Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Twenty Questions Tuesday - Interview with Robert Roman!!!

Hello there, everyone! Today is Tuesday and that means it's...(drumroll please)...Twenty Questions Tuesday!
Today our guest here at The Dusty Rose is Robert Roman!
Let's begin!
1.      Do you have a favorite author or book? What about them appeals to you?
a.       Terry Pratchett.  He manages to combine humor, philosophy, action, romance, and more into a single story, just about every single time he writes.  He’s a storyteller beyond compare, but still manages to have some interesting ideas behind the stories.
2.      Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
a.       I suppose two recurring themes within my stories are what it means to be ‘human’, with a side order of a less downer look at extended lifespans.  The typical current view, of course, being the ‘oh, woe is me, immortal amongst the mortal mayflies’.  Seriously, you give me eternal youth I’m gonna have me some fun with that there.
3.      Favorite literary character? Why them?
a.       Tough call, but today I’m going to go with Captain Vimes.  For the ‘why’, I could go into a lot about him being an everyman, yet an everyman of mythic proportions.  I could talk about how I identify with him, because I’m also knurd most of the time, going through life two drinks low.  I could go on and on about how he sees beauty and nobility in commonplace people and things, while constantly being unwilling to see either in himself.
But I’d rather just say “YOU ARE NOT MY COW!”

(Leslie: Ha ha ha. Captain Vimes. I finished reading Guards! Guards!  not too long ago, the first Terry Pratchett book I've read, so I know who you're talking about. Lol!)

4.      What book are you reading now?
a.       And All the Stars a Stage, James Blish.  Color me unimpressed, but it’s supposed to be one of those ‘classics of the genre’ things.
5.      What genre is your favorite to write?
a.       Don’t have one, really.  Agatha and Penelope put things in my head, and sometimes those ‘things’ include a genre. Sometimes I have to think of one.  Sometimes I miss the one they hand me, and I have to go back and rewrite things.
Actually, I do like juxtaposing genres.  Hence my proclivity for rather long, involved genre listings, like “Steam Punk Christmas Interracial Military Romance with Cyborg Zombies”.
6.      What do you think makes a good story?
a.       There’s no single answer to that.  In general, you need good characters (both protagonists and antagonists), a good plot, an interesting setting, and good prose.  You need to mix them all well.  Some action, some character development, some storytelling.  But I keep finding gems that are missing whole sections of that, so I’m honestly not sure.  It’s why writing is an art, not a science, and why I really get no satisfaction from reading formulaic books.
7.      What are your current Works In Progress?
a.       You’re the first person to write it ‘Works’.  I keep a page on my website (www.robertcroman.com) devoted to the topic, but in case I haven’t updated it recently enough, my current WIPs (in no particular order) are A Christmas Vigil – OR – Crystal Without A Chime (Steam Punk Christmas Interracial Military Romance with Cyborg Zombies, also book Two in the Iron Angel series), XLI (Sci Fi Action Adventure, First book in the Tram & Tenly series), Dregs List (Urban Fantasy Action Adventure, Book Two in Urban Pandora), What Not To Fear (Urban Fantasy Romance Comedy with Noir trappings, sequel to Fae Eye for the Golem Guy), and…  um…  I think I’ve got a SuperHero Action Adventure in the works.  Just a glimmer in the eye at the moment though.
8.      What is the hardest part of writing?
a.       Sitting down and starting.
9.      What’s one guilty pleasure you enjoy?
a.       Facebook games
10.  What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
a.       I tend to have dialogue that gets tagged as ‘too witty to be real’ that is actually lifted word for word from actual conversations.  Worse, I forget that not everyone can hear the characters talking, and wind up forgetting dialog tags.
11.  If you could live in a book’s fictional universe for a day, which book would you choose?
a.       Depends if I could bring things back or not.  If only memories, I’d choose the Discworld, preferably Omnia while Brutha was in charge.  If could only bring back myself, definitely To Sail Beyond the Sunset, because I have just too much to do for forty productive years.  If I could bring back anything at all?  Tough choice, but I’d be leaning towards one of the later Aldenata series books by Ringo.  Same reasons, only expanded to others.
12.  What do you like to do when you're not writing?
a.       Games, both video and board.  Reading, of course.  Long involved discussions on the nature of reality with the Ur-Goth.  The Ur-Goth herself when she’s not too distracted.
13.  Tell us about your current book.
a.       My most recent release is The Strange Fate of Capricious Jones – OR – Genesis of an Iron Angel.  It’s a SteamPunk Action Adventure which follows a few hours of two lives.  One is the titular Capricious Jones, an Engineer and adventurer struggling to survive sabotage while piloting an experimental flying machine.  The other is Leigh Adams, a young WAC Engineer trying to adjust to her new posting with the AEF.
14.  How did you come up with the title?
a.       I was proctoring the HSPA, trying to think of a story for a new call for SteamPunk shorts, and the name just jumped out at me.  After that, my love of old radio plays took over.  Hence the double name.
15.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
a.       That transparent aluminum actually exists.
16.  Where and when do you write?
a.       Usually after the kids are asleep, sitting at my desk in the dining room.
17.  Have you ever suffered from writer's block and if so, how do you overcome it?
a.       Not really.  When I can’t get past a scene, it’s usually because I haven’t fleshed out that part of the world yet.  I go in, figure out that part of the world, and things flow again.
18.  If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?
a.       I really have no response to that.  Every book is tied up with its author.  With that in mind, I wish I could write like Cherryh, or like Pratchett, but I wouldn’t write their books without being them, and I like being me.
19.  Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? If so, what are they?
a.       Know yourself.  Know what you’re trying to write.  Let the stories come to you, but don’t let them toy with you.  Make sure your basic craft (grammar, spelling, characterization, plotting) are solid before you start trying to do fancy stuff.  Work your social networking, so when you hit you’ll be able to take off, but don’t skimp on basic craft.  Be like my friend PJ (http://pjschnyder.com/), who by dint of working harder than any human being should have to manages to pull it all off and make it look easy.
20.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
a.       I’ve got more folks who ‘like’ me on FaceBook and read my blog than actually buy my books!  C’mon, folks, toss a nickel in the tip jar, will ya?
Seriously, though, I really hope people enjoy my stories, and hope they’ll give me feedback on what they do and don’t like.  I know my imagination can get a little ‘out there’ at times, so if it ever gets too far, and I’ve dragged by editors along with me, don’t hesitate to tell me I’ve gone all M. Night.
Finally, because she’s my biggest and most vocal fan, Hi Mom!

(Leslie: Thanks for the awesome interview, Robert! And to everyone else - check out Robert Roman's latest ebook, The Strange Fate of Capricious Jones!)

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