Today I got the opportunity to ask author Anton Lee Richards some fun personal questions, and he was quite obliging. Read on…
1. Are you interested in music? Do you play any instrument? And what is your favorite song?
I used to play euphonium in the school band growing up. In my twenties, I started to learn piano and guitar and even tried singing, although I’m really, really, bad at it. I wrote some songs for fun but never got anywhere with it.
So many songs to choose from, but right now I am listening to Madonna’s “Ray of Light” from 1998. So many things going on at the same time in that song that it’s hard to follow, which is why it’s one of my favorites.
2. What do you do when you are not writing? Your other interests?
I love my city, Chicago, and I’m always walking around looking for the next museum exhibit, local theatre, or free concert. I love the energy of this city and just existing in this space is enough entertainment for me.
3. Do you write with music on or do you prefer the silence? Any preferred time of writing?
I was a musician as a child, so I learned how to pay close attention to the details. Whenever I listen to music, I start concentrating on the structure and different timbres, so I can’t listen to it while writing. It’s too much of a distraction.
4. Have you started work on your next book?
Yes, I have! I won’t give away all the details, but I’ll give you a hint: It takes place in a pizza restaurant and it is centered on a group of people trying to save the restaurant. I just cannot write a story that doesn’t center on food. This novel also takes place in Andersonville, and Char, the waitress from “Blueberry Pancakes,” makes a cameo.
5. How does a routine writing day look like? Do you have your own nook to write?
I have a sit-to-stand desk in the living room that is my “nook.” It’s difficult having the desk only four feet away from the TV. I have a lower back problem, so I spend my writing time either standing up or lying down. My first drafts are done with voice dictation to help save my lower back.
6. What is that fun thing about you that is a secret or hardly anyone knows?
Writers often talk about a “plot bunny,” which is an idea that sticks in the writer’s head. I have a “writing bunny,” which is a real-live bunny named Sugar who sits next to my desk when I write. She’s a bit of celebrity herself on Instagram at “Sugar_the_Bun” and is as much of a diva as Marlene is.
7. Any last words at the end of this interview?
At the time I started to turn the tone of “Blueberry Pancakes” away from romance and towards utilizing my humorous side, I learned that the 2018 Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Andrew Sean Greer for his novel “Less.” It’s a fabulously funny novel, but more importantly for me, it gave me the courage to write with humor and not feel guilty about it. I hope that more authors feel confident in using humor in their novels even though it may have been shunned in the past.
Well, this was Anton at his best…
The first part of the review can be read here