Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Fred Rayworth and I’m the author of multiple-genre books. So far, I’ve completed eleven manuscripts and am working on number twelve. I’ve published three at this point. Treasure Of The Umbrunna is fantasy and came out in 2015. Lusitania Gold is adventure/thriller and came out in 2017. Gods Of The Blue Mountains is the sequel to Treasure and came out in 2018. Next on the list is Spanish Gold, which is the first sequel to Lusitania Gold.
I write science fiction, fantasy, adventure/thrillers and icky bug (horror). I haven’t tackled other genres yet, because either I’m not interested, or I don’t have time yet.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
My first novel was science fiction, called The Cave. It’s about a group of adventurers find alien artifacts in a cave in New Mexico. I wrote that one when I was first starting, just to see if I could do it. At the time I was a failed musician and was looking for another artistic outlet. I decided to give writing a try. When I sat down at the computer, slapped out this novel, and put The End on it, I knew I’d found my calling. The rest is history.
While The Cave will never see the light of day, I went on to write my first adventure/thriller, Lusitania Gold. This was in 1995, and it was inspired by many things including my fascination with ship disasters, Clive Cussler and the Lusitania, which was the very first image of an ocean liner I ever saw as a little kid.
I’ve written five more sequels to that Gold series, so far in the past two decades.
In the meantime, not only inspired by the monster movies from the 50’s and 60’s, but some great writers I was reading at the time, I whipped out The Greenhouse, my first icky bug (horror) novel, right after I finished Lusitania Gold. It’s about a demon-possessed ivy plant that eats Altus, Oklahoma, the town I was living in at the time. All-in-all, I completed three novels in 1995, early 1996. The Greenhouse is still unpublished because it’s full of colorful metaphors and I won’t censor it, to my publisher’s chagrin.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Now that’s a rather long story. I call it my “polka-dot sewer” and it has to do with a drawing I made in kindergarten. I named it that when a bunch of mothers in the neighborhood asked me what I called this thing I was bringing home one day. That was just my imagination, and I pulled that crazy name out of the air. THAT is my inspiration, my creativity. I can’t define it any better than that. To me, writing isn’t a hobby, it isn’t torture, it’s a passion. Therefore, I look forward to writing every time I sit down to write. I go off into another world and whatever ideas I dream up come out of the ether.
As for little details and things that I add to my stories, I get them from everyday life, but no telling how they’ll end up, once they get on the page. A favorite example is something I’m using in the latest sequel to the Meleena’s adventures series (the Treasure books). On the way home from Disneyland, at 5 in the morning, still dark, it was foggy outside and we were on the freeway. We happened to pass this fuel truck with a chewed up, defective decal on the side. I glanced at that decal as I went by, grabbed a pen out of my pocket, and wrote the name down on my steering hand. That became a character in the novel.
You never know.
Sometimes I’ll get the spark of an idea for a book and it’ll brew in the back of my mind for a while. It may be months, or years, depending on if I’m in the middle of another project.
How do you deal with creative block?
Never had it. Can’t even relate.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
As simplistic as that sounds, boring your reader, or making them work for the story. If the writing gets in the way of the story, you’ve not done your job as a writer. I review lots of books, especially on Amazon, and I let it rip if the writing is bad. Then again, I much prefer to skim through a book beforehand and look for red flags before I buy. That avoids both of us suffering needlessly.
Choosing to experiment around is a big mistake, to me. There are tried and true methods that work every time and choosing to rock the boat is fine, but for what reason? To alienate everyone? If you want to shoot yourself in the foot, be obstinate, or just don’t care, go for it. If you want to get more people to read your stuff, do it right the first time.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I choose the title and my publisher does the covers. I have some say in the cover, but ultimately, it’s up to the publisher. I’m traditionally published. I’d never self-publish.
Most of the time, when I plan a book out, I know A and B and everything in-between is a total surprise. I’m known in the lingo as a pantser. By doing so, and knowing A and B, I usually come up with the title right then. That title summarizes, or is some aspect of A and B, for me.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I thank them for their comments and move on. Not everyone is going to like my stuff anymore than I like everything out there. So what?
How has your creation process improved over time?
I haven’t run out of ideas or inspiration yet, and I still don’t have enough hours in the day to write them all down. I wouldn’t say my creation process has changed all that much, but the execution has improved significantly. I make less of a mess to clean up second time around.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
Best is I finished the story and loved it, even if nobody else did.
Worst is nothing.
Surprising was how easy it was.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
Mostly personal satisfaction, but with serving my readers in mind only in that I want to give them the best story I can possibly give them, written the best way I can. I rarely if at all listen to suggestions for story/plot lines because then it’s not my own. I politely thank them but do what I want.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
Joy plays a huge role in it for me. Without joy, there would be no writing.
Pissed off can play a role if it’s an editorial or an op-ed piece.
If I’m super upset, I may or may not be able to write. It all depends. Writing might be an outlet, an escape. Then again, I might be too upset to concentrate.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Just sit down and write. I don’t function like most other writers. I love to do it so much, I just sit down and write. I don’t need any incentive, any muse, any push to get me going. I just do it.
What are your plans for future books?
I still have quite a backlog of already written books to get out there. On the other hand, I still have plenty of ideas for books I haven’t got around to writing yet. I’m still in the middle of the third Meleena’s Adventures book and have plans for the fourth and fifth ones right now.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.
I’m a grandpa that likes metal music, from early psychedelic (before it was called metal) up to some extreme metal (depending on the vocals). I’m a visual observer with a large telescope. I also have no interest in taking pictures with said telescope. I am VERY particular about what I read and write, especially when it comes to point of view. I’ll only read third-person, past-tense. I don’t like omniscient point of view either. I also cannot stand bummer endings and literary rambling. I’m also a woodworker.
I have a weekly blog article about writing which I’ve been doing since 2012 (www.fredrayworth.com). My astronomical partner, Roger Ivester and I publish a monthly newsletter on visual observing called The Observer’s Challenge which can be found at my web site.
I also have Facebook pages for both my book series at: