A Day in the Life Interview with Artist, Fiction Writer and Poet, Richard Fay

Photo courtesy of the author.

Photo courtesy of the author.

Terrie Leigh Relf: What types and forms of writing do you do? 

Richard Fay: Being a stubborn creative with a variety of talents, interests, and influences, I refuse to be put into one little box labelled “historical artist,” or “dark poet,” or “fantasy writer.” I’ve produced a great deal of artwork inspired by history, but I’ve also created sci-fi, fantasy, and horror illustrations. I’ve composed a plethora of dark speculative poems, but I’ve also written some lighter fantasy and sci-fi works and a handful of mainstream pieces. I’ve even penned a smattering of prose fiction and non-fiction.

TLR: What is your area(s) of subject matter expertise? How did you discover this niche? What intrigues you about it?

RF: I’m an unabashed medievalist at heart. I’ve been interested in medieval history and historical arms and armor ever since a high school friend of mine introduced me to a certain fantasy role playing game back in the 1980s. A desire to know more about the medieval-style arms and armor described in that game sparked a passion for all things medieval. I’m especially fascinated by knights and castles, by the world of the medieval warrior class.

I’m also something of a folklorist. I’m particularly intrigued by traditional fairy lore. The wee folk first ensnared me in their web of enthrallment when I was an impressionable middle schooler who happened across a copy of Katharine Briggs’ An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural Creatures in the junior high library. Boy, did that tome make an impression! It opened a magical door that led to an enchanted world, one filled with ethereal beauty and mortal danger.

TLR: How do you balance your creative and work time?

RF: Though formerly a lab-tech-turned-home educator, I haven’t had a so-called “real job” in quite a while. My creative time is my work time. My current job entails creating and selling merchandise featuring my artworks and designs internationally through four different POD stores, as well as composing the occasional work for small-press publications. However, I do have to balance creating new works with managing my stores. I have to be careful not to get too far ahead of myself on the creative side of things.

TLR: What tips do you have for other writers and/or editors?

RF: My tip for creatives of all stripes is this: never stop creating! Stay creative! It truly is as simple as that. Everything else, publication, recognition, remuneration, is an extra bonus to that basic reward of generating something creative.

TLR: What are your thoughts on the creative process in general and your creative process in particular? Where do your ideas come from? What inspires and Intrigues you?

RF: Some writers and artists downplay the role of inspiration in the creative process, but I find that inspiration often plays a great role in my own creative life. Sudden inspiration may strike at any time and in any place. I’ve been known to leap out of bed in the middle of the night to sketch out a rough drawing or scribble down a few lines of verse. I’ve also had ideas for artworks or poems come to me in the shower, which can be rather inconvenient!

Now, I do feel that such inspiration can be cultivated and nurtured.  I read a lot. I study history, myth, folklore, and legend. I view historical artwork and imagery. Many of my ideas come from the things I’ve read, studied, and viewed.

TLR: Where have you been published? Upcoming publications? Awards and other accolades?

RF: My artworks, illustrations, poems, short stories, and non-fiction articles have appeared in a number of small-press publications, both print and online.

Some of my more recent art publications include: “Monster in the Ruin” (cover artwork for the October 2015 issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk); “Grinning Redcap” (interior illustration in Night to Dawn 28); “Telling Tales” (cover artwork for the April 2015 issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk); “It Wants to Come In” (interior illustration in Night to Dawn 27); and “Morgan Le Fay” (cover artwork for the January 2015 issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly).

This past October, I composed artwork and interior illustrations for Adventure Havens: Apothecaries and Alchemists, a forthcoming publication from Bards and Sages Publishing.

I’m currently on hiatus from actively writing for publication, so I don’t have any truly recent poetry or prose publications to speak of.  Most recently (relatively speaking), I saw my dark poem, “Necromancy,” published in the February 2014 issue of Bete Noire and my fantasy adventure story, “An Evil in Carnlinton,” published in the February-April 2014 issue of Sorcerous Signals. However, if I were to choose some of my most notable written works in publication, the list would probably include these works: my Irish fairy story,”Father Ryan’s Fright,” in the November 2013 issue of Anotherealm; my wizardly fantasy story, “Sing the Bones Alive,” in the January 2013 issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly; my horror story, “Those From The Shadows,” in Issue 14 of Bete Noire; my dark poem, “What Greets Me At the End,” in the May 2011 issue of Cover of Darkness; my dark poem, “The Damnation of Daniel Brewster,” in the premiere issue of The New Bedlam Project; my sci-fi poem, “Galactic Road Trip,” in the Summer 2008 issue of Tales of the Talisman; and my non-fiction article, “The Connection Between Fairies and the Dead” in Issue 4 of Disturbed Digest.

TLR: What are you working on now?

RF: Lately, I’ve been concentrating on creating artworks and designs for my four POD stores:

I still compose the occasional artwork or illustration for publication, but right now, I’m more interested in the surer bet of work on assignment/commission, than the roll of the dice that is composing material for unsolicited submissions. I’ve grown tired of that game.

TLR: What challenges have you faced as a writer and/or with a particular project? How did you meet them? What did you learn from these challenges and how did it make you a better writer and/or artist?

RF: When I was writing on a regular basis, I found writing well wasn’t nearly as great a challenge as selling my writing and getting my writing noticed. One of the reasons I made the decision to concentrate on visual art is because art seems to be an easier sell.  Art tends to be more attention-grabbing than writing. I guess a picture really is worth a thousand words.

TLR: Are you currently a writing mentor? If so, what are your thoughts on mentoring?

RF: No, I am not a writing mentor, or an art mentor, for that matter. Over the years, I have tried to help out other writers, poets, and artists when I could, but I can’t say I’ve really had any thoughts regarding mentoring. However, I do think creatives should encourage one another.

TLR: Who are your favorite characters? How did they come into being, and what do you love – or loathe – about them?

RF: I’m particularly fond of folklorist and ghost hunter, Linda Sullivan, the main character in my horror short story, and “The Redcap of Glamtallon,” which was published in Issue 14 of Cover of Darkness. I love how she starts off as the one in charge. She’s smart and she’s a survivor. I think she has great potential to be a recurring character. If I ever get back to writing again, I would love to feature Linda in a series of stories.

Another of my favorite characters is the wizard, Kalensh, the main character in my fantasy story, “Sing the Bones Alive.” He came into being after I read the Time Life book, Wizards and Witches (The Enchanted World Series). I modeled Kalensh after those wizards from Finnish and Celtic lore who cast their spells through song. It’s just such a poetic concept.

TLR: What poetic forms do you write in? What is it that you love about these forms?

RF: I like to say that much of the poetry I’ve written is free verse disguised as blank verse, whatever that means. I’ve also written quite a few haiku, scifaiku, and horrorku, as well as a number of cinquains, and one or two cinquain chains. I attempted writing a villanelle once, but I hated it.

TLR: Have you ever been in a writing group? Your thoughts?

RF: I was, for a short time, in local writing group. It wasn’t my cup of tea. I’ve never played well with others. It’s one of my character flaws.

TLR: I know our readers would love to hear about your networking, marketing, and promotional experiences – including tips.

RF: Individual results may vary, but I’ve found Facebook’s utility as a networking and marketing platform to be grossly overrated. However, in this age of the Internet and social media, having an online presence and networking and promoting via some sort of social media is vital. Just don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made and get so wrapped up in crazy-net lunacy and social media personality conflicts that you end up breaking just as many connections as you create!

TLR: Thank you for creating the time for this interview, Richard. Be sure to read his bio below, visit his blog, and view – and purchase – his art!

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Richard H. Fay currently resides in upstate New York with his wife and two cats. Formerly a laboratory technician-turned-home-educator, Richard now spends his days creating art. He often draws his creative inspiration from history, myth, folklore, and legend. Many of the fruits of Richard’s labours have appeared in various e-zines, print magazines, and anthologies. You can visit his blog here.

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