The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
R.L. Parker: I’m forty-six years old, and I spent most of the last twenty-eight years focused on an IT career and building my family. I always dreamed of being an author, but sometimes you take the opportunities you’re given and just run with them. I always used to tell my wife that I was living vicariously through her, since it didn’t seem I would ever get a chance to follow my true passion. That passion is storytelling. I came up with the concept for my fictional world and characters all the way back in 1993, and they’ve grown and festered in my mind ever since. Finally, my wife got tired of hearing me talk about how depressed I was to not be writing and kicked me in the pants. Which brings me here today.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
R.L.: In Raven’s blood will destiny bathe, to bring forth what must come…
IBB: Where do you like to write?
R.L.: In my favorite recliner inside my home office located in Richmond, Virginia. I’ve written in other locations, but I just don’t get as much accomplished.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
R.L.: Music through earbuds to cut out background noise and distractions from my wife, kids, and pets.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
R.L.: The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov; The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman; The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
R.L.: Running my fictional world as a game setting for pen & paper roleplaying. I did most of my initial worldbuilding through those game sessions and learned how to assume personalities on the fly as I controlled non-player characters. That whole process fostered a great ability to do discovery writing, and shift into the mindset of characters to let them drive my scenes.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
R.L.: First and foremost, I love my world, my characters, and my stories and I want to reach as many readers as I can so that they can experience those creations. Second to that, I’d like to eventually make enough money to live on, so I can write full time.
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
R.L.: It’s hard to pick a single review because all of my beta readers provided such great feedback. At the end of the day, having my beta readers all beg for more was enough of a review for me. However, if I had to pick one at the drop of a hat it’d be this one from L.A. Cousins III:
“War, betrayal, murder, conspiracy, a rising darkness, an ancient evil, and a world-ending threat -and that’s just in the first 10 pages-. R.L. Parker’s Bathed in the Blood of Ravens is an exhilarating tale of a teenager’s quest for vengeance against dark forces. It will take more than just skill to drive back the coming evil and defeat the scourge of his family. He will need friends, forbidden magic, and a very special weapon to face the dangers ahead. I can honestly say I didn’t want the story to end, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.”
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
R.L.: Marketing. Plain and simple, the author mind isn’t predisposed to selling their own work.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
R.L.: Repetitive re-reads and self-edits in ProWritingAid, as well as constant feedback from proofreaders during the writing process. It’s better to get feedback early and often, in my opinion, than to wait until the end when you consider your work complete.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
R.L.: The editor needs to be in sync with the author, and capable of working within the author’s voice. This means not every editor is a good fit for every author, because we all have a different voice. And just because big-name-author-a did something a certain way, doesn’t mean every author wants to regurgitate what they did to emulate their success.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
R.L.: I would love to shake their hand, regardless of their view of the book. I’m not trying to please everyone. I had a story, I told a story. If you enjoy my story, I’m your fan. If you dislike it, then at least you gave it a shot. That’s enough for me.
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
R.L.: Worry about developing your story and characters first and foremost. Don’t concern yourself with tropes, or formulas, or prescribed writing techniques. Focus on what matters. At the end of the day, readers want to be taken along for a ride. If you focus on doing that, you’ll feel more rewarded in your writing. The more comfortable and happy you are with your own work, the better your writing will be.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
R.L.: Bathed in the Blood of Ravens is book 1 of 5 in A Destiny of Blood & Magic, which is the first series in 3 that I plan to write to establish the fictional world of Ayrelon. So, as of right now I have 10 novels ahead of me, which I know the main plot and characters for already, and who knows how many surrounding short stories and novellas. I have my hands full.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
R.L.: I got lucky, really. I’d had a general concept in mind for over a decade, and was really concerned about finding a good artist that I could afford to do the work. I joined a writer’s discord and met a wonderful artist named Charlotte Mallory. We connected and went back and forth on ideas and concepts for several days, and eventually, she took the ball and ran with it. I sent her what I had completed of the novel at the time as inspiration. I am floored by what she accomplished and am dead set on her being my artist for the rest of the series. I get compliments every time I show it off.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
R.L.: I used to read constantly. Mostly Fantasy, with a smattering of Sci-Fi and Horror. I was very career-focused for a long time, however, and used my limited free time for socialization. I think the last thing I read for pleasure was Isaac Asimov’s entire Foundation series, which took about a week. I’m pretty sure that took place five or six years ago. So, once I’m no longer working all day and writing all night, I have some catching up to do.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
R.L.: Two people stand out to me, and it’s because I feel like both of them put their heart and soul into their creations. One is unknown, and the other just isn’t getting the recognition that she’s due.
First is Charlotte Mallory, my cover artist. She is both amazing at what she does, and amazing to work with. She cares about her product and making your vision come to life. She’s very engaging, and just an all-around pleasant person to know.
Second is Kristina Parker, my wife. She runs a fiber arts business (https://kpknitcraft.com) where she not only creates but goes out and educates others on how to do what she does. While she has a small local following, it’s extremely hard to gain traction in a market where creativity, quality, and passion often go unnoticed. Also, she has been a huge inspiration to me, and very supportive of my writing efforts. She was also a brutally honest editor when I needed one.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
For more on R.L. and his writing, please do visit him at: