Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 25th 2016 Contents 6 | WOW MAGAZINE
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt September 25, 2016
WOW: What was the first story you wrote and what
happened to it?
SR: My first written story was called "Another Trini Bac-
chanal". I wrote it while in my second year of college at Fash-
ion Institute of Technology as a way to stay connected to
my culture and to enjoy the process of writing. I started to
share with friends in a Trinidadian chatroom that I was
working on a book and they were very supportive. I began to
email chapters to them as they were written, resulting in an
email list that swelled to 300 by the end.
WOW: Talk about the first piece of writing you ever
SR: I can't say for sure what was my first sold piece of
writing, but when I was sixteen, I wrote for Vox Magazine
which was at the time a part of the Sunday Express News-
papers. I believe the very first Sunday that I saw my article
and my name in the papers, I was filled with a high that
couldn't be quelled. I knew I was living my purpose and doing
what I was meant to do. I continue to feel the same high,
every time someone purchases one of my novels. I get to re-
live the experience, the euphoria and get the opportunity to
do what I love.
WOW: Tell us about your process...how do you write?
SR: Today for example I had a name repeating in my head,
and after a time, that name gets attached to another
thought, like connective tissue, till eventually the name and
the thought fall into other thoughts, and it gets too strong to
ignore. It is then that I am literally itching to write. Most of
the time I am unsure of where the inspiration even comes, or
I am lucky to find some microcosm of the human condition
to be noteworthy enough to put pen to paper, so to speak.
Essentially, barring any writer's block, my writing process is
fluid. I make sure I have good music, a clean workspace and
ample time and energy to focus on what I am doing. If I have
to research, I fact check over and over to be sure I am saying
something that is indeed true. After that, I am blessed with
the flow of the written word and I fall in love with it...what-
ever the form of writing is.
WOW: What's the biggest mistake you have made as
SR: I hate to even call it a mistake but, I feel like it was an
ill-advised decision. I wanted to be published but for years I
lacked the confidence to truly go
after my dreams. It took me a very
long time to put a monetary num-
ber behind my work, choosing in-
stead to stay low, silent and share
the novels ("De Next Bacchanal"
and "Moka") with close friends and
family. I was afraid to fail, so I didn't
try to put myself or my work out
there. I still struggle with thoughts of
failure, but I remind myself that I can't
do what I love doing, if I don't take
WOW: Which fictional character
would you most like to have a drink
with and why?
SR: The vampire Lestat from Anne
Rice's novels on vampire lore ("Interview
with the Vampire", "The tale of the Body
Thief", "Prince Lestat" and the new title
"Prince Lestat and the realms of Atlantis")
In her novels, she paints Lestat so vividly
that I truly feel as if we have been friends
for most of my adult life. He is cunning, unapologetic and an-
cient. I could learn so much from a person nee vampire who
has been around for centuries. I hope to one day write a
character as vividly as Anne Rice has done. I am humble in
my approach to my craft, and I am stupefied when anyone
likens me to any other pop culture author. I am still learning,
growing and becoming.
WOW: How do you handle a bad review of your work?
SR: I was once told that I wasn't moving with my subject
matter by a close friend. I found out later that the friend had
never read my work. I remember feeling ruined and defeated
that I couldn't convince him to read one of my novels. In-
stead, I have endeavored to take those sorts of wounds as
an opportunity to better my craft. I ask probing questions,
and am always trying to upgrade my research and respect
the craft that I have entered into.
WOW: What's the worst advice you hear writers give
SR: To be frank with you, I don't have very many writing
friends and the ones I have had, have been extremely gra-
cious, supportive and excessively kind. I was told by a
prospective publisher to lose weight, and to be aware of my
public image. I find that laughable, sexist and hurtful. It truly
ruined my day and discouraged me from my craft. Writing is
one hundred percent about your work; nothing else.
WOW: How did you get into writing
horror novels but when "Fifty Shades of
Grey" came out I decided to read the trilogy
and I became interested in the genre. I felt
that despite the interest surrounding the
novel, I couldn't relate to all the shades of
grey. I needed colour, difference. I wanted
to connect to the characters on a more
personal level. When the inspiration for
"Moka" came later that year, it felt natu-
ral, like a progression in my writing, and I
took the challenge as one I was eager to
take on. I was terrified to write a novel
whose subject matter was sex. I grew
up through the process of writing
"Moka". It encouraged me to take risks
and to be unapologetic about the
truth I was trying to convey.
WOW: How has been the response to your books?
SR: Moka was released in August 2016. Within its first
week it sold out in five major hubs in Port of Spain and was
declared a #2 Bestseller at Nigel R Khan Booksellers. I am
still in shock over this response. I am so glad that people
have enjoyed "Moka" and have supported me like this. It con-
tinues to sell and to garner interest and I am excited by the
feedback I have received about the book.
WOW: Have you had a chance to interact with people
who have read your novels? What's that like?
SR: I love most that my readership always feels we are
long-time friends, whether or not we have only just met.
They share with me their love of "Moka" and a lot of the
time, they seem angered for the characters in whatever cir-
cumstances they have been victimized. I love when they
rush to defend their favourite charcter or demonize the per-
son they view as the villain. Their passion assures me that
my work is being seen and celebrated. I love speaking to my
readers and to hear their take on the novel. It feels like we
are gossiping about some people we know behind their back.
WOW: What's your next project?
SR: For right now I am promoting "Moka" steadfastly and
continue to write a follow up novel which is as of yet unti-
tled. I am surprised by the outpouring of support and I look
forward to other opportunities for "Moka" which has been al-
luded to. Some people have expressed interest in seeing
Moka- the Movie. If that happens...that's where I will be!
ew York-based writer Sparkle Richards has
struck gold with her new book Moka-an Erotica.
The book was released last month and has been deemed a
number two bestseller by Nigel R Khan Booksellers. WOW
magazine was able to talk to her about the book's success.
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