Denver Pop Culture Con 2019
Author? Jorge Perez
C.R. Richards, an award-winning author, created the Heart of the Warrior series. This popular series follows two men through a country-threatening civil war. I was fortunate to speak with her during Denver Pop Culture Con 2019.
What makes the horror and dark fantasy genre so appealing to you?
Richards: I’ve been that kid who always loved the classic monster movies. Dracula is my favorite [monster]. Not the sparkly Dracula but the classic Dracula. I’ve just always loved those stories. I love ghost stories too, and when I go out of town, everywhere I go, I would take a ghost hunt or a ghost tour or try to stay in haunted hotels. I think that it is just fascinating and a lot of fun. When I write fantasy or whatever I write, this spooky element of horror always creeps into my books because I am such a big fan of classic horror stories.
Is there a favorite movie or book you have that is in this genre? If so, what is it, and why is it your favorite
Richards: One author’s series who had a big influence on me was Tad Williams and the first book in his series was Dragonbone Chair. In that book, there were fantasy elements and a quest, but Williams took the time to develop the main character. You cared about him; he was almost real. Williams is really good at developing characters like that. I think he is somebody I aspire after, and I try to make my characters true to life rather than superheroes. I go for the character element and who they are as people first.
What inspired you to create the Heart of the Warrior series?
Richards: 99% of my story ideas come from dreams, and in this particular story, I had a dream about a young boy kneeling beside his mother’s grave, and a Spaniard was comforting him. It looked like it was in the 1700s along the Irish coast. Why I dreamed about that? I don’t know. I’ve never been to Ireland either, but I looked into those characters, wrote them down, and thought, “I’m interested; who is the Spaniard? How did the Spaniards get to the coast of Ireland? How did this kid’s mother die? What is their relationship moving forward?” From there, it just exploded and went forward, and it turns out that I made that boy my main character, Seth.
I can imagine that there are stressful times when you hit writer’s block. What do you do for self-care?
Richards: You are so right about self-care! For me, the most stressful time is the final edit. I am doing it for book three right now. I walk daily, walking my dog at Cherry Creek State Park. I get out in nature and quiet. I make sure I meditate, and I make sure I eat right. If you don’t take care of yourself, you are going to wind up sick. I have done that before, where I’ve gotten to the point that I got so worn out that I didn’t enjoy the book release because I was sick. I finally learned my lesson, and the closer I get to the final edit and the book releases, the more I ramp up my exercise and meditation time and try to take breaks throughout the day so I don’t stress myself out.
You’ve said, “One person can be a catalyst for change. Whether it be a hero struggling to find his way or a young woman exploring her power, I hope you see a bit of yourself within their stories. Let them inspire and encourage you to live your dreams despite hardships.” That is a very inspirational quote. For you, what was your catalyst for change, and did it inspire you to be a writer?
Richards: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I come from a family of storytellers, where I got my love for writing and wanting to tell stories. As far as a catalyst for change, I found that I mentor a lot of junior project managers and writers who are just starting. It didn’t occur to me how much of an impact I had as a person being me until I met up with these people again about six months later, and they were so excited because either they had finished their book or they were successful with their project. They will tell me, “You’re the only one who has ever inspired me and encouraged me to try and reach for something difficult.” Helping people empower themselves to be who they want to be and to change into something better it’s a snowball effect: they would go out and help other people, and you never know who you are going to touch, who you are going to reach, just by encouraging somebody with their dreams.
What do you hope your fans take away from reading your books?
Richards: What I want my readers to take away from my stories is that no matter how dark the days seem right now, if we ban together and decide what we want our society to look all-inclusive, we can ban together and make it happen. Even if it’s one, two, or five people that start that inspiring quest, I hope everyone can see they have the potential to help us get where we need to be.
Lastly, what is your favorite food and why?
Richards: Hahahaha! No contest, hamburgers. I love my bacon and cheddar hamburgers.