Author Interview: Rick Walton


Rick Walton
Visit him on his website:

Lori: Rick, who are you as a person, versus an author?

Rick: My passion is creation. I love creating anything. The creation process just gets me excited, thrilled. It could be picture books, sure. That is what I do for a living of course. It could be crafts or new uses for something normal around the house, or forms of humor. I especially like to come up with innovative solutions to the world’s problems. Of course, nobody listens to them, but at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that 500 years from now people will look back and see that I was way ahead of my time. Either that or a raving lunatic.

Lori: Do you seek to educate or entertain?

Rick: Both. Primarily entertain, but I think it is important to improve the world with your writing in some way. And if you’re going to educate, you need to entertain also anyway.

Lori: Where do you write your best stuff, and when?

Rick: Anywhere, anytime. I don’t notice a specific place or time that works best for me. I’m always working on multiple projects. I play with them, work with them, sweat over them, day and night. I drop them for a while, come back to them, fit them into the nooks and crannies of my life. I wish I had a specific time when I worked best, when I turned off everything else and just focused on the writing, and then when the time was up turned off the writing and focused on everything else. But no, I have to be obsessed. So I’m working on everything all the time, which is sometimes annoying.

Lori: Why do you write?

Rick: Because of the thrill of creating something new, something that never existed before. Besides, I like words. I like playing with them, reading them, writing them, thinking about them, I’ve liked words since I was a young kid.

Lori: What do you read? Why?

Rick: I don’t read nearly as much as I should. I’m a workaholic, and if the book doesn’t have something to do with a project I’m working on, I can’t talk myself into taking the time to read it. I want to be able to read more, I want to be able to stop the responsible, task-oriented focus and kick back and enjoy a novel just for the sake of enjoyment. The last full novel I read, was The Road by Cormac McCarthy, which I thought was brilliant. Wouldn’t recommend it to a lot of people since it is so dark, but I loved the language, and I’m into post-apocalyptic fiction anyway.

Lori: Vanilla or chocolate?

Rick: Hmmmm, difficult. Chocolate for its own sake. Vanilla because you can mix anything into it and it tastes delicious. I love taking vanilla ice cream, mixing jam into it, throwing in some cashews, maybe some banana slices. But chocolate, just by itself, chocolate is perfect.

Lori: Laptop, PC, Mac, longhand, other?

Rick: I use a PC, but my primary method of writing now is sometimes in longhand, but mostly dictation. Why? Debilitation. I used to be able to type 120 words a minute, my fingers could fly and I could type faster than I could think. Those were the days. Then I took to voice recognition software, but I’m also developing incomprehensible speech (I should be a politician!). So now, I dictate a lot of my stuff, and hope that the people that transcribe it can understand me. Eventually I’m just going to have to go straight to a machine that can read my thoughts, though that could be dangerous.

Lori: What is your current book?

Rick: My next book is called Mr. President Goes to School. It is being illustrated by Brad Sneed. It is the story of a president who gets tired of dealing with the daily battles, and sneaks away to a place where he was once happy, kindergarten. He has a great day, then comes back to the White House where he uses what he learns to help deal with his problems. Kind of a cross between the movie Saving Grace, and Everything I Know About Life I Learned in Kindergarten. It’s coming out from Peachtree, my editor is the illustrious, highly talented, Carmen Agra Deedy. You should buy it begins you never know when you're going to become president, and when that happens, you'll need this book.

Lori: What's coming up?

Rick: Besides, Mr. President Goes to School, I have another political book, sort of, How to Create Your Own Country being published by Bloomsbury. I also have another book called Baby’s First, coming out from Putnam.

I would love to publish two types of things that might seem opposite. They probably are. One would be bizarre silly collections of strange humor. I have a couple such manuscripts making the rounds--The Big Silly Kitty Book, and How to Deal with Clown Bites and 100 Other Life Skills Every Kid Should Know. On the other hand, I would also like to do books that help save the planet. I have some ideas on those.

Lori: One piece of advice/wisdom for the world?

Rick: Talk, don’t fight. Try to understand before you get angry. Contention is ruining the planet, the country, relationships, and often your ability to get published. Assume the best in others, you’ll seldom be wrong.

Lori: Dogs or cats?

Rick: I think the perfect pet would be a combination of both. Cats are there, not too demanding, soft, warm, relaxing. Dogs treat you like you’re the most important person on the planet. I like my pets, and my friends, a combination of both.

Lori: What do you want to be remembered for, or as?

Rick: Interesting question. Oddly enough, I don’t care about being remembered for my writing. I want to be remembered for having made the world a better place, and for having helped others achieve their goals and become better people. I just want the world to have been a better place because I was here.

Oh yeah, and I want to be remembered as the master of stick worm art.
I'm seeing some light.

The holidays always threaten to wrench me from my purpose--on Thanksgiving and Christmas the emotions and expectations of my extended family run high--but this year the holiday's were particularly hard.

Just. Plain. Hard.

Not because of what I've lost. I've come to terms with that. But because I've finally figured out (after weeks of prayer and introspect, scripture and blog reading) what I need to do. And, in addition to gathering and honing courage, I've learned that this quote (one of my all-time favorites) by Marianne Williamson rings true--painfully true--for me:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

This January, cold and foggy, I am grateful for those who have traveled the path before me. For their courage in liberating themselves from fear. I am following, running to catch up. I will get there.

I will.



The other night a talented poet in my critique group shared several of her poems. Her words left me breathless. I was stunned by their beauty and power. I related to several of the lines in a very intimate way. They made me think. They made me want to cry. They set my heart on fire. This woman captured feelings that I have experienced. Emotions that are still locked inside my soul. I admired how she breathed life into her underpinnings of her very being and allowed her innermost thoughts to take flight on the page.

I hated the fact, the knowledge, that it’s so difficult for me to do the same.

When I was a kid I was told, “Children are to be seen and not heard.” Through years too numerous and painful to count, daggers of condemnation pierced my heart. I learned keeping silent was safe. But when the danger passed, my words were gone. I literally had a hard time even speaking.

Writing was out of the question.

Old habits die hard.

Slowly my words are returning. A cookbook--that was safe. No danger there. A few short stories, essays, and blog posts. Frightening to fish around inside myself and throw out what I discover. Yet it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that every word I write is a step. Small, but a step all the same.


One thing I never envisioned for myself was writing poetry. I knew the words poets use--the words I would need to use to be a poet, if indeed I could hope to learn the art--were too dangerous. But last fall I stepped out of my comfort zone. I did the unthinkable. I entered a poem in a contest at the county fair.

Is There Anyone Left?

Is there anyone left who will fight

For what’s good and what’s right and what’s true?

Who, facing derision, makes firm the decision

To wage battle ‘til all wrongs are through…

Not genius by any measure. But a six stanza offering all the same. My words. And, much to my surprise, the piece won an award.

It’s a start.

Maybe the next time my critique group meets I’ll find the courage to share the poem, and some of the others that are flapping around in my mind. Words waiting to take flight.

Author Interview: Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

Ronda's website

Ronda's blog

Who are you as a person, versus an author?

Ronda: I’m a musician (soprano soloist and beginning piano teacher), a wife, mother, and whatever my LDS church calling is at the time. I’m also my husband’s sidekick, which means that since he’s an extreme “do-it-yourselfer,” I participate in those activities as well. Here’s a short list: we’re building our dream house almost completely on our own with the “pay as you go” method, we maintain a small farm, and we travel whenever we can. Skymiles are our friends.

Do you seek to educate or entertain?

Ronda: Both. I really try to help my readers feel as if they’re right there with my protagonists, but I also believe the best novels are those I learn life lessons from, the ones that make me think about something I never have before in just that particular way, the ones I grow from. Those two things are what I try to emulate.

Where do you write your best stuff, and when?

Ronda: I write almost every morning as well as throughout several evenings when the house is quiet. I do my best work in the quiet, but since solitude isn’t always possible, I also write whenever I get the chance—waiting at the doctor’s office, etc. About ten years ago, I used to have a set schedule, and that worked well for me at that time, but now. . . let’s just say I now adapt writing time to my changing schedule.

Why do you write?

Ronda: I first knew I wanted to be a writer when I was in the 6th grade. My English teacher had been reading S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders to the class, and when she reached the section where Johnny urged Ponyboy to stay “gold,” I realized I wanted to write "golden” words just as Hinton had. More than that, I wanted those words to encourage the "golden" in others. That remains one of my goals.

What do you read? Why?

Ronda: I read a lot of different kinds of books, but my favorite genre is romantic suspense, as long as it’s “clean.” I like the combination of thrills, chills, and love. If the book has other genre’s mixed in, like fantasy or mystery, that’s fine, too.

Vanilla or chocolate?

Ronda: If those are my only choices, I’ll choose chocolate, but if you had something else, like Blueberry cheesecake chocolate chunk, I’d have to choose that.

Laptop, PC, Mac, longhand, other?

Ronda: Laptop, PC, longhand. That’s what I have, so that’s what I use. I write final versions on the PC, but if I’m sitting in the car waiting for someone, I write longhand in a notebook. If I’m on a business trip, I use the laptop. The point is, I write with whatever I have available to me.

What is your current book?

Ronda: My first LDS mystery, MISSING, was released in October 2009. It’s a fast-paced novel about a BYU-Idaho student who first sees then tries to save a missing child while she’s on a choir tour in British Columbia.

What's coming up?

Ronda: I’m finishing another romantic suspense/mystery, but this one has a hint of fantasy in it, too. It’s different than anything I’ve ever written before, but I’m really excited about it. I’m also gathering ideas and organizing my third novel.

One piece of advice/wisdom for the world?

Ronda: Hold on to the goodness that’s inside you. I believe if everyone in the world would let that goodness overpower lesser feelings, evil would soon disappear. Yikes! I think I’m starting to sound like Sandra Bullock wishing for “world peace.”

Dogs or cats?

Ronda: We have a dog, cows, and goats, but the truth is, I’m not really an animal person. My husband is.

What do you want to be remembered for, or as?

Ronda: A good person who helped others.

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