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Sunday Spotlight – Richard Ferguson

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Richard Ferguson’s latest book, Blue’s Point, was selected by the editors to be featured in Kirkus Reviews 9/15 Issue. Comments include: “I was reminded of Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.” “… a meditation on what stirs men and women’s souls and a thrill-ride – a rare combination.” “No-holds-barred writing and great, complex characters.” Richard is an engaging speaker similar to Ken Kesey, a writer he met and admired. His mastery of words comes from his mother, a poet befriended and admired by fellow writers and poets such as Robert Graves and James Dickey. He lives in Mexico with his best friends, Churchill the friendly pit bull and Hamish whose ancestry is a mystery.

How did you get started writing?
When I was young, I spent time on my grandfather’s ranch.  It was a great place for a boy, but it was so remote there was no electricity, nothing to do in the evening but read by the light of a kerosene lantern.  Fortunately, he had an extensive library.  I eventually read every book.  I think that gave me the impetus to try my hand.  I have the first story I wrote when I was about six.  A boy finds an injured prairie dog and nurses it back to health.  Either I had a short attention span or I already liked surprise endings because the boy releases the prairie dog into the sea and it lives happily ever after.
What books do you currently have published?
I have two novels and two sets of short stories.  Oiorpata – Assassin is a spy thriller set in the Cold War.  It’s the tale of a woman KGB assassin who has been programmed from childhood to follow orders and a male CIA operative who falls in love with her.  You’ve reviewed Blue’s Point, a thriller set in a racist environment.  Weird Tales is a set of horror stories.  When I write short stories, I enjoy letting my mind wander off in whatever bizarre direction it chooses.  I like horror stories so that seems to be the place I go.  I try to keep the reader a little off-balance, not quite certain what’s going to happen next.  If the short horror-stories surprise, maybe shock a little, and entertain too, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.  Really, you could say that about any fiction I write though.  More Weird Tales is, like the title says, more short horror-stories.  They’re slightly different though because I’m fascinated by the implications of the latest theories of physicists.  Main-stream science is becoming more weird than science fiction.  So, I brought some of the more bizarre possibilities of cutting edge physics into the stories.
Do you have any current works in progress? If so, would you be willing to tell us a bit about them?
Yes, I’m a little over two-thirds of the way through a novel about a boy who is partially paralyzed in an accident, but who dreams of being an Olympic marathon champion. It’s set on the ranch I mention up there.
Your book Blue’s Point was recently reviewed on our blog. What was the inspiration behind it.
When I get the idea for a story, it just takes over my mind. I can try to forget it and write something else, but it keeps pushing to the front. It’s hard to describe why this particular story did that. I think I decided to portray racism as realistically as I could and to tell it as honestly as I could from the perspective of someone (me) who observed it first hand. My goal wasn’t simply to show bad people being bad, although they are there in the story. To some extent, it was to give an array of racism that would demonstrate the gray area between black and white. The revies so far demonstrate that I was successful with some readers. As Marcel DuChamp said though, when the artwork leaves the artist’s hand, it becomes what the viewer perceives, not what the artist intended.
Do you have any favourite authors who inspire you in your writing?
I have many favorite authors. If you held a gun to my head and forced me to choose, I’d probably name Mark Twain, Ken Kesey, Jim Corbett, Anne Rice, and John Steinbeck among others who don’t come to mind right now.
What part of the writing process do you struggle with most?
Once the characters and story are firmly realized in my mind, I really don’t struggle.
What is your favourite part of writing?
When I become immersed in the characters and the story to the extent that I more or less go into a trance and forget that I’m writing
Any tips for aspiring authors?
Just write.
What are your thoughts on traditional publishing vs self publishing?
I admire authors who succeed by going the traditional route and I admire ones who self-publish.

 

Found this spotlight interesting? Find out more about Richard Ferguson and his writing by visiting his author page on GoodReads.

20160417_131127     -Beth

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