He is always open to discuss new and innovative ideas and hopes someday to see the building of a functional solar city as well as a fair and community-driven compensation system.
Robert’s latest book is the historical fiction, 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.
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About the Book:
In the early morning of her sister's wedding day, Mila Kharmalov stared in stunned silence at the coloured sparks streaming from Reactor Four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant. At that very moment, her life and the lives of everyone she knew changed forever.
23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is a work of fiction based on factual events from Chernobyl and villages throughout Ukraine.
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- 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is available at Amazon..
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Thanks for letting us
interrogate interview you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to
why you wanted to be an author?
I thought it would be a great way to meet women. I was so wrong.
A couple of reasons and neither have anything to do with the voices in my head. When my children were born I wanted to leave them some kind of legacy that they could look back on; something they could tell friends about and eventually, their own children. Secondly, I’m a closet radical and I have a lot I wish to say. The best medium to share my opinion is with an attentive audience that doesn’t include rope or duct tape.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
I’m not quite sure what any author is expecting once they begin their foray into writing. There is the romantic notion of earning a living from writing books but for most of us, that dream is nonsense and approaching delusional.
The best perk is any kind of critical acclaim and I’m proud to say I’ve achieved that from several readers. As for demands, they’re minimal at the worst of times. I do everything at my own pace so pressure (other than work life) is nonexistent. The book is ready when I say it is. (Psst…that was me being forceful. Pretty cool, eh?)
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I went the self-pub route because I’m age handicapped (that means old btw). I don’t expect a publisher to take a huge leap of faith on someone who is happy just to wake up in the morning. Besides, I hop from one genre to another like a keyboard gigolo and that’s unacceptable to most serious Publishing Houses.
Contrary to what some Internet articles write – and we should believe whatever we read on the Internet – self-publishing is not an easy alternative. 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. took four years to arrive at final product. Editing alone was close to five months. Self-publishing can be tedious, maddening and downright flustering but – take a deep breath – it’s worth it. I have total control and can make revisions if I want to at any time. I can remove it from Amazon or wherever with a few simple keystrokes. I don’t have to share any residuals with anyone except the taxman and my ex-wife. That’s kind of nice in a dysfunctional way.
What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry?
The publishing industry is like a gold star on your homework except you have to pay for it and you don’t get to choose where the gold star will go.
As I mentioned earlier, getting published by an established Publishing House is a romantic notion and, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a badge of honor. Unfortunately, unless you’re Stephen King, you can forget the hefty advance payment and expect a much less attractive payday and a heavier workload than anticipated. There is too much competition to keep Publishing Houses profitable enough to offer what was presented a decade ago. Someday, months after you signed the contract, your book will be edited, bought or predetermined reviews will be written (ok, not always the case) and a clearinghouse with a computerized press will create just enough first edition books to be sent to retail chain warehouses. Once the book is ready for delivery, you will end up doing the vast majority of marketing and for your efforts you will see a smaller portion of the residuals than say…some hack like me. More importantly, you no longer have control of your book. Get used to that. Oh, and most people would rather buy the E-book anyway.
But you can tell friends and family that you were published. Snarky enough?
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
My family as a group are somewhat aloof and don’t really care what I do or where I go. I could tell them I’ve been in a Mexican prison for the last ten years and they wouldn’t bat an eye.
My children are always excited to see a new book and now that my daughter is over eighteen she can read 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M., which she is now doing and loving it. She looks at me differently than before (and from a safe distance) but she loves the book.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
Oh, that’s something I wish I could forget but for the sake of redemption, let’s just say, lesson learned. I guess most authors are proud of their books and want to tell the world whatever way they can. Once the realization that not everyone is interested in your book sets in and your friends have blocked you on every social media site, “novelist novices” begin their journey to the unknown. I joined a site that exchanged Facebook Likes. Yep…I sold my soul for a “please like me”. I can’t believe how silly this was and how desperate/naive I had to be to engage in something so trivial. Three years later and I still only have ten likes. What the hell?
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
Good question. I’m not really in love with Twitter. I kind of toe the line between introvert and extrovert and Twitter – to me - just seems inane for anyone who isn’t Barack Obama or Batman.
Instagram is kind of cool if you’re younger than the food in my fridge.
Pinterest is great for cat pics, recipes and amateur porn. Not my cup of green tea.
That basically leaves Facebook and although I don’t frequent FB too often, as far as book enthusiasts and having a place to chat with readers is concerned, it’s the best place to hang out. Word of warning: No cat videos allowed in my profile
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
I beg a lot. A bit of groveling, tears and promises to do laundry. I also have marketing people doing their thing. I’m here chatting with your readers, which has been a blast btw. My take on marketing is that I’m a clump of coal and these guys will somehow turn me into a shinier clump of coal. Shiny enough to convince readers that 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is a gem.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
I’d scream out loud that although 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. may at times be weird and gory, it is a fantastic read that will teach you a lot about Chernobyl and the lifelong effects it had on the residents living in and around the reactor. It really is a gripping story. Buy it today and support my hair growth initiatives.
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
Can I get some coconut water instead?
It’s a rush to see your book on Amazon or wherever and you’re absolutely right…the pain is forgotten as soon as someone purchases the first book. I received email on Saturday from a lady outside of Kansas City who thoroughly enjoyed 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. Seriously, how cool is that?
Also, if your book gains any measurable amount of success you can leverage that to discuss other projects such as alternative energy and vertical farms in a third world country. That’s a plug by the way. If you wish to contact me, please do at email@example.com. Thank-you!!!