Interview with Richard Natale
Richard Natale is a Los Angeles-based journalist and writer whose short stories have appeared in such literary journals and anthologies including Chelsea Station, Gertrude Press and Off The Rocks. He has authored five published novels, a novella and a short-story collection. He also wrote and directed a feature film, Green Plaid Shirt, which played in twenty-five film festivals around the world.
How did you become a writer?
I first started writing in college contributing to the school newspaper, which led to a journalism
opportunity after graduation. I developed my skills as a reporter, researcher, critic and editor, all
the while reading voraciously. After selling a couple of screenplays, a full-length drama and later, writing and directing a feature film, I discovered my true passion, short-form and long-form fiction.
What inspires you to write?
Reading. There is nothing like a good read (fiction or non-fiction) to kick start my imagination.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I outline the broad strokes of a story or novel. A beginning, middle and end. I sketch out the characters and their emotional arc. During the writing process, I allow myself latitude to embellish and refine. Once I’ve completed a draft, the real writing work begins. Rewriting is a luxury and a necessity.
Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?
Finding the moment when the characters and the story take on their own life and nurturing that life and expanding it. Self-improvement. Learning efficiencies and different ways to tell a story that force me to evolve. It’s an ongoing process. Knowing when to stop rewriting. Accepting good criticism and using it to take the story and characters further.
Tell me about your protagonist. What's your favorite trait and/or weakness?
All my protagonists are flawed. Balancing their good and bad characteristics is the real challenge. Moral conundrums are key.
How does your antagonist create conflict?
Through moral confrontation. Sometimes the protagonist can be his own worst enemy. Which
makes him the antagonist.
What are your current/future projects?
My last project, Greenwich Connection, consists of a novella and fifteen interrelated short stories with recurring characters encapsulating LGBTQ history in Greenwich Village from the post-war era to the dawn of the new century. My most recent project, Expediency, is a story set in COVID lockdown in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, focusing on a dissolving relationship and the main character’s attempt at professional redemption, which brings him into conflict with an untrustworthy narrator.
Do you have a routine you follow when writing?
I usually write in the mornings, though my brain sometimes writes at night, which spurs me to get out of bed in the morning.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Read more. Write more. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Sit down and write. Read other writers. Analyze them. Use whatever is applicable to yourself.
* What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?
E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or text/phone 323 363-0226