Daily Archives: December 11, 2013

Welcome to an Interview with A.H.Richards

Welcome to an Interview with :  A.H.Richards…
Author of.    Kronos Duet
Kronos Duet.
A brief synopsis.
orget the time machine. Forget flesh-and-blood man. Psychic Gareth Pugh and daughter Adrianna leap through time-space through the minds of others; dead others. Gareth’s mission, to reach the beginning of earth time, and confront Earth’s God, if He/She/It exists. He’s just not too good at getting there. Dead people can be unpredictable. Even dangerous.
Adrianna trails him down the ages, desperate to fix their dysfunctional relationship, and cure herself of her deepest fears.
Two hunters for the elitist Foundation are missioned with one thing only,to obliterate proof of time travel, which might just change the world a little. Dr. Buckleigh brutally controls the mission. Utterly perverse Cabot Greenway takes up the hunt, sadistically lustful to completely own every morsel of Adrianna,in a space/time of his choosing.
A conscious jungle plant, a Russian rat, an infamous legend, and Stonehenge backdrop this writhing odyssey that slams into a ghost-ridden end in Toronto, Canada.
 What made you decide to write this book?
I don’t know that I decided, to be honest. Most of my stories insist on being written, and they pick on me because I leave the channels open between my subconscious and conscious mind. I hope that doesn’t sound pretentious, because it’s true. It’s like catching a cold, but instead of feeling dizzy and scratchy in the throat, I see images that repeat, or feel the presence of a character who demands constant attention. I suppose the decision I make is to commit, or not commit, to a character or idea and put the first sentences and ideas down on paper or on the screen. Once committed, then the work begins, but most of the time I’m not sure where the story will go until I’ve written at least fifty pages of maybe a third or fourth draft.
However, I did decide that I actually enjoyed the company of the two protagonists – Gareth Pugh and his daughter Adrianna – and so stuck with the work of bringing them alive as best as I could. I came to love Adrianna, in a funny sort of way. I think it shows in the novel.
Sometimes I conclude that I’m not particularly engaged with a character, or an idea even if it repeats for a while. Sometimes it just doesn’t catch fire; so it becomes a ‘to-do’ work. I have a dumptruck full of books in that category. I hope I live long enough to get to them all.
Have you managed to incorporate people you know as characters?
In Kronos Duet, no. Well, not exactly. There are two cats in the book who I consider characters – Emma and Lucy; and they are actual cats that I owned and loved and who are, sadly, gone to kitty pasture, where the catnip and salmon thrive just for them.
The two antagonists are just too evil to resemble anyone I have ever personally known.
Share with the readers one little known fact about yourself.
I believe, unequivocally, in angels. Yes, I am Welsh, and I am genetically daft, but that is beside the point. Angels, or something very like them (I don’t own an Angel-spotting handbook) have visited me twice, both times benignly.
Are you traditionally published or an Indie author?
I am, both by choice and circumstance, an Indie author. I went the orthodox publishing route for years, and spent far too much time and money researching publishers, writing letters and synopses, and mailing expensive boxes of manuscripts around the continent and to the U.K.  The very process made me want to hurl myself off a cliff every time, so my efforts were sporadic at best. As sporadic as the responses from publishers who always seemed otherwise engaged, sadly drunk, and jaded.
Indie publishing means that I do almost all of the marketing; but that has become the norm for first-time novelists going the traditional route also. You’re lucky if you get three months of attention from an established publisher. However, there are remarkable exceptions of publishers (usually very small houses) who really do commit to their authors for a decent amount of time.
If you could make one change to the world, what would it be?
I’d make the planet an equilateral triangle – just to see what happens.
( Now that would be fun, we’d all be wearing crampons to avoid slipping off )
I know Kronos is Greek for Time. Will time travel ever be possible do you think?
Yes, absolutely. I think, also, that it will happen in a similar fashion to the time-travel in Kronos Duet: That is, via the mind, or some ethereal ‘body.’ There will never be such a thing as a time machine, although it has been a mainstay in SF and fantasy for ages. You can’t push ‘klunky’ through something as subtle as time. I can’t even get a decent bottle of Scotch to materialize on my desk, and Lord knows I’ve tried. I still have to physically go and get it, AND pay for it. Life is just unfair sometimes.
Have you left the possibility of Gareth Pugh and Adrianna returning in future adventures?
I wasn’t planning to initially, but yes. By the time Kronos Duet came to a close, I knew one character was not done. Adrianna returns in the sequel, provisionally titled Kronos Solo. I purposefully left things open for development at the end of Kronos – even though it ends as it should, and is a stand-alone story – because I had fallen in love with Adrianna, and knew she needed to command an entire novel, and do some important things entirely her own way. Who else will reappear, I have only the faintest inklings, and will give nothing away yet.
I understand much of the book is set in North Wales. Home or a place you like maybe?
I love North Wales. I was born in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales and that was my childhood haunt, back and forth from various places in England. I chose North Wales, however, because of its beauty – as much for me as the reader, so I would enjoy describing the land – and, importantly, because of Conwy Castle and Aberconwy in North Wales. Those two locations are significant to the plot.
I took a solo three-month walking trip through North Wales when I turned 21. It was truly enchanting, even with the ubiquitous rain and fog and mist. Magic resides there; truly.
Do you have a website to share? 
I have a blog: lit57.wordpress.com,  where I post ideas, fiction, political rants and some of the most eccentric (or perhaps I should say un-funny) jokes ever given birth. (I often dream jokes and wake up laughing. Few people ever ‘get’ them; they just look at me sadly.)
Any Link to the Book?

This link goes directly to Kronos, and allows links to my other books.
Please feel free to share an excerpt.

Here’s a scrap, not long enough to bore the pants off you. Fearing that her father has died, Adrianna has phoned her new friend, Cabot, for help. Here, they inspect the body.

Afraid to disturb anything in the room, they hung in the doorway, looking into dusk light. A cot sat against the left wall. The muted light showed Pugh lying out, snug to his head a contraption of leather straps studded here and there with dull metal rivets. His head was shaved, with nicks of dried blood showing, scraped inexpertly down to patchy, stubbled baldness.

Cabot crossed to the body and clasped the slim wrist.

“No heartbeat I can feel.”

Adrianna’s own wristwatch had more of a pulse – or the building itself, reverberating from distant traffic. In the half light a pallid spider crawled tremulously upward on the wall alongside the cot. Adrianna watched Cabot brush it aside, then unbutton her father’s cardigan and put his ear to his chest.

Cabot pinched the cheek and released it, watching for evidence of circulation. There were no signs of rigor; the arm as supple and deadweight as a slumbering baby’s; the skin on his cheek elastic to the fingertips. At the points where the rivets had contacted the skin, minute reddish abrasions, like pox sores, circled the skull.

Adrianna waited. An eternity.

The spider reappeared at Cabot’s left foot. The scene before her pulsed; a television screen tuned to nothing. She waited, chewing her lip. The blood drained from her neck and arms.

She heard his distant voice.

“I think…” he hesitated. “ Don’t get excited, but I think there might be a heartbeat. It’s almost non-existent. But I think he’s still with us.”

“Doctor Buckleigh already told me that.” Adrianna snapped, then pursed her lips, ashamed of her spite.

Cabot took her hand and urged her to his side.

“You want to listen? See if you can hear anything. “

“Oh God no! If it stopped while I was… “Adrianna pulled away.

She knelt beside the cot and picked lumps of wool from her father’s sweater.

“Short of slapping him or dousing him with iced water, I can’t imagine what we could do to bring him out of this.”

Cabot’s words rang dull. Adrianna stared while he lifted one of Gareth’s eyelids, inspected an unresponsive pupil.

She looked at Cabot, her eyes hugely dark.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with him.” She said. “I don’t know enough about this… It seems that he used to do this, years ago, when I lived with my mother. Dr. Buckleigh knows…”

“But we’re going to have to telephone the hospital anyway. You can’t wait days. If he has snuff… if he’s dead you can’t just …”

“No.” Her voice was firm. “Only Doctor Buckleigh. That’s the way it is. And the men here,” her nod indicated the hall, “they’re always monitoring him.”

“They’re thugs, not nurses Adrianna. All this makes no sense. Where’s the heart monitor? The brain scan? I don’t see any. If he’s comatose, he needs hospital care…”

“He’s not in a coma. I know. If he’s not dead outright, then he’s not comatose. Dr. Buckleigh talked to me… I don’t exactly trust the man, but dad has always insisted I follow his counsel.”

She swung away from him, her long hair a curtain closing on her thoughts.

“So what then?” Cabot snapped, pulling her to face him. “We just wait for him to die, or pop up like a Jack in the Box?”

“I suppose so, Cabot. I’m sorry. I just needed you to confirm that he isn’t dead. I needed a second opinion.” She smiled wryly. “Dr. Buckleigh is a bit of a drinker and, well, a little too secretive about my dad …”

Once again, Adrianna closed up as she stepped into the hall. She could feel his eyes on her. Her flesh suddenly seemed too soft, her hair too lush, her jeans too snug. Cabot’s sigh trailed behind them, dissipating into the stairwell in the wake of their footsteps.

And a little bit of action… A medieval miller, prone to violence and bullying, rides angrily away from the woman he had chosen as his next wife, who has refused him. (Time-traveling, Cabot is present, ‘inside’ the mind/spirit of the miller.)

He threw himself onto his tethered pony without a bye-your leave, yanked the reins roughly around and dug his heels into her flanks. A snap of leather, a whining creak from the tether post, and the miller broke free, leaving the post leaning at an angle. ‘Good riddance to the two of them. Blast their stupid lives,’ he cursed to himself. The stupid old wench did not understand what she was giving up in shunning him.

Passing through the forest, the miller worked himself into loud indignation. “Damn her! Damn everything! Damn you bloody trees an’ all!” He gave the hostile eye to a squirrel. His hand gripped his gold neck chain and he pulled it from under his shirt, shook it at some poor sod ahead on the roadside scavenging for firewood. The path had narrowed to the breadth of two men, and the horse’s flank narrowly missed the scavenger’s head as the miller leaned over him, rattling his riches in the decrepit fool’s face.

“That’s riches for ye – that’s power!” he barked. “Ye don’t see the likes of me scraping for firewood.”

He yelled at the branches overhanging. “A man respected by the King ‘imself! And playing second blasted fiddle to a yokel! Damn me, I need a drink!”

Then the horse balked, its reins grasped by a hand on skeletal arm. A rough looking yokel, someone the miller did not recognize, looked at him pleadingly.

“My companion, kind sir, ‘e is that beat from walking a full two days sire, that ‘e seems fair nigh to collapsing o’ hunger and thirst. Will ye have mercy on us sir and carry ‘im on yer mount as far as the next inn?”

The miller urged his mount onward, finding it held fast and still by the scrawny arm.

“Your hand off my reins, villain, or I will break it for ye.”

There came the whistle of a stone in flight, and his head exploded with pain and his eyes saw a cloud of blackness. His body went limp, and followed his skull sideways and down, smacking the ground heavily. Before he could properly clear his mind, they were on him. He could not count them, nor pick out one clearly enough. It took all his concentration to hug a nearby tree and drag himself upright. Then he flailed at them out of the dark cloud that obscured his sight. Blurred men, dancing at the edges of the cloud – and the sound, somewhere, of his horse snorting, its feet stamping in the mud and stones. A club smashed into his shoulder before he could raise his arm to fend it off. Then another hit, sending sharp pain flying from ankle to thigh. He knew he had drawn his knife. He swept the air before and around him, hearing cries that might mean he had struck home. But the cloud would not lift, and there was the smell of blood in his nostrils.

Cabot scented it too, and felt more – he sensed the miller’s diminishing strength, knew that he was not in control. His fate was in the hands of those who beat him, who were sticking him with their knives. He felt the miller sink to his knees from a powerful kick to the stomach, his breath forced out of a slack mouth. Cabot knew he was near death, could feel a kind of resigned, dumb stillness inside the man as the knives dug in and the pain became familiar, then a mere numbness, and the knives kept up their work.

Cabot panicked. To get free, that was all that mattered. But to where? To whom? To escape, must he fly from the miller into someone else? Or become a plant, or a stone?

The stabbing had ended and they kicked the body into a ditch. He could feel the last of the miller’s consciousness ebbing into the close-up funk of rot and mud. He felt the blood pumping from the deep slash in the throat, felt its heat as it soaked down the neck, heard its fountained spume pattering onto the ground. Then he leapt.

Into nothingness. He seemed to be free, which mattered. But he was lost, which mattered more. Dimly, there was the sound of hooves meeting packed mud. And the sound of wind through branches and leaves. And the diminishing cries of the robbers as they vanished down the road.

Cabot realized that he was nothing. He floated, and there was no pain from the murder. A brief memory of the nightmare, but mostly silence. He might as well be a leaf, or a gnat.

“So much for that fat bastard,” he thought, then rejoiced at the knowledge that it was himself, thinking. A pity about the situation though. He had begun to like the miller. Now, he was homeless, and not a little tense, unnerved by his predicament. Was he dying himself? Was that what his weightlessness signified? Had they actually killed him? Had he leapt too late? Or had it been his soul leaving the body?

Thank you, so much, for this interview, David. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I must get back to reading some more of your lovely tales on your blog. Be well, yourself and family. Happy Christmas, and a wonderful 2014 to you!

A.H.Richards is also author of two other books also available from Smashwords. …………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Myth-Making Miller.Short Stories


I’m delighted to have been able to do this interview for a fellow Welshman, especially since my father came from the Rhymney Valley just along from the Rhondda even though North Wales is my home. A.H. is right, this place is full of Magic.

I take this opportunity to wish A.H. and his family, as I do all of you. Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.


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