Interview with T.K. Richardson, author of RETURN THE HEART and co-founder of Partners in Print.
Where are you from?
Originally I’m from a small coastal town, but now I live in Central California where the summers are unbearably hot, and the winters are usually foggy and mild. Right now, however, it’s freezing cold.
What book are you reading now?
I just finished reading Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I always have my favorite books within reach though, and War and Peace by Tolstoy is open on my nightstand. I’ve read it several times, and I always go back to it. It’s my all-time favorite book.
If you had to choose, which books would you say have influenced your writing?
All of Tolstoy’s books – especially War and Peace – and many of Dostoevsky’s books have influenced my writing. I know I don’t write like they did, but their books have always fueled my writing and reading interests. They are beautifully written and their characters are so real that I always go back and re read them. My favorite book of Dostoevsky’s is the Idiot.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Although she’s not a new writer, I do enjoy Juliet Marillier’s books, and I loved Juliet by Ann Forsythe. I enjoy their stories, and though the writing styles are very different, I find that I can lose myself in their books.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Well, the truth is, I never wanted to be a writer. I never thought about it, or planned it. One day a character ‘appeared’ and I knew her inside and out. I sat down and put pen to paper and the rest of the story just followed.
How many books did you write before getting published
Return the Heart is my first novel. I’m currently editing the second book in the series, and the third book is still being written.
What made you decide to write Young Adult?
I wrote Return the Heart for my own children and I’ve always worked with kids in one way or another, so writing for them just came naturally.
Where did the idea for Return the Heart come from?
Return the Heart is a product of my love of Russian literature and history coupled with my love for children. The two just formed together creating the plot with all the twists and turns.
How long did it take to write the book?
I wrote the first draft in six weeks, but the word count was way too high. I spent almost a year and a half editing it, paring down the manuscript, and learning the craft of writing. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, there are several messages in the novel, but the one I like to point out is this: We all have gifts and talents. They won’t be like the ones in my book because it’s a work of fiction, but we all have things that we’re good at – it’s what we do with them that matters. This is a lesson my main character had to learn, too.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love being with my family, and I enjoy cooking (although my hubby is much better at it than I am). We also enjoy day trips to the beach and shopping. Oh, and reading… I can’t say how much I love to read.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m doing line edits on the second book in the series, Shield the Heart. It’s tedious work, but this is the stage where I really try to make the manuscript shine. I also have a few other projects on the back burner, but I mainly focus on the editing – it’s too easy to get distracted if I work on too many writing projects at once.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I would just like to encourage aspiring writers to keep going. Write down your short term and long term goals and keep plugging away. Also, I don’t think a writer (or author) can ever learn too much about the craft. Keep learning and keep growing as a person, because it all feeds into your writing.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would like to say thank you! I’ve received so many e-mails from readers and it’s heartwarming and encouraging to hear from them and to hear how much they enjoyed reading my book. Usually their first question is, “Is there another book coming?” That really makes me smile, and yes, there is another book on the way!
Midwest Book Review
To see into the soul is a gift that seems to be a curse. “Return the Heart” tells the tale of Lilly Paige, a seventeen year old girl who can peer into the hearts of those around her, something that has proven more troublesome to her than useful. Seeking to learn more about her talents, she finds that there are those who wish to use her and exploit her to their own gains. “Return the Heart” is a riveting tale about the soul and what it does to those around you.
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Learn more about T.K. Richardson and her debut novel at: