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Interview with Ramona Richards

From her favorite burger to the childhood gift that made her feel like a writer to the real-life cold case that inspired her to write her latest book, Ramona Richards gives us a glimpse of her life in this week’s interview.

Wow, Ramona! Just a quick read of the bio on your website and it sounds like you've led a life with some twists and turns! Where to begin? Can you tell us about starting over in Birmingham at 60? What were you doing before then and what did you do after?
I was born in Alabama, but I spent most of my life in the Nashville area—about 50 years! I had built my career in Christian publishing there. I loved Nashville, but in 2017, it was time for a change. I applied for a job as managing editor for New Hope Publishers, and I’ve never had anything come together as fast as that did—so I knew it was a God thing. From the time I applied for the job to the day I moved was just over a month.

Starting over at 60, in a new state and city, was definitely an adventure. I’m still exploring the Birmingham area, and making lots of discoveries. I’ve reconnected with some of my cousins and made new friends.

You received a typewriter as a gift at the age of 10. Was that when writing entered your life? How did you feel as a young girl typing words onto a page? Do you still get that feeling as an adult?
When I was around seven, my brother found me hand-copying a biography of Daniel Boone. He asked me what I was doing, and I told him I wanted to write books. He’s older by five years, and he told me that if I wanted to write books, I had to make up my own stories. I couldn’t just steal someone else’s words. So I started trying to do that, based on the books I was reading … they were really just the same stories with the names changed in the beginning. But it was all part of the learning process.

By the time I turned 10, I had filled so many notebook pages with my scribbles that my mother bought me the typewriter. I still remember typing those three-paragraph chapters and thinking how great they were. I also remember being surprised at how little space on the page the words took up versus my oversized handwriting.

It’s still thrilling to start with a few words and ideas and watch them grow into a short story or novel.

You have many non-fiction books to your credit. Is that where you started with writing? How/when did you make the switch to fiction? And what led you to write suspense?
Fiction has always been my first love and my dream. I wrote fiction long before I wrote nonfiction—but it was the nonfiction that sold first. I discovered I had a gift for devotions, and those sold more easily as well. My first fiction sale was in 1984. The next one didn’t come until 2005. I was still writing it, but nothing gelled.

Tell us about your latest release, Burying Daisy Doe. Where did the idea come from?
Daisy grew out of a number of elements in my past. I’ve long been fascinated by cold cases, and as a teenager in Nashville, I followed the case of Marcia Trimble’s murder closely, from the time she was killed till the crime was solved forty years later. Cold cases are worked in a different way from recent crimes. Layer onto that the fact that my grandparents had a farm in Alabama where I spent a lot of time, getting to know the people in the community. I knew men like Roscoe. I talked to a lot of Vietnam vets. I had heard backporch tales about the Dixie Mafia. Eventually, it all started coalescing into a story that became Burying Daisy Doe.

What is your writing routine like? Do you aim for a certain number of words per day or completed chapters in a certain amount of time, or some other goal?
I don’t set a word goal because I found out that was like counting calories. I become obsessed with the numbers to the detriment of the goal. I track my word count on an Excel spreadsheet, but my daily routine is more about time. When something is developing, I try to write after work, then again after dinner. If I’m on deadline, I try to write before work as well. Since I work at home, it’s about a five minute transition from my recliner to my office, so it’s not a big leap in discipline.

What's the best part of writing? And the worst part?
The best part is the sense of accomplishment when it goes well, when the words sing. The worst part is when they don’t behave and it’s like living with a dragon that snarls and prowls, making you miserable if you’re not writing.

On your website you say you're a fun person to have a burger with. What's your favorite burger? (Either from a restaurant or made at home with the fixings you like.)
My mother always said that it wasn’t a good burger until it dripped. I don’t have a favorite restaurant burger, but I love one with a juicy patty with crisp edge, lettuce, tomato, onions, sweet pickles, mustard, and ketchup. They remind me of backyard summers, soft breezes, and long-lasting friendships.

What do you like to read when you're not writing? And when you are writing?
I read EVERYTHING. Lately I’ve been binging on Regency romances and mysteries, interspersed with some dark, Southern suspense. I love science fiction and fantasy. Craft books, histories, politics, Bible studies, theology … pretty much anything that attracts my attention.

Finish this sentence: When I'm not writing, I'm _______.
Reading. Sometimes I watch TV.

Any parting words?
All of life is fodder for the writing. All I have to do is pay attention, and eventually the stories take shape in my head…and eventually on the page.


Lisa Bartelt is a child of the flatlands fulfilling her dream of living near mountains in Pennsylvania. She loves reading, writing and listening to stories—true ones, made-up ones and the ones in between—preferably with a cup of coffee in hand. Wife, mom of two, writer, ordinary girl, Lisa blogs about books, faith, family and the unexpected turns of life at

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