Hello. Thank you for visiting my blog today. I’m Rebecca Scarberry (Scarberryfields on Twitter). I have interviewed multi-published author, Andy Ritchie (@andyritchie999 on Twitter). I’ve enjoyed learning more about this author, living in Darwen, Lancashire, UK. I think you will also.
Scarberryfields: Can you tell us a little about your nationality?
Andy Ritchie: A simple question with a complicated answer. By birth, I’m English. I’m also English on my Mother’s side. However, on my Father’s side, I’m Scottish. Being either English or Scottish, I can also call myself British. My maternal grandmother was actually born in the United States, so if I had ever been good enough to play football at the international level, I’d have had a choice of England, Scotland or the USA. Sadly, I’ve always been pretty rubbish at football!
Scarberryfields: When you finish writing a story, do you miss the characters?
Andy Ritchie: Always. It’s a bittersweet moment when the final word of a story is typed and I realize that the tiny little universe that I have created, and the characters with which I have populated that world, have reached the limits of all that they will ever do…unless, of course, I plan to write a sequel, in which case I give them a cheery wave and tell them I’ll see them all again soon!
Scarberryfields: While writing, if you need help with punctuation, grammar, etcetera, where do you turn?
Andy Ritchie: I certainly don’t turn to my family! My wife would openly admit to being truly terrible at grammar and punctuation, not to mention spelling, an affliction that is clearly hereditary since both my daughters also have this failing; in fact, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the last few years reading through their university assignments and commenting on their grammar and punctuation…which is about all I was able to comment on, because the rest of the content was always generally beyond my understanding!
Scarberryfields: With the number of hours spent writing, do family members support you or complain about the time spent away from them?
Andy Ritchie: They understand why it’s important to me to spend time writing – it’s a passion, after all. However, just because they understand it does not necessarily mean they support it and I’ve found it very important to ensure that I strike a suitable balance between my need to spend time writing and the need to do whatever needs to be done around the house, with the daughters, etc. I want to write, but I want to stay happily married a lot more!
Scarberryfields: For research sake, do you travel to any of the places you mention in your books?
Andy Ritchie: Wherever possible, yes. If you’ve actually been to a place and spent time there, it is so much easier to try to describe it. You can draw on all your different senses, describe not only the sights, but also the sounds and the smells and the atmosphere; it brings an authenticity to what you write. For my most recent book, I actually walked around many of the places where scenes were set, describing into a dictaphone everything I was experiencing…I got some very peculiar looks from people out walking their dogs on the moors, and even stranger looks from people out shopping in Manchester!
Scarberryfields: When you’re writing, do you shut-off all social networks?
Andy Ritchie: Absolutely. In fact, I try to shut-off all social interaction – period (or as we say over this side of The Pond – ‘full stop’). I like to immerse myself in whatever it is I’m writing, so I try to minimise distractions as much as I possibly can, and that includes shutting the office door at home (although the previous comment about the need for a suitable balance in avoiding a trip to the divorce court also holds true in this respect)!
Scarberryfields: Did you use any family members as Beta readers for your stories?
Andy Ritchie: My recently published book had three Beta readers, only one of whom (my sister) was a family member. By her own admission, she was fairly ineffectual at spotting spelling mistakes and the like because she kept ‘getting engrossed’ in the book itself (which, for my part, is pleasing). My mate ‘Dan-the-Man’ was more critical and suggested various changes to characters and plot (most of which I duly ignored), whilst Sharon was scarily efficient in identifying typos, grammar problems and the incorrect spelling of the word ‘phlegm’. My eternal thanks to all of them!
Scarberryfields: Do you feel social networking is a good tool for marketing your books?
Andy Ritchie: Hmmmm. Tricky one this. For me, the jury’s still out on this one. If I’m brutally honest, I’ve not seen any real evidence that interacting on Twitter has resulted in anyone actually downloading my book; it certainly hasn’t led to anyone providing me with honest, critical feedback, which is perhaps what I am really looking for. In my short experience on Twitter, it just seems to me to be a place where lots and lots of people are jumping up and down, shouting ‘Read Me! Read Me!’ Maybe I’m just using it wrong, I’m not sure.
I’m a bit more positive about Facebook. I’m slowly building up the number of ‘likes’ on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/IveReadItHaveYou ). There seems to be more opportunity for meaningful interaction with individuals whom you know (because they have ‘liked’ you) have a genuine interest in what you’re writing – I just don’t get that with Twitter, even though I’ve got 5 times as many ‘followers’ on Twitter as I have ‘likers’ on Facebook.
The only other ‘social networking’ that I do is my recently-started blog (www.andyritchie999.blogspot.co.uk ), though this is not really intended as a marketing vehicle; instead, I use the blog as a means of honing my writing, of trying to convey my feelings and emotions on whatever subject comes to mind in a way that both interests and (hopefully) amuses the reader…okay, I do occasionally use it as a platform for a really good rant!
Scarberryfields: What is the last book called that you completed and published?
Andy Ritchie: Just last week I published: ‘The Book That THEY Do Not Want You To Read – Part 2’, the second of the three books in the series. Part 1 was published in February 2013.
Scarberryfields: Where can readers go to find your books?
Andy Ritchie: Both books can be downloaded from my author page on Amazon.
In the UK:
In the US: