Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Robin Winter
Your Name or Pen Name you use: Robin Winter
Title of the book you are promoting: Future Past
Link to purchase your Book: http://www.eternalpress.biz/searches.php?genre=5
Genre: science fiction
Welcome RW….I, LH have some questions for you 😉
LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?
RW: Someone asked me that when I was nineteen and I blurted out ‘I want to be good.’ That’s still true! Professionally? As a kid I wanted to head into medicine but with my impossibly bad math skills I was told then that was a fantasy.
LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?
RW: My mother always wrote and told stories, my father also. Growing up overseas, in Nigeria I read so much. Books were our friends and treasures and I wanted to make some of my own. Dickens and Van der Post, T. E. Lawrence, Max Brand, Barbara Hambly and Jane Austen are possibly my greatest influences.
LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?
Published, by two small independent publishers so far. The world of publishing is changing so much now that it will be fascinating to see what differences remain in ten years.
LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies! Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?
RW: I’d invite my father, who died two years ago and I’d ask him all the things that didn’t seem proper to ask back when he was alive but so ill. He always avoided explaining how he managed to flee war-torn Nigeria months after the American women and children were evacuated, and I would like to know more – I assume he’d be willing to talk frankly of it now in a way that he wouldn’t while living, but maybe I deceive myself! What would I not talk about? His mother.
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest offenders. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Which form of media do you think is the worst offender?
RW: I’m all in favor of happy consensual sex, but not like a snack from the nearest fast food stop. Violence? There’s plenty in real life, and I don’t desire to edit it all out. However when we use it to jolt the senses rather than to lend motion to character development, then we degrade our audience and ourselves as the makers of fiction. It’s easy to point fingers at movies’ overuse of violence, and we should, but I also find myself disturbed by graphic novel violence which seems to wallow in the dehumanization that violence creates, the cynical voice of an author out for the biggest bang, the greatest shock. There is a lot of anime material out now that offends me.
Violence causes undeserved suffering in the world. In fiction we have a chance to position violence and hone it to build meaning. Gratuitous violence used like a drug to keep the violence addict hooked for the next jolt is seriously damaging to our joint humanity. Violence has always seemed more offensive to me than sex, except when the two join in rape. But as I sit and think, I consider the stories advertising tells and sells. Think about the demeaning view of sex and sexuality as commodities that advertising promulgates. Think about advertisements’ ever-present implied violence and debasement concerning sex, which should be one of our finest joys. I’m pointing at those sound bites now!
LH: I’m a huge softie and by no means a beauty queen lol but I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye. If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
RW: Overpopulation. I think that controlling overpopulation is our best key to world peace and sufficient resources to give us all a chance to rise to the better angels of our human nature (sorry Abe, for that mangled quote.)
LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?
RW: Far less important than in the past, but boy am I pleased with the cover Future Past got from Eternal Press!
LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?
RW: I started before I could write! I filled blank booklets with long lines of scribbles intended to be writing, all illustrated of course, stories about my favorite plastic dinosaur King Moschops and his noble adventures trying to establish a kingdom of mixed mammals and dinosaurs in ages gone by. My first manuscript was finished in second grade and it was Chickens and Their Diseases with illustrations – again you can see drawing was my strong suit. Much of the information in my ‘book’ was cribbed from an old volume on poultry my father had, but it was all in my own words.
LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?
RW: Character– how far can you stretch a personality before it has to change shape, hopefully grow, though some just shatter. Secondarily, friendship and the interaction with character—much more important than romantic love for me.
LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?
RW: Often the character arrives in a dream. I sense the backstory, but it’s usually cloudy and I have to deduce what happened and how this person became. Rarely I dream more than once of a character, often in the context of some moment of drama. The plot comes later as I figure out who this really was, whether he or she lied to me, and how he got into the trouble I just witnessed. Then I get to extrapolate where we are all going with this individual from there.
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
RW: I’m working on another novel with my main character in Future Past, but not from his first person perspective this time. Also editing my horror science fiction novel, and sprucing up a literary fiction novel.
LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year. How many books have you written? How many have been published?
RW: I think I have nine completed manuscripts, and one draft that’s about two thirds shaped. My first publication was Night Must Wait, a literary thriller about the Nigerian Civil War, and my second, coming out this May from Eternal Press is science fiction, Future Past.
LH: I write for fun. Do you write for fun or money?
RW: I write because I need to, because I want to get into peoples’ minds and introduce thoughts and images they didn’t have before. I want to make readers care about people who never were, but who reflect parts of all of us, casting light on places of darkness. I marvel over the elements of ordinary human character that are, when you examine them, so extraordinary and wonderful.
LH: I have never experienced it. I have experienced writers “don’t want to”…Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
RW: Haven’t met it yet. Editing block, yes, but I think that’s a very different thing!
LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?
RW: Read, write, talk about writing, write some more, go to conferences, go to writers groups, don’t take yourself desperately seriously. If you are told a problem exists in your prose and it’s the same problem named by three people, assume they’re right. Find an editor who deals with novels of your type and spend the money on them. Then invest the time and pain to revise as they suggest. Don’t waste your time and money being defensive about your writing. Any work can always be better than it is. You will have to decide how far you take that.
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did…If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
RW: I would have had more fun younger, been less suspicious and more willing to risk people not liking me. I missed out on some great people by assuming they felt negatively about me. I wish I’d been less self-critical, because at the end of the day it’s another term for selfish.
Thank you Robin for such a GREAT interview…Now… for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? Water – cold, clear, off-of-granite water.
Exercise or Bubble Bath? Yuck for both. Gardening.
Favorite Color? All of them. You can’t ask a painter this question because she will always say this!
Sports or Chocolate? Caramel!
Dogs or Cats? Cats
Favorite Food? Steak almost blue.
Favorite Song? Beethoven’s Ninth chorale
Favorite Movie? The Man in the Iron Mask
Favorite Car? Volkswagen Beetle 1965
Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Both.
And now for the essay part of the interview 😉
If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go and who would you take?
I’d go with my husband back in time to Nigeria the way it was in 1960 so he could see exactly what I loved so much about that country, with its wonderful spirit of fun and pride and challenge, hands reaching out with greetings and peeled oranges, eyes rimmed with white startle to see the first white people ever. I’d take him to the markets, with everyone trying to sell you everything, from Bic pens to carved masks. Everything with a touch of magic on it. I’d go find little prickly hedgehogs wandering around the bush paths and orange-headed lizards scrabbling across walls, striped chocolate and silver skinks with blue tails. We’d lie in wait to watch fantastic sunbirds buzzing and bumbling over the flowered hedges, iridescent with green and blue, magenta and copper, watch the huge vultures hulking on the ridgepole of the hospital with the tin roofs all around reflecting the terrifying sun. I’d take him on a road trip to Obudu Mountain where leopards still prowl, but the nights are cold even to frost, where mountains like green velvet lie under a lifting fog that clears to dazzling sun, and giant black stag beetles tumble among chunks of quartz in the road. We’d go swimming in the grotto, tucked down between the sides of two great ridges of mountain and listen for monkeys in the trees, and I’d feed him mangoes iced, papaya and soursop. We’d light a fire in the fireplace at night and listen to the alien sounds of my former world and time, hearing the voices and song from the villages crouched out there somewhere in darkness.
Thank you so much for spending time with us today and make sure get your copy of Robin Winter’s