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Richard Craze Interview

Posted on 26 August 2004. © Copyright 2004-2018 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Richard Craze, a freelance writer specialising in books on Mind Body Spirit, sex and relationships and health. He has over sixty books currently in print. He now runs White Ladder Press, a small independent publishing company. (Interview coming soon with White Ladder!)

How did you start writing?

I wrote my first piece for Miss Brains, a temporary teacher who came for one term when I was ten years old and I fell madly in love with her. Her specialist subject was English so I wrote her a poem. It was one page long and called ‘London Town’.

She thought it was brilliant and got down on one knee and hugged me. I could see right down her cleavage and I realised that writing had an immense power.
When my proper teacher came back from her one term sabbatical (on reflection I think she had had a baby) she was furious with me. ‘You never wrote a poem for me’, she thundered. I couldn’t tell her she didn’t have the right cleavage to elicit such work from me.

But that was it. I was hooked. At sixteen I wrote my first novel and I still have it – and all the lovely rejection letters I also got. My first novels and rejection letters seemed to go around as a crowd – never one without the other.
At nineteen I had written my first trilogy – a fantasy one of course. I asked a friend to illustrate it for me – it ran to over 200,000 words and he read a bit and said it was too much like Lord of the Rings. I had never heard of this book (this was way back in the late sixties) so I got a copy and threw away two years work. Tolkien’s was great. Mine was crap. Over the years I tried to rewrite it, restructure it, re-jig it but it remained crap – still is to this day.

I then wrote television plays and thirteen part thrillers, film scripts, short stories, more novels, children’s science fiction and fantasy, children’s TV series. You name it, I wrote it. And it was all rejected. I was getting good rejection letters. Sometimes personally written – well, they were getting to know me.

I then met a commissioning editor with a reasonable publishing house and we talked about a book on Stress Management which I was earning a living at by that time. I wrote the proposal and by the time I got it to her she had left. But she left to start her own freelance literary agency. I, naturally, sent her my stuff. She invited me – and my wife (a proper writer by the way, she had a whole book published at this time) – to lunch. She said she loved my stuff but she was only going to be a non-fiction agent and a specialist Mind Body Spirit one at that. My stuff was all fiction and thus useless to her. Shame but good lunch and nice to have my work complemented. As we were leaving she asked me if I knew anyone who could do a book on graphology. I said yes, I could. Brilliant, she said and could she put me in touch with Hodder and Stoughton who were to be the publishers?

On the way home Roni asked me what I really knew about graphology. Nothing of course but I’d got a book on it somewhere. And that folks was my first real proper book. Graphology - A Beginners Guide. Written in thirteen days for an advance of £1,000 in 1994. I was forty four and had been trying to get stuff published for nearly thirty years.

Since then in the last ten years I have had over sixty books published. Don’t believe me? Then check out my web site for a full list at http://www.richardcraze.co.uk

And most of them are still in print. And most of them are still earning me royalties.

I think I pretty well owe it all to my wife, Roni, who taught me how to write a proposal. Without her help I think – no, I know – I would still be floundering in a sea of reject letters. She writes as Ros Jay so check out her business books at http://www.amazon.co.uk – she has written some good ones such as How To Write Proposals and Reports That Get Results

Who are your favourite writers and why?

I’m not sure I have any favourites. I read so much that I exhaust anyone who might have been a favourite. I devour books and then move on. I read anything and everything.

What's the worst thing about writing?

The expectation of a bigger royalty cheque than the one that eventually turns up. Apart from that I love it. I love the deadlines (never missed one yet) the pressure, the fun, the making stuff up (I try to put one big lie in every book I write – and I only ever write non-fiction although there is a free E-book on my web site that someone accused me of fictionalising the other day), the getting one over on publishers, the barking mad reader’s letters you get.

And the best?

The bigger than expected royalty cheques

Tell us what kind of responses you get from audiences\ readers.

All mad. I get letters written entirely in capitals in purple or green crayon with lots of under-lining. Must be the type of books I write.

Do you have a writing routine? A place that’s special?

My office. It is special because it is a work place. I used to smoke and it smelt fantastic of old damp tweed and stale fags and strong coffee. Now I don’t smoke (see The Voice of Tobacco, my account of giving up, published by White Ladder Press) and my office smells of carbolic soap.



A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.







Comments by other Members



Nik Perring at 15:30 on 27 August 2004  Report this post
What a great interview. Honest and sobering! I particularly liked the advice - "stop dreaming." Writing is a profession, it is a job and people do it in order to make money. Nice to see somebody admitting it. (Although we know that isn't the only reason!)
Great stuff.
Nik.

Zigeroon at 19:56 on 02 September 2004  Report this post


Richard

Fabulous to hear someone who has been at it as long as me and finaly got there. Novels, rejection slips...on and on.

It's got me back up one more time. Thanks.


Andrew

Hamburger Yogi & PBW at 05:52 on 03 September 2004  Report this post
Any chance for a book on how to give up ibuprofen?

Hamburger Yogi


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