Interview with Robert Donohue

Interview with Robert Donohue

What genre do you write and why?

I write to relax. I enjoy reading Epic Fantasy novels and so, my first published book is in that genre.  I grew up reading Louis L’Amour and Clive Cussler though, so I have a desire to try that genre at some point, and I have started about half a dozen times, a book about my adventures in Baghdad, Iraq in 2004 when I was there serving as a police advisor helping to stand up a democratic policing presence in a country that had none.  Basically, I just like to write, and the fantasy genre is the most open, allowing me to be creative with character development and create conflicts that drive character interaction.
Interview with Robert Donohue
Tell us about your latest book.
Child of Creation is an epic fantasy novel about a young man, Lark, who is suddenly, and violently, torn from the only world he has ever known when the small village he has never been more than a few miles away from is attacked and everyone in it, including his parents, are killed.  As the only witness to that atrocity, Lark is sent away by his mother who strangely tells him to keep who he is a secret just before sending him away. Lark then has to figure it all out, how to survive in a world he doesn’t even really understand and wanders into a variety of challenges along the way, forcing him to grow up faster than he ever thought he could, and face the fact that somehow, his tragedy is tied up in a much greater series of events than he ever imagined he could be a part of.
How do you select the names of your characters? 
The most popular question I have received since people started reading my book.  I basically didn’t want to accidentally step on any toes, so whenever I ran into the need for a new character name, I would start putting vowels and consonants together until they sounded like the character I was creating.  I wanted an entirely new world that broke stereotypes from other worlds while at the same time, creating an entirely new set for this new world’s inhabitants.  There are patterns in the names that I try to follow.  I will leave the identification of those patterns to the imaginations of my readers.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
A part of my choosing Page Publishing was their offer of sending out a press release about the book and setting up a web page.  I was also moved to work with a terrific group of publicists out of Austin, Texas, called PR by the Book who helped me make contact with you.  It is an uphill battle for any self-published author to convince people to give your work a chance, but I have been pleasantly surprised at the acceptance the book has received and hope that the more people read it, the stronger word of mouth advertising will work in my favor.  It is about the characters and the world they live in, and if they drive people’s imaginations strongly enough, I will reach a point where the book can and should sell itself.  All I have to do is keep finding people to convince to read it until I reach that point.
Who are your favourite authors?
Terry Brooks and his Shannara books got me into the whole fantasy genre as a teen, and Star Wars and George Lucas were the only real science fiction I ever got into.  However, Louis L’Amour and Clive Cussler were big influences and currently George RR Martin is a genius with how he creates characters that are so real you can believe in them.  Last but not least, David Eddings was a tremendous influence on my writing.  I have read everything he wrote for decades over and over. I would say my favorite writer today though, is Robert Donohue.
Interview with Robert Donohue
What advice do you have for other writers? 
If it matters more what other people believe than what you feel about your writing in your heart, then you are writing for the wrong reasons.  Writing is a personal thing for me and I think that helps me create stronger characters and delve more deeply into their interactions with each other.  Don’t write to sell books, write to make strong stories. 
What's the best thing about being a writer? 
For me it is being able to come up with problems and then finding ways to solve them.  We all face challenges in our lives that seem so momentous at the time, but then, the years pass and fade into obscurity.  For the people in the books I write, those challenges will live on just as strong today as they were the day I wrote them.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I honestly had to look this one up.  I generally have a direction that I am thinking the story should go and then I start to type and go where the story leads me.  I guess that makes me a pantser if I am understanding things correctly.  The greatest thing about being a writer for me, especially in this genre, is that I can take the story literally anywhere so long as the storylines remain seamless and the writing is such that I am not ashamed to show it to my kids.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

I have always enjoyed writing.  I was a writer long before I was an author.  I can say for sure that I was awful at writing in high school.  I didn’t have the patience for all the research that was necessary for the type of writing we were doing, but then when I hit college and got into the mandatory composition classes, I found out that fiction was so much easier to come up with and I went from Ds and Fs on papers to consistent As.  I would say that was when it became fun for me and when I started to enjoy just making up the stories

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

My wife would tell you I am a professional sleeper, but in reality, I work about 60 hours a week between all of the jobs I work and then I am a part-time graduate student as well.  Soon I will be teaching at the college level also and hopefully still be writing and doing press and book signing events.


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