Same thing...saw the cover, it looked cool and I had to have it! It was a Batman comic book...back when they used to draw him like a ballerina and the boy wonder wore skinny shorts!
Of course the only impact that had on me was that I wanted to be Batman!
The mysterious strangers have finally confronted their quarry but Remi hasn't even had his dinner yet! Do Remi and Jane have what it takes to get out of this one alive? Will Remi's insurance cover the damage to his apartment? Does Remi even HAVE insurance? What happens when these assassins from the future go one on one with our favourite nanite wielding super-heroine? Find out in Jane 8086 Part 5!
Jane gets to taste for the first time when she and Remi go to dinner with Allison and Mark! There are after dinner antics at a nearby nightclub as well when a bunch of guys end up hitting on Jane! Will Jane enjoy the food? Will Remi have enough money for the bill? Will the shadowy strangers finally reveal themselves? Find out in Jane 8086 Part Four!
It's finally time for Jane to go outside! Remi soon realises that showing her the ropes is not as easy as he thought it would be when they find themselves in one hilarious scenario after another. Allison is back as well...and this time with an offer that can't be refused! And, a mysterious presence, yet to reveal themselves, seems to be tracking Jane.
Book 2 of "Always tip your waitress" - Evette is now part of the crew with Billy and Frank...but Frank isn't too happy about the situation. His misgivings are going have to wait though because they're about to pull another job...and this time...Evette is a key player! Find out what happens in "The Orion Job"
Part two of "Jane 8086". Jane has just undergone some major changes! But figuring out exactly what's going on has to wait when Rembrandt receives a surprise visitor at the worst possible moment. Will Jane be exposed? Will Rembrandt finally manage to have dinner? Will Jane ever learn to use conjunctions? Find out in Part two of Jane 8086!
Part one of "Jane 8086"
Rembrandt is an unemployed artist who finds a strange talking box in the middle of the woods. He takes the box home with him and they become fast friends. Little does Rembrandt know that there's more to the little box than meets the eye!
Xyggy and Church is the short story of two assassins who've been contracted to eliminate all of Gonzo Goldstein's competitors in the settlement called Newtown before an influx of newcomers arrive…just in time for Gonzo to hold the monopoly on sin.