Second Career Author – Tony Riches

Following on from the questions I sent last November on being a second career author, today I’m talking to British Historical Fiction author Tony Riches, best known for The Tudor Trilogy, all three books of which have reached #1 on Amazon US and UK.

Hi Tony – thanks for agreeing to tell your story. What sort of career did you have before becoming a writer?

After gaining my degree and my MBA from Cardiff University, I held senior roles as a Director of the UK National Health Service, for a major UK Management Consulting Firm and as a Chief Officer of the biggest Local Authority in Wales. I also worked as a specialist Project Manager on significant regeneration projects.

Was there a triggering event that prompted you to begin writing?

I’d always written for journals and magazines, as well as being a Wikipedia reviewer. I found myself in the fortunate position of being able to ‘retire’ on a private pension, ten years earlier than planned, which enabled me to fulfil my lifelong ambition to become a published author.

Do you now write full time or part time?

I write full time and have published at least one book a year for the past five years. As I write historical fiction and prefer to use primary sources, this means spending spring and summer researching and visiting locations, then writing through the autumn and winter months.

What parts of the writing career do you enjoy the most/the least?

I enjoy hearing from readers around the world, particularly when they tell me my books have inspired them to look deeper into medieval history. The least enjoyable aspect of writing as a career is reading reviews where there is no right of reply, (such as the reader who recently said my book OWEN was too short – it is a perfectly respectable 320 pages and is the first book of a trilogy!)

What parts of your former career do you miss/not miss?

I don’t miss my former work at all, although when I first ‘retired’ I felt I should make use of my skills and management experience, so I supported the development of the local community arts charity for a year, which I found very rewarding.

Do you have any regrets?

Sometimes I wish I’d started writing years earlier, but work would almost certainly have conflicted with my writing time. I was also lucky to have started writing when Amazon and eBooks were becoming established as a viable international marketplace. My timing was also perfect for becoming an ‘early adopter’ of blogging and social media, which has significantly helped raise awareness of my books.

What advice would you offer other second career writers?

Read as much as you can – and remember if you only manage to write one page a day, that’s a book a year!

For information about Tony’s books please visit his website www.tonyriches.com  and his popular blog, The Writing Desk at www.tonyriches.co.uk. You can also find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tonyriches.author and Twitter @tonyriches.

Thanks for sharing your background and experience, Tony. I’m holding onto that one-page-a-day concept!

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

Second Career Authors (2)

Writer with penAs someone who had a lengthy business career in IT and consulting prior to becoming an author, the notion of why people take up writing later in life interests me. Some people have always wanted to write but knew that finding a secure income stream was paramount. Others have stumbled on writing as a new career.

John R. Bell told his story last week – From CEO to Rookie Historical Novelist – and I thought it would be interesting to ask others about their experiences.

If you think of yourself as being a second-career author, I’d be delighted to have your thoughts on any or all of the following questions:

  • What sort of career did you have before becoming a writer?
  • Was there a triggering event that prompted you to begin writing?
  • Do you now write full time or part time?
  • What parts of the writing career do you enjoy the most/the least?
  • What parts of your former career do you miss/not miss?
  • Do you have any regrets?
  • What advice would you offer other second career writers?

Alternatively, if you’re interested in writing a guest post on the topic, let me know!

For those celebrating Thanksgiving today, I send my very best wishes.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

Writing is like no other career

My messy deskWalking from the kitchen where I had just had breakfast to my office (OK, it’s a bedroom with an alcove for a desk), a thought struck me: writing is like no other job I’ve ever had.

A quick explanation of my past: 5 years developing software at a telecom research company, 10 years at IBM in both technology and sales roles, 14 years in consulting (so now you’re getting the idea of how old experienced I am). And now, 6 plus years writing. So here’s my list of why writing is such a different occupation:

  • NO ONE GIVES YOU A JOB DESCRIPTION – except all the writers who’ve written books on writing and the professors who teach writing, everyone of them with something different to say
  • NO ONE REVIEWS YOUR JOB PERFORMANCE – except thousands (wouldn’t that be nice) of readers, none of whom have met you
  • NO ONE MONITORS YOUR WORK – except that little voice in your head or occasionally, if you are lucky enough to get a publisher, an editor who sets deadlines for each of an incredible number of revisions
  • YOU HAVE NO COLLEAGUES – no one to bitch to, no one to go for coffee with, no one to discuss difficult problems with
  • YOU HAVE NO BOSS – many would say this is a good thing but in my experience bosses can help set direction, clarify priorities, help you see the big picture or negotiate the politics
  • YOU HAVE NO SUBORDINATES – which means no one who seeks your guidance or to whom you can delegate
  • YOU RECEIVE NO REGULAR INCOME – in fact you can work for years and earn nothing, zip, zero, nada
  • YOU HAVE NO BENEFITS – forget pension, there isn’t even a medical plan
  • YOU REGULARLY DISCARD YOUR WORK PRODUCT – who else would put hours and hours into a small paragraph and later delete it?
  • YOU AGONIZE OVER COMMAS, ADVERBS, WORDS IN GENERAL – writing in many other careers only has to be ‘good enough’
  • IT NEVER MATTERS WHAT YOU WEAR TO WORK – even pyjamas are acceptable

That’s my list, what’s on yours?

Oh, and by the way, I LOVE WRITING!

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.

Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.