Twilight Times Feature
with Rick Buda
Interviewer: Lida Quillen
1. Does your creativity express itself in ways other than writing?
If I have another creative outlet, it has to be building things. Lately, landscaping. In the last few years I have developed my backyard into a hide-away with a fishpond and waterfall, five decks, an outdoor hot tub/spa and places for people to sit & visit. When the weather is nice we practically live outside. Also, I love to interior decorate. I stick to wallpaper/paint and trim. My wife then takes my rooms and transforms them with all the furnishings and accents. We work well together that way.
2. Do you feel you were creative, even as a child?
Ha ha !! Creative?? Well my childhood was an influence I can see that now. I had and have a vivid imagination. Ten plastic soldiers became my world. Stick me in a sand box with them, and their adventures made Indiana Jones look tame. I also loved to read and my mother introduced me to both reading and watching Science Fiction. Soon I branched out into all books and movies. As I got older – I would make up stories to tell on the walks to school. Each trip was another chapter. I would say I got to be quite the little storyteller. In fact, some of my teachers thought I was very good, but had a tendency to use my talent to make up stories about why my homework wasn’t done and the like.
It was not until I was out of high school that I really began to like writing these things down. I hated English in school, but once mixed with Literature – I was enlightened. I had a knack for fiction and have loved writing it since. I am a strong proponent of Lawrence Block’s philosophy and book title “Telling Lies For Fun and Profit.” I stick to novel length primarily because I love the long form. Remember – a whole school year – two trips a day, one story in two to three months. I was training myself for novels!
3. Could you share with the story behind the story? In other words, how did your writing lead you to your first novel?
Well, WolfPointe is not my first novel. I spent 18 years writing a story called Starshot. It is complete and ready for publication. It actually was under contract a couple of years ago, but the publishing house went under before the book saw the light of day. WolfPointe came about as I wanted to see if I could write another and one that would not take so long! Actually Starshot, without breaks, took three years of work. I had started it – stopped – started again.. on and on.. Finally in 1993 I completed it.
WolfPointe took just over a year. It actually began as a story about two men who become builders and acquire a section of land with a shady past, from a powerful landowner, here in suburban Chicagoland. Soon things go wrong in a strange and horrifying way and the police begin to unravel a mystery that goes beyond death, beyond man and perhaps beyond history itself. After writing 277 pages – I hated it. Using that as notes, the original manuscript provided background for the story that is now WolfPointe. I took a minor character; a rookie cop named Malcolm Macurghdy (Mac) and made the story his. This time it worked! I have completely fallen in love with Mac and hope to write more using him as my protagonist.
Moving to the suburbs myself in the late 1980’s, I began to listen to the stories and investigate the histories of some of the towns outside “the big city.” They were fascinating! Constructing the story of Clinton Delevan and his rise to power was fun and I liberally took bits and pieces of facts and fictions I had heard along the way. The evil, undead power came from a trip to the local library and my reading of some of the Native American Indian history from the Midwest area. I changed it a bit to fit and started to see how it could all coalesce. Once I wrote the now, Chapter One.. I was hooked!
When I first started the project’ the Prologue was written. It took revision and more to make it finally sing, in the new story. It is my wife’s favorite part, and, she says, such a precursor of things to come, that anyone who reads WolfPointe, will have to refer back to the Prologue and see it all in a new light. I thought it was cute story.. ha ha ha…
4. How did you prepare for the creation of your first novel? How much research was necessary?
I researched WolfPointe in number of ways. The land development came from over ten years in the building trades. I worked for men like Bill Binder and Tom Case even ones like Clinton Delevan. The Police work was assembled, not without discussion with many of my friends and even family that are police officers. I took many liberties and mistakes are all mine. The horrifying force that takes the communities of WolfPointe and Timber Park was discovered in a library, and – if memory holds was actually a subject of a bad movie at one point. But it came alive for me via the first research I had done on the internet.
I was talking to my brother one day and mentioned my need for more details. He had a computer with internet access and typed in the name. It came back with 180,000 hits! I had volumes of research!! Detail, strengths weaknesses… I was in writers Heaven! Since that time I have made sure I had internet access and use it for much of my research.
5. What kind of reaction do people have to your writing?
Many people comment on my humor, that runs through everything I write. I can have a scene of utter horror and there will always be a comment – just cocked enough – to break the tension, or distract you from the axe’s fall. Watch out; my humor bites!
6. Do you find anything difficult in the writing process, and if so what?
The most difficult thing about writing is sticking to it. I am not a very organized person. I can be easily distracted. While the internet is a great source of research it is distracting as hell. So I need to make myself work and I need to discipline myself to a schedule. Unfortunately a schedule usually denotes a deadline. When you are writing, but have not sold anything – there is no deadline. For me, I must have deadlines! I can sit sometimes and churn out twenty pages and then sit again – twice as long and misspell my name. But tell me I have until a certain date?! Your wish is my command! Strange, but it works. I try to do everything by deadline.
7. Do you currently have any writing projects?
I have a sequel to WolfPointe – working title Syntax. If people like Mac – he will be back. I have Starshot “in the can” so to speak. I have a few ideas, some outlines. To point out a few – perhaps a “coming of age” story set in the Chicago Blizzard of 1967. I even am toying with a second coming novel (working title -- Twice), that seems to get under my skin from time to time. There are many things just under the seemingly still mirror-like surface of the pond that is my mind.
8. Is there anything else you would like to add?
In closing.. I hope many of you will take the time to read WolfPointe. Twilight Times Books has been very nice to me. Everyone has worked so hard to make it happen. I think I could like this line of work! Stay tuned, I think I may be around awhile!
The year 2000 was big in Rick's life -- he turned Fifty on August 3rd of 2000 and seventeen years ago he had made a vow to have a book published before he was fifty. Well, he missed it by only a few months.
With the release of WolfPointe pending, he begins a new chapter of his life that has included writing in it along its various stages. He has been involved with home computers for many years and used to publish what was then the largest magazine of its time concerning Play-by-mail, computer moderated, wargaming.
He says this got him "hooked" as far as having people read what he wrote, rather than writing for his own enjoyment. He did mundane things like -- answer questions about new games and game reviews, and it taught him to be entertaining in his writing. He had great fun.
The Magazine, The Nuts & Bolts of Gaming (NaBOG) had over two thousand subscribers including one issue faxed to a nuclear sub and another sent to Washington DC to be included with the diplomatic pouch to a Central American country!
He has always been a fan of thrillers and stories that make the reader feel "This could happen, but please, not to me!" He is also an Internet disk-jockey playing classic Rock & Roll.
He has traveled the world over and still calls the Chicago area home -- although a confirmed suburbanite now. Married, with three kids, and his only daughter's wedding looms ahead later in 2001.