Richard R Becker
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I\’ve worked as a writer, journalist, educator, and creative strategist for more than 30 years, telling other people\’s stories. Two years ago, I decided it was time to tell some of my own. So I set out to write one short story a week for 50 weeks. The result was a collection of 50 mostly dark short stories that explore the human condition, with each story set in a different state.
My journey since publishing the collection, 50 States, last year has been nothing short of amazing. The collection was well received, breaking into the top 20 bestsellers and staying on the top 100 bestsellers for literary short stories on Amazon for three consecutive months. It also won first place for short stories in the Spring 2022 BookFest Awards and first place for literary fiction, psychological thrillers, and short stories in the ABR Book Excellence Awards.
After 50 States, I decided to release a second collection as a companion to 50 States and Kindle exclusive. It seemed like a great way to reach new readers, especially those who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.
Aside from writing, I have a broad range of interests, including travel, hiking, parks, fitness, illustration, photography, and spending time with family. I\’m married and have two amazing children, one of whom recently graduated from college and another finishing up high school.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My most recent work is a brisk 125-page companion to my award-winning debut, 50 States. Ten Threads consists of ten short stories, several of which build upon and intersect with those included in the first collection.
These include an Idaho farmer who earns a second chance at life finds that the past has a hard time letting him go; a young girl who navigates funeral-goers, family, and the unusual circumstances of her grandmother’s death in Pennsylvania; a risk-averse young man who must make a bold move after stumbling into a nightmarish government biohazard; and seven more stories. One of the stories also provides a glimpse into my upcoming debut novel.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I\’m very much a morning writer who prefers to ease into the work after my morning workout. I usually like to read and make minor edits to whatever I wrote the day before, which helps me fall into the right mental state to move the story forward. I\’ll keep writing until I\’m distracted by life, or I need to focus on commercial writing deadlines. Ideally, I like to stop while something is happening because I\’ll mull it over later in the day, even when I\’m done. Once a story or book is complete, I\’ll re-re-read and edit it until I think it\’s ready to share with others before a final edit or edits. I don\’t suppose any of that is so unusual, except maybe, while I\’m working on one project, I\’m always thinking about two or three others in the background.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I\’ve always had a fondness for Earnest Hemmingway and John Updike because they are so very good at writing straight, honest prose about human beings. Along with them, I have an extensive rotating list of authors who have captured my attention for one reason or another. Top of mind today, those include Walter Mosley and S.A. Cosby.
What are you working on now?
I\’m currently working on my debut novel. It\’s a dramatic and enduring story about a boy who navigates crime and friendship on the outskirts of Las Vegas in 1982 during a muddled power struggle between mobsters, cartels, corporations, and law enforcement.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Since publishing 50 States and recently Ten Threads, I\’ve learned that promoting books is very much a grassroots venture, sometimes reaching just one reader at a time. As more people discover the book(s), more of them are likely to refer them to friends and family. Sometimes you can see the direct results of a promotion, but the real value comes from word-of-mouth, which translates into one or two or ten new sales a day. I love this because writing/reading is a connection that takes place on a one-to-one scale between the author and the reader.
Which Websites you like most to promote your book
Anywhere books are sold, with an emphasis on Amazon.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
The best writing is always accurate, clear, concise, human, and conspicuous.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I collect author advice on Twitter so it changes. Right now, I\’m stuck on King\’s reminder that all characters see themselves the hero of the story.
What are you reading now?
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore; The Orphan Master\’s Son by Adam Johnson; Madhouse At The End Of The Sea by Julian Sancton, and one more.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I\’ll eventually transition to writing fiction full time. I have more than 50 novels in my head.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
SAS Survival Guide, 50 States, Dune, the Bible, and something from Christopher Moore. You have to keep laughing.