An interview with Richard on his new life and experiences as an author + his new book 'Imagine'
Interviewer: Prashant Singh - Date: 3/3/2021
Can you please introduce yourself and tell us something about your book "Imagine."
My name is Richard Harris, I am a father, an author now and a Vascular Surgeon. Like many people I have had a very hard time in these last 12 months. I lost my partner and lovely wife of 29 years to breast cancer in 2020 and so the birth of this book Imagine has come at a time of great thoughtfulness around meaning and life in general. For me, writing poetry and prose has always been a necessity. No matter how busy in my profession of surgery I have been I have always made time for words. I love words. I adore words. I live in Sydney, Australia and have been addicted to travel most of my life. Imagine is a tapestry. A book that weaves between characters and love stories, adventure and travels, geographies and personalities. It is inspired and is the novel version of the wonderful song by John Lennon of Beatles fame. Imagine.
When did you get the thoughts of writing this book? i read the book and i loved it, your writing style is commendable. You are amazing.
Thank you indeed. I have wanted to write a novel my entire life. The idea of the chorus and verse, harmonies and ideals of the song Imagine appealed to me immensely as a source of inspiration for this work. It is simply a beautiful piece of art and to conceive an actual world along the lines of the lyrics of that song seemed to me a wonderful way to express myself. There is so much in the way of dystopian literature at present that it actually is an immense challenge to write of a world of possibilities and idealism. I put aside in my life a time and place to dedicate myself to writing this novel in a restructured week about 4 years ago. I was disciplined and determined and I loved every single minute of it.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
The book is heavily based on real world research but the writing started very early in the process. I would perhaps typically spend 6 hours of the day researching cultural, geographical, political and scientific aspects and then be able to write later that day within the framework of the book. I would say I spent thousands of hours researching for the details and facts of place and culture to bring the book alive.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The most surprising and delightful thing is the way readers see things differently and quite often so deeply and unusually. They can respond with words of such generosity and beauty in themselves and you feel great that they have got so much out of reading your book.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I wrote a ‘Thursday’ novel which is Imagine and a ‘Friday’ novel which is about three quarters finished. Imagine itself covers quite a few genres and the second book is very different. That one being a historical romance which I hope to complete later this year. I have lots of ideas for new novels and I suspect they will also be quite unique as well.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Somehow, as a very, very small child I became addicted to books. Maybe it was Christopher Robin. AA Milne had a way of easily drawing you into imagery and words that belonged together.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My readers so far have been incredibly generous. “I fell in love with this story immediately. Such beautiful, descriptive language that painted the most palpable scenes. In today’s world, this book was exactly the inspiring, fanciful tale of hope that I needed.” ‘Imagine deserved an ending chapter as beautiful and mystical as this. While everything about this chapter is serene and calming, I could not have enough of Amanda and Giovanni’s rapidly blooming romance. It is hard to pick the most beautiful part of this book but for today I can definitely say that this account is the most beautiful for all. Everything about this particular part is as perfect as it can be. “It is delicately weaved. If I am able to put it up, it is like one of those low note songs with a strong message. The imagery is intricate and precise like always.” “Imagine” describes a beautiful visualization of our world, with the possibility of people living in a one global community.. no wars, no racism, only unity. It vividly describes the details of ethnicity within many other countries.. their beatiful colors, scents, foods, and ways of life. This book came to me in a time of my country suffering upheaval and turmoil in the United States.. and I found it soothing, inspiring, and a joy to read. As more and more people are reading it I am just fascinated to see what people make of it. This is a true joy of writing.
How would you express your journey as an Author?
I think I have always written and it took a while to realise that if I was going to do it properly I needed to do it properly. It is so true that you need to set aside a special place and plenty of time to write. So my journey has been discovering how fulfilling it is to do it the right way, dedicated, with space and time to create.
What other things do you love than this writing?
I love my family and my friends. I love a shoreline at sunset with good company and nice food. I love people who create, who are funny and positive. I love my work as a surgeon also but I Imagine doing writing all the time.
And last, What advice do you have for writers?
Find the time and the space to create at your best. Figure out the intricacies of publishing and marketing probably before you are even half way through writing your work. Read about the book industry and write what you love. Thank you