Welcome to my Author Interview and many thanks to Jeremy Ritch
Author - Jeremy Ritch
1/ Can you tell us a little about yourself? I am a poet/writer living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvainia. As a writer I contribute to a few local websites and have written articles for several publications and blog sites. I am a former pastor that has been involved with several underground churches and outreaches all over the Eastern US. Along with writing I write music and am a avid vinyl record collector. I have been married for 12 years and my wife is a huge support for my work.
2/ When and what made you decide you wanted to be a writer? I started writing in my early teens as a way to express myself I guess. I just found some paper and started to write down things I thought mattered. By 15 or so I was writing poetry and song lyrics, mostly about girls I never met. Then around the end of high school I had been published a few times and just kept going from there.
3/ Can you tell us something about your books, genre? My first book “My Beautiful Mess: A Journey Through faith, Hope, and Love” was a memoir of sorts about my spiritual journey from High School through my late twenties. It covered a lot of my ministry life and the ins and outs of that vocation. It was self-published so it is a bit raw and needed a serious editor.
My new book comes out in Spring 2014 and it is a collection of poems. I wrote the book, which is named “Sidewalk Stories and Other Poems”, over a 15 year period in which I lived in several US cities. The poems are about city living, social justice, and my experiences. I try to write honestly as both an observer and a participant in life so there are many poems written from the outside as well as in.
4/ Where do you get your ideas from? My ideas come from various sources. It could be nature or a city. People I have met or that I wish I knew. Then there are ideas I draw from my faith or my beliefs. I find myself writing a lot about social justice issues as well as telling stories of people that I think need to be told.
5/ Are you working on a new book at the moment? I just finished “Sidewalk Stories and Other poems” and I am working on a follow up poetry collection that is tentatively titled “Rock n Roll Tiger”. These poems focus more on my rowdier past as a heavy drinker and my involvement in the punk rock and hardcore subcultures.
6/ What are your ambitions concerning your writing career? I want to keep writing and having a platform to release books. I also love doing readings and traveling as a speaker so that would be awesome to do as well. It would be nice to make some money doing what I love for a change.
7/ Which writers inspire you? The Beat Generation heavily influences me, specifically Kerouac and Burroughs. Charles Bukowski has also had a large impact on my writing over the years though we are not quite the same I always found his works inspiring. I love classic writers like Poe and Oscare Wilde too. Honestly I read a lot of non-fiction books. I have a bunch of books on American crime and cities, sociology, and music. Being that I was a pastor I have read many Christian authors of which I love. Writers like Pete Rollins Tony Campolo have inspired me throughout the years. Music however is my main influence as a poet as I draw from artists that I listen to. Everything from hip-hop to punk rock has influenced me greatly.
8/ What book are you reading at present? Right now I am working my way through Burroughs’s “Naked Lunch” just for nostalgia sake. I need to get more books and some newer authors. I often steal ideas from my wife who reads much more than I do. I got to read more. Haha
9/ What are your thoughts on reviews, good and bad? Reviews are good because they mean someone read your book. I mean good or bad your book was in someone’s hands. I tend to not read much of the reviews or the comments I get on articles I write because there is so much negativity out there online anymore. I do however appreciate a good honest critical review because it helps make me a better writer.
10/ What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Write! Write as much as you can everyday. Write poems, stories, articles, music reviews, and all that. Also read books, magazines, newspapers and listen to good music that is lyrical. Surround yourself with artists, musicians and writers to draw inspiration from. Most of all keep hustling your work. It takes a long time to get noticed but once you do it becomes a lot easier. Remember to be humble but have confidence in your work always. Also be kind to people and always take the high road when dealing with rejection, it will happen a lot. In the end you have to just write and do it because it is who you are.
11/ Do you have any advice on how to market your books? Find a publisher and if you can’t then hustle. Get on social media and post it everywhere. Set up readings in your town and try to get people to review it. It is not easy because like myself, many writers are introverted and not really god at marketing but it is something you need to do.
12/ What would you consider to be the worst thing about being an indie author? The financial toll it takes and the desire to have your work read by people. We write to be heard, to have a voice, so when that doesn’t happen we become frustrated and that can hinder our creative process. I often get down because I have done so much work for free or paid for things out of pocket but I also have gotten paid before so it comes and goes. I guess the biggest frustration is there is no consistency to it.
13/ What do you like to do when your not writing, hobbies etc? I collect vinyl LPs. I love record shopping and collecting. It is my greatest passion outside of writing. I probably have about 500 LPs ranging from old country to punk rock and everything in between. I also love to cook and make most of the meals we eat at home. Cooking for me is therapeutic.
14/ How long on average does it take you to write a book, what is your schedule? My first book took me about 3-4 months and I was hammering away at it. I wrote upwards of 9 hours a day and just flew through it. My poetry books are written over time so the hard part is collecting them into a book which takes a few months to arrange, rewrite and edit them.
15/ What is your favourite positive saying? “Find what you love and let it kill you.” ― Charles Bukowski
16/ Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your books? Oh I have no idea, my first book was about me so that is weird to think about a. My poetry books have no main character. If I could write a script for an specific actor it would probably be for Jason Lee.
17/ Who did your fabulous book covers? My first book was designed by a friend named Sean Akers who took a photo I captured and made the cover. My new book cover was made by a local Harrisburg artist named John Saurman.
18/ What is your favourite movie and why? My favorite movie is probably The Big Lebowski. It is hilarious, a great story and has amazing characters in it. To me it is a perfect film that I culd watch over and over. It is comedy gold and so quotable.
19/ Where can you see yourself in 5 years time? In five years I will be 43 years old and hopefully writing books and touring around doing speaking and readings. That is my goal.
20/ Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I would love to meet Dave Grohl of Nirvana/Foo Fighters fame. He is a inspiration to me as a song writer, musican and just a super cool dude. I think we would have a lot to talk about.
21/ What is your favourite takeaway food? I love Thai food but I also love some good old Southern Fried Chicken.
Where can you be reached? On Twitter at @Jeremyritch or at www.jeremyritch.com
Facebook page: facebook/jeremyritch
Many thanks for your wonderful interview.