Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Interview with Jeremy Robinson

Jeremy Robinson is the author of eleven novels including Pulse, Instinct, and Threshold the first three books in his exciting Jack Sigler series. His novels have been translated into nine languages. He is also the director of New Hampshire AuthorFest, a non-profit organization promoting literacy in New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife and three children.

1.     Tell us about ‘The Antarktos Saga’.

The Antarktos Saga takes place in the universe I created for my novel, Antarktos Rising, but begins twenty years earlier. While the books feature characters from Antarktos, the main character is new. Solomon Ull Vincent is the first and only child born on Antarctica, a land secretly imbued with supernatural power by an ancient enemy of mankind that lives beneath the surface. As a result, young Solomon is born with a strange connection to the land, and immunity to its ferocity - he can’t feel the cold. When he returns to Antarctica as a young teen, he’s kidnapped and dragged underground, where he’s subjected to awful tortures and forced to fight, and kill, to survive. His spirit is broken and he becomes a hunter, the last hunter, for mankind’s greatest enemy - the half human, half demon, Nephilim.

2.     Why did you write this series, and what do you hope to achieve with it?

Antarktos Rising has always been one of my favourite books, and is perhaps my bestselling book to date. I’ve always wanted to expand the story and get into the Nephilim world in a deeper way. The Last Hunter is my way of really firming up the mythology I’ve created, making it even more horrible than before, which is always fun for me.

3.     Is there an underlying message in ‘The Antarktos Saga’?

I think the underlying message is one of redemption and forgiveness. We see this in the first book and again in future books. Redemption and forgiveness are considered weak by the Nephilim society; but in truth, they’re far more powerful than anyone realises.

4.     What is your strongest memory of your childhood, and how has it helped to define your work?

My strongest memory is of doing what I do now, being creative in solitude. I would spend Saturday mornings sketching and watching Godzilla. And that’s exactly what I have Solomon doing at the beginning of book 1. In fact, most of those first few chapters are straight out of my childhood, so it was great fun to write.

5.     Before becoming a novelist, you illustrated comic books and wrote screenplays. How influential has this expertise been in your development as a novelist?

What I discovered over the years, is that all of these things I love doing are exactly the same thing - telling stories, creating worlds, using my imagination. Even the art form I chose - comic books, is telling stories through images. Starting in comics and moving to screenwriting was an easy thing. Both are visual mediums. But shifting to novel writing was hard and took years of practice. There are no images to back up the words, so I had to adjust to conjuring images in readers’ minds through description, which is frowned upon in screenwriting.

6.     Of the characters you’ve created, do you have a favourite? If so, why this particular character?

My favourite is actually Solomon from The Antarktos Saga. He’s based, in part, on me as a kid. He grew up in the same time period, watches the same shows and even has the same best friend. He’s a lot like me. But he’s also based on my son, whose real name is Solomon. The Solomon in the book looks like my son and has the same wonderful innocence as my son. So this character is really a combination of me as a child, and my son, who is still a child. It makes him very easy to write and that personal connection seeps into the writing and most readers love the character as much as I do.

7.     How is writing fantasy different from writing other genres?

It’s freeing and fun. In my science thriller novels, I have to explain EVERYTHING! There can be no mystery about how something exists. If I come up with some kind of horrible man-eating creature, I have to explain how it exists using real science. This is sometimes a challenge, and I couldn’t do it without professional help. But in a fantasy story, I can just say, “there are egg-shaped man-eating monsters with jaw-like jaws” and readers don’t need to know how such a thing is scientifically possible, they just say, “Great!” and enjoy the story.

8.     What do you find most rewarding in the writing process?

The most rewarding thing about writing isn’t the writing itself, it’s hearing from someone that they enjoyed the book. Or even better, the book moved them. The Antarktos Saga has definitely received the highest praise of all my books and I think that’s because readers get emotionally involved. It’s strange, but I like to hear my writing affected someone so much that they wept. Means it was powerful.

9.     What do you find most challenging, and how do you overcome it?

Burnout is my biggest problem. It’s nothing like writer’s block, which is never a problem. But I write 4 – 5 books a year right now, publish several of them myself, market them all, design covers, the website, social media, etc. All on my own. So I occasionally get to a point where doing anything feels like I’ve been sucked dry. The way to combat it, is to put creative energy back in. Read a good book, see a good movie, go someplace inspiring, or on an adventure. 

10.  I own a copy of ‘POD People’, which helped me with my own publishing. What advice would you give to new authors with regards to publishing and marketing?

Things have changed A LOT since POD People came out. There are still some good nuggets of marketing advice in there, but marketing has become all about social media, which drives me nuts, but works. Authors need to be active on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. People support authors they “know” and social media is the best, and quickest, way to give people access to you. Of course, you also have to be likable, so if you’re kind of a jerk, maybe skip it. J

11.  Who, do you imagine, would be your ideal reader?

This is a hard question because I get fan mail from eleven year olds and sixty year olds, men and women. So there isn’t a specific demographic for me. A better way to describe my ideal reader is someone who doesn’t take everything seriously. Someone looking to have some fun, who understands that what they’re reading is fiction and not my attempt to convince someone to believe in God, or evolution, or that Nephilim walk the Earth, or that I’m a left-wing nut job, or a Neo-Con. I write about everything imaginable from often opposing perspectives, but there always seems to be someone who thinks I’ve got an agenda beyond entertainment, which I don’t. “Fun people,” is the short answer.

12.  Would you like to see your fantasy series adapted for the screen? If so, do you have any aspirations, or reservations, regarding this?

Absolutely. I’ve done the movie side of things so I have no problems with stories being adapted for the screen. I know things have to be cut, sometimes changed for a different audience. The process excites me. I suppose my only concern is one of quality. If I ended up with something like The Last Airbender I would be sad. But I’ve heard a LOT of authors complain about how their story was changed; and I’m not like that, at all.

13.  What are you doing now?

Too much; I’m currently finishing a horror novel under a pen name, which isn’t publicly known, so I can’t give the title. Then I’m writing the next book in The Antarktos Saga, The Last Hunter – Ascent. In October, I have a humorous book coming out entitled, The Ninja’s Path – Inspirational Sayings For The Silent Assassin. And then I’ll start work on the next hardcover novel, Island 731. Oh, I also have four Chess Team novellas coming out in the next few months. So, just a little busy!

14.  Tell us a little about a good fantasy book you’ve read recently.

You know, I don’t read a ton of fantasy. I watch every fantasy movie and TV show there is, but my reading time is so limited I mostly read the books that are sent to me by authors and publishers. The last fantasy novel I read, and really enjoyed was Hinterland by James Clemens.

15.  Describe ‘The Antarktos Saga’ in one sentence.

Solomon Ull Vincent, the first and only child born on Antarctica, battles the evil within himself while using his strange powers to defend mankind from an ancient, corrupting enemy - the Nephilim.

16.  Where can we find you and your books?

Best place to start is my website: www.jeremyrobinsononline.com. Sign up for the newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest releases. But the books are all available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. If a retailer doesn’t have the book in stock, they can order them.

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  1. Great interview - wonderful questions, Wayne. Fun to watch an author thrive and grow.

  2. Thanks Beverly, glad you like the interview.