J.D. Richards

Tell our readers a bit about yourself: 

I live in southern Arizona with my wife and son, though we are all native Texans. We love living in the beautiful Sonoran Desert, and spend our free time reading, riding bicycles, and exploring our city.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I do all my writing on my Chromebook. I love it because it is all the computer I need for writing, has a super long battery life, all my work is automatically backed up in the cloud, and if the Chromebook gets lost or damaged I don’t feel so bad since it was such a cheap purchase. 

Do you have a secret talent readers would be surprised by?

I am actually a pretty good handyman. We used to live in a 100 year old craftsman house, and spent a good deal of time remodeling and renovating. I picked up new tricks and skills with each house project as we moved from room to room.

In your view, who are the best science fiction writers?

To me the best science fiction writers are the ones whose works you don’t stop thinking about even years after reading. I really enjoyed reading Madeleine L’Engle’s writing as a kid and still find myself daydreaming in the worlds she created. Norton Juster, Michael Crichton, and Frank Herbert come to mind as well. 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

My biggest expense for The Blue Jewel was for line editing. It was an easy check to write though after seeing how well my story shined afterward. I had taken creative writing classes in the past and read many books on writing, but working through the line edits one-on-one with my editor was the best money I’ve ever spent. Not only was my manuscript much improved, but I feel more powerful as a writer going forward. 

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Oh no! Don’t make me choose!

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been a technical writer for many years professionally, but The Blue Jewel was my debut into fiction. Deep down I always wanted to write science fiction but was too timid to try. My wife told me about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2017 and I felt it was the permission I needed to start. I’m glad I did. 

What do you love about space opera? Did you start in this genre or just find yourself in it?

I love the dramatic storytelling style of space operas. Big external conflicts mix with sometimes even bigger internal conflicts for the main characters, and the world-building is wonderful. I felt it was the easiest genre for me to start in, though I find myself reading noir murder-mysteries more and more lately. I’m planning on writing a sci-fi noir next!

Tell us about your latest release:

The Blue Jewel follows a young man named Cal on his adventures across Arizona and the Southwest United States to rescue his family. Calvin’s world had been colonized by alien conquerors a couple generations before his lifetime after The Great War. He is immediately thrust from his peaceful village into the conflicts between the aliens, human rebels, raiders, and everything in between. Cal desperately navigates the complexities of his world as he overcomes his own anxieties and insecurities.

What are you dying to tell me about?

I love talking about the history of rock and roll. Get me started on that subject and we’d be here all day. Maybe I should’ve been an ethnomusicologist instead of an engineer 🙂

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