Monday 23 February 2015

Richard Titus - "The Gift of the Quoxxel"

Recently I managed to interview Richard Titus, author of "The Gift of the Quoxxel"!

1) What inspired you to write "The Gift of Quoxxel"?

This was the process of "writing a story backwards."  First, you start with an illustration and then write a story around it.

It all started with this painting -- "The Return of the Quoxxel anticipated by the citizens of Nibb"  --   a 16 x 20 inch oil painting on panel finished in 2005.

I had no idea of a story when I did this painting, yet, the image suggested it represented a story “somewhere."  Apparently, it was up to me to find it. 
After much trial and error, I arrived at "The Gift of the Quoxxel.” 

2) Would you want to live in an island as peaceful as Nibb?

First, I'd like to talk about that notion of "peaceful" as a metaphor.  There's a perception (at least, in the western world) that the ideal life is calm, stable, and "peaceful."  Yet, what do we represent in the arts?  Usually, it's excitement, high emotions, challenge, risk and adventure.  In other words, almost anything antithetic to "peaceful" seems to represent our true aspirations.
Extremes of life, not the peaceful routine, seem to educate us about who and what we are.  And, if we're not on the planet to discover our true nature, then coming here could prove to be a wasted trip.
But to answer your question in a literal way, locales or situations a little "too peaceful" quickly put me to sleep.  The really exciting challenge in life is being awake.

3) Would you want a friend like Yill?
There's the idea of the court jester (a clown-entertainer-jokester) who would provide entertainment for the king and his court.  That was the simple explanation of his function.  His true skill, however, was his ability to influence the powers-that-be with sarcasm and satire under the guise of entertainment.  In other words, he could influence the king's concepts of almost anything in very subtle ways.  This is the idea of the Yill character.
One reviewer found this character very unlikable as his actions were interpreted as rather mean-spirited.  The real role of Yill was to help Norr break free from complacency. Even though he was mischievous, Yill always had good intentions towards others.
To answer your question -- yes, I would like to have a friend like Yill.  As a matter of fact, I do have friends like Yill and I'm thankful that from time to time they give me a good, swift kick in the complacency.  That's a best friend.

4) What books have influenced your life the most?
The White Hotel -- D.H. Thomas
Moon and Sixpence -- W. Somerset Maugham
The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) -- Hermann Hesse
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance -- Robert M. Pirsig
Burr -- Gore Vidal

These are the top ones that come to mind.  Currently I'm reading short stories by P.G. Wodehouse.

5) What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I'm sketching out another story using Nibb as the setting.  Some of the characters of the first story will be there and other new characters will find there way to the island.
It will be more fantasy, lite sci-fi, and humor + new illustrations.
As King Norr said, "If you like that sort of thing, then that's the sort of thing you like."

Don't forget to check out my review for "The Gift of Quoxxel" here


  1. Hi, may I ask how you got this author to do an interview? This is amazing, I would really like to do one for myself, thanks :D

    1. Hi! I am happy that you enjoyed this interview.
      Basically, when you want to get an interview with an author, you have to first go on to the author's homepage. Then you just search for the email address and type up the email, introducing yourself and saying that you have read their book and enjoyed it immensely. Ask them if they could answer some questions and write them down below. I would first check if the author has a Frequently Asked Questions page, so that you don't repeat any questions.
      In this case I got the book for free in exchange for an honest review, so I just asked the author to answer some questions after I finished the book.

      Hope this helps!

    2. Dauntless (& anyone interested)

      I can be reached at --

      For a short time, I'm providing promotional copies of "The Quoxxel" either as a mobi file or a gifted Kindle copy. If one is so compelled after reading, a review would be greatly appreciated.

      I ask just one favor of reviewers in that they divulge as few spoilers as possible. Other than that, your objective comments are welcome.


      Richard Titus