Sunday, May 29, 2011

Up Close & Personal With Author David Robinson

David Robinson:

Where do you call home?

I live in Manchester in the UK. Mention Manchester and people often think of football (soccer) and Blake’s dark, satanic mills, but the reality is a cosmopolitan city surrounded by wonderful landscapes. Where I live I have views of open, unspoiled moorland, and yet I’m less than 10 miles from the city centre.

What is your book about?

Voices is a psycho thriller with sci-fi and horror overtones. It begins with a terrorist attack, but the concentration shifts quickly to the effects on central character Chris Deacon. He has visions in the shape of precognitive dreams, he’s plagued by bizarre and frightening phantoms and he hears voices muttering away in his head. As the story unfolds, the Voices lead him to their “prison” where he will “free” them to take their place in the word as a dominant new species.

Like most married men, Chris leans heavily on his wife, Jan, but with the book written in the first person I couldn’t give Jan the voice I wanted to, so I took the unusual (but not unique) step of inserting chapters written in the third person so the reader could see Jan’s POV more clearly.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the plot links back to the Cold War and certain experiments which the Soviet Union, the USA, and Great Britain are reputed to have carried out.

One reviewer on Amazon Kindle (UK) likened Voices to the works of James Herbert.

Do you have plans for a new book?

My output is prodigious. While writing Voices, I turned out three or four other works, all of which are up on Smashwords, Kindle and in paperback from Lulu.

What inspired you to write your book?

I’m very deaf through Noise Induced Hearing Loss, and it happened quite late in life (I was 57 at the time of the diagnosis). A part of that problem is that you hear voices muttering away in your head. It’s as if someone next door has the TV on. You can’t distinguish words, but you can hear the sounds of chatter. My doctor said it was my brain tricking me into thinking that my hearing was fine.

On Boxing Day 2008, I was out of bed early and I could hear the “voices” and I asked myself, “what if they were real? Creatures from another dimension.” That was the catalyst. I wrote the first draft, 120,000 words in a month but it took almost two years for me to settle on the published version.

Would you like to be contacted by readers to do book reviews?

I’m happy for anyone to review the book, and I’ll send along free e-copies in whatever format they wish. I’m sorry, but forwarding paperbacks would be prohibitively expensive.

How did you come up with the title and cover design?

The title suggested itself. The cover design is abstract. A friend of mine, Greg McQueen (100 Stories for Haiti, 50 Stories for Pakistan) put it together at a time when he was thinking of going into publishing. He changed his mind about publishing and let me have the cover.

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?

Many of my characters are amalgams of people I’ve met in a long and varied life, but Chris doesn’t come from any particular source other than me. He’s taller than me, better looking and more balanced. I can be outspoken to the point of rudeness sometimes, and I have little patience with the like of politicians and salespeople. Chris is more tolerant.

What books have most influenced your writing most and why?

That’s a tough question because the influences come together from a number of sources stretching back as far as Ike Asimov and Arthur C Clarke. The biggest single influence on Voices was Stephen King’s excellent Duma Key. I don’t claim that Voices comes anywhere near that book, but the central premise of a post-trauma individual, haunted by past events and “creatures” is the same.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?

I write humour as well as sci-fi/horror/mystery, and the one author I would love to have met is the late British humorist, Keith Waterhouse. His attention to detail, his eye for those character traits that are the butt of his humour have entertained me for almost half a century.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?

Paperbacks. I believe e-books are the best thing since sliced bread. They’re forcing the publishing industry to take a long, hard look at itself, and they’re bringing forward authors who would otherwise never be read, but when it comes to reading, I love the feel and portability of a paperback. Whether I’m flying off to the Canary Islands or just going to the doctors, I always have a paperback with me.

Have you ever read a book more than once?

There are many books that I read and re-read. Keith Waterhouse’s comparatively unknown novel Office Life is one, Agatha Christie’s And then There Were None is another. I own a full set of the original Bond books from Ian Fleming which I re-read now and then, and digging further back, I dip into D.H. Lawrence’s Sons & Lovers occasionally, while a perennial favourite is Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?

The only one that springs to mind is Blade Runner. I enjoyed Philip K Dick’s original tale, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, but the movie was more focussed.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m in the middle of Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. I love Agatha Christie and this volume lives up to expectations. I have a habit of reading the last few pages first, so I know whodunit before I know what they done, LOL, but in this instance, I haven’t done that. I’m trying to crack the puzzle before Poirot.

What book do you know that you will never read?

Nothing in particular, but I routinely eliminate any kind of Christian fiction, because I’m an atheist. That’s not restricted to Christianity, but to any fiction that embraces any religion. The arrogance of “knowing” God, which permeates such work, irritates me. I would never deny any man his faith, but I don’t appreciate preaching by way of the novel.

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?

The lady who edits my work, Maureen Vincent-Northam, says I’m never happy with the finished result, and she’s right. When I read Voices, there are so many things I would change, from simple dialogue to major passages, but now that it’s out, it has to stand as it is.

Do you have a book trailer?

Not yet, but I’m working on it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Doubt everyone else, never doubt yourself.

I’ve been making a few pounds here and there as a writer since 1985. I landed my first book contract in 2002, but the celebrations didn’t last long. The publisher went out of business in a matter of months. It was 2007 before I landed another contract, and that was in the USA, not Great Britain. If I had listened to others, I would have given it up years before I signed those contracts.

You need a thick skin and a lot of patience. That goes double when you self-publish because you won’t please everyone. You’ll pick up some plaudits, and you’ll take a lot of stick. It goes with the territory, so learn to roll with the punches.

Whatever happens, never lose that belief in yourself and your work.

Books by David:

Ebook Price: $2.99 USD. 110500 words. Fiction by David Robinson on December 2, 2010
College lecturer Chris Deacon survives a terrorist bomb, only to find his life plagued by demons and voices muttering in his head. To rid himself of them he follows a trail into the frightening world of a top secret military experiment from the Cold War, its malign progeny, a new breed of beings, still working for their freedom and their desire to dominate the world.

A Death at the Seaside
Ebook Price: $1.99 USD. 25910 words. Fiction by David Robinson on May 9, 2011
A weekend in Filey goes horribly wrong for the members of the Sanford Third Age Club when one of their members is drowned. But Joe Murray, club chairman and part time detective, is persuaded there’s something wrong. And then he learns it was murder.

The Haunting at Melmerby Manor
Ebook Price: $2.99 USD. 102970 words. Fiction by David Robinson on April 15, 2011
Sceptre Rand heads up a paranormal investigation team with a truckload of modern ghost-hunting equipment. Assisted by the spirit of her late butler, Fishwick, Sceptre and her two partners, Pete Brennan and Kevin Keeley, are hot on the trail of a dangerous poltergeist.

Further books by David here.

Where can your readers follow you?

My blog:

That url may seem odd, but I’m in the process of reconstructing my website on a Wordpress platform and I haven’t yet dealt with all the fiddly bits of titles, hierarchies, etc.

My book’s Facebook page: The book doesn’t have one, but my author page is:

My Goodreads author page: which shows me as David W. Robinson

Twitter: @DW96

May I just take moment out to thank Patti for asking me to take part in this interview? There are hundreds and thousands of scribes like me who’ll never make the pages of the Sunday supplements, and this kind opportunity is exactly what we need.

Patti: thank you David, very nice of you to say so.

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