Interview with John Paul Ried, author of “Reckless Ambitions”

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?

I grew up playing many different sorts of fantasy role playing games, FRPG’s, but Advanced Dungeons and Dragons was by far my favorite for decades. Over many years, I developed my fantasy world into the Palamaran continent and beyond. With over forty years of adventuring notes, stories and adventures, I finally decided to make good use of all my materials.

When did you decide to write books?

Way back in 2006, I wrote on a whim a short story set in my Fantasy World. I mixed it in with my other papers until April of 2012. A new player in my AD&D campaign named Laura Thompson stumbled across the short story I wrote way back in 2006. She loved it and asked me “where the rest of it was?” I had to confess I had not written more and she implored me to continue writing. Behind every great man, there is a great woman nagging…opps… urging him on.

What does it take to be an author?

Follow through and loving your subject. Sometimes I work very hard for my job staring at a computer and typing. I must really love Palamar to do the same when I want to relax after a long day at work.

What is Reckless Ambitions about?

Reckless Ambitions is really a love story within a highly political setting. In the Palamaran continent, magic spells, mythical monsters, psionics and capricious deities are tangibly real and people are using everything they can to achieve true power during a civil war. There should be something for everyone in it.

What do you feel is your greatest area of strength as a writer?

My historical background (Two of my Three Masters Degrees) along with my love and many experiences with Fantasy Role-Playing Games, give me endless topics to write about. So far, I have never had writers block.

Are you working on a sequel? If so, how many books will be in the series?

I have two sequels in print from my first book. “Capricious Deities: The Medford Family Chronicles Volume 2,” and “Pivotal Ruckus: The Medford Family Chronicles Volume 3.” Am actually working on Book 4 now.
Do you base your characters on people you know?

Yes and no. Sometimes I see characters in movies or TV say wonderful lines or make points. I try to paraphrase them when possible and I try to rearrange items so no one could guess where my characters come from. One character may have six or seven inspirations from many sources.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I try to set where I am going with main climaxes. Then I let ideas take me places.

What inspires you to write?

Like most writers, I am eager to share all of my fantastic stories, FRPG adventures and enjoy encouraging readers to think. Writing is the surest way to immortality. Someday, perhaps two hundred years from now, some intern at the Library of Congress will stumble across my books during refiling or computerizing and say, “Hey, these books look fun.” He or she might just refile them but for at least one instant two hundred years after my death, my writings will live again.

How often do you write?

As often as I can. Thank goodness for computers where I can delete, rearrange, redesign and edit at will.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

Finding the best words to express ideas, setting and descriptions. My publisher does not like “information dumping,” when I love it. I also choose my words carefully to generate the right mood in my readers. Using a thesaurus during my writing is essential.

Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long do they usually last?

As I said above, one reason I do not get writers block is I have almost endless stories I can use from my own Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or other FRPG adventures. And sometimes I bring in social, political, religious, historical, hysterical, sexual, economic and military issues so I have so far been blessed without writer’s block. Using history too keeps the story going.
Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?

Yes – find history books that you avoided reading in high school. Reading these books as an adult can inspire wonderful literary scenes as any writer may say to themselves “That would be a cool fit for a scene in my work now.”
What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?

As I said above, writing books is the way to immortality. Put into words what is important to you and your readers hopefully will appreciate your message. This is how to get sold.
What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

Sadly, people judge books by their covers. Good titles and books will always get potential readers to try reading a few pages. If some readers lack the intelligence or imagination and stop reading after a few pages, then to hell with them. Those truly enlightened readers will enjoy every syllable, word, thought and experience you share with your books and they will eagerly watch for your next sequels. My books will always have at least one lovely lady on the cover and the image will be from one of the scenes in the book. Some women may scream “Ooh that is sexist,” but when one is writing for a mass audience who still is mostly men, I call it good marketing.

Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?

Almost, I read CS Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia,” series as a boy along with JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Had to get used to British idioms and got more out of these books as I grew up. I still reread these regularly and always learn something new that I did not notice earlier.

Are there any books that you are currently reading and why?

Been reading the 2017 Marvel comic book issues of Doctor Strange. I have always been a fan of Doctor Strange and sometimes anything I read can give me an idea for a character, scene or situation in my books.

Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

Yes, I am writing book four of my Palamaran fantasy series and am planning a paranormal wild western series as well. Book Four’s working title is “Academic Mayhem: The Medford Family Chronicles Volume 4.” My paranormal wild western will involve a gunslinger who finds himself involved with a succubus demon but strangely enough, the succubus will love and not want to harm him. None of my books are technically “erotica”: but a little sex is good for the body, soul and even provides great humor.

It is often believed that almost all writers have had their hearts broken at some point in time, does that remain true for you as well?

Yes – most writers who attempt any romance without experiencing love, triumph, tragedy and broken hearts, will never be able to write convincing stories. One has to love, lose and recover before one can share their own experiences through writing. My humble opinion.

Who are your books mostly dedicated to?

My books are dedicated to all “Fantasy Junkies,” everywhere who truly enjoy and appreciate fantasy swords and sorcery stories. I also acknowledge those who help and inspire me to write as well. I may be guilty of many sins but ingratitude is not one of them. Anyone who helps me and reads my books is always aces with me.

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