Richard Nell on his IRDA-Winning Book “Kings of Paradise”

Indie Reader Discovery Award

Kings of Paradise won in the Fantasy category of the 2018 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Richard Nell.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Kings of Paradise. August, 2017

What’s the book’s first line?

Ruka stared at the corpse of the boy he’d killed, and his stomach growled.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

A deformed genius plots vengeance while struggling to survive. A wastrel prince comes of age and finds a power he never imagined. Two worlds are destined to collide – only one can be king.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

A lot of things! The book’s setting is a fusion of a cold, desolate plains (much like Western Canada), and a beautiful, South-East Asian paradise (my wife is from the Phillipines). So that’s definitely a part of it, and she should definitely get some credit. But it’s also a book about the power of ideas – about the burden of history, the human condition, love and hate and friendship and revenge. Whew. Well. It’s a big book.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

There’s two main characters – Kale, and Ruka, and both are pretty distinctive! Ruka is a genius with eidetic memory who even remembers being born. One reader described him as Hannibal Lecter meets Conan the Barbarian, which I thought was pretty good. Kale is a prince who discovers world-changing magic, and he’s a something of a ‘Buddha-like’ or ‘Christ-like’ figure in ways.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

This is a big, dark, thoughtful book that will draw you in and consume you. If you like that sort of thing, grab a drink, and get comfortable.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Tom Hardy would make the best Ruka ever. Steven Yeun (from The Walking Dead) would make a great Kale.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I’ve wanted to write since I was about six years old and my father read me The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. But I didn’t feel I had the discipline or the craft until 2014 (I was 31). When I did, I quit my job, I sat myself down, and started writing fiction full time.

Is this the first you’ve written?

It’s the first full-length novel I’ve published. But I’ve been writing/editing for a decade. I have two shorter novellas published, and another full-length novel coming this year (Kings of Ash – the book after Kings of Paradise).

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I write several hours a day, and spend a few more hours managing social media, marketing, reading, learning, formatting, editing, blogging, etc…

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

The best part is absolutely the freedom and control to do what you want, how you want, for no one except you and your readers. The worst part is that it’s all on you! When you’re the boss, you have absolutely no one and nothing to blame except yourself. You make mistakes, and pay for them. You make bad choices. You don’t get sick days.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Create the absolute best story you can. Even if you find the perfect cover, figure out the marketing, game the algorithms, get a lucky break and find exposure – it won’t last unless you have the craft and the content to back it up. You’re a writer first, and a marketer second. Remember that.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why? 

Basically, yes, with the right publisher. These guys have so much experience, and they can instantly boost your credibility and get you into markets/stores you just can’t as an indie, at least not without a huge amount of money and effort. I think a ‘hybrid’ model of some indie, some published is the right choice for any eclectic writer these days. I actually have never queried an agent or a publisher, I wanted to learn the hard way first.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune? more sex?)

I actually have very simple tastes (I’m from the Canadian prairies, and we’re pretty salt of the earth folk). I write because not writing is intolerable. I probably wouldn’t know what to do with fame or fortune. But I suppose I’ll take more sex, if it’s on the table.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

A strange choice, perhaps, but George Orwell might be my go-to. This was a man who lived his principles, and he also wrote a book that’s still utterly relevant and important. Hard to ask for more than that.


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