Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Author Interview with Robert Downs

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Hi Robert! Welcome to The Daydreamer’s Book Obsession.Thanks for taking the time to visit.
Let’s Get started, shall we?

1.   How about we start off with telling the readers a little bit about yourself?

Depending on my mood, I’m either a budget analyst or financial specialist for the government; I have a sweet tooth that rivals the size of Delaware; I discovered more recently that the golfing gene has been passed down to me, and my wife even goes along for the ride, as long as she’s the one driving the golf cart; I attack reading, music, and movies the way a serious climber would attack Mount Everest; and for being relatively grounded, I’ve discovered that I’m a bit of a thrill seeker: I’ve done bungee jumping, indoor sky diving, hang gliding, trapeze school, go carts, and I really enjoy roller coasters.

2.   Who has inspired you as an author?

At the time I discovered Casey, I was heavily into Robert B. Parker, and I was also a fan of Lawrence Sander’s Archie McNally character.

3.   Tell us about Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

and where the idea came from.

It’s what Stephen King in an Entertainment Weekly article has referred to as MANfiction. Casey Holden, former cop, current PI in Virginia Beach, VA, screens his clients the way he screens his women, based on whichever drop-dead gorgeous woman happens to waltz through his door first and manages to hold his attention. So when Felicity Farren, widow-at-large, struts into his office asking him to solve the two-year-old murder of her husband Artis, she intrigues him. When Casey starts digging, he learns the murder isn’t what it seems to be and he doesn’t have a big enough shovel to unearth the truth. And to top it all off, his former rival at the police department, Greg Gilman, is determined to disrupt his investigation. Casey's challenge is to learn what really happened to Artis, and why Gilman can’t seem to remove his head from his butt. And he’ll need all of his wits to complete the task.

I honestly have no idea where the story or the character came from. It was almost as though this blessing came from outside myself and was graciously bestowed on me, and I was the vessel through which Casey’s story was being told. I had a beginning in mind (reading a number of the late Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels, as well as other mysteries helped in this regard), and I had an ending in mind, but I really had no idea how I was going to get there. I sort of figured it out as I went along. I'm not a big fan of outlining, because I figure if I surprise myself when I write it, then hopefully the reader will be surprised when he or she reads it. As to Casey (and he’s really the heart and soul of Falling Immortality), I have miniscule amounts of his sarcasm, wit, and charm, and I extrapolated these bits to create a character that was strong enough to sustain a first person narrative. I knew I needed a strong male lead to make it work (and I don’t really do anything halfway once I set my mind to a task), so I created the strongest male lead I could possibly imagine.

4.   What was your favorite part of the book to write and why?

Honestly, I enjoyed every bit of Falling Immortality from the opening page to the final sentence; otherwise, I’d be doing both my reader and myself a disservice. When you aren’t having fun, I believe it comes across in your writing, and your readers will notice.

5.   One year ago, exactly from today, your book got published. If you could change anything about it now, what would it be?

I’ve enjoyed every bit of the journey, and I wouldn’t be in the place I am today as an author and a marketer (and let’s face it the authors of today need to do both well) if I hadn’t made a few missteps and had a few misadventures along the way. When you learn and grow from your mistakes (and I try to do both), you end up being a better, stronger, more rounded person, and I’m still working on my well-roundedness.

6.   Any upcoming projects? Something you're currently working on at the moment?

Absolutely, the day I stop writing is the day I need to meet my maker, because writing and I go together about as well as chocolate and I do, and as anyone who knows me well will tell you, I have a mouth full of sweet teeth.

It really depends on how you qualify your question. The next two novels in the series are currently with my publisher. Graceful Immortality, the sequel to Falling Immortality, involves the murder of a female dancer from the Virginia Dance Company. Kathryn Gable, another dancer in the company, comes to Casey, and asks him to solve Jessica Mason’s murder. Like in the first novel, things aren’t quite what they seem, and before he even realizes it, he’s in over his head again.

Right now, though, I’m working on a thriller with a serial killer. It’s been done before, probably a bit overdone, but I like to think I have a new and interesting take on this overdone topic.

7.   What made you want to be a writer?

The movie Finding Forrester helped change my way of thinking when it came to writing. Contrary to what people may believe about writers, I always hated writing in school, because it was all about the rules (not necessarily a bad thing), and it was forced down my throat. I never thought of writing for myself, until I watched Finding Forrester. After the movie, though, something clicked for me, and I realized for a shy guy I had a whole lot to say. I opened this massive floodgate that I haven’t been able to close since. And if I’m lucky, it’ll never close.

8.   What inspires you the most?

Not to sound a bit clichéd, but the world I live in serves as a motivating factor, and it inspires me with a multitude of ideas, more than I could ever possibly hope to write in my lifetime. And the beauty of all this is that I continue to come up with more. If you name it, I’ve probably been inspired by it, from other authors to movies to the media to people I meet and interact with on a daily basis to the extremes of my own imagination.

9.   What do you enjoy doing when not reading or writing?

Other than what I already mentioned earlier, I’d probably add traveling and spending time with my family to the list of activities I enjoy.

10. As a writer, what is one of the toughest decisions you've had to make?

I’d have to say nothing about being a writer is easy, and every decision you make creatively has an element of toughness behind it. On the other hand, though, I absolutely love writing, and some of my happiest moments are making that blinking cursor and blank screen come to life.

11. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?

At its best moments, the story practically writes itself, and you’re in the passenger seat going along for the ride. And you hope you don’t meet a cement barrier along the way. At the most difficult of times, you feel as though you couldn’t buy a vowel with a million dollars. On some level, I identify with each and every character I put on the page.

12. What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself?

I read anything and everything I can get my hands on. If you don’t do that as an author, I think you do yourself, as well as your fellow authors, a disservice. Because I’ve learned something from every book I’ve read, both the good ones as well as the not so good ones. So, no, I don’t limit myself to mysteries and thrillers, because that’s only a small segment of the book market.

13. What would you rather do: go back in time or check out the future? Why?

I’d have to say go back in time. It’s probably better that I don’t know too much about my future, because being a bit of a control freak, I’d try to change it, manipulate it, or influence it in some form or fashion.

14. Is there anything else you'd like to say to the people reading this interview?

I’d like to thank all of you who took the time to read this blog interview, and I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity. As an author, you can never promote yourself, or your writing, too much. And so I always appreciate the opportunity to have my readers, and potential readers, learn a bit more about me.

Read the first chapter of his book,Falling Immortality  here.

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