Richard Milton is a journalist and writer who writes stories most sensible people wouldn’t touch with a bargepole. He writes offbeat fiction: Dead Secret, is a mystery of the paranormal in everyday life. His book, The Glass Harmonica, is a mystery thriller. Concert pianist Julia Franklin is heir to an inheritance worth a billion dollars – enough to bankrupt America’s oldest bank when the trust matures. A third crime thriller is, Conjuring For Beginners. When legendary con-artist Ferdy Daniels dies alone and penniless, his daughter, Rosa, inherits his victims, who are convinced she was his partner in crime.
Interview with Richard Milton:
Matthew Toffolo: What is the general theme and tone of your novels?
Richard Milton: My three novels are all mysteries and thrillers, rooted in contemporary reality but with a touch of the macabre, the menacing, the mind-blowing, thrown into the mix. I’ve also written some very controversial non-fiction books, but’s that’s another story.
MT: Why should people buy your novels?
RM: To be mystified, intrigued, hooked, have their minds well and truly messed around with, but mainly to meet memorable characters who stay with you afterwards.
MT: How would you describe your novels in just two words?
RM: Dark , juicy.
MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?
RM: I watch films over and over again. Some films I’ve seen more than 10 times: Shane, The Longest Day, The Maltese Falcon, Back to the Future, Farewell My Lovely and lots, lots more.
MT: Was being a novel writer something you’ve always dreamed of doing?
RM: I used to make treasure maps and bury them in the garden when I was 8 or 9. Sadly no-one found them so I started writing stories. I bought my first typewriter from a junk shop when I was 15, carried it home on the bus (it weighed a ton) and taught myself to type. It took another twenty years to get published but I kept going because I wanted it more than anything.
MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel? Have you read a novel more than once?
RM: Like films, I read and re-read my favourite books over and over. Best novel I’ve ever read is The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead. Close second; That Hideous Strength by C.S.Lewis. I must also mention Ubik by Philip K. Dick.
MT: What motivates you to write?
RM: Writing is a compulsion. I write every day – not because it’s good practice but because I can’t stop myself.
MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?
RM: Mel Brooks. He’s the funniest and most original writer and film maker on the planet – by a mile. Can you imagine the meeting in Hollywood where he pitched the idea for The Producers? “You see it’s all about a musical version of Hitler’s rise to power . . . “
MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
RM: I’m fascinated by prehistory and how our ancestors survived against all the odds with just flint tools. I’ve collected hundreds of flint implements and used them to create a virtual museum of prehistory on the internet at http://www.stoneagetools.co.uk
MT: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
RM: There’s one piece of advice on thriller-writing that I’ve found helpful and is worth passing on. Do your first draft in screenplay format with little exposition, or in dialogue only with no exposition – that way you’ll have edited out most of the rubbish from the start.
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.