We’re sitting down to chat with Reggie Ridgway today from sunny California.
His book IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR debuts soon with Echelon Press.
Congratulations on your new thriller coming out, In The Midnight Hour. Tell us about it!
In The Midnight Hour is a medical thriller about a once famous surgeon who not only falls from grace with his peers and is forced to resign, but is charged with murdering his wife, all on the same day. By circumstances, which begin after his attempted escape from prison, he becomes injured during a high speed chase. He awakens brain injured in the very hospital he once had been the Chief of Surgery. Pretending to lie helplessly in a coma, he finds ways to roam around the hospital at night with impunity. He ultimately seeks revenge on those people who caused his fall from grace and even some other people who wronged him and who had set him up for the alleged murder of his wife. The killer’s identity is finally revealed in a spine tingling ending, even as the killer is caught while in the act.
When will it be released and how can we get it?
Echelon Press has been putting out a novel per month in ebook form, and several short stories a month. They put out paperback versions for those titles who become best sellers. I have not been told yet when I can expect it’s release but I do understand the process. The timing also depends on when work was submitted. Echelon is a great publisher with a bunch of popular authors who I am proud to be joining up with them.
What was your road to publishing your first book?
I am luckier then most authors in that my book was chosen by a small press very quickly. I had placed well in Amazon’s yearly contest for new writers, but didn’t win in spite of good reviews from the judges. I felt good that my novel had made it to the finals out of thousands of entries. Embolden with that positive energy, I set out querying without an agent. I started with small presses as I felt my chances were better. Echelon was looking for novels to fill their 2011 catalogue and they picked me. While waiting for my turn to be released, I have been working on my second novel which is going well and is a third of the way towards being written.
What are your top 3 challenges in writing?
1. Relevancy. I think readers of fiction want the story to be something they can relate to. Be current with what is popular and follow current events and trends. Pay attention to detail.
2. Editing. This is the hardest part of writing for most, but nothing turns a reader or publisher off faster then a typo or incorrect sentence structure. Get an editor, even if you self publish. And don’t rely just on spell check. It will bite you in the end.
3. Time. Unless you are a full time writer, you have to juggle your day job, your quality family time, and your “me” time against hours sitting at your desk. Set aside some time, like it was your job, as you hope some day it will be.
Can you give us your top 5 tips for being a successful writer?
1. Write something every day. Blog, or review someone else’s book or comment on their blog posts. This is a win win deal as you hone your writing skills as well as build a following.
2. Be courteous to fans and other writers. Even if you hate someone else’s work it does no one any good to write disparaging remarks which can spark a feud.
3. Get out there and promote your work. Either via social networking, or to local newspaper and give television and radio interviews. Don’t forget to promote your local book stores with signings and such. YouTube has helped many authors get free advertising with MTV like promo videos and video interviews.
4. Attend at least two writers conferences a year. You will network with other authors who can really help you in many ways. You will also meet readers who will become your fans after meeting with you or listening to your speeches.
5. Write on your WIP at least a few hours each day. Editing or polishing it with the same effort you would give a lover. Give a lot of time to picking a good cover.
You also write short stories. Has that helped you get your book published?
The juries still out since my novel hasn’t been released, but hopefully the fans, or would be fans can sample my writing from the shorts and want more. Same with my blog.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I am fortunate to live in Southern California where I can be surfing at the beach in Ventura in 2 hours or skiing in Big Bear or Mammoth in less than 4 hours. I am only a hop-skip-and-jump to places like Tahoe or San Francisco or Las Vegas. I have time shares all over and travel extensively. I like to golf, play tennis, sail, fish, water ski, and anything that is not too taxing on me now that I am getting long in the tooth. I am an avid reader and love social networking on twitter and face book.
What is the one thing you wish you knew before you published your first book?
Tough question. I guess that I wish I had started writing when I was younger. Perhaps the timing is better now because of many more life experiences to draw from.
Working on any new projects?
My next novel is called Moon Shadow. See a trend of song titles being used? I am about a third of the way through and with the first novel behind me am finding the going much easier. It will also be a medical thriller but takes place in Alaska’s remote backcountry. It will combine medical intrigue with survival in one of the harshest places on earth.
Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
My goal is to make novel writing my life’s work. I will be writing full time soon and have a goal of writing a novel a year. I also love to write short stories now and those have so far been in the young adult genre. I like to write about young people who are thrust into circumstances where their inherent abilities are tested. Courage for instance and survival in nature are my favorite topics. Those are consistent themes while my plots revolve around family values and respect for those in authority. It seems people in authority have been made fun of for so long in popular fiction and on television and in movies that young people don’t have use for them anymore.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write in my head for the most part. I will be thinking about my story all day long and every day for months until at some point I decide it is good enough and plot it out on paper in outline form. I also have a proclivity for writing dialogue like it was a script. It suits me structurally although of course I rewrite it later in proper prose style. The other thing I do is try to make the chapters stand alone. They are almost short stories with a begging, middle and an end.
Where can we find you on the web?
I have a blog where someone can get a diary type idea about me and my interests. I write what’s happening now as well as anecdotes from my past. I try to offer humorous ones to entertain but also rich family stories which I hope my future generations will appreciate. I regret not writing down all the stories my grand pa told or my Mom or Dad. They are fuzzy memories now and without the retelling from the person who was there, it leaves a lot of holes since I was very young when I heard the stories. They lived through World Wars and the depression and even knew people in their lives who fought or at least observed the Civil War and such.