Book Tour: Author Interview + Top 10 List - ( Cost of Custody) Blondes, Books, and Bourbon Anthology by R.M. Ridley

We are excited to share this collection of short stories by Author R.M. Riddley! Come join us along this tour as we look over each story and get to know more about this author!

Blondes, Books, and Bourbon is a collection of short stories that we will be learning about over the next week. Each day is featuring one of these stories. Today's Featured Story is:

The Cost of Custody: 

Alvey helps estranged parents rescue their daughter from a terrible fate.

Book Inspiration

‘The Cost of Custody’ was written as a submission for Xchyler Publishing’s open call for their next anthology. It was the first time I had submitted anything involving Jonathan, and I was actually quite surprized when it was accepted into ‘Shades and Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology’. This was the first time the public was exposed to the character who had taken over all my writing time… clearly it was only the beginning.

Author Interview

1.How is this a book only you could write?

Wow – That’s a tough one. Trying to think of an answer makes me feel like a narcissist. I guess my best answer would be that Jonathan’s desire to be left alone, mixed with his need to do right, his need to justify his existence even, despite his vices, and because of them, is something that is sparked by my own understanding of addiction, burden, and metal torment. You have to have walked a few miles in shoes like no one else’s, to understand the gait.

2.What was one of your favourite scenes to write?

One of my favourites, is the scene in ‘The Cost of Custody’ when Ben is firing the gun at the ghul and Jonathan is baptising the child, Rose. I can’t articulate why, but I had fun with that scene.

3.What do you love most about your book?

With this collection of stories, I got to present to readers many facets of my protagonist, Jonathan Alvey. Having different problems to face in each story and how he faces them, allowed me a chance give a broader view of that one character.

4.Who was your favorite character to write? Why?

Well, obviously, Alvey is my favourite character to write - I can’t seem to stop writing him – but other than Alvey, ‘The Blonde’ in ‘The Play’s the Thing’ was such a stereotype femme fatal, I’d have to pick her. Rereading that story just makes me want to write more Raymond Chandler style ‘dames’.

5.Where do you do most of your writing?

I do the great majority of my writing, sitting a small writing desk, in front of a window in my study. It’s a decent sized room, with floor to ceiling bookshelves on two thirds of the walls, and a big soft comfy reading chair in one corner. I used to have a huge desk in the middle of the room, it could have been used to sit six for dinner, but I realized it was just a space to accumulate junk and switched to the current smaller one. Now I feel more focused, and intimate, when I write.

6.What is the easiest and hardest thing about writing?

The easiest thing about writing, for me, is the actual writing. Sitting down and letting the words flow is as easy as breathing. The hardest thing, can be actually getting the chance to do so. Life so often throws things under your feet, to trip you up and land you flat on your face, long before you reach the keyboard.

7. 5 things you wish every aspiring writer would know?

Five things for aspiring writers’, sound like a great book title. 

First, and most important, I’d have to say write for yourself; or, in other words, write what you love. If you are writing for any reason besides the love of the act, and story, then you are setting yourself up disappointment. Rejection is part of the game, so you should have some joy and that should be in writing; everything else is secondary.

Trust in your Muse, would be my second recommendation; though she would say it should be the first. Now I say this as a punster, and ‘organic writer’ but I think it hold true for plotters too. There is a flow to a story and it should be followed not forced. If your gut, imagination, instinct – whatever you want to call it – is saying ‘Protagonist should go left’ even thought you think they should go left, try it, let them go right and see what happens. Worst case – you wasted some time, but even then you followed the ‘what if’ that makes a writer a writer. And sometimes that’s how short stories turn into novel, and visa versa.

Another life lesson – don’t spend more time trying to get published than you do writing. Seems obvious, but it is too easy to get caught up in the rat race of submit, submit, submit. I had a great world thriving in my brain and had written two novels in it, and more than a few short stories – this was going to be it! This world was going to be my break through, my way to be published! I started submitting, everywhere, as hard and fast as I could. The rejection letters I got back would make me rethink and rewrite, according to what I thought was the reason the story was rejected. I’d write new stories, only because I wanted to create something that would be accepted. Thus the stories actually became worse because they were forced – thus more rejections… Then Jonathan Alvey happened. I got lost in his world and wrote copiously. Eventually, I thought ‘ Hey, let’s see if there is a venue for this?’ I submitted, one short story, to one publisher, and went back to writing. That story was ‘The Cost of Custody’ and it was accepted, as was the novel ‘Tomorrow Wendell’, and the next story… and now I write copiously and don’t worry and submitting.

Next lesson – You’re not the first, the only, or the last. Other people have written stories just like yours, have thought theirs was the best, have been rejected, have been published… it’s a big world and you are only one of millions of authors in it. So be respectful, don’t be afraid to share your story ideas, don’t be afraid to take advice – or reject it. The best help I have gotten was from other authors who were not afraid to help me out, share their stories, and extend the hand of partnership. Remember, we are one large family.

And finally – don’t stop. Take all the previous four and combine them into one important lesson. If you are a writer… you write. Even if only for your eyes, if your soul screams to write - then write.

Author Favorite Things:

- Quote - “Don’t you smile at me like that … that’s not even a real smile! It’s just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!”
- TV show – Doctor Who. I mean ALL Doctor Who; not just the new, not just the old. Doctor Who.
- Comic book character – Death from Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’
- Movie – Casablanca. Is there any other possible answer?
- Candy bar – Big Turk. I mean, how can you say ‘No’ to Turkish delight and chocolate?
- Junk food – White Chocolate. No, wait, ice cream. No, Gin. No, gummy bears. Coffee?
- Place you visited – I haven’t traveled much, or very far. The trip to Wales, my mothers country of birth, was taken when I was young but even so it floats in my dreams always.
- Restaurant – The mom and pop diner, in the small town where I live. They have big inexpensive breakfast served all day, and burgers that just hit the spot every time.
- Island – Roke. There are, I’m sure, many wonderful ones out there but I take Roke as my choice.

R.M. Ridley lives with his wife on a small homestead in Canada, raising chickens and sheep. He has been writing stories, both long and short, for three decades, the themes of which range from the gruesome to the fantastical.
As an individual who suffers from severe bipolar disorder, Ridley is a strong believer in being open about mental health issues and uses his writing to escape when his thoughts become too wild.

 Tomorrow Wendell (Book1, 2014)
 Blondes, Books, and Bourbon (anthology,
Bindings and Spines (Book 2, 2015) Ridley's work has appeared in two Xchyler anthologies: "The Case" for Custody" in Shades and Shadows: a Paranormal Anthology , and "Charon's Obol" in Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions.


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Our books:

 March 22: The Play's the Thing
March 23: Cost of Custody  -
Author Interview AND Author's Top 10s Favorites List
March 24: Sins of the Father – 
Review AND Excerpt AND Character Casting
March 25: Legerdelivre - 
Excerpt AND Character Casting
March 26: Do as I Say Not as I Do - 
Review AND Author's Top 10s Favorites list AND Character Casting
March 27: What a Nightmare - 
Author's Top 10s Favorites List AND Character Casting
March 28: The Ties that Bind
March 28: Bindings and Spines - 
Excerpt AND Character Casting

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