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Interview with Ron L. Lahr

He is a writer of epic fantasy and humor and is the author of the Kathaldi Chronicles, a tale of saving the world from an ancient enemy returned to destroy the Gods. Aside from writing and reading, Ron enjoys spending time with his family, gardening, cooking, baking, working on old cars, and follows the Seattle Mariners and Gonzaga University men’s & women’s basketball teams. As time permits, he also enjoys sleeping.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I am on a quest to make as much of the food I eat from scratch. My wife and I grow it, harvest it, process it (freeze, can, or dehydrate) then prepare everything ourselves. It is very time-consuming but also quite delicious.

Q.2 Do you have any upcoming books?
I do! I am nearly finished with the first draft of the third book in my fantasy trilogy, the Kathaldi Chronicles. Its title is Destroyers of Kathaldi. I plan on being finished with rewriting and editing so I can release it this summer. I will also be releasing my first humor book, You’re as Stupid as You are Fat; How to Talk to Women, this summer. It is a parody of self-help books on relationships. No one should follow any of the advice offered in it. This fall, there will be two releases. First, Tales of Kathaldi, the anthology I mentioned earlier in the interview, will be released, and then, You Get What You Steal, a humorous science fiction novel that I wrote with a friend, will be coming out. I am very excited about all of them!

Q.3 When did you decide to write The Kathaldi Chronicles?
Around twenty-five years ago. I wrote the first draft using the third-person perspective with a different character as the protagonist. I liked the story but didn’t love the book. Over the years, while I was busy going to college and pursuing a career in IT, I attempted to rewrite it but remained unsatisfied. About two years ago, I tried again, but this time I switched to the first-person point of view and chose Dirk as the narrator. He is a sarcastic thief who is somewhat reluctantly drawn into helping his friends attempt to save the world. As soon as I made the changes, I started loving the book, continuing through the entire trilogy.

Q.4 How do you come up with the name of your books?
The titles usually just pop into my head. Usually, while I’m doing something else like mowing the lawn or doing dishes. The trick is to write them down before I forget them!

Q.5 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Try to write every day. Don’t let school, or work, or time spent with your family keep you from taking even just a few minutes to write. Also, make a note of every idea! You have an imperfect memory!

Q.6 How do you select the name of your characters?
I just keep trying different names until one feels right.

Q.7 What do you find the most challenging about writing in general?
Finding the time and energy to do so. My mother has Alzheimer’s, and my father has his own health issues, so I spend a lot of time helping out around their place. In fact, we are moving to their land and building a guest house so that I can help them even more. Some days I am just so tired that all I can do is editing or marketing.

Q.8 How long does it take you to write a book?
A. Children of Kathaldi
; book one of the Kathaldi Chronicles took me over twenty-five years. Book two, Assassins of Kathaldi, took me about six months. Due to the pandemic and family issues book, three will end up being about eighteen months. My goal is to get to four months per book, but I have a lot of work to do to get there.

Q.9 What were your feelings when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
The first cover for Children of Kathaldi was bad. I paid someone on Fiverr to create it, and that was a mistake, but I was still quite excited when I first received it because it meant I could publish the book on Amazon. After a few months, I took it down and commissioned five covers for the Kathaldi Chronicles from a professional cover artist. They all match and look much better than the original one. I am much happier with my covers now.

Q.10 What is one stereotype about fantasy writers is absolutely wrong? What is one stereotype that is dead on?
I am not aware of any stereotypes about the wrong fantasy writers. The one I think is dead on is that we are all nerds. That is definitely true in my experience.

Q.11 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
I do not like any distractions. No music. No food. Nothing. It doesn’t have to be absolutely quiet, but I am most productive when no one else is home, and I can focus on only writing. My wife is going on a five-day vacation with some friends next week, and I plan to finish the first draft of book three and also get a bunch of other work done. I am very excited to have the house all to myself.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
Definitely! I combat writer’s block by always having multiple projects going at the same time. If I encounter it while working on my main project, I just switch to another book or short story until I find one I am not blocked on. The next morning, I return to the main project, and usually, I can get back to being productive on it.

Q.13 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
Elf, for sure. I think of them as described by J. R. R. Tolkein, and the grace and majesty of them are quite inviting.

Q.14 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
I love so many books and for all sorts of reasons, but the Lord of the Rings is a big one. So is the Jhereg series by Steven Brust. They both created such vivid worlds!

Q.15 How do your family/friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
They range from very excited to tolerant. My friends who are authors are the most excited. My parents, wife, and children seem to tolerate it but aren’t particularly interested in the details.

Q.16 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I do not use a set formula. When I have an idea for a story, I start outlining and writing lots of notes. The plot develops over time, and the characters come out of the story.

Q.17 What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Finish your first draft before starting to edit or rewrite. Don’t let your brain trick you into starting another project until you have finished the first. Just note any ideas that pop up while you are working on completing your first draft. Don’t let your brain win!

Q.18 What is the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Making them realistic instead of how I want women to be.

Q.19 Who designed your book covers?
A. Ed Butler
does his design work as Czepta Gold

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
I still feel like a beginner in Indie Publishing, even though I should have six books out before the end of the year, but I have learned so much and gotten so much satisfaction so far. Having readers reach out about their experience reading has been amazing, and having an audiobook company approach me about making Children of Kathaldi was incredible.

I felt very validated that publishing professionals liked the book enough to seek me out. Then, they did an amazing job on it. That was probably my most satisfying day so far. I have also enjoyed building my email newsletter list. It has a serialized short story in most issues, as well as interviews, reviews, behind-the-scenes stuff, articles by characters from the Kathaldi books, and news about what I’ve been up to aside from my writing.

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