It seems that being on holiday agrees with me – I mean, look how many blog posts I’ve done this week!! Anyhow, sat here i the sunshine, with an ice cold cider to hand, (in case I get too warm, you understand), I am immensely excited, privileged and proud to be posting this particular entry to my blog… an interview with Robert J Crane. Huge thanks to Robert, who doesn’t usually do interviews. Sit back, and enjoy!
- When did you first start writing fully developed stories?
If by fully developed you mean “completed” I’d have to say when I was 30. I had tons of outlines for earlier stuff, probably half a hundred novels I’d started and never finished, and a few short stories in college, but I never wrote a novel to completion until Defender, which was my first (and the first I published).
- Which of your series are you most proud of, and why?
Gosh, I really try not to play favorites. I’ve always thought of my books/series kind of like my kids, and while each of them is different, every one of them has a special place in my heart or I wouldn’t have published them. I love all three of them thus far, and each allows me a totally different playground world to step into, so…
- Where does your inspiration come from?
There’s a really great webcomic called “The Oatmeal” where one of the strips delves into creating. In it, the guy has an offhand joke about how creativity is like diarrhea: it “spews uncontrollably when you need it least.” I think that’s kind of true; most writers I talk to don’t really know exactly where their ideas come from. A lot of them brew at a subconscious level for a while before they pop out, and they may not even be fully formed when they do show up.
That said, anytime I’ve sat down in front of a blank screen and removed all distractions, I tend to find I can come up with some stuff that’s worthy of a few pages in a book.
- Best & worst thing about being an indie author
Wow, I have to narrow it down to just one? LOL. Best thing about being an indie author at my stage of the game is just about everything – total freedom and control is probably the biggest. I can go on vacation for six weeks and write if I want to. I can pick which books I want to write next and no one can tell me differently.
Worst thing? That infinitesimally small percentage of readers (I would place it at less than 0.00001%) that are just difficult people. It’s kind of like retail, except I can walk away from my email and not answer them if they’re flagrantly insulting. Some unfortunate clerk at a store doesn’t have that option.
- Best & worst thing about interacting with fans on social media
Best thing? There’s a more direct path for fan love to make its way to creators. When I was first starting out, I was totally in it for the fan approbation. Way before I was making money or a living, I would get an email or a review here or there from someone who’d read my books telling me how much they liked it, and that could keep me going for a month.
The worst thing is probably the flip side of the best – it’s now much easier for the negativity to flow to you as a creator. Not everyone is going to like what I do, and I’m fine with that – now. It can be really tough for a beginning author, especially when they’re taking those first steps, to get hit by criticism. The funny thing is, it’s almost never personal (see again about that 0.00001%) but we take it personally. Reviewers are just expressing their opinion that the book didn’t connect with them.
Still hurts, though. Doesn’t everyone want to be loved by the whole world? Maybe it’s just us sensitive artists.
- What are the first 10 books on your to read list?
Uhrm…let me look. I realized recently because I’ve been busy the first few months of the year I haven’t read much lately, and to my surprise the last two books I have read were light, frothy romantic comedies. Which is not exactly my usual genre, and is telling me maybe I should break out of the rut I’m in by reading more from that genre.
(In no particular order):
The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
The Blight of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler
Raise the Titanic! by Clive Cussler
Sacrificed in Shadow by SM Reine
A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin
Secret Life by Bria Quinlan
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
So Long and Thanks for All the Fish! by Douglas Adams
Stirred by JA Konrath
- Favourite console game and why?
Gah! That’s a tough one to narrow down. Probably the one I’ve spent the most time with this year was Final Fantasy X’s HD Remaster. But I’ve also spent a goodly amount of time with Titanfall and inFamous: Second Son in 2014.
- Star Trek (any series – please state which) or Star Wars (original trilogy obviously)
I’m a huge fan of both, but if forced to choose, I pick Star Trek: The Next Generation because it was my first love. I could totally wax rhapsodic on how amazing Han Solo was as a character to me (what a fantastic rogue!) or how Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s shift to more serialized storytelling made a huge mark on the way I thought about how to write, but…since you kept the question all simple…
- Who is your favourite sci-fi/fantasy character and why?
There are so many good ones, but I’d probably go with Aragorn. He’s just such classic good guy.
10. Which place in the world would you most like to visit?
London, on April 24th, 2015. Which I may do. Because Avengers: Age of Ultron will be releasing there first on that very day, about two weeks before the U.S. gets it. It works out well, though, because I’ve been wanting to go back to the UK since I was there last April.
11. Most played albums on your ipod/generic music player?
I tend to listen to the Marvel film soundtracks as I’m writing, so Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier have all been getting a lot of play lately. Nothing with lyrics, because it mucks with my ability to generate words as I’m writing.
12. So, I’ve heard you don’t do release dates….?
Oh, you’ve heard that, have you? You might be the only one. But yeah, I don’t do release dates because it’d require me to build in six months or so of guaranteed lead time to make sure I didn’t miss them. Instead, I just release books when they’re ready.