Interview With the Author Chester L. Richards
Can you tell us about the two types of adventures you can have in life?
Adventure is mostly about how you view the world. The first type of adventure occurs any time you make a major change in your life, especially if there is stress involved: Attending a new school, getting married, taking a new job or assignment, moving to a new home – all can be adventures. These are adventures of ordinary life. Then, there are adventures deliberately sought out: Wilderness treks, foreign travel to strange places, unusual sports like scuba or sky diving, are examples. A third type of adventure is one you definitely don’t want: Getting caught up in a war, is a good example.
What lessons did you learn from your father when he brought you into the family business?
At an early age Dad had me working alongside him when he had his own trade shop. Mostly I did small chores like keeping the place immaculately clean, which was essential for the type of business he was in. He also had me doing other things, such as mixing (toxic) chemicals. Even more important, Dad trained the pre-teen me in the safe use of potentially dangerous machine tools. Once he was satisfied that I understood techniques and hazards of these devices he left me to work on my own. The essential lesson is that youth can be trusted, while still very young, to grow and accept responsibility.
Can you tell us how you ended up co-writing the episode of Star Trek?
My friend, Judy Burns, wanted to write for Star Trek. She introduced me to the show. One day I had an idea that Judy liked so she invited me to collaborate on a speculative script. Through a variety of miracles the script was bought by Star Trek. Only then did the real work begin, because the required revisions led to a completely new story: The Tholian Web.
Why and how do you think your books resonate with your audience?
The book is a memoir. It is a series of stories drawn from various adventures that I have had during a long life. Some of the adventures are quite out of the ordinary. These stories give insight into parts of the world that most have not encountered. While I do tell of exotic experience, the stories also introduce some of the most extraordinary individuals I have met along the way. The stories are all true. My goal is to entertain and enlighten.
What is your favorite quote or excerpt in the book?
“The Original War Baby.” This story was also the favorite of my late wife, Sarah. It is the recollections of the two and three year old me experiencing the Second World War, and its dramatic end. My memories of wartime Fort Benning and Georgia are happy ones.
Is there another book coming?
Yes. A second book is already partially edited. And, there may be a third memoir, as well. A third one will depend on the stories that I am currently writing. In addition, during my travels I usually kept a journal. Each day’s events were recorded in the afternoon and often read around the campfire in the evening. I had to get things right, and be entertaining, because my companions were there and saw what happened. There is enough material for at least one more book in these journals.
Chester L. Richards — Bio
Aerospace Engineer (Ret.), Inventor, Adventurer, Author, Storyteller, Romantic
The philosophy developed by Chester L. Richards, aerospace engineer, adventurer, and inventor (19 patents), has indeed caused him to view all that comes his way as an adventure. Even a visit to the hospital! (Look for stories about these surprisingly entertaining forays into Deep Space Medical soon in his blog, “Stories.”)
That attitude took shape early. In college, a bit after those early escapes from being thoroughly roasted by The Great Potato’s molten lead flinging tricks, Chester and friend Judy Burns co-authored a spec script for “Star Trek” on a lark. The story, “The Tholian Web,” became one of the series’ most popular episodes. A veteran writer advised the young man, “You should write….write your passions.” “But I have nothing to say,” Chester thought. That was the moment he decided the real message was to fill his life with adventures. And he did — adventures in surfing, learning, and performing music, travel to exotic places for river rafting, and his work as a rocket scientist. Along the way, he’s always met fascinating characters. He did write — essays (over 50 have been published so far). At the house in Thousand Oaks he and his late beloved Sarah once shared, he brought himself back from the brink of despair by writing the hair-raising adventures Sarah loved, and that continue to occur, though as the author says, he no longer has much hair.
Visit the website for Chester L. Richards for more information: https://www.chesterlrichards.com/about.html