Please welcome my guest this week - fellow Devonian
Richard Dee :
How on earth did I end up here?
Richard Dee :
How on earth did I end up here?
And why am I writing as Richard Dee when it’s not my name?
And why write Science Fiction?
These are questions that I have asked myself many times, never really getting the answer. I guess that it’s just the way my life has turned out but if you had asked the twenty-year-old me what I would be doing now, I don’t think I would have even got close.
And is it all the result of random events or is there something else at work? Well we all have an opinion on that.
But if I hadn’t been eating homemade Focaccia at the precise moment when an Italian work colleague asked me where I’d got it, I wouldn’t be running an Organic Bakery. (Or getting up at 5am to do it, so it may or may not be a good example)
If I hadn’t hurt my shoulder doing something (I still don’t know what) I wouldn’t have taken early retirement and if I hadn’t had such vivid dreams that I just had to write them down I wouldn’t be an author.
And if all those things hadn’t happened, something else probably would have.
My wife must take a proportion of the credit (blame?) for all the things that have happened; after all it was her who said to me, in a throwaway sort of comment when I complained about being unable to find a book that made me want to read it.
“Well why don’t YOU go and write one then.” she said.
Of course, she didn’t know that I had been having the dreams. But she soon did.
And it was her who suggested the name Richard Dee as being shorter and snappier than Richard Dockett. Not only did I agree but I thought that I could hide behind it if things went wrong.
“Richard Dee? Never heard of him.”
As it turns out he is a much better author than me anyway so it was pretty inspired.
I wonder if all authors have this experience or can relate.?When I start to write my alter ego (Mr Dee) leaps into action and I can’t stop him. In a previous existence I spent a lot of time at sea and found it hard to write letters home, even after four weeks crossing the Pacific all I could manage was “err…… it’s been sunny, err……”
But, put Richard Dee in front of a keyboard and it all flows, he gets a picture in his head, like a film playing on a screen on the back of his eyes. All he has to do is type what’s happening and try desperately to keep up with the action. And like a film, things happen that you weren’t expecting, emotions are engaged and shocks have you running to hide behind the sofa.
When Richard Dee has gone home for the evening (or wherever it is that he goes) I read it back and often find plot twists and conversations that I don’t remember, or didn’t plan. Narratives go off in different directions and other stories suggest themselves.
Or Richard Dee...?
I write science fiction because the idea of the future is exciting.
You can create just about any future you want, just as long as you can make things sound more possible then they are.
I remember seeing the first Star Wars film in New York, (we happened to be there on the ship I was on when the film was showing.) and the thing that struck me most was the casual use of the technology. Previously in a lot of Sci-fi the technology was almost seen as a God, a perfect thing. Yet here in Star Wars it was scruffy, matter of fact and even vaguely obsolete. After all, our technology today is all of those things, yet to a visitor from the past its imperfections would be ignored and it would still seem miraculous.
And that is what I set out to do, create a plausibly imperfect future, where things break down or just plain don’t work. And where humanity is still potentially at the mercy of its creation, dependant for survival on its wits and that something will actually happen when the button is pressed.
I have taken a conscious decision not to include too much gratuitous sex and violence, if you read Asimov for example it’s always present but rarely described in any detail. Also in my first work, I killed a character and the feeling of remorse was tangible. I had created her; I had given her life and emotion; thoughts, deeds and every attribute. Now I had killed her and I felt bad about it. Although I do still kill characters off and still have sex and violence, I try to make it part of the story, appropriate to the situation rather than as a means to shock.
It’s also strange that Mr Dee never showed up in forty years of living in Kent, yet within six months of moving back to my birthplace (Devon) here he was. As if he was here waiting for me to be here to start work.
Of course all this is meaningless if Mr Dee’s output isn’t any good, and that I suppose is where the second part of his persona comes in.
I’m talking about the reviews that my (his/our?) work will inevitably attract, can I get less upset about the bad ones because they’re directed at him? I could get upset on his behalf. Will he get upset? Or will we eventually turn into a Jekyll and Hyde sort of relationship where I have to do what Richard tells me, with increasingly outlandish and bizarre results?
Or perhaps I’m really Richard Dee and the other Richard is HIS alter ego. Now we are getting weird.
Hopefully you can see why I write science fiction.
You can find me at
or occasionally on twitter @RichardDockett1.
I also have a blog at www.goingmyownway-moontide.blogspot.co.uk
My latest novel; (or should I say Mr Dee’s) Ribbonworld, was released by Silverwood Books on November 2nd.
"This fast-paced book has all the necessary ingredients for a first-rate whodunit -- with the added element of being set on a lonely, isolated planet where a local saying sums up the world's inhospitable nature: "You may use it, or live on it, and even make money from it, but never forget it can snuff you out without a second thought, or even be aware of your passing."
"Apart from the absorbing story, the believability of the setting, the interesting, intriguing characters and the thrill of the plot, the icing on the cake is the superb cover image! Love it!"
"...Richard Dee is proving to be very promising."
"Couldn't put it down."
And for interest - view Richard's video about being
a Thames River Pilot on his Amazon author page