Monday, August 12, 2013

Interview with John Robinson

Heidi: BEFORE I INTERVIEW JOHN, I HAVE TO TELL A FUNNY STORY. WHEN I MOVED TO OHIO, I JOINED CHRISTIANWRITERS.COM, AND THE FIRST REAL LIVE AUTHOR I CORRESPONDED WITH IN CYBERSPACE WAS JOHN ROBINSON. I LIKED JOHN’S BOOKS BECAUSE THEY WERE SET IN CINCINNATI, NEAR WHERE I LIVE. LATER, I JOINED ACFW, AND LO AND BEHOLD, THE FIRST EVENT I AM SUPPOSED TO ATTEND HAS JOHN ROBINSON AS THE SPEAKER. I TOLD MY HUSBAND I WAS REALLY NERVOUS ABOUT ATTENDING BECAUSE JOHN WAS A REAL LIVE AUTHOR, AND I MIGHT SAY SOMETHING STUPID. ANYWAY, I ATTENDED AND ENDED UP RIDING TO THE EVENT WITH ANOTHER REAL LIVE AUTHOR, AND I MET JOHN. I WAS SO NERVOUS, I ENDED UP CHATTING WITH HIS WIFE, WHO IS VERY NICE BY THE WAY. ANYWAY, NOW THAT I’M PUBLISHED, I LOOK BACK AND LAUGH AT HOW SCARED I WAS OF “REAL LIVE PUBLISHED AUTHORS.” FOR ALL YOU UNPUBBED WRITERS OUT THERE, I PROMISE THAT PUBLISHED AUTHORS ARE JUST REGULAR PEOPLE.

SO NOW ON WITH THE INTERVIEW….

Heidi: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?

John: Right now, Heidi, the count stands at six:  Sockmonkey Blues, Until the Last Dog Dies, When Skylarks Fall, To Skin a Cat, Last Call, and The Radiance. The first four are part of a series, and were originally published by David C. Cook/RiverOak. The main character, Joe Box, is a transplanted Southerner and a widower in his late fifties. He’s also a Vietnam vet and former Cincinnati street cop, and for the past twenty-five years he’s been a private investigator. A few years back he became born again, and since then he’s been trying to figure out how to balance his gritty profession against his new walk of faith. The Radiance is a stand-alone SF thriller, and Last Call we’ll talk about in a second.

Heidi: WHAT IS YOUR LATEST PROJECT?

John:  It’s called Pitfall, and is the first of a new general market series my agent, Chip MacGregor, has been showing to editors. The set-up: Cameron Bane, a former Army Ranger, exacts a chilling revenge against the shadowy government agents whose disastrous intelligence error resulted in the loss of his entire command in Iraq. Using their hush money against them, he now takes on hopeless tasks for helpless people, engaging in rough adventures that just skirt the edge of the law.

For free.

Pitfall concerns Cameron’s latest mission, finding industrialist Jacob Cahill’s missing daughter Sarah and bringing her safely home. But for Cameron, nothing ever goes quite as planned. In searching for the girl he will encounter a new and unimaginable corruption hiding beneath a shining corporate fa├žade. And it is here he will also come face to face with a living nightmare, a swift and ruthless killer known only by a macabre appellation: Boneless Chuck. Every dark trick Cameron learned in dealing death to the deserving will be brought to bear as he battles to fulfill his promise to Sarah’s father. But the right person is on the job. Because sometimes it takes a man who’s spent quality time in the realms of the damned … to send someone else there.

So strap down and hang on. Cameron Bane has just been dropped into hell.

Last Call by John Robinson


Heidi:  YOU HAVE A GIVEAWAY PLANNED. PLEASE TELL ME MORE ABOUT IT.

John:  It’s an apocalypse-with-a-twist thriller, Last Call. Here’s the set-up: The Bible makes it clear no one knows the day or the hour of Christ's return. But it doesn't say we won't know the month. Or the week.

When every Christian on Earth simultaneously receives a message that Christ will return sometime in the coming week, the world is thrown into stark panic. Two old friends, hardened combat veterans from the closing days of the Vietnam War, set out on a suspenseful quest to redeem that time.

What they can't know is they and their entire church have been targeted for satanic annihilation.

It’s a Kindle e-book, and normally goes for $2.99. But this coming Wednesday, August 14, it’ll be free for one day only. Tell everyone!

Heidi: YOU’VE BEEN CALLED THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN CHRISTIAN FICTION. PLEASE EXPLAIN.

John: Oh, golly; that’s a loaded question. I guess maybe I should give a little background first. I’d always liked to write, even from my early teen years, and when I was in college I was student affairs editor for the school paper. Years passed though, and that love seemed to fade. But a decade ago it came roaring back, and in an unexpected way. It was New Years Day, 1999, and I was watching one of the bowl games on TV when suddenly I started seeing something different on the screen. Don’t laugh, but it was almost like watching a movie. During that I was unaware of the passing of time. When I roused myself I found only a few minutes had passed, but amazingly I had the entire plot of the original version of Last Call completely lined up in my head; it was then just a matter of writing it down and editing it. That process took about a year. Finding a house that would take such a controversial novel proved to be a challenge, though, and it wasn’t until 2008 that it was sold to a small Christian publisher. During those intervening years I wrote and sold the Joe Box novels, and began the Cameron Bane series. In 2012 I got the rights back to Last Call, and after tweaking it and updating it, I put it up on Kindle.

Speaking of Joe Box, because of its theme and unconventional main character, Until the Last Dog Dies was a booger to get published. My agent shopped it tirelessly, but kept coming to me back with stuff like “they love your writing, John, but the character of Joe Box scares them to death; they’re afraid women won’t buy it.” To which I responded, “jeeze Louise, it’s not written for women!” Months pass, and my agent finally says they’ve done all they could, but can’t place it with anybody. That’s in December of 2002. Flash forward to July of 2003. The CBA trade show is in Orlando that that year, and my agent is attending. As the story was told to me, the head buyer of one of the largest Christian bookstore chains is speaking with one of the marketing directors for Cook Communications, which owns RiverOak Publishing. They’re talking about this and that, and the buyer says in an off-hand way, “I heard you’ve bought a novel featuring a Christian private investigator.” The Cook guy says no, he’d heard wrong, they took a pass on it. To which the buyer says, “that’s funny; we could probably move a lot of units of that.” The Cook guy takes that info to his people and they tell him, “how about that, see if it’s still available.” The Cook guy finds my agent and asks if Until the Last Dog Dies is still on the table. Stunned, my agent says yes, and they proceed to verbally cut the deal on the floor of the CBA. True story!

So to get back to that “most dangerous man” thing, what I write is raw, rough, life-changing tales that may infuriate and may delight, but hopefully will never bore.

Heidi: ONE OF YOUR CHARACTERS, JOE BOX, HAS A CAT NAMED NOODLES. WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR THE NAME?

John: Back in my hippie days one of my favorite music groups was Traffic, and its leadman, Dave Mason, cut a solo album a few years later. On the liner notes he had a picture of his cat, Noodles, and I just loved the name. His cat isn’t as banged-up as mine, though!

Heidi: JOHN, YOU CONDUCT RESEARCH SO WELL, I BELIEVED YOU SERVED IN VIETNAM. WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM YOUR RESEARCH OVER THE YEARS?

John: When I started digging into the back story, I had no idea we’d had troops in the ground in Vietnam since as early as 1957. That astounded me.

Heidi: JOHN, HOW MAY READERS CONNECT WITH YOU?


John:  They can either email me at gravityfades2000@yahoo.com, or leave a comment on my blog (which I’ve neglected to update for far too long), at www.johnrobinsonbooks.com. Thanks for having me, Heidi!

No comments:

Post a Comment