OutUK: The book is full of descriptions of so many cities around the world? Are they
from your own experience?|
Richard: Yeah, mostly. I like the idea in the first part of celebrating cities as well.
There's a lot about restaurants and architecture and the movies and views of cities seen as
though it were like a film kind of thing. I liked the idea of this character's thoughts drifting
backwards and forwards between different places. As his memories are jogged, he's apt to reveal
a bit more detail about who this person might be.
OutUK: The leading characters love fine wines...presumably this reflects your own interests...
Richard: Yeah, I'm a bit of a wine writer amongst other things. I write about travel as well.
I liked the idea of Red as the title. There's a kind of motif in it - the colour Red symbolising wine, blood,
revolution. All the kind of associations you get with that as well. It's kind of how the reader
wants to interpret it.
OutUK: This book is very different from what most people imagine as a gay novel.
Richard: The gayness of the characters was kind of an incidental bit of a backdrop really.
It's really a backdrop to all the other ideas...writing about places and history to give
it a broader appeal rather than just being pigeon-holed as a gay novel.
OutUK: The blurb on the back describes Red as a literary thriller in the European tradition.
Is that a description you're pleased with?
Richard: Yeah, I suppose so. It sounds a bit pretentious but I guess I've studied quite a
lot of 20th century literature. I studied French and German with different writers and ideas
and what have you.
OutUK: Tell me more about you...
Richard: I'm a self-employed writer. I freelance for a lot of diverse publications
and I do wine education - running courses and tastings.
OutUK: And are you thinking about writing another novel?
Richard: Maybe. I enjoyed the world of the supernatural thriller fiction, with its many shades of red: wine, blood, colour, revolution.
I'd love to write some more fiction and hopefully develop it into novel number 2.
In fact Richard has spent more than half a lifetime dabbling in the wine world from tasting, talking, writing and blogging about wine, to translating, doing qualifications on it and even buying and selling wine. As well as passing long hours standing among vines watching them grow on the landscape, grapes being picked and transformed into fermented juice while gleaning words of wisdom from the people who do the real work farming vineyards and actually making wine.
Richard has his own blog called 'WineWriting.com' with special guest ‘FrenchMediterraneanWine’, and he occasionally runs wine education tastings in Belfast although does have a day job too working in public libraries. In a previous life, Richard lived for nearly six years in Les Pyrénées Orientales, the Roussillon region’s official name or number ‘66’, where his latest wine book adventure began: ROUSSILLON 'French Catalonia, Wild Wine Country'.
Red is published by Gay Men's Press at £9.99. It can be ordered direct from