Born in Simcoe, Ontario in 1965, I grew up and still live in Cambridge, Ontario. I started writing around 1974, a bored kid looking for something to spend his long summer days. My hobby of reading “The Hardworking Boys,” inspired me on a sweltering summer afternoon, when my best friend and I thought, “We could write a book.” And that’s what I did.
As my vision expands, so does my writing. ‘Star Wars’ inspired me to write a 600-page novel about outer space, which caught the attention of one particular teacher, Mr. Woodley, who encouraged me to keep writing.
While visiting a local bookstore, the owner introduced me to Stephen R. Donaldson and Terry Brooks. My life as a writer has changed forever.
At 17 years old, I left high school to enter the working world to raise my first son. For the next twenty-two years, I worked as a delivery man at a local bakery. At the age of 36, I went back to high school to finish my education. After graduating with honors at the age of thirty-nine, I joined the local police department and worked for 12 years in the provincial court system.
At the beginning of 2017, I quit my job at the police station to pursue my passion for writing full-time. With the help and support of my lovely wife Caroline and our 5 children, I have now fulfilled my childhood dream.
Richard H Stephens Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Richard H Stephens an epic fantasy author writing magical books in my ever-expanding Soul Forge Universe.
Richard H Stephens How many hours a day do you write?
I’m generally in front of my computer for 6 hours a day, but after dealing with social media, interviews, editing, and everything else that happens behind the scenes, I am lucky to get 3 solid hours in.
Richard H Stephens How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I Richard H Stephens have several and they will remain that way. They’re the manuscripts I wrote in my youth before I discovered my love of fantasy.
Richard H Stephens How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Being a full-time writer, I’m able to write three, 400-page books, or two, 600-page books a year. Since publishing my first book in September of 2017, I now have 13 in print, with 2 more set to release in 2022.
Where did you get the idea for your recent book?
While writing the dragon series, ‘Legends of the Lurker,’ one of my characters mentioned a 700-year-old elf queen in passing. I was so enamoured with that idea that I knew at once I had to write the story of the rise of this elf queen and how she became so instrumental in the rise of the clandestine sect of dragon riders know as ‘Windwalkers.’
How did you develop your plots?
My plots develop themselves. Though I always know where the storyline will end up, I never know how I’m going to get there. That’s up to my character. I simply push them out the front door and discover the world through their eyes.
Richard H Stephens How do you select the names of your characters?
They normally just come to me, but the odd time I research different names to suit a certain individual. While naming, Cassava, the Assassin Queen of Aldebaran, I spent hours looking up poisonous plants and animals, cross-referencing to see if they have been used by other writers, or found in video games. I eventually happened upon the root vegetable, cassava. Eaten raw, it contains naturally occurring forms of cyanide, which suited the assassin queen quite nicely.
For the series, ‘Legends of the Lurker,’ the main character’s name is a combination of my daughter’s name, Rebecca, and my wife’s name, Caroline—thus, Reecah was born.
Also, as a way to give back to my fans, I invite them to try their hand at naming a dragon in my universe. If I choose one of their names, I thank them in the forward matter of my books.
What is your favorite childhood book?
As a younger child, my favorite books were Franklin Dixon’s Hardy Boys series. They were the gateway into my love of reading and writing.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m writing book 3 in the Highcliff Guardians, Windwalker. As previously mentioned, it’s part of the story chronicling the rise of the elf queen.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Before I published my first book in late 2017, I never knew any other authors, but while struggling with setting up an account with Amazon, I reached out to an author group on Facebook for help. I was amazed by the help I received from the Indie author community. Since then, I have come to know many talented writers and now spend weekends with one such author, David M. Kelly, and his wife—enjoying each other’s company and attending various book shows together.
Richard H Stephens What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Be yourself. Don’t try to be Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. The world already has one of them. What the world needs is one of you.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Putting my wild imagination on paper (screen) and realizing that there are people in the world who actually enjoy what comes out of my convoluted mind.
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Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Windwalker is set to come out in the summer of 2022, and the fourth installment in the Highcliff Guardians, When Legends Rise, is tentatively scheduled for the end of 2022
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
Readers can find me through my website: www.richardhstephens.com
They can also find me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/RichardHughStephens/
And follow me on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17161170.Richard_H_Stephens
What do you want to say about our website?
I appreciate being able to share my writing journey with your subscribers. Sites like yours are an amazing boon to authors who are trying to get their works on the world’s stage. Thank you.