Richard Prosch worked as a professional writer, artist, and teacher in Wyoming, South Carolina, and Missouri, while amassing enormous collections of paperback fiction, comic books, MEGO action figures, and vintage vinyl. His work has appeared in novels, numerous anthologies, True West, Roundup, and Saddlebag Dispatches magazines, and online at Boys’ Life.
Wolfpack Publishing: You seem to write across a large span of genres, what is your favorite genre to write?
Richard Prosch: I’d say crime fiction, first and foremost. I enjoy reading and writing about characters who get into odd predicaments or hit rock bottom in some way and need to solve the problem/mystery or otherwise pick themselves up. The great thing about most Westerns is they are also crime novels—they just take place in a more limited setting. Same thing for my YA novels.
Wolfpack: How did you originally get started with comics? Is this something you still create?
Richard: I grew up hanging around the Corner Drug Store’s comic book and paperback book racks, soaking it all up. In the early 90s, my wife and I were looking for a fun professional gig we could do together, so we created a comic strip about the comic industry. Comics and Emma Davenport ran for three years in the Comics Buyers’ Guide newspaper, and ended up creating ten Emma Davenport comics. We continued on working on several licensed properties, creating style guides, and worked with Tribune Media Services on a couple high-profile characters. We’ve dabbled, but haven’t done much recently. I’d like to see Emma make at least one comeback someday.
Wolfpack: You currently create a large portion of our covers, what helps inspire the covers you create?
Richard: I’m in love with color. Everything from garish technicolor rainbow hues to sepia to dramatic black & white. How color combination works with the design to promote a mood. Action, suspense, humor—I think color is huge and often overlooked.
Wolfpack: Dan Spalding is a bit darker compared to what you usually write, where did the inspiration for those books come from?
Richard: I had some dark times growing up, and it’s only now as an adult with both parents gone that I can look back and see what we went through—what a lot of young people go through as far as physical and emotional abuse. I think navigating a path for kids and crushing the people who profit off their innocence should be our first priority as a culture. Dan Spalding is a retired cop with his own business who ought to have it made. He ought to be kicking back, enjoying his love for music, martial arts and Indian motorcycles—but he can’t. He feels this need to make things right, to protect the innocent and punish the guilty—so he keeps getting involved.
Wolfpack: Do you have anyone in your life (wife, kids, etc.,) that helps support your writing career?
Richard: There’s no way I could write consistently without the support of my wife, Gina. She is my rock and my go-to place for untangling plots and trying out dialog. The good news is that in a previous life she was a college English professor, so she keeps my commas in all the right places.
Wolfpack: Do you continue to write from routine or new inspiration?
Richard: Compared to a lot of folks, we have a remarkably structured life affording me a decent writing schedule. That said, during the last few years it’s been harder to maintain the routine. Social media, increased emails and messages, changing schedules—it all takes its toll on the discipline. Looking on the bright side, breaking out of old habits has allowed some new inspiration in.
Wolfpack: Have you had to sacrifice anything in life to be a successful author and artist?
Richard: Most of the writers I know—the ones who are actually cranking out the words, not the wannabes who just talk about it—give up things most people take for granted. Things like frequent luxury vacations or standing in line for movies or trendy restaurants. For writers and artists, time becomes a premium. But I don’t think it’s a sacrifice—in the sense of giving up something great for something less. I think it’s acknowledging different values.
Wolfpack: Can you recall the most rewarding review you’ve received?
Richard: The most rewarding reviews I ever got—and I tell this story a lot—is from my 5th grade teacher who would jot encouraging words in the margins of my work. Since then, I haven’t really looked at my reviews. I never read my reviews on Amazon, good or bad. Either way, it’s not good for me emotionally.
Wolfpack: Are there any authors out there who inspire your work?
Richard: The older we get, the more our original inspirations disappear—Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, John D. MacDonald, Robert B. Parker. But there are a ton of men and women writing today who I look up to, including Brendan Dubois, Pete Brandvold, Vicky Rose, Lee Goldberg, the list goes on…
Wolfpack: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Richard: Understand that one book or story is a drop in the bucket. Celebrate a job well done, but then get back to work, because writing really is a journey, not a rest stop.