Author Interview Ronald J. Wichers | Author Q & A with Ronald J. Wichers
Quote from your Book | Favorite Quote The sun setting at his back Tommy watched as it filled the meadow with amber. Its soft and kindly blush infused everything and everyone with a strangely beautiful tranquility as if it had all come into being just then not by random cataclysms or quixotic mutations through the ages but rather as if sculpted to life now, right here on the spot, from a singular design and with a purpose.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? A fighter pilot than a forest ranger than a fiction writer.
When did you write your first book and how old were you? From 1986 to1991. Thirty-nine to forty-four.
How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book? Before writing a long piece (the above mention book – On The Fault, a novel) I started with short stories about what I saw and felt about participating in war.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Quirk?
Do you like to create books for adults, youth and/or children? and Why? I write for adults. I don’t think I have a talent for writing children’s books. That is a profound exercise in simplicity, a faculty I do not have.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? Seven – a book of short stories and six novels. My favorite is a trilogy titled, Love Beneath the Mighty Dome.
How long does it take you to write a book? My latest, The Palisades, took six months. Love Beneath the Mighty Dome has taken about twelve years.
Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)? I wake at five in the morning and write for about two hours then again at five in the afternoon for another two hours – every day no matter what. Only a serious illness keeps me from it. I only stop when I feel I need to back off for a day or two. That is usually about two or three weeks.
I try not to leave a first draft. I try to polish the first draft as best I can, going over each sentence and paragraph numerous times before moving on to the next image.
I write with Word and back up each session with three discs – at this point its flash drives. I rotate these discs in a safe deposit box.
What does your family think of your writing? My wife has a lot of respect for my work.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
1. Spending time with my wife, Chris, is great fun. We are old friends, having lost contact with one another during the Vietnam War. We dated in high school and college from ’63 to ’69. She is a very great person.
2. I read fiction, mostly pre-Hemingway. Not that I dislike his writing. I just worry that we’re all too much influenced by his style.
3. Landscape and gardening.
What do you think makes a good story? It must be something I feel must be told. I must be the first to be engaged by it or it will fall flat.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating/writing your books? How readers of them take different points of view…have differing reference points based on values…come to widely varying conclusions.
What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing? John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, John Dos Passos, Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Katherine Mansfield, D.H Lawrence, Flannery
O’Connor, Sylvia Plath, Joseph Conrad, Stendhal…others.
I studied theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA for two years. Much of the Jewish-Christian Scriptures are a marvel. As a writer, I learned the importance of detail.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? The only people who seem to appreciate my work are anti-war fanatics. I write because I love doing it. I have written all the above mention work with no hope of publication. And, with the exception of a few short stories, I was right.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? From images – people and events that stick in my mind in an unusual way.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they Write every day and do it with honesty.
Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events? I have never done any of that.
Tell us about your most recent book? The Palisades came from conversations I have had with both my wives. (My first wife died in 2009.) These were a specific conversation about Original Sin – a subject I happened to have mentioned only casually. Both Chris and Anne (two very different people) had the same reaction – that it is a stupid concept mainly as regards infant baptism.
The Palisades started with a simple image – that of a young woman, during the baptism of her newborn, taking hold of the child and running out of the church, yelling that the child was perfect and in no need of any of this rot.
The story develops into a character (Elisabeth Applegate) of great fortitude during a time of upheaval – the United States from 1963 to 1975.
What’s more important: characters or plot? Both equally.
How do books get published? I have had to resort to self-publication.
Do you write every single day? Yes, as above stated.
Ballpoint, uniball or fountain pen? Word.
Any writing rituals? No.
What’s the worst job you’ve had? Being in the infantry in a combat zone.
Tell us some more about your book/s.
I have written about war and the Catholic Church, specifically the clergy. Regarding the latter – when they are good they are very good; when they are bad they are very very bad.
Are you planning to adapt any of your stories to the screen? I wish.
How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in writing? I am not an established author.