What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Richard Levesque. I was born near Montreal, Quebec but grew up in Southern California where I still live.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I decided at about 12 years old that I wanted to do this. I read a lot, and when I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs it triggered something in me. I think I wrote my first novel at 13. Horrible stuff, but you have to start somewhere.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
I entered a short story in the Writer's Day Festival at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, and it won first place. That was when I realized I might really have something more than just a good imagination.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published? Yes. Back in the 1990s I had a manuscript I was very happy with and sent queries out to publishers. One asked for the whole MS but rejected it. I backed off for a several years, focused on teaching, and then started again in 2005, this time looking for an agent. That took about a year, maybe more, but I finally found someone willing to work with me. She sent my books out to big and small publishers, but no one was willing to close the deal. When my agent decided that she wasn't as strong in science fiction as she had thought, we parted ways, and after looking for another agent for a while, I decided to self-publish.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yes, I'm an English professor at Fullerton College. I've been teaching at various colleges since 1990 and have been at Fullerton since 1999.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
About 9 months. I usually get the first draft written in about 3 months, then do some light revision before giving it to trusted readers. Once I get their feedback, I revise and polish for a few more months and then it's done.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Take Back Tomorrow was more challenging than Strictly Analog since it's a period piece and required research to make 1940 Los Angeles come to life. Also, my agent had some concerns with the ending of the version I sent her. Addressing her concerns required major revision, not just of the ending, but of everything leading up to it to make the new ending make sense.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I'll be doing more science fiction and urban fantasy. I have one urban fantasy ready to go but want to put a little space between it and Strictly Analog even though they're appealing to different audiences. I have a couple other things planned--a YA apocalypse novel and another science fiction novel set in the 1920s.
What genre would you place your books into? Science fiction, but there are definitely elements of mystery at work in most of my books.
What made you decide to write that genre of book? I've always enjoyed science fiction as well as hard-boiled stories about LA in the 30s and 40s, so it just seemed like a natural to blend those two. Even though Strictly Analog is set in the future rather than the
past, it still has those noir-ish elements of the kinds of books I really enjoy.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
There's no one particular source. Conversations about golden age science fiction with my students started me thinking about Take Back Tomorrow. And Strictly Analog grew out of my thinking about advances in digital
technology--sort of a "what if?" I had a short story called "Walk a Mile" published in Lissette's Tales of the Imagination. The genesis of that one came when I was buying gas early one morning and just got the
image of an old pick-up truck limping in on a flat tire. I didn't knowwhat else to do with it, and then more than a year later the rest of the story just came to me.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know? Yes, I always have my wife read drafts. She reads a lot, both in my genre and out, and she knows what she likes and is able to tell me how my books work on her. There are other people as well. I always make sure there's someone I run a novel by, not always the case with short stories.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I just got a review for Strictly Analog that blew me away. The reader had just finished the book and was feeling sad that it was over, was already missing the characters. That's high praise as far as I'm concerned since those are the feelings I have about the books I have the strongest connections to.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
Titles I sometimes struggle with, and they're often things I try out on my beta readers. I designed the cover for Take Back Tomorrow myself with my wife's input--she's a much more visual person than I am. For Dead
Man's Hand and Strictly Analog, I turned to my good friend Mark Walsh,who's a graphic artist, musician, and game designer. I caught him in between freelance gigs, and the results have been tremendous.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I plot things out before I start the first draft. I have a long commute, and when I'm getting ready to write something I just turn off the radio and let the story ideas run through my head until it all comes together.
How do you market/promote your books?
On Facebook and also on my website/blog at www.richardlevesqueauthor.wordpress.com. I have also reached out to bloggers to review my work, and just made a nice connection with a GoodReads book club.
Where can readers follow you?
Your Blog Details?
Your Web Site?
Your Facebook page?
Your Goodreads Author page?