We had the good fortune of connecting with J. D. Richards and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi J. D., do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
A writer’s biggest hobby is complaining on social media that there is never time to write. The paradigm shift I’ve had with respect to how to manage my time is understanding there will never be the perfect uninterrupted period of time for me to sit down and write. Instead I have to take the few dozen minutes here or there as they come, even if I’m tired or it hasn’t been the perfect day or whatever the excuse of the moment is. If I have enough time to spend watching The Office reruns, then I have enough time to write. You make time for the things you want to do – you don’t “find” it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My sci-fi novels are unique in many ways by intention. I write the kinds of stories I want to read. The characters in my stories are the kinds of characters whose voices we don’t always get to hear. I want my writing to be meaningful, and to connect with readers who feel left out of traditional sci-fi, where the hero is always strong, brave, and always knows what to do. I want to write about conflict that is relevant to society’s modern problems – which to me is the whole point of the sci-fi genre.
Often the sci-fi genre is very wordy and the books are long and drawn out with all kinds of detail and description that I find myself skimming. My writing style is lean by design – if I’m skipping those parts when I read other books, why would I write those parts into my own? I want to provide enough description for the reader to have the structural framework to use their own imagination to fill in the rest. My writing style trusts the reader’s imagination is as inventive as my own, and for that I’ve been told my books feel more accessible to folks who generally shy away from sci-fi.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would spend a lot of time browsing with my friend in bookstores, and going to see college sports. Those are my favorite things to do in the city – go to bookstores, and go see some NCAA baseball/football/basketball/volleyball – whatever the sport, I love to watch it live.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Writing is hard, and I don’t think it would be possible for me at all without the support of my sweetheart Corina. She’s been the one to tell me I don’t need permission to write, which is always silly in retrospect, but knowing there is someone eager to share in your creation makes it worth creating. She’s always there to talk through plot points when I’m stuck, to help flesh out characters, and to untie my word-knots when my writing isn’t coming out the way I meant it to. For me writing is still a fragile, vulnerable process, and she is my strength reminding me that my words aren’t for nothing. I write because of her, and for her.