When I met R.D., he explained about several books involving an autistic child, which was inspired by his son. Naturally, this touched me, because I don’t see a lot of young adult books with this in mind. There are plenty of people on my list interested in these works, since several friends either are disabled or are raising special needs children.
R.D. is hosting a release party for The Scourge of the Red Dragon, if you want to check out more about his titles and works!
Now, for the questions. R.D., thanks for agreeing to this interview.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I am a San Diego native. I spent all but five years out here (94-99 in Mesa, Arizona) and consider this the nicest city (expensive though) on the planet. As far back as I could remember I loved to read and also create stories.
When I was a kid, I took my Star Wars figures and renamed them, creating my own heroes and “universe” for them to fight against evil in. A few of those characters figured in my latest book, Scourge of the Red Dragon.
I never really took writing seriously, being intimidated by the fact that so many failed, but my family has encouraged me to make this happen. I have been writing for about a decade now, beginning with illustrated books and switching to novels the last several years.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I am not sure. I think it is in the back of all of our minds to be the next J. K. Rowling with our books, not just because of the money and fame, but I think it is a gauge of success. I do hope to become a huge success someday, but I also just enjoy writing, it is how I relax and I love the feeling of creating worlds in my head.
Which writers inspire you?
I mainly write Young Adult fiction, but it is mostly writers of more mature fiction that inspired me. Michael Moorcock, George Alec Effinger, and Nelson DeMille are the main ones. However recently I have received inspiration from Jude Watson, J. K. Rowling, and local author and friend James Matlack Raney.
So, what have you written?
The Fun House Mystery Adventure, Andrew and the Pirate Cove, and The Revenge of Jack Frost – all .99 on eBook for a week beginning Sun. Also my novella: A Desperate Mission – Free eBook for 3 days beginning Saturday.
What genres are your books?
My main genre is young adult. I am working on a more mature novel called Tammany Hall which is a crime fiction that mixes dark humor, romance, crime drama, adventure, and suspense. It is not for kids, so using the pen name Steve McGovern.
I did write and illustrate eight books for younger children, but at present only a few of them are published and are viewable on Kindle Direct Publishing for download; they are “Andrew the Inventory and the Great Rocketship Adventure”, “When I go to Sleep at Night”, and “Andrew and the Red Dragon”. I also have a novella there (online only) called “Andrew’s Pet Dragon”. It is a good story inspired by Bunnicula, but not one I saw fit to try and publish; maybe later I will.
My latest works have been The Andrew Chronicles. These books star my son Andrew with his younger brother Tyler being in them as well. He was a newborn at the time I began, so his role expanded as the books went on. The first book is Andrew and the Pirate Cove, followed by The Revenge of Jack Frost. Book three is in the works and is called Andrew and the Temblor Stone.
I actually had skipped writing book three and wrote The Fun House Mystery Adventure which has Andrew as a 12 year old (he just turned 11 on 08/26/2016) in the near future because he asked me to write him as a teen. This is book one of The Andrew Teen Chronicles. Book two of this (Pyramid of Doom) is in the works.
I just published Scourge of the Red Dragon which is my largest book to date, being 93,000 words and 306 pages and stars Tyler as an eight year old (sort of, this changes later) and takes place after The Andrew Teen Chronicles (which is a 4 book series) concludes.
Where can we buy or see them?
Right now, my books are available online under the name R. D. Trimble. Scourge of the Red Dragon will be available on 09/10/2016 online and will be at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore beginning on 09/17/2016 as well.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
I (humbly) believe that I have added a cool main character, Tyler. He begins as an eight year old boy in our world and awakens from a nap in the world of Apikian. He finds himself on an isolated beach at the foot of a dormant volcano and staggers into a cave where soon after he encounters Thraxus, a Red Dragon of great evil and awful temper. The dragon angrily causes the volcano to erupt and send a tsunami across the sea which devastates a nearby kingdom and he puts Tyler (who had escaped) into a deep sleep from which he awakens five years later, now the age of 13.
He obviously goes through some changes. He finds himself attracted to Malina and even feels a twinge of jealously as she seems to have a mini-crush on their comrade James the mage. He learns how to use a sword from his other companion David the Chon Knight and embraces both fear and courage, growing as a child and teen in this story as he embarks upon a quest to save Kaelendyr and its king from an unknown source of evil. He is still a kid, so is something of an imperfect and flawed, but well-meaning and brave hero.
Give us a summary of what your book is about.
See previous question for a bit of a summary. However I will add that after the tsunami and Tyler’s awakening from the five year sleep, he is blamed by Kaelendyr’s citizens and is “sentenced” to work in a workhouse for a time. While there he meets James (an aspiring mage) and David (an aspiring knight) who are approximately 14 years of age. The three of them escape after an earthquake rocks the kingdom and encounter the king.
As it turns out, the earthquakes have been relatively persistent since the attack of Thraxus and King Roland has become weaker with each one, since as king, he is magically tied to the land and as it suffers, so does he. Tyler, David, and James have shown a degree of intrepidity in their escape and demonstrated growing power (by this time, James has already cast a spell or two, Tyler has found a magic sword, and David has displayed his skills in combat), so King Roland decrees these three young men are the ones to seek out the source of the earthquakes and defeat whatever evil being is causing them.
In this story are some characters I think are cool. Arom Joter for example is the cruel bully and chief of the workhouse guards. He is also greedy for power and sacrifices his humanity to become a pawn of a greater evil, transforming himself into a monster. This is just one example of the monsters I have created in this book.
If you had to choose a favorite character that you’ve written, who would it be and why?
I will say that Tyler and Andrew whom are the names of my kids who I feature in the story have to be my favorite and I admit the bias there. Outside of that, well it is a toss-up. I will say James the Mage is a cool character because his magic is different. Living in a workhouse, he owns nothing really. His possessions when Tyler meets him are a piece of string, a few pebbles, and a small piece of wood he managed to carve into the shape of a sword. They are worthless, but because they are his and his only, they are imbued with magic as his late mother (a magician herself) told him that “There is magic in anything that one holds dear”.
Throughout the story, he finds new items and he has learned to adore anything he can own and he is able to use them as components in his spells. He also has a perpetual smile despite his many losses, so I think is an intriguing character.
What are you working on?
A new book called (tentatively) “Bernie Huff and the Hammer of Thor”. It is kind of “Harry Potter meets Percy Jackson” if I were to describe the story type. I like this story because the main character is Autistic (my oldest son Andrew has Autism). He struggles with the disorder and with being an orphan living in foster care and having few friends. His one joy is retreating into these spell books he finds at the libraries. We as adults know these books are phony, but he truly believes the incantations will work if he believes in them and follows the steps correctly.
One day, a spell works and then another, and then the next day, he escapes from some bullies who planted a stolen souvenir (a replica of Thor’s hammer Mjolnir) on him. He escapes using a spell which takes him and the bullies to Jotumheim, the land of the Norse Giants, enemies of the Norse Gods. He finds that his souvenir hammer is actually real in his hands and he uses it to defend himself and is rescued by a Valkyrie and taken to Odin who shares that Thor has vanished and is believed taken by Loki and the Giants.
Mjolnir has chosen Bernie to save Thor and he must embark upon a quest with a giant who is an outcast for being only eight feet tall (tiny for a giant) and a dwarf who once served Loki, but now lives under Odin’s protection and seeks to repay a debt. I hope it will be a fun adventure and his struggles with Autism will be part of the tale as well.
When did you decide to become a writer?
When I was a kid I decided I wanted to become one. However it was not until Andrew asked me to write a book that I decided to do it.
Why do you write?
It is how I relax and I think and hope I have a knack for it that others enjoy. I cannot imagine me going a day without writing or at least dreaming up new stories.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
It has been a dream of mine forever, but as above, my son asking me to got me inspired.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Sadly part-time. I still have a day job, but hope someday to be a full-time writer.
How do you structure your day, by word count, hours or by pages?
I just write whenever I can find the time, sometimes that is five minutes, sometimes hours, it varies as I balance a full-time job and being a dad of two boys.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Where do the your ideas come from?
My early books were inspired by the first computer games I ever played, text adventures written by Scott Adams in the 70s and early eights. My newest book, Scourge of the Red Dragon just kind of popped in my head. I find myself always trying to think of new book ideas whenever I go for a walk or have a quiet moment. I probably have one hundred or more ideas floating around my brain at any time.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Honestly a bit of both. I have a broad outline and as I write, if an idea comes up I try to add it. Second and third drafts find me adding so much more content too.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I think I have really grown as a writer or I think I have. I have learned to really trust my instincts on ideas and also remember that ideas may sound bad, but if a illustrated book about a flatulent dog can be a big hit, then it tells me there are no ideas that are really bad if you write them well.
What are your greatest challenges in writing and how have you adapted to them?
Time is the biggest factor. I work full time and have two kids and that is like having 2-3 jobs. I squeeze time to write when I can and I have learned to have my laptop with me at all times and be prepared to dash off a paragraph when I can and have them ready in my head.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
Usually I have to do my own, but I have a few friends who sometimes pitch in.
What process do you use to proofread or edit your books?
I finish the first draft and then shelf it for about 2-3 months. Then I begin reading it. This makes it more fresh and easier to spot mistakes. Then I finish the second draft and make any editions and shelf it for another 1-2 months and then repeat the process, hopefully making it a final draft, but sometimes do it again for a third time.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
Right now, I am a one-man band, but hope to achieve enough success to add some extra pros to my work.
Did anyone line proof your book separately? If so, how did you come to choose them?
Not really, I’ve had to do much of it on my own, which is why I wait to proof them until a while after reading, if I am not as familiar with it, then I will be more likely to spot my own errors, this worked really well for Scourge of the Red dragon.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
I drew it using Powerpoint, gimp, and MS Paint. I took about 30 different dragon pictures and studied them and then began drawing. It took close to 40 hours to finish it over a period of months.
Who designed your book cover/s?
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes, I strongly do believe that many times you can judge a book by its cover. If the cover is awful, then it gives the impression that the author or publisher did not believe enough in the effort to do more. I am sorry if that is close-minded, but many times, this is really true.
How are you publishing this book and why?
Indie – My publisher is going through a transition and I spent years working on this book and decided to see what I could do on my own.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Advantages are complete control over the book, story, font, covers, etc. The disadvantages are you are on your own and any money spent is out of pocket, so you can so easily lose money.
How do you market your books?
Mainly FB and word of mouth, a little twitter, and Goodreads. I am always open to suggestions.
Do you have any advice for those who want to do Indie publishing, such as social media, marketing, giveaways and promoting sales?
Use FB and friend as many authors as you can. You can learn much from them and sometimes they will plug your book too. Launch Parties are something I am learning about too! I wish I had more suggestions. Ff I do, I am always happen to share them.
How do you relax?
Writing is a big one and playing with my kids at Legoland and Sea World.
What is your favorite book and why?
The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille. It is a great book, being both funny and dramatic, an amazing read!
How do you get inspired to write?
I have liked writing since I was five or six. When I was fourteen I wrote by pencil 30 Tales of Terror which was twenty stories of 1.5 pages that were mainly Twilight Zone knockoffs. Obviously I never published it, but it was fun to do!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Start writing now and do not give up. Take Little League Practice seriously and don’t drink soda and do not smoke.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up. Don’t let others tell you your work is bad. It may not be great, but you can grow it. My first novel was not well-written, but I learned from it and I get better with every paragraph I write. Also seek out advice from other aspiring writers, we are all a family in a greater sense and most are excited to share advice, I know I am.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
I wish I knew…..
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
All of my books donate $ to charity. My newest one gives $.50 from each sale to stopcaidnow.org.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?0