Richard Goodfellow – Biography

R.S. Goodfellow   For me, the notion of “writing a novel” started out as a single line on a list of “99 Things To Do Before I Die.” But after sinking my teeth into Collector of Secrets, I knew it was something I’d like to do for the rest of my life.

The original idea behind Collector of Secrets (COS) first entered my brain in 1991 while on a flight home after spending two years teaching English in Japan. It’s a fascinating country, and I’d met so many unique, interesting, and sometimes scary characters that it seemed like a waste to simply relegate them to a photo album on a dusty shelf.

The thriller concept rolled around in my head for sixteen years before finally gelling in a single momentous hour, as I watched a World War II documentary about Japan on the Discovery Channel. I distinctly remember turning off the hotel television and running to Powell’s Book Store in Portland to start the research.

During the fifteen months it took me to write the first draft of COS, I was a “road warrior”—flying around the U.S., managing software implementations—so the majority of the book was penned on airplanes and in small towns throughout Oregon, Texas, Florida, and every place in between.

At the end of each work day, my routine was to find a local coffee shop. Even before I walked through the door, the plot lines would be racing through my head. How would I resolve the problems for Max and Tomoko? The single most amazing discovery I found was that some of the chapters began to write themselves, with new characters appearing in scenes of the book before I consciously knew why they needed to be there.

Near the completion of the first draft, I spent a month revisiting Japan. My journey from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south allowed me to visit the book’s actual locations. Some I had written from memory and some were new to me, but almost every place mentioned, from the ancient capital of Nara to the glittering streets of Tokyo, is real and true.

The following year was spent editing and contemplating how I’d get a publisher to read the manuscript. Over dinner, Keren Taylor of Writegirl.org fame encouraged me to “go for it” and attend the 2008 Agentfest event in New York—which was only days away! A mad scramble followed. I hired a graphic designer to put up a website, had partial manuscripts printed, created a short pitch for the agents, and was on a plane ten days later.

All this activity finally led to the moment when Jennifer Weltz of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency got hold of the manuscript. Evidently she liked what she read, as I signed an Agent’s Agreement on September 29.

Jennifer is the best and Aug 2015 it was published.