Today we’re interviewing D.W. Richards, author of the women’s fiction novel, Pairs. D.W. is a member of the Canadian Authors Association and beyond being a novelist he is also a script-doctor and freelance writer.
Pairsis the story of Kayley and Adam, a single mom who makes her living writing greeting cards and a young carpenter; and Alexandra and Henry, a former stripper with dual identities and a math teacher with some unusual gender issues. The couples are connected through Henry and Adam, who are cousins, and through Kayley’s friend Helen, who is also Henry’s step-sister. As each couple builds a connection, the joint friendship turns into family. Kayley’s daughter, Terra, becomes a central focus of both relationships; she is loved and nurtured by the village that the couples create.
With the tightening of the bond between the couples, the mission for the pairs—which begins and ends with Kayley—turns to parenthood for Henry and Alexandra. The story weaves the elements of past sexual abuse, sexual dysfunction, problem pregnancies, and absolute devotion to family into a plot that draws the reader into the lives of these very unconventional characters.
Visit his website at www.pairsthenovel.com or connect with him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DW_Richards.
Thank you for this interview, D.W. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
In one way or another I’ve always been interested in the creative process. As I child I drew unfunny comic strips. By my early teens I toyed with the idea of being a comedian or an actor, going so far as to take theatre arts and not just for the easy credit. The writing bug didn’t really hit me until I was approaching my twenties. Then life happened at full tilt and it wasn’t until much later, when my life had settled down, that I wrote a novel. Over the past six or seven years since then, I’ve been writing fairly constantly.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
It’s about 6” x 9” x 3 ½” thick in size and 93,000 words in length. Okay, enough foolishness. “Pairs” is the story of Kayley and Adam, a single mom who makes her living writing greeting cards and a young carpenter; and Alexandra and Henry, a former stripper with dual identities and a math teacher with some unusual gender issues. The couples are connected through Henry and Adam, who are cousins. As each couple builds a connection, the joint friendship turns into family. With the tightening of the bond between the couples, the mission for the pairs turns to parenthood for Henry and Alexandra. And it is here where the story brings into greater focus the unconventional relationship between two the women.
Who is your intended audience? Have you been able to crossover into other audiences as well?
For someone to appreciate “Pairs” they would need to be open-minded about vagaries of sexual orientation, be okay with a little suspended disbelief for the sake of the entertainment and have an appetite for a broad range of interests.
Has “Pairs” successfully crossed over from that audience? No, it has not. And, my predication is that it will not for it seems that there is no middle ground when it comes to personal stances regarding sexuality and orientation.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
To be clear, I didn’t choose the genre, I picked it. The difference being choosing implies planning. From the onset, my plans for “Pairs” never included genre considerations, and it was only after-the-fact that I put a label on what had been accomplished.
Do you ever experience self-doubts with your work?
Yes, and they’ve changed as I have matured as a writer. A few years I ago I wondered if I had it in me to even complete an entire novel. And during that time I also wondered if I could write well enough to be entertaining for an entire novel. Though I am still finding my voice as a writer, I am now at the stage where I wonder if I can write consistently well for the long run.
The other side of my work is the business end, which is everything other than the actual writing. And in this arena, I have a slew of self-doubt. The learning curve is steep, and I’m well on my way to chalking up every mistake possible that a budding author can.
Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?
The answer depends on the purpose of my writing. I make jot notes and small phrasing whenever and wherever inspiration hits me and usually do so with a pen on a scrap of paper, while ignoring the world around me.
Alternately, if I am sitting down to write a long cohesive passage or passages then I prefer to be situated comfortably at a desk, in seclusion. And while some writers claim to prefer pen and paper, I much prefer keyboard and computer.
What kind of research did you have to do during the writing process?
Since Pairs touches upon a lot of subjects, my research was all the over the map. Though most of my investigation work was kept to an overview level, I did have to delve into some topics to ensure that I had a decent cursory understanding, like Quantum Physics. And, since my characters are, to some extent, experts in their various areas of interest I also had to look into scene specific details, such as the proper way to serve tea (I’m a coffee drinker).
My main source of general information was the Internet. Curiously, I found YouTube to be a good site for gaining a high-level understanding on various topics. I started a channel there specifically to gather videos relevant to some of my investigations called, PairsTheNovel. All are welcome to browse around.
However, I also frequently referred to books. In anticipation of the next novel in the series I am reading up on Quantum Theory.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
The book launch was promoted through affiliate marketing. Although “Pairs” made it to #20 in the category of humour on Amazon.co.uk, I don’t consider that it was a good value for money investment. It was an expensive mistake. I started a 2 month virtual tour in January during which I am also promoting on social network sites, with the best return coming from “Goodreads”.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Plan ahead. The promotional groundwork should be in place four months prior to release, including building some pre-launch hype. Also, know in advance which awards you would like to submit for and align your release date to take advantage. Pre-shop your publicity options, and if you choose a publicist (or two), have your expectations mapped out. I did none of this, but I will the next time around.
What’s next for you?
There are two projects in the immediate future. I have a completed manuscript which I will finalize this spring, after the main promotional drive for Pairs has subsided a little. An editor friend is a fan of the story and would like to see me shop it around.
In the summer I will be completing my role on a script that I’ve been working on with Ucreate Media. I am also in preliminary talks with them regarding a graphic novel series concept, but this is longer term.
And finally, I will be continuing with the storyline that I have begun with Pairs. I’m jotting ideas, and I’ve begun the manuscript but it is more-or-less waiting in the queue until I clear my plate a little.
Thank you for this interview, D.W. We wish you much success!
You can purchase a paperback copy of Pairsonline by clicking here or order the Kindle edition by clicking here. You can also order Pairs through any of your local Virginia Beachbookstores.