Author Interview with Sean Robins

Author Interview with Sean Robins

interviewed on Jun 9, 2019 Toronto, Canada
Q. How would you describe yourself?
“Who am I? I am Spiderman.”
Well, not really, but this should tell you all you need to know about me and my writing style.
I’m a huge Marvel (plus Game of Thrones, Star Trek AND Star Wars) fan, which shows since my novel is loaded with pop culture references. If you are a sci-fi fan (I assume that you are, otherwise what are you doing here?) you will enjoy them tremendously. I even went full Deadpool in my first draft and broke the fourth wall multiple times, until my editor told it was distracting and kept taking her out of the moment. Shame. Those fourth-wall breaks were hilarious. Still, I can guarantee a few laugh-out-loud moments. Case in point: The “good” aliens in my novel are a race of pranksters, whose main goal in life is pulling other people’s legs (They have four legs, hence the slight change in the idiom). My favorite author is Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), which is probably how I ended up writing in a first-person POV with the same light-hearted, funny tone as he does. The fact that my MC’s name is Jim is purely coincidental though.
I am a university/college level English teacher, and including Canada, I have lived and worked in five different countries. I have met people from all around the world. Plus, my parents are from a different background, and so is my wife. As a result, diversity has become a major theme in my novel. My characters look like the bridge crew from Star Trek. One of my female characters even impersonated Uhura once, albeit posthumously.
Q. Tell us something about the books that you have written and the story behind them.
I've written only one book, and this is how it happened:

I have got purely obsessional OCD. What this means is a thought enters my mind--usually something negative--and doesn't leave. I end up having to think about it 5000 times a day, and once this starts, my life is ruined for a week, two weeks, a month, or six months. I'd tried a lot of different ways to get rid of this problem: therapy, medication, meditation... Nothing ever worked, until I read an article that said the people who had this problem had an overly active imagination, and it would help if they channeled it into something productive, like writing.

I'd always wanted to be a writer. This is literally a childhood dream, one of those you give up when you grow up. I had the story of The Crimson Deathbringer in my mind for years (even started writing it and stopped a few times). When I read that article, I was going through a tough time in my marriage (fighting with your wife is no fun, even for sane people), and my mind had gone into its life-destroying over-drive, so I told myself, "Well, you've tried everything else, let's give this a shot."

And then a miracle happened.

My mind put the same energy it used to put into producing BS and making my life miserable into coming up with stories. Ideas would come to me fast and furious, and I had to stop whatever I was doing several times a day to write them down. I've been OCD-free since then (I know, I sound like a recovering alcoholic). When TCD (cool, eh?) was finished, it took my out-of-control brain half a day to plan my second novel, which is about a nerdy scientist and a sexy female mercenary who use a time machine to defeat an alien invasion.
Q. What place does writing hold in your life, how has been your writing journey so far?
I answered this in the previous question.
Q. What is your writing process, a typical writing day routine?
I don't have a routine. I have a day job, after all (English teacher) so between a full-time job and promoting my first book, I can only write whenever I can find some free time here and there.
Q. What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Not sure.
Q. What do you think makes a book sell, or makes a reader buy it?
That's easy: An amazing story with memorable characters. Word of mouth will do the rest. That's probably how my book ended up being an Amazon No.1 hot new release since I really didn't do a lot of promotion:)
Q. What's the most moving or affecting thing a reader has said to you?
Someone said she cried when reading my book. Twice. I hope it's not weird that I am proud of it:)
Q. What are your favourite three books, and why?
Any three books from Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. I love his humorous and at the same time deeply emotional style of writing.
Q. Who are your favourite three authors and what do you like the most about them?
Same as above.
Q. Tell us about the books that you are currently writing and their progress.
I answered this in question 2.
Q. What challenges do you think are faced by writers, what's the worst thing about the book industry according to you?
I love writing, but I hate trying to promote the book, and I don't think I'm good at it anyway. And how are we supposed to compete with traditional publishers huge advertising budgets to begin with?
Q. Apart from writing, what goals do you want to achieve in life?
I honestly don't know:(
Q. At QwertyThoughts.com, we are trying to bring authors and readers under the same roof, to connect, discuss and socialize over books. What's your take on this?
I think you guys are doing an amazing job. What I especially like is posting book excerpts that allow the readers to read one or two chapters before making up their mind about the book:)
Q. What message do you want to share with budding writers?
"Never give up; Never surrender" (who recognizes this quote?) If you write an amazing story, you will find your audience.

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