Many thanks to Richard Hardie for supplying author pics and book cover shots. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes, as was the photo of Richard Hardie at the Book Fair at The Hilt in 2023. Other images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos. Authors Reach logos taken from previous CFT articles (again thanks to Richard for those).
Back in February, I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard Hardie about his forthcoming book, Remember, Remember, the third in his Temporal Detective Series.
The series is aimed at Young Adults. I am glad to say that many of us who no longer quality in that category, and have been excluded for some time, also find these books a fantastic and enjoyable read. One of the joys of Young Adult fiction is that it makes an excellent gateway into adult fiction – and that gateway can work both ways!
Remember, Remember is now out in Kindle and paperback formats. The launch day is this coming Friday (1st December) starting at 1.00pm.
The blurb for Remember, Remember is below.
Tertia, Unita, and their boyfriends’ holiday plans are ruined by the mysterious Mr North, from the Federal Bureau of Infinity, as they start on a time travelling adventure that takes them to 19th century America and 17th century London where they get mixed up in one of the most famous conspiracy plots.
Now over to Richard. Welcome back to Chandler’s Ford Today, Richard.
1. Richard, many congratulations on Remember, Remember coming out. What have you found to be the biggest challenges/joys about writing series fiction?
Many thanks, Allison! To be honest, the biggest challenge is remembering what happened in the previous books, as well as how the characters think and talk. For that reason, I read the first two books in the series every year. I suppose a greater challenge should be trying to keep the science part of the fiction realistic and believable … though for some quirky reason, that’s never bothered me. As to the joys, I love writing fiction and especially fantasy, because the world is literally yours to explore … prove me wrong!
2. Where/when will you be having launch events? Will these be in person, online, or a mixture of both and where can people find out more?
Good questions, because I’m never sure of the best way to launch. When you finish a book and publish it, exploring the optimum way of promoting the launch jumps out at you as a surprise that shouldn’t be one.
The Kindle and paperback versions were available for pre-sale from 25th November and available for purchase soon after that.
There will be a Facebook launch which everyone is invited to join.
Allison: Richard tells me this launch will be today, Friday, 1st December starting at 1.00 pm.
Richard: There’ll be quizzes, appropriate music and lots of giveaways and prizes. Other well-known authors will be taking part.
I’ll also be signing books in local bookshops, though details still have to be arranged.
If anyone would like a signed and dedicated copy, especially as a Christmas present for someone, then they can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
People can always find out more about me and my books at www.rhardie.com
Remember Remember is available on Amazon as either a Kindle, or paperback
Authors Reach is in the process of setting up a purchase page on its website
Allison: Or people can contact Richard by emailing him on email@example.com (many thanks, Richard, for sharing this). Richard tells me that if possible he will deliver books locally or, if not, post them for an extra £2.00 but do contact him for further information.
3. As well as being an author, you run Authors Reach. Can you bring CFT up to date with what Authors Reach has been up to recently?
Authors Reach is now six years old and was set up originally as a cooperative with five like-minded authors to help each other especially in promotion. We mostly had different publishers and we all felt our publishers were doing very little for us, but that they were taking a large amount of our royalties. I decided to turn Authors Reach into a limited company, probably selfishly. However two of the original group joined me and we became a proper publisher.
We had accounts with Nielsens for ISBNs and title registration, with Gardners Books for distribution (which also gave us access to Waterstones), with Clays for printing and built up relationships with both chain and independent bookshops.
We now have twelve authors and will probably take on no more than one or two a year. We still don’t take any of an author’s royalties, but we do now charge £150 a year (a fee that the founders also pay) which covers the cost of running the company and doing some promotion, both social media and advertising. Three are now three directors, myself as MD, then Shani Struthers and Francesca Tyer as co-directors.
4. I often ask writers of series this and will ask it again now! How do you keep on track of characters as they develop through a series? Some writers keep spreadsheets or records of some sort to ensure they don’t suddenly give a character blonde hair when previously they’d been a brunette etc! How do you manage things here?
I have to be honest, I read the first two books in the series once a year, just to remind myself how the characters think and how they act in given situations. The great Terry Pratchett told me once that he had a portfolio with the biographies of the top 200 characters in his Discworld series.
I probably have 20 to 25 main characters, of which around 10 appear in all three books in the series, so not so much of a problem for me. I sometimes have to keep a timeline chart of where characters are at any given time and what they’re doing, especially in Remember Remember which was more complicated.
5. Did you find it challenging to get back to writing about the Temporal Detective Series after a gap following Trouble with Swords? I know Authors Reach has understandably taken up a lot of your time here so how easy or otherwise is it to find the balance between writing and working on Authors Reach?
Yes, it was a bit of a challenge. Firstly, I had to decide how much time had elapsed between Trouble With Swords ending and the start of Remember Remember. I decided that they should follow on immediately from each other, so Trouble with Swords finished with Tertia, Unita and the boys looking forward to a well-earned holiday and Remember Remember starts with them looking through brochures.
As to balancing Authors Reach against writing the third book … well, setting up and running Authors Reach took up far more time than I had anticipated, but it had to be done. In fact I’d written the first 60 odd pages three years ago and came back to it late last year, spasmodically at first and then the story fell into place nicely. Francesca Tyer now takes on some of the load of running Authors Reach, which gives me more time to write … and sleep!
6. Now Remember, Remember involves two different timelines. How did you keep track of what was happening in each one? I would imagine there would need to be an outline for both of them. Certainly that would be how I’d do it but what were the challenges of writing two timelines like this?
I actually found that quite easy. Firstly, I thought up a rough plotline involving four different times in which one central villain could dominate. I then decided what historical characters I would like to include and how they could help or hinder the villain, as well as the Temporal Detective Agency.
I did have one problem, and that is that Tertia tells the story in the first person, so therefore she can only know what’s going on wherever she is. As she can’t be in two places at the same time. Having said that, she does manage to do that twice in Remember Remember!
7. How much research do you do? I know this is the how long is a piece of string question but most books need at least some research and yours involve history so I imagine a fair amount of reading up on the historical time periods you are using would be needed. (I would see that as a perk by the way. I love reading history, factual or fictional).
I love reading about history too, so I do a fair amount of research about the historical characters I use and the time periods they live in. However, in my books I tend to adapt historical events, but never to the point of disbelief, and always so they could have happened the way I portray them. Adapting history is so much fun, if it’s done properly!
8. What would you say have been the highlights of your writing journey so far? How have you coped with the inevitable set backs etc?
I would say I’ve been very lucky really. An independent publisher in America took Leap of Faith and published it as an ebook. But I wanted it as a paperback and to see it in shops so I looked for an agent and after a couple of months I found one who did a great job of editing for me. In the end we couldn’t agree on a few points so we went our different ways, but we remain friends.
A month later I approached a small independent publisher who agreed to take on Leap of Faith as both a Kindle and paperback. I soon realised (as most authors do) that I was doing all the work in distribution agreements, promotion, arranging signing and shop stocks.
I then started to think that if I could do all that, what was a publisher doing that I couldn’t. The answer was not much. So Authors Reach became an embryonic reality, and then a company. The biggest setback was the pandemic and the closure of schools, shops and libraries. That hit Authors Reach hard but we muddled through!
9. What would be your three top tips for a writer approaching publication day with regard to marketing, networking?
Firstly, know your target market. If it’s YA Fantasy, don’t aim for shops and media that specialises in Adult literature. There are plenty of shops that have a good handle on the YA reader and there are social media advertising sites that do the same.
Secondly, don’t leave things until the last minute. Plan ahead and make a list of how you’re going to promote your book. If a Facebook launch is top of the list, don’t stop there, because that launch only lasts one day and people have short memories.
Thirdly, advertise at a reduced rate on one of the social media advertising sites like Bookbub, Book Gorilla, or bookrunes. They’ll promote your book for a week to their audience of thousands for a fee.
10. Do you have a writing routine or does this vary from day to day? I do have one and base mine around when my blog posts, including for CFT, are coming out. It helps me make the most of my time, freeing up the rest for fiction and marketing. What have you found works best for you?
I used to. I used post a blog on my website at 6.00 pm every Friday without fail. I did that for five years and frequently the post was an interview, often with an international author. It’s amazing how approachable they are!
Since starting Authors Reach my writing has been more spasmodic and has sometimes stopped for months at a time. However if a plot logjam occurs and I suddenly see a way round for me and characters, then I’ll write for four or five hours a day.
I always write in my study, sitting on the settee with my laptop, and often with Oscar my cocker spaniel.
11. Legends, such as the Arthurian ones, are a great basis for stories. The themes from them will always resonate. Is there a legend you would like to bring into fiction which you have not tackled yet? If so, which would you pick and why?
Legends are so difficult to work with, mainly because people know them so well. As a result Camelot is the only one I’ve worked with and adapted. I’ve made Merlin a good looking, but well disguised woman, Arthur is a hunk, but a bit dim, Galahad is a celebrity chef and restaurant owner, Gawain becomes a village squire in South Wales. It all make sense and could logically be correct.
Other legends? Probably Beowulf, but that would be tricky.
I prefer to take historical events and adapt them, but as to which one will come next … you’ll have to wait and see!
12. What do you think have been the biggest challenges for writers and publishers given the Covid pandemic? Personally, I think the pandemic proved the need for great, escapist books, but there have been issues such as how to hold launches etc.
As I said earlier, the fact that shops, schools and libraries were all closed was a major challenge. The only authors that continued successfully were those whose fame directed readers to Amazon. However, that’s a rarity. The challenge was therefore to go out to readers and not wait for them to come to you. I used local social media and offered to sign and dedicate any of my books and deliver them locally to people’s houses. It meant that lots of kids had a surprise present on Christmas Day, thanks to the pandemic!
13. Last but not least, what is next on the writing agenda for you?
Probably a book of short stories, still in the Temporal Detective Agency series. I’ve already written seven of the stories. I need a couple more and then a linker.
Often someone’s first reading memory will be of a favourite book from years back in what we would now recognize as either the children’s category or the Young Adult one. (The latter category didn’t exist when I would’ve appreciated it though I suspect books like the Famous Five would now come into it).
So I salute all who write for the younger end of the market because encouraging a love of reading for them through books designed for them will help keep them reading and move on to adult fiction.
Many congratulations on your new book, Richard, and for a fabulous interview. Let’s hear it for the YA writers!
Richard: Many thanks, Allison!
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