Richard L. Hardy is a retired lawyer who practiced law for over 35 years and was involved in the Mackenzie River Métis community for at least 60 years.
He is also a best-selling author – his first novel, Mǫ́lazha (Child of a Whiteman) is currently on the FriesenPress bookstore bestseller list.
Told through three tales, expertly woven together, Mǫ́lazha centers on life in the North and what it means to be Métis.
By sharing her own lived experience, Hardy aims to increase awareness of the trauma that occurred in residential schools and to foster acceptance and understanding of the truth.
We spoke with Mr. Hardy about his writing process and how he went from manuscript to published author.
What type of research do you do and how much time do you spend researching before starting a book? It’s the only book I’ve written. That said, I spent a lot of time researching before and while writing the book. It was difficult as I needed access to the archives and none were open due to Covid. However, most archivists were very helpful and did their best to find the information I requested.
What was the first experience where you learned that you wanted to become a writer? I have always been an avid reader, just like my mother. I guess the incident I talk about in high school, in the book, was an early incitement.
Do you work toward daily goals, like writing for a certain number of hours or hitting a certain word count? I try to work on the book every day, but I’m not disciplined enough to set a length or a word count. There are times when I simply walk away for several days.
What mistakes did you make while writing your initial manuscript? Try to include too many. One of the early publishers said I had enough for two books.
What made you decide to start self-publishing? Being unknown, as a writer, I had no alternative. I was very surprised after finishing the first manuscript to find that most publishers did not accept manuscripts from new writers. So I decided to find an agent. However, there were no agents available who wanted to hire a new writer.
What are the pros and cons of self-publishing? The pro side is that you know your book will hit the market. The downsides are hard 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, that’s 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.