Reggie Ridgway Interviews Me

This was originally posted to Reggie's site the end of last week.  Click here for the link to the original post.  Unfortunately, I'm not able to get to the site because my virus software keeps blocking it, but he went to a lot of work to ask great questions and I worked hard to answer them.

Reggie Ridgway is the author of the recently released novel IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR.

Hi Carolyn.  Thanks for dropping by for an interview on characters well met.  I know you are busy and appreciate your time.  I have known you for about a year, I think I first saw you at #pubwrite.  You are one of the most prolific authors I have met since I started on twitter and I have been following your work and downloading your novels.  I have not finished the most recent one, but have enjoyed reading all of them so far.  I am a fan so it is with extreme pleasure for me to ask you some questions.

Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog Reggie, it’s an honor.  I’m also very pleased to hear you’re enjoying my novels.

1.     You have a significant presence on social networking sights.  You are active in promoting your novels as well as blogging and communicating with others.  Where do you find the time?

I like to joke about having a time machine in my basement—I only wish.  Really it comes down to what is important to you.  If it’s important, you find the time.  Yet even with that said I think finding balance is an obstacle for most authors, myself included.  I believe the key lies in setting allotments of time aside for each endeavor.  I’m still working on striking the perfect balance.

2.  Your covers are striking.  Where ever did you find such a wonderful cover artist?

Thank you Reggie : )  This is where I can plug my husband, George Arnold because he does all my graphic work.  He even designed the book trailer for ELEVEN, my FBI thriller.  If authors are interested in getting a cover made up, they can contact him through his blog here:

3.  I couldn't help noticing your novels are full of realistic police procedures and gritty realistic drama.  How do you come up with ideas and where did you learn about how police and detectives do their jobs?

The ideas are the easy part to me.  Anything in life can spark a story.  Sometimes it’s a dream, a movie or television show that ignites a side thought, sometimes it’s the way a person looks that gets me asking what their life is like and how they got there, or here’s one that will make sound crazy “characters sometimes just come to me”.  For example, an idea I’m toying with the fifth Madison Knight novel is springing off something I saw in my hometown.  The idea for ELEVEN was born from my love of the show CRIMINAL MINDS and a small shack on the outskirts of the city I live in.  Every time I’d drive by it, I wondered about its history and imagined underground burial chambers.  Yes, I have an overactive imagination LOL (great for an author).

As for learning how police and detectives carry out their jobs, this involves research, research, research.  I have a few resource books I turn to for these facts.  I also look online because there’s a wealth of information there.  I was also fortunate to have contact with a Detective Sergeant from the city I live in, and I’ve met many ex-cops online who have helped me if I have a specific question.  And, just as an additional thought and suggestion to other authors who conduct research, cross compare.  If you’re not too certain of an understanding the way it is presented in one resource, turn to another.  By utilizing more than one resource, you’ll get a clearer understanding.

4.  Many of us are just starting out as writers, or new at this whole social networking idea.  Do you have any advice for promoting on the web?

Well everyone has a different style, and a different following.  What works for one may not work for another, but this is my thoughts on the matter.

Present yourself professionally.  This is of primary importance.  Let others see you take publishing and book writing seriously and view it as the business it is.  This is key.  But know if you don’t view it this way people will pick up on it.

Be sincere, and think how what you offer benefits other people.  Take “I” out of the equation.

Promote your fellow authors.  This is crucial to any independent author.  And as you develop your online relationships, these people come alive.  They are not user names on a social network, they are real people like yourself.  These relationships cultivate into friendships, and then you’ve found gold.  You have a network of true individuals who support you in turn, and believe in you.

When presenting your work in an “ad”, whether this be on Twitter or Facebook or another network, be creative.  Don’t reuse the same sentence day in and day out.  Keep things fresh.  Online networks are a constantly changing landscape, but this doesn’t give any of us a license to be lazy. 

I suggest staying away from the phrasing “buy my book” and providing a link.  Again, think:  What am I offering?  What would make someone click the link to even consider my book?

Also, keep active with online networks.  Don’t just “pop” out Tweets—connect.  If someone responds to an “ad” you’ve put up for your book, reply to them, engage with them.  If someone says they bought your book, thank them.  Every single reader is important, and I highly value each of mine.

And, I guess the last piece of advice that comes to mind (and it doesn’t mean it’s less important by any means), mix things up.  Don’t just be all about you and your books.  Like I said supporting others is very important—and it makes for great friendships—but you also support them by offering encouragement and motivation.  This can be done through blog posts where you share your experiences or how you overcome certain roadblocks in your writing journey.  You can also write about the craft and how you’ve found ways to improve.  Again, this is my personal style, but you get the idea.

5.  Madison Knight is the name of the detective in your novels.  Where did you get the inspiration for this character?

I love watching and reading in the crime genre so it was a natural transition for me to want to write in it.  I admire the brotherhood of blue, and am fascinated by the advances in forensics. 

As for Madison Knight, she was born from the desire to create a strong female lead.  A lot of times in the stories I read or watch, the female was the junior partner to a male lead.  I wanted to switch that up.

6.  All of your work was self published.  Did you try to find an agent or publisher at first?

I queried for about a year (maybe longer don’t remember now), but over that time period I revised and edited between queries.  I kept revising my approach and the outworking of the novel until I had it where it is today. 

The start of last year, I had the interest of a New York agent, but they wanted an aspect changed.  They were vague in their request, and I loved it the way it was.  Keep in mind I also have friends who have agents and their books have been with them for years.  They’ve done numerous revisions, and sad to say for my one friend all the large publishing houses were exhausted without an offer.  I didn’t want to go through this so I decided to self-publish.  I wanted my work in the hands of readers.

7.  You write short stories as well.  Which do you like to write the best?  Novels or Shorts.

No contest—novels.  Some people who have read my shorts, PEARLS OF DECEPTION (which is available to buy) and upcoming release RINGS OF A TREE, have told me they are like condensed novels.

8.  Do you have a favorite author, or someone you were inspired to write by?

No one that really inspired me to write per say.  I have my favorite authors of course, but they were not known to me when I first started writing as a teenager.

9.  Brandon Fisher is the FBI agent in your latest novel Eleven.  How was it striking out with new characters and even a new genre, if you will, by following the FBI?

I LOVE new characters, just as much as I love my series’ ones.

When it came to Brandon, his character drew me for several reasons.  He was real, and believable.  He was determined to do anything to make it as a FBI Special Agent even if that meant facing his fears, and possibly losing his wife to the job.

As I said earlier in this interview, I love CRIMINAL MINDS.  FBI agents have a tough job to do yet they carry it out with a high level of professionalism and intelligence.

10.  Last question.  Do you write by the seat of your pants with an idea of the plot, or do you favor outlining every detail before sitting down to write a novel?

I’m definitely a “seat of my pants” type of writer, a “panster” as it has been termed by some.  I see where I want the story to begin and know how I want it to end, but the journey there is uncovered as I go along.

Where to connect online


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