Genre: Science Fiction
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a 32-year-old mom of a kindergartener (and a dog, three cats and 10 chickens), married (to the same guy) for over 10 years, and a Beaver (Oregon native) living in the Potato State. My birthday is on April Fool’s Day and I was named after a Steely Dan song—which you wouldn’t think would necessarily make someone strange, but it did. Fortunately, to be a writer—not to mention the mom of a boy—being strange isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, which—unfortunately for my career but probably fortunately for everything else—is most of the time, I am a stay at home wife and mom. Of course, that “stay at home” part is rather a misnomer. I am very involved in my church’s neighborhood youth ministry programs as well as my son’s school’s Parent Teacher Organization. There is usually only one day a week that I actually do stay home… and that is usually spent writing.
3. When and why did you begin writing?
I have been able to read as long as I can remember, but my writing journey began when I was in fifth grade. Our teacher assigned us a creative writing project, writing a mystery story. Mine was picked out as the best in the class and, really, I have wanted to be a writer ever since. I went to Multnomah University in Portland, Ore., back when they offered a journalism major and learned quite a bit about writing non-fiction, but never lost my love of writing fiction. My first book was published in 2004 (and then re-, self-published in 2011), and I have been hooked every since.
4. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have two books published right now, Karis (part of the My Life as a Superhero series) and What Difference Does Seven Days Make?. I would have to say that the Superhero series has been my favorite so far. I have the second book, Flash, done and am working on the third and final, Erimentha, right now, and to watch Tamara’s journey from scared 15-year-old to a confident, self-reliant adult has been fun.
5. What are your current projects?
I am currently working on finishing up my NaNoWriMo project for this last year, God of Chaos, an historical fiction account of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. I also have a fantasy novel in the works, and Erimentha. Those are the projects I’m working on now… of course, I may be forgetting a few things.
6. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Yes! The sequel to Karis, titled Flash will be released on April 1, 2013. We are in the final processes of editing and polishing now and should have everything done soon. I already have cover ideas ready and am going to start putting those things together soon. For the first 90 days, it will only be available on Kindle and in print through Amazon, but will be on every format on July 1, 2013.
7. What is the most challenging part of being an indie author? The most rewarding?
The most challenging part has been ignoring the prejudices of traditionally-published authors and readers who will only read something that has been published by one of the Big 6. I do understand where they are coming from—I worked in a copy shop during the advent of self-publishing, when everyone and their brother wrote something and took it to the local copy shop and suddenly was “published.” Books like that do usually deserve the scorn they receive— I’ve read plenty of them when I was binding them.
However, that is no longer always the case. The My Life as a Superhero series is about a Christian Superhero… which, let me tell you, is crazy hard to try and sell to a company who already would have to take a chance on an unknown author. Just because I couldn’t find anyone to publish the story God gave me the way that God told me to write it (non-Christian characters do not have the cleanest language… but it’s a whole lot cleaner than anything you’d hear in the halls of a public high school) doesn’t automatically make it a bad or horribly-written story.
Once I got a taste of “author publishing,” I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
8. As an indie author, what would you say to a potential reader who has never read anything from an indie author?
Poorly-written books are not exclusive to independent publishing. There are so many household-name authors that have written horrible, poorly-executed books—even those who have written well in the past. Many indie authors write not for the paycheck, but because there is a story inside them waiting to get out. Because we don’t have to pay for a bunch of frills, our books are usually cheaper and of just as good quality—and sometimes of even better quality—as some of the books from traditional publishers. Do not be afraid to take a chance. You may just discover your new favorite author.
To get to know the quirkiness of R. M. (Rikki) Strong, one only has to look to her namesake: The “Rikki” of 1972’s Steely Dan’s Song: “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” Now a Pastor’s Kid four times over, she hasn’t forgotten the fun-loving nature her parents, and the rest of her family and in-laws, instilled in her. After 13 years of public school and 3 years of Bible College, she was ready to take the world by storm… Um, yeah, sure… we’ll go with that.
Her favorite genre to write is Young Adult, partially because she absolutely refuses to admit she’s “getting on in years” (as in: over 30) and partially because, ever since graduating high school, she has been mentoring middle and high school students through various churches. There is always some story (or series) in the works, and she’s always looking to branch out into new things.
She lives in Idaho with her husband, son, dog, cats, and chickens.