Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with R. A. Stephens!

What an honour and thrill to welcome R. A. Stephens to the blog to share the first in an exciting new series for junior fiction readers; Riz Chester: The Counterfeit Bust! Riz is a clever, brave, unique and curious strong female character with a penchant for solving mysteries and forensic science. A fun adventure story that leads to positive self-awareness and true friendships – couldn’t be better!

Congratulations! Look forward to finding out more about Riz Chester! 🙂

About the Author

R. A. Stephens is a teacher by day, writer, editor and publisher by night. She is passionate about the written word, what stories can do to take a reader to a new world and open our eyes to love, compassion, the bigger picture and much more. When not working, teaching or writing, she enjoys living in the country and spending time with her human and animal family.

Find R.A. Stephens at her website: R. A. Stephens Author – Author R.A. Stephens (rastephens.com)

And on social media at:

Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook

Wombat Books / Rhiza Edge: website | Facebook | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Riz Chester books can be found at Wombat Books.

WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?

R. A. Stephens and Em Hammond are the author and illustrator of Riz Chester: The Counterfeit Bust (Book 1). Wombat Books + Rhiza Press.

WHAT is it about?

Riz Chester seems like an average 10-year-old girl. She doesn’t think she can do anything special but Riz is particularly observant. She notices when her friends haven’t brushed their hair or when the cheese brand changes at school. She also notices when money doesn’t feel quite right.

One day she accidently shows her unexpected skill in front of a local police officer. When she finds out about a counterfeit ring, can she use her powers of observation to work out who is behind it? Will they even believe her?

What is your favourite part of this book?

Riz thinks what she notices is just plain weird and has stopped speaking up, instead, recording her notes in her “weird stuff” journal. I love when Riz decides she will speak up.

Mum, there is something wrong with this note.’ …

‘Can money be faulty, you know like the way coffee stains make paper a different colour?’

Mum stares at me with a look she often gives me. I am pretty sure it means, Where did you come from, child? Even though I know she isn’t really mad. At least I don’t think she is.

Riz really thinks she is a bit odd. But speaking up when you feel like you are different or you see something differently is a risk, but one worth taking. For Riz, it led to an adventure and stronger friendships. And most importantly, the realisation that what she thought was weird, wasn’t as weird as she thought. Riz discovered her uniqueness was a skill!

As a teacher and parent as well as working in publishing, one of my favourite things is seeing people achieve something – be it a standard expectation or something unexpected.

WHEN did you begin writing this book? When is its release / launch date?

Well, apparently I started writing this story in 2018 according to my writing history. But then it sat with only around 2000 words until 2022!

Book 1 (The Counterfeit Bust) was released in May 2023! Book 2 (The Fingerprint Code) is coming out in November! I always had an idea for Book 2, but thankfully I wrote that one a little bit faster! Now to finish number 3…

WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?

I am a science and maths teacher and have written textbooks in the past for educational companies. My passion is stronger in storytelling – particularly presenting science and maths in a way that is relatable to kids. While I might not quite hit the mark for everyone, and Riz is definitely a bit special, I hope that kids get something out of it. I also think so often stories are unbelievable. Sure, there are a few things that are probably unbelievable in all fiction, but I want to create realistic stories with the science and maths and social skills.

WHY is this book meaningful to you? Why would its message resonate with readers?

I hope children will enjoy the forensics, detective type story as well as relate to the characters. There are two friends named with the same name and two girls who are twins. There are normal situations, like a school ground, for a lot of the conversations. There is mystery and the story is fast paced and strategic. The book would suit older reluctant readers with its gorgeous pictures and “weird stuff” notes throughout, or it would suit younger readers with an interest in science or detective stories.

HOW do you feel about the illustrations / cover design? How do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?

I LOVE Em Hammond’s illustrations. She is a Neurodivergent Speech Pathologist so not only did she illustrate and create the characters, but she was so insightful in reviewing the story and giving feedback! They are better than I could have imagined as an author. Em is very talented, and her characters are just perfect in this book.

How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?

Riz Chester: The Counterfeit Bust is available through all the main channels. Look for it in your library, get the ebook, order it online or in your local bookstore!

OTHER information or experiences you’d like to share?

Riz is innately neurodivergent, without the book mentioning it specifically. Her thought processes and her acceptance of her “weird stuff” is a big part of the story – as well as her interest in science. I hope the book and forthcoming series will help children realise their talents and value whatever they are – be it sensory, scientific or anything else!

Thank you for sharing this amazing book and your intriguing, clever character with us! Congratulations and all the best with the Riz Chester series! 🙂

#thequicksixinterview #rizchester #thecounterfeitbust #mystery #science #juniorfiction

2 thoughts to “The Quick Six Interview with R. A. Stephens on Riz Chester

  • Norah

    I think the Riz Chester series sounds great and will be popular with young readers.

    • Just Write For Kids

      Absolutely! Agree! 🙂 x


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