1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I grew up in a place called Beebetown, Ohio, at the corner of four counties. When I was a kid, it had a lot of old buildings from the 1800s. I lived in an old converted schoolhouse with a well for water. The old blacksmith shop was across the street and used by the neighbor as a barn. Fields and horses were nearby, and a little creek to sail wood boats along was down a hill with a giant pear tree. My parents had plenty of animals to care for, and I would spend many hours drawing them into my stories. Though I struggled with dyslexia, it did not prevent me from being creative. So doodling in class was familiar, but with the help of a tutor and plenty of reading, I eventually gravitated towards highly imaginative works by Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, Edward Lear, and others.
2. What inspired you to write your book?
The Goodbye Family and The Great Mountain, is the second novel in the Great Mountain series, about eccentric undertakers living in the Old Weird West. It follows Me’ ma and the Great Mountain that focuses on an Indigenous child named Me’ma who uses her traditional knowledge to battle a tyrant of the land. Shockwaves of this conflict are felt in the community of Nicklesworth, where the goodbyes have their business.
Back in 2009, my wife Valerie and I visited parts of the United Kingdom and later Paris. We always have had a morbid curiosity and interest in the Victorian era, spirit, and funerary customs. After all, my wife and I met at a Gothic club in 1996. So we visited as much of these places as we could, and I took to writing down ideas and a diary of our trip. On the streets of Paris, I began doodling the Goodbye family and their traits.
3. What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The readers will find it full of laughs, adventure, and quirkiness that all together makes the Goodbye family so oddly unique. I will let the readers find their messages and takeaways from the book. I will say, though, that an underlying theme of my series is that you can fulfill your goals in life by being yourself and taking that first step outside the norm.
4. What drew you into this particular genre?
If the genre is Weird West, Gothic, Western, or Dark Humor, I suppose a lifetime of interest in it did the trick. However, I don’t think anyone of these quite describes what it is by itself. It’s dark, humorous, weird, and western. At one time, I thought Down West was a good moniker until people started calling it a Gothic Western, but then that sounds maybe too serious for the series? I’m not sure what to call it, but I guess a Western Gothic may be plausible. Now, what was the question? Oh yes, as a child, I wanted to be like Robert Conrad from the series The Wild Wild West and sought out every book I could on the subject of Native Americans and the Old West. I sometimes would wear a wool poncho to school and even made a Cowboy movie about the OK Corral in my early teens. I guess it all solidified for me with family trips visiting the Native American reservations, historic parks, Mexican American areas, and ghost towns in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. I lived in New York City for a time but knew I had to be out west. My wife and I moved across the country, visiting many more of the same on our way, and landed in Los Angeles where I worked at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian/the Autry Museum of the American West while receiving a bachelors in Anthropology. Then after, I started a Native American film series with some friends. I now live across from the CBS Lot where they filmed many TV Westerns including, you guessed it, The Wild Wild West.
5. If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
What an interesting question. In my novels, there is one character that has appeared throughout, Frank Thorne, and we slowly understand his complexities. He will be unraveling more in my third novel, for better or worse. However, if I had a chance to ask him anything, I think I’d pass for fear of being shot.
6. What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Unfortunately, social media comes and goes. So you have to be on the tip of just about everything to some degree. All platforms should go back to one site. For me, it is lorinrichards.com. Facebook has been around the longest for me, so I have invested more time in it than others. But around the corner will be something new, and like any company/brand, I’ll need to put on my glasses and look into it (all while sighing, of course).
7. What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Just be yourself, don’t waste time, work routinely on your craft, explore new avenues, and find your niche. Once you find it, don’t take yourself too seriously and be open to accepting everyone as a potential reader.
8. What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
As mentioned, I am writing my next novel called Hollis Sorrow and the Great Mountain. It continues the story of Hollis Sorrow and Madeline Sage, whom readers that are familiar with the first book know their adventure to find Hollis’ old pals during the war is still ongoing. The story will take them into the sky world for answers. For fans of The Goodbye Family, I work daily on telling their stories through my comic series that appears on my social media and Tapas, a comic syndicate. Also, I am gradually putting together an animated series about their lives. I partnered with The Heathen Apostles for the series theme song.
Please visit lorinrichards.com if you’d like to learn more about my stories.
About the Author
Lorin Morgan-Richards is an author and illustrator, known mostly for his YA fiction. A fan favorite is his daily comic series The Goodbye Family about a family of eccentric undertakers living in the Old Weird West with their daughter Orphie who oversees the town of Nicklesworth as their sheriff. Richards writing career started in 2009, with his latest novel The Goodbye Family and the Great Mountain (2020) being his thirteenth release. In addition to writing and illustrating, Richards colorizes Old West and Victorian-era photography.
The Goodbye Family and the Great Mountain follows the lives of Weird West undertakers Otis, Pyridine, and their daughter Orphie. Pyridine is a witch and matriarch mortician, Otis is a brainless but bold hearse driver, and Orphie is appointed grave digger for her strength of twenty men. Through bumbling, Otis discovers his neighbors are turning into zombies, a mystery that is directly affecting their burial business. In their backyard cemetery, they travel to the underworld for answers and uncover a plot to surface the evil entities that would otherwise burn in the Lake of Fire, have risen again through oil pumps that are bottled up as a tonic medicine for the ground above. The tonic goes fast, and the host takes over the body when the body perishes. Can the Goodbyes hilarious gaffes and revelations plug up the works?
Some important links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorin_Morgan-Richards
https://www.lorinrichards.com (Official page)