Richard L. Hardy is a retired lawyer who practiced law for over 35 years and has been involved in the Mackenzie River Métis community for at least 60 years.
He also a bestselling author — his debut novel, Mǫ́lazha (Child of a Whiteman) currently sits onto the Bestseller list at the FriesenPress Bookstore.
Told through three tales, expertly woven together, Mǫ́lazha is centred on life in the North and what it means to be Métis.
Through sharing his own lived experience, Hardy aims to increase the awareness of the trauma that occurred at residential schools, and foster acceptance and understanding of the truth.
We spoke with Mr. Hardy about his writing process, and how he got from manscript to published author.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? This is the only book that I have written. That being said, I spent a lot of time doing research before and during the writing of the book. It was difficult as I needed access to archives and none were open due to Covid. However, most archivists were very helpful and did their best to find information that I asked for.
What was an early experience where you learned that you wanted to become a writer? I have always been an avid reader as was my mother. I suppose the incident that I tell about in high school, in the book, was an early prompt.
Do you work towards daily goals, like writing for a certain about of hours or hitting a certain word count? I do try to work on the book every day but am not so disciplined as to set an amount of time or a word count. There are times when I simply walk away for a number of days.
What are the mistakes you made during writing your initial manuscript? Trying to include too much. An early editor said that I had enough for two books.
What made you decide to go the route of self-publishing? Being unknown, as a writer, I had no alternative. I was very surprised after I finished the first manuscript to find out that most publishers were not accepting manuscripts from new writers. So, I decided to find an agent. However there were no agents available that wanted to take on a new writer.
What are the pros and cons of self-publishing? The pro side is that you know that your book will get to market. The cons are difficult to discern as I have no other experience to compare it to. Of course you need to have your own money to get started so if a new writer is broke this is not a likely alternative.
How long did it take to complete this book? Two years.
Finally, do you believe in writer’s block? Absolutely – lots of angst.