Blondes, Books, and Bourbon is a collection of short stories that we will be learning about over the next week. Each day is featuring one of these stories.
Today’s Featured Story is:
R.M. Ridley lives with his wife on a small homestead in Canada, raising chickens and sheep. He has been writing stories, both long and short, for three decades, the themes of which range from the gruesome to the fantastical.
As an individual who suffers from severe bipolar disorder, Ridley is a strong believer in being open about mental health issues and uses his writing to escape when his thoughts become too wild.
Wendell (Book 1, 2014) Blondes, Books, and Bourbon (anthology,
2015) Bindings and Spines (Book 2, 2015)
anthologies: “The Case for Custody” in Shades and
Shadows: a Paranormal Anthology, and
“Charon’s Obol” in Legends and
Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions.
Q&A WITH THE AUTHOR:
concept for your short stories? Which of the stories was the easiest to write
and which was the most difficult?
writing comes from my Muse, I can’t construct a story myself. From my
perspective, I don’t create my tales – I just record them. Now doesn’t that make me sound crazy? But it’s true
– the majority of the stories I write, are idea’s that come to me as snippets
of conversations, or little scenes that play out in my head as images. My
challenge is to turn those into words that capture what I ‘see’.
‘The Ties that Bind’ was the hardest story to write, as I wanted a thread that
connected it to the next novel, ’Bindings & Spines’ and yet allowed the
story to stand all its own. That made for a challenge that I truly enjoyed.
to write was probably, ‘Sins of the Father’. Being the first story written in
that world, I had no restrictions, no rules, and no history. I didn’t have to
keep anything straight, remember details, or worry about contradicting myself.
Of course, when I wrote it, I had no idea that it would spawn so many other
short stories, and novels.
name some of your other published works?
Wendell – first White Dragon Black novel
Library, Volume Three – ‘Blink the Blood Away’
Talisman Magazine, Volume 1 Issue 4 – ‘Pigeon Pete’
Wellness: Real Stories From Survivors – ‘Ceaseless Cycles’
3. What is your preferred writing genre?
paranormal / urban fantasy author mainly, but I cut my teeth with horror, and
that will always have a dark spot in my heart. I’m sure my mind will churn out
some further grisly morsels yet.
4. And preferred reading genre?
to reading, I’ll take just about any sort of spec-fic, as long as it’s well
written. Sci-fi, horror, fantasy, alt-history – give me a well told story, and
I’m yours for the duration.
5. What are your top 3 favorite books?
awful question that is to ask of any book lover, these are three I certainly
always come back to, both physically, and in my mind:‘The Dark is Rising’ by Susan Cooper was my favourite book as a child, and it
still ranks in the top three.
‘Snow Crash’ by Neal Stephenson was an amazing journey meshing cyber-punk,
ancient myth, and philosophy and thus must have a place here.
be Flying’ by Charles de Lint, in many ways is one of my favourites of his
works. There is a darkness to it that really appealed to me and it stepped away
from some of the better known characters and giving a fresh view into an odd
6. Do you have any particular writing habits?
ones? I try to get my writing done at the beginning of the day. After enough
coffee to find words, I sit down and write what my Muse deigns to share with
me. That way, no matter what else the day throws at me, I have got the
important part completed.
7. Do you have a playlist that you created while writing your story?
definitely. It grows and shrinks every so often, as songs no longer seem
pertinent to the world, or I find new meaning in songs that inspire me. I also
have subsets for the different moods Jonathan goes through and, of course, one
for fight scenes.
8. Panster or plotter?
Absolutely Panster! If I even try to
plan a chapter ahead, the entire train of thought comes to a painful screeching
halt and I’m left, chin in hand, staring at a black page, listening to the
9. Advice for writers?
are two things that I would recommend, one is easy and the other sounds hard,
but is actually just a change of mindset. First advice is a standard – Just
Write. Get it down, and don’t look back until you’ve told the story. The second
thing is – Learn to Love Edits. It sounds impossible, but editing is just
writing from a different angle. It is the same process, same creativity, same
weaving of words but you are doing it from outside the box instead of inside.
10. What’s up next for you?
now, my editor, McKenna Gardner, who worked wonders with my first novel,
‘Tomorrow Wendell’ and acts of magic to get, ‘Blondes, Books & Bourbon’
together, is going to show up with a red pen, and a cattle prod. This will be my cue that she intends to help
me get the second White Dragon Black novel, ‘Bindings & Spines’, ready for
publishing. Everyone should take a minute and thank McKenna for making these
works exist, by the way.
– TV show – Doctor Who. I mean ALL Doctor Who; not just the new, not just the old. Doctor Who.
– Comic book character – Death from Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’
– Movie – Casablanca. Is there any other possible answer?
– Candy bar – Big Turk. I mean, how can you say ‘No’ to Turkish delight and chocolate?
– Junk food – White Chocolate. No, wait, ice cream. No, Gin. No, gummy bears. Coffee?
– Place you visited – I haven’t traveled much, or very far. The trip to Wales, my mothers country of birth, was taken when I was young but even so it floats in my dreams always.
– Restaurant – The mom and pop diner, in the small town where I live. They have big inexpensive breakfast served all day, and burgers that just hit the spot every time.
– Island – Roke. There are, I’m sure, many wonderful ones out there but I take Roke as my choice.