I’m SO excited to have Aaron Michael Ritchey here today. He is one of the most hilarious people I’ve never met in person! Yet, even without an in-person connect, I adore him. He’s funny in a way that makes me dizzy. He writes beautifully, thoughtfully. And he’s NEVER short of words. So, if we ever do meet in person, I have the feeling we’d spend hours, days, weeks… talking and laughing. Without further ado, the one, the only… (drum-roll, trumpets blaring, virtual saber sword for Aaron to walk under) Mr. Aaron Michael Ritchey!
Me: What was the first romance or book you read that grabbed you? Who is the author?
AMR: I watched The Young and the Restless and All My Children for decades. Does that count? Loved the Erica Kane, Dmitri, and Edmund love triangle—classic tale of the stable boy versus the brooding lord of the manor. And lots of dark, family secrets.
For fiction, Clan of the Cave Bear, and the sequels, by Jean M Auel. It’s romancy, right? And during my world trip, when I was reading literally anything, I read a romance called Charlie, about a half-Asian British girl. Very Dickens. I can’t remember the author and I couldn’t find it with a google search. Maybe someone can get Super Sasha Summer points by telling me who wrote it. On the world trip I also read Bleak House. It’s like a romance. But with Victorian lawyers. Ankles covered please.
I also read a Danielle Steel. Family Portrait. Ugh. Can someone tell me a better Danielle Steel to read? I’d like to like her. I mean, everyone else does. A recommendation should be worth at least two Super Sasha Summer points.
Me: Is there an author that you get fan-girl crazy over? Have you ever met him/her? Do you want to?
AMR: I got a little of the hero worship for Poe Ballantine. I did meet him, and he was great. Not a romance writer, but straight up literary fiction—his writing is dazzling. Reading The Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire now. It’s brilliant. But yeah, Stephen King, I adore Stephen King. If I did meet him, I would stutter, point and go caveman on him. “You write good. Me want write like you. Me like you.” It wouldn’t be pretty.
Me: What’s your:
- Favorite color? The color of the sky right before dawn. The dark blue of the sky before sunrise, with hope and sunshine on the horizon. I don’t sleep much.
- Favorite season? Fall in Colorado. Spring in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Favorite Hero – movie or book? Gotta say, Darkwolf from the movie, Fire and Ice. The fantasy\sci-fi geeks will know the 1983 animated movie. Other people will shake their heads and wonder. But I love the dark, stoic uber-hero. Like the Clint Eastwood\Man With No Name character in the Sergio Leone westerns. In my next life, I’m totally going to be that. I won’t say much, but when I do talk, people will listen. Now, I prattle on and on. Like now. Stop it. I can’t. You’re making it worse. I know.
- Snack weakness (food or drink)? When I’m eating healthy, I love a kale-berry-chocolate smoothie. When I ain’t eatin’ so good, hot-buttered popcorn in front of the T.V. Those Angel\Buffy shows are real good. Uh huh. Like French-fried taters.
- What’s your Astrological sign? I’m a total Libra. But in my next life? Sagittarius! See the hero question.
Do you write sweet and cuddly or toe-curling steamy lovin’ stories? I write mostly Young Adult, so I’d say cuddly and poetic. I’d like to try steamy since the stereo-type is that men can’t write sex scenes that aren’t either pornography or too cuddly and sweet. I’m old-fashioned. Growing up, when things got hot, the door would close, and it would be left to our imagination. I did like the sex scene in Top Gun, though. I’m old.
Me: What’s on your desk when you write?
AMR: I write outside in the summer, on my back porch, and I have an ashtray, a cigar, a cup of joe, a glass of water, notes from my critique group, a lighter, and paper clips and pens. In the winter, I write at Starbucks. I have a .45 on my table. I live in a bad neighborhood. Kidding. Same as the summer life, except no cigar. Can’t smoke indoors. And that’s good. Keeps me from being a total nicotine addict.
Me: Do you write to music or quiet? If you do write with music, can you share one song that’s significantly impacted this story?
AMR: If it’s quiet, I hear the voices telling me how much I suck. I have to have music. I create playlists for my books. For The Never Prayer, I searched my prodigious music collection for all “angel” songs. And I listened to them over and over. If I hear the song, “Angels From Montgomery” by John Prine, I totally go into Never Prayer mode.
But I was listening to Jeff Beck’s “Amazing Grace”, and I was walking into the gym, and suddenly, I had the climax of my story, where it finally snows on my poor, mountain town of Avalon, Colorado. And I wrote that song into the story. I cry every time I hear it. It’s haunting. And I hope the scene is too.
I could go on. No, I’m prattling. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I’ll stop. You said one song. I put in too many. Stop it. Okay.
Me: What’s your favorite line from your most recent release? Why?
AMR: “I don’t know anything about God, but I do know this. We have to be the angels because heaven is empty.” I love my book, The Never Prayer. My angel is an atheist, well, agnostic, but in the end, because of my heroine, he finds some kind of faith in a higher power. But if we could all live our lives as angels, the world would be a better place.
Me: What’s next? You don’t have to get specifics – but feel free to leave a tantalizing snippet or cryptic hook.
AMR: Oh, I’ve been throwing out hooks. Most of them dull. Let’s recap, but I know either I’ve confused everyone or I’ve driven them away. Come back! I get lonesome sometimes.
The Never Prayer is available from Crescent Moon Press right now! That’s the Angels, Demons, Drug Addicts, and Atheist love story. Gosh, I’m proud of that book.
Next in line is my YA Paranormal, The October Whispers. It’s going through critique now, but I’ll shop it around and see who nibbles. It’s about a broken teenage girl who has to break free from her cage of wounds to help her failing grandmother on a quest. Grandma May wants to her lost love from World War II before she dies. Her love may or may not be a sorcerer-prince from another world. Avril Lavigne’s “How Does It Feel” is the theme song for my young heroine, Miss Elizabeth Meyers.
And I just finished the rough draft of Dandelions, Guns, and Little Lost Souls, which is my Epic YA Steampunk Sci-Fi Western Family Drama. It’s your basic post-apocalyptic, airship cattle-drive with mutants and dysfunctional sisters. Rough draft is 140K so it will take me another couple of years to cut it down to something more readable. And I might have to add\remove a few genres. Listen to the song, “Hell on Heels” by the Pistol Annies to get a feel for it.
Thanks Sasha! Sorry I got windy. Next life, my interview would be one sentence long. But that sentence would be so well crafted, it would blow y’all away. Not this life. More prattling. Did I tell you about the time—
Thanks for the making this interview FUN Aaron! Cannot wait to read your next endeavor. Am currently enjoying The Never Prayer! Get your copy today and then stop by to say hi – he’s a very friendly guy: