The countdown is on for the launch Richard Ho's gorgeous book, RED ROVER: Curiosity on Mars! Before the exciting day, let's find out a bit more about Rich, the writer...
Notable19: Let's go back in time for this first question. What is the first piece of creative writing you remember writing?
Rich: I was a late bloomer. Many authors have memories of crafting poems or short stories or epic novels in verse while attending elementary school, but I didn't seriously entertain thoughts of creative writing until much later.
I believe I was 15 or 16. I was a huge Star Trek fan, and I teamed up with a good buddy of mine to co-write a spec script for an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. I would pay good money to find a copy of that script. I desperately want to re-read it after all these years. I think it was written on an ancient IBM computer and never backed up to disk, and I can't find a printed copy anywhere. I do remember that we titled the episode "Ambivalence," and since all that remains is the memory, I will say that it was spectacular.
Notable19: We are positive it was spectacular. How could it not be with you writing and ST:V involved? ;) Now that you are officially writing, what is your writing implement of choice?
Rich: Back when I was a magazine writer, I carried a little spiral notebook and a pen everywhere I went, like an old-timey reporter (no fedora, though). That was good for jotting down notes and transcribing interviews, but not much else. When I started to get into long-form creative writing, I abandoned the analog tools and went with the smallest laptop I could find (for affordability and portability). My current writing laptop is a Dell—every picture book manuscript I've written has been tapped into existence through its keys!
Notable19: Laptops have been a boon to writers! Sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov used to lug his heavy old manual typewriter to the beach when he was forced to take a vacation. Can you imagine? And where is your favorite place to write?
Rich: Thanks to my day job and my dad responsibilities, nearly all of my writing is accomplished on the train to and from work (a.k.a. Writing Office #1) or at my local Starbucks (a.k.a. Writing Office #2). I have a very hard time getting into writing mode at home, even after the kids are asleep. Probably because my couch emits a siren-like call that reliably overwhelms my exhausted and pitiful attempts at productivity. I try to make it to Writing Office #2 at least once a week, post-kiddo-bedtime, to get in a solid block of writing. The baristas know me by now, but I've never told them what I do when I sit there for hours on my laptop. They'll find out when I gift them a signed copy of RED ROVER in a few weeks!
Notable19: We have all heard the siren call of the couch! Besides resisting the call, what is hardest for you about writing? Easiest?
Rich: Easiest: Starting. Hardest: Finishing.
Starting a new manuscript is so much fun and so exciting. Your story is bursting out of your brain, demanding to be told, and you might have all of it figured out or you might have only the initial spark of an idea, but it's flowing whether you're ready or not.
And then reality sets in, and you realize you need to put in hours and hours more of hard work and sweat and tears and doubt and self-loathing and despair, and with every failed plot twist or bland story obstacle or useless supporting character or drab line of dialogue the ending recedes farther and farther into the distance, and you fear that you will never finish.
The caveat? When you DO finish, there are few experiences that are more euphoric and satisfying. But then, revisions…
Notable19: Ah, the joy of finishing a draft, and the scary prospect of facing the revision process. Speaking of scary, what is your ultimate writer nightmare?
Rich: Finishing a story that I adore and believe will sell in a multi-house auction with an astronomical advance and pre-emptive consideration for all major awards…
… only to see a Publishers Weekly deal announcement THAT VERY DAY for essentially the same exact story.
Notable19: That is truly a writer's nightmare. Conversely, what is your ultimate writer fantasy?
Rich: The above, but without the last part!
No, but seriously… just to receive a letter from a reader who tells me how one of my books made a difference in their life for the better. That would be my writerly dream-come-true.
Notable19: To have touched a reader's life is the way to achieve immortality. And finally, in one sentence, what does being a writer mean to you?
Rich: This answer changes by the second, but right now, being a writer means:
Spending countless hours alone, toiling in solitude to imprint your soul on a collection of words that will hopefully serve as a conduit between you and the rest of humanity.
We are a group of writers and illustrators who have debut books (actual debuts , debuts as author-illustrators, or debuts with medium/large publishers) forthcoming in 2019. Thank you for joining us on our exciting journey!