Tracy M. Richards first heard about the Maasai tribe of Kenya and Tanzania five years ago when he was watching the late Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown.
In the episode that originally aired Oct. 26, 2014, Bourdain journeys to Tanzania, and stops along the way to visit a Maasai village. While watching the episode, Richards was immediately struck by how tall the people of the tribe were, as well as their strong, healthy culture and the self-sufficient way in which they lived.
“From that time on, I started looking at the documentaries on YouTube about this tribe, and what’s quite interesting is you do have a lot of people that visit that particular tribe when they go over to Nairobi, Kenya,” Richards said. “They’re very welcoming to the public.”
Richards, who has a strong love of fiction writing, had always wanted to write a fiction book. Now, he had the perfect subject that captivated his imagination — the Maasai tribe.
But even though the Hillsborough native knew what he wanted to write about, it took him a few years to find the time. In 2018, Richards became a dialysis patient, and turned his focus to the book he had wanted to write.
By December 2018, most of the book had been written, and the rest of the time was spent editing. On July 16, 2019, QUORA: Fearless Warrior was finally published.
It wasn’t always easy. Some nights Richards sat down and with his creative juices flowing, knowing exactly what to write. Other nights he sat down at his computer twiddling his thumbs. But he pushed himself to spend at least 15 minutes focused on the book every day beginning in July 2018.
The result was a 183-page thriller filled with twists about an antagonist in his mid-20s in the Maasai tribe who comes from a precarious background and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. By the time the journey ends, his life has changed in a way he never would have imagined.
Since the book became available on Amazon in July, Richards said he’s gotten compliments from friends and acquaintances who say they couldn’t put the novel down, and although he has not yet committed himself to writing a sequel to the first installment, he is interested in writing another novel down the road.
But for now, he’s focused on the proud feeling of producing a story that will live on for years.
“It was like birthing out a baby, a child,” Richards said. “I had a nurse tell me, he said, three things in life that he was told… He says, ‘Having a child, planting a tree, and writing a book.’ He said if you do those three things you’ve had a good life because they live on. After you’re gone, they live on.”