Tell me a bit about yourself….
I am a 69-year-old retired plastering contractor with an AA in The Administration of Justice. I had hoped to go to law school at one time, but took over the family plastering business instead. We were also in the restaurant business where I met many interesting characters from my novels. I had a shoeshine box and shined the shoes of many drunks and criminals. I also studied drafting and received the high school award for that in my junior year.
What genre/s do you write in?
I am most interested in historical fiction and detective novels. I love to see relationships develop between people.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was a child. I wrote my first novel at around 11 and many poems through high school. I had one published in the school anthology project.
Do you have any published books or articles?
Yes. I have several novels self-published on Amazon and in the Kindle Lending Library. Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took. I am self-published and now trying to promote my writing and find an agent. I have several novels on Amazon and in The Kindle lending library. “The Adventures of the Smith Family” is one of my novels on Amazon. “Sunrise Sunset” is a book of short stories.
Did you use an editor?
Yes. If so who?
Robert Cooper in San Anselmo, Ca.
Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?
I use my nephew for the technical work. The covers are photos taken by my wife from our trips all over the world that fit the story best.
Did you self-publish or get traditionally published?
I am self-published on Amazon and I am in The Kindle lending library. How did this go for you? Just O.K. I am not impressed. I was self-employed my whole working life, so I am used to self-promotion. I hand out cards wherever I go around the world. I have readers coming to my site from many countries. I send emails out in different languages to individuals with different jobs and different age groups.
How do you market your work and promote your brand? (Include links)
I have sent out nearly 12,000 emails around the world to people from all walks of life during the Covid-19 lockdown. My website with the first chapters of each of my novels is at cowboyproductions52.com and I am on Facebook at R.C. Hand. I have been interviewed by several bloggers and podcasters as well. Those interviews are on my website and Facebook page at R.C. Hand.
What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?
Facebook is all that I use at this point. I am going to writer's groups as well.
Do you use an agent?
I am looking for one now.
Do you use paid advertising? If so what?
I advertise on Amazon and pay by click. I have also bought Google Geographic regions for advertising my website and novels. Pay by the click there as well.
Do you have a blog or website?
Yes, cowboyproductions52.com I use my large travel blog to gain readers who then will see my novels. My wife and I have traveled to 91 countries, including North Korea and your country. I am getting about 50 hits per day now.
What inspires you most to write?
I want to help people think and examine their own lives and learn from other people’s mistakes. I want people to see that all things are possible.
What do you do to help with writers' block?
I never suffer from that. I sometimes write two or three different novels at the same time. I am hyperactive and have no problem with ideas popping into my head. I suffer from the opposite of writer's block.
How do you plan your writing and start?
I grab an implement and start to write. I do not use an outline until I have created many characters and have to keep track of them and their relationships to each other and the storyline on a flowchart of sorts.
Is writing your full-time job? If not what else do you do?
I am retired and write every day. I also read every day. I just finished “Islands in the Stream” by Hemingway. I love Mark Twain. I am very physically active. I do not need the money from my writing, thank goodness.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am rereading and rewriting one of my novels, “Grandpa Ernie’s Secrets.” Every time I reread it, I see ways to make it better. It is like a painting. One layer over the last until the picture is finished.
What is your target audience?
Older teens and adults, though I do have some funny children’s stories written and in my vault.
How long does it take you to write a book?
My first book took five years, but I worked on another novel at the same time. It just depends. I just finished writing my new novel, “The Eagle’s Nest.” It took about a year. It is a fun, fictional novel about a mansion built on the California coast by an east coast magnate who has died. His four sons are coming “out west” to settle the estate. The house is filled with great works of art. The story is full of art history and California history and told by the third generation caretaker who is the son of the town doctor. The son is following in his father’s footsteps and is also a doctor in the same practice. Is the house haunted or is that just a clever story and a way to keep the town’s folk and strangers at bay?
When did you first discover you enjoyed writing?
When I was in 6th grade. I was always a voracious reader.
What is your writing schedule look like?
I work every day. Sometimes in the middle of the night after a good dream or after a long nap. I play tennis on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday. I play handball every Thursday. My wife and I volunteered at a hospital on Tuesdays and Thursdays until Covid-19 hit.
What does your family think about you writing?
No one really cares at this point. I work alone in my office and my wife enjoys the quiet time when I am away and occupied. My wife and I are opposites and are therefore attracted to each other but have differing interests as well.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I paint. I play tennis three times a week and handball on Thursdays. I read all sorts of books every day. Right now I am doing research on the CIA. I have a prequel to “Grandpa Ernie’s Secrets” with ten chapters completed. It starts with WW ll and the main character is Ernie’s father. Ernie is my age and his father, who was in WW ll and is my father's age. It will take some research I will place fictional characters in real events of the war.
Where do you get information and ideas for your writing?
The news, my dreams, and my own interests. I am interested in the human condition and the self-destruction of people.
What do you think makes a good story?
Loss, hardship, love, adventure, success, and survival.