“Through WLT, I’ve learned the value of being a part of a writing community. I find that just being around other writers, whether it is over coffee, in a class, or at the annual WLT conference, always recharges my creative battery.”
A member of the Writers’ League for five years and WLT Board Member, Richard lives in Houston, Texas.
Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?
Richard Cunningham: Nonfiction pays the rent! I’m a science and technology journalist who writes magazine articles and books for large companies, primarily in the energy sector. I joined WLT around 2011, soon after I took a shot at writing historical fiction for fun.
Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?
RC: I would like to meet Ellen Feldman, the author of Lucy, Scottsboro, The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank, Next to Love, The Unwitting, and most recently, Terrible Virtue. I’d ask what she is working on now and what drew her to the subject.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
RC: Just one book? Oh, no! I would probably pick something like Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. I’m reading it now for the third time.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
RC: That’s easy. Through WLT, I’ve learned the value of being a part of a writing community. Civilians don’t understand what it is like to stare at a blank page or computer screen, waiting for the right words to come. I find that just being around other writers, whether it is over coffee, in a class, or at the annual WLT conference, always recharges my creative battery.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
RC: When I’m writing fiction, I am definitely along for the ride. One of the most surprising things I’ve learned is that the process of creating characters and plots often reveals things about myself that I hadn’t considered. I like being surprised. I think most writers would agree. Call it “fiction,” but our stories and characters are not made from scratch. You could argue that most fiction is autobiographical, whether we like it or not.
Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?
RC: I haven’t read a Texas-related book that was published in the last twelve months, but a recent one I often recommend is Ann Weisgarber’s excellent historical fiction, The Promise. It is the story of a young pianist who is forced to leave her comfortable home in Dayton, Ohio, only to begin a rough-hewn life in Galveston, Texas. She arrives just in time for what locals still call “the Great Storm,” a hurricane that remains the nation’s most deadly natural disaster. Weisgarber’s plot is not only clever and compelling, but also historically accurate. I look forward to reading it again.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
RC: I’ve written two historical novels so far, and I’m working on a third in the series. I self-published Maude Brown’s Baby in 2012. It’s available on Amazon and Kindle. The sequel, Three Good Leads, is being reviewed by a publisher that I hope will want to promote both. The first two novels are set in Houston and Galveston in the final turbulent months of 1918. The working title for book three in the series is A Shameful Silence. It was a Historical Fiction finalist in the 2017 WLT manuscript contest.
If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!