Wednesday 6 February 2019

A Slice of Cake With... Richard Stephens

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with indie author Richard Stephens.

Born in Simcoe, Ontario, in 1965, Richard began writing circa 1974, a bored child looking for something to while away the long, summertime days. His penchant for reading The Hardy Boys led to an inspiration one sweltering summer afternoon when he and his best friend realized, "Hey, we could write one of those." And so, Richard did. 

As his reading horizons broadened, so did his writing. Star Wars inspired Richard to write a 600-page novel about outer space that caught the attention of a special teacher, Mr. Woodley, who saw his talent and encouraged him to keep writing.

A few years later, Richard visited a local bookstore. The proprietor introduced him to Stephen R. Donaldson and Terry Brooks. Richard's writing life was forever changed. At 17, Richard was forced to leave high school to join the working world to support the arrival of his first born son. For the next twenty-two years he worked as a shipper at a local bakery, struggling to meet the bills and no time to follow his passion for writing.

At the age of 36, Richard, determined to raise his own bar in life, went back to high school to complete his education. Finally, after graduating with honours at the age of 39, he was accepted to the Waterloo Region Police Service, and worked for 12 years in the provincial court system. Over many lunch hours, he donned a headset to drown out the lunchroom distractions and furiously wrote. His children grown, it was now or never.
In early 2017, with the support of his wife Caroline, Richard resigned from the Police Service to pursue his love of writing full-time and now, with so much gratitude to his artistic team (acknowledged in his books) has realized his boyhood dream. 

Richard lives in Cambridge, Ontario with his wife and two cats. Together they have five grown children.

What kind of books do you write?

I like to think I write exciting adventure filled with eclectic characters and breath-taking scenery. Throw in a dash of magic and spice it up with humorous segments while mixing in a generous helping of fantastical creatures and you have the recipe for my stories. There are undercurrents of morality and even the odd Monty Python-ism egg hidden in every book. 

Can you describe your writing why?

I can’t really put a finger on what motivates me. It’s just something I do. A dancer spins and jumps, a musician taps their foot and sings out loud. I think up a character and put them in tricky situations. I watch them try to squirm their way free. Some are successful and continue on in my stories while others, um, let’s say, aren’t so lucky.

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

As the series evolved, a couple of minor characters in book 1, demanded more attention going forward. One of them is a wise-cracking, female archer who always tells it as it is. She wears her heart on her sleeve but is hell in boots if you piss her off. Here she is speaking to a well-respected, quite reserved elder, from Wizard of the North as they set off on a perilous journey:

Sadyra placed one arm around Alhena’s shoulders, and her other, halfway around Olmar’s waist, propelling them forward. “Come on, old man. I think this is the point where you start imparting to us your ancient wisdoms. You know, how things were different back in your day. How our generation doesn’t appreciate the value of hard work and respect, and all that crap.”
Alhena shot her a look.
Olmar’s throaty laugh disturbed the unnatural stillness in The Forke. “Aye, Pops, tell us a story.”
Together the bizarre trio started along the Millsford Road. A young, female archer clad in grey, a giant, bandy-legged sailor whose girth was twice that of the other two combined, and an old man who looked like a wizard.

Tell us about your latest project

The Soul Forge Saga is a series of epic fantasy books that follow the life of the main character, Silurian Mintaka. Growing up, Silurian was the epitome of goodness. He had that uncanny knack of always seeing the good in a situation no matter how dire it became. That point is driven home in Of Trolls and Evil Things. (A stand-alone prequel)

In Soul Forge, 30 years after Trolls, Silurian is a bitter, cantankerous letch. The trilogy is the story of Silurian fighting to save the kingdom that abandoned him, all the while seeking to recapture the light in his soul before he loses it to the darkness forever.
Soul Forge originally started out as a trilogy, but in the interim, I wrote two stand-alone prequels. Neither prequel needs to be read to enjoy the saga as they were meant for my eyes only—a way to discover how life shaped my main characters to act the way they do, but I decided to publish them in the fall of 2017 in an effort to figure out the wacky and wonderful publishing side of being an Indie author.
Soul Forge was released August 21, 2018. The sequel, Wizard of the North, released September 18, 2018, and the last book in the trilogy, Into the Madness, releases, February 12, 2019. 

The two stand-alone prequels, Of Trolls and Evil Things and The Royal Tournament, were released in the fall of 2017.

What is your favourite cake?

CHOCOLATE! With milk chocolate icing and baked in a square pan so there is more icing on the corner pieces. I better get at least two corners. Mmm-mm, and a cold glass of milk or two.

Thanks Richard! You can't go wrong with a piece of chocolate cake - yum!

You can find out more about Richard and his writing on his website and follow him on Facebook.

Join me next week when I'll be having a slice of cake with Joyce Hertzoff.

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop


  1. Thank you Claire for your patience and taking the time to help your fellow authors as they tread the realm of publication.

  2. It was an interesting interview. I admire Claire Buss' attempt to make the world's greatest authors come to the surface and shine.