We welcome Joseph Richardson today, author of
Fire Angels, Waiting and Other Stories and Self-Esteem in the Workplace.
What was the biggest surprise to you in writing?
The biggest surprise to me in writing came when members of our writers group suggested that I enter some of my short stories in competitions and my writings started receiving awards—not all of them, of course, but enough that I started to believe that I was a pretty fair writer. Encouraged, I kept writing and receiving some more awards. The greatest surprises came when my first novel, FIRE ANGELS received a five star review and Honorable mention in the 2014 Writers Digest self-published e-book competition and then received the 2015 Patrick D. Smith Award for Literary excellence. Needless to say, I like surprises.
Has developing plots and scenes been easier for you because of your experience?
Yes. I enjoy writing about rural life in years past. I grew up on a small farm outside a small Central Florida town in the 1930’s and forties. I remember families riding into town in a mule-drawn wagon to do their Saturday shopping. At that time there were horse-head hitching posts at parking spaces around the courthouse square. There were neighbors who had little formal education, but managed to eke out a living on their small subsistence farms. Their children went to school in faded overalls, or dresses homemade from fancy chicken feed sacks. Many had to tend chores around the farm before walking a mile to catch the school bus. Some thought the eighth grade was adequate education. That collective experience provides me with material for my historic stories based on those years.
Five years military service also helped me with plots and scenes. The military changed little over the years. I found that spending days aboard a troopship had changed little between 1918 and 1951-52. Accommodations and meals were less than ideal. I rose quickly through the ranks and duties ranged from private to Sergeant First Class so I found out how it was both at the bottom and near the top of the totem pole where I was required to give orders and see that things were done correctly and timely.
What is the one thing you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy taking an idea or situation and turning it into a readable story. I like getting a hint for a story and thinking what if? I also enjoy the research required to give a story verisimilitude. I consider research a part of my continuing education. At 86 I still enjoy learning things new to me. For FIRE ANGELS, I had to do considerable research about the military during WW I, about Fort Wheeler, Georgia where David Cooper’s unit was stationed and battles in France. I also had to find out how to start a model T ford and a Curtiss “Jenny” airplane. I also enjoy the challenge of writing in different voices.
What author do you like to read?
I read so many different genre’ that it is difficult to pin down one author. I like different writers on different subjects. I would have to say Patrick D. Smith is one of my favorites, not just because my novel, FIRE ANGELS, received the 2015 Patrick D. Smith Award for Literary Excellence, but I especially like to read Florida history fiction that is realistic and depicts the state and time as it really was.
Tell me about your newest book.
My newest book is a collection of short stories and poetry titled Waiting and Other Stories. The stories range from past rural to present inner city. They vary in period, place and voice. The poems are not “moon and June,” but are prose pieces that express my thoughts and feelings about the subject.
What’s Next for Joseph Richardson?
I am developing two books and another collection of short stories. One book is a western, but not the traditional “shoot ‘em up—fastest gun in the west” type. Instead, it has the “hero” who is quiet and a little shy solve a problem with little violence and a touch of humor. The second book is a mystery with a little Stephen King thrown in.
We enjoyed visiting with Joseph Richardson today and hope you did to. Joseph Richardson was in Southern Writers Magazine Anniversary issue, July/August 2016. He wrote a wonderful article about “Never Too Old To Write”.