Wikinews interviews novelist Jeremy Robinson

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wikinews held an exclusive interview with Jeremy Robinson, the bestselling American author from Massachusetts who wrote the thrillers The Didymus Contingency, Raising the Past and Antarktos Rising.

Before deciding to take up the writing of fiction, Robinson was an artist and moviemaker. He says of his years before getting published, "I lived well under the poverty I could write."

Although his first book, The Didymus Contingency, was self-published, the following two were released through a small press. Recently, he signed a three book deal with St. Martin's Press, a major publisher. He said that he was "pretty excited" about this.

Robinson is currently at work on two other novels.


 ((Wikinews )) : You've written three novels. Tell us about them.

Mr. Robinson: I've actually written six novels, three of which are published, and they're all very different from each other. Focusing on the three published books; my first novel The Didymus Contingency is a time travel thriller where the main characters go back in time, one of them to disprove the story of Jesus, the other to stop him. My second novel, Raising the Past, is a straight forward sci-fi, arctic thriller that launches into action when a team of scientists discovers an alien artifact clutched in the arms of a woman...whose frozen inside the belly of a preserved mammoth. The newest of the three published, and my favorite, is Antarktos Rising. This story starts off with a global catastrophe as the Earth's crust shifts moving the North Pole to North Dakota and Antarctica (Antarktos) to the equator. 2.6 billion people die in the first few chapters and the ravaged world turns to Antarctica as a new promised land...but the continent has already been claimed by the Nephilim-bad guys straight out of the book of Genesis.

 ((WN )) : What inspires you to write?

Mr. Robinson: I suppose I was born with an insatiable appetite for story telling. When I was younger I expressed this through art, and to an extent still do. I was an illustration major in college and began illustrating comics after college. But writing crept in and hooked me. It's a much satisfying way to flesh out a story and the world the characters live in-more than comics, more than movies (both of which I tried before making the final switch to novels). As far as day to day inspiration. I suppose I would say nature. The power and mysteriousness of it. Primarily the ocean. A day on the ocean can power a month of writing.

 ((WN )) : What sets your books apart from the rest how are they different, unique?

Mr. Robinson: I would say my ability to tackle heavy, sometimes even controversial topics in a fun way. Didymus tackles the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Antarktos covers creationism vs. evolution, a genetic cause for Noah's flood and the account of the Nephilim in Genesis. But because I'm not writing with the intent of convert people to any idea, philosophy or religion (because I don't necessarily agree with the viewpoints of my characters-they're their own people) they don't read as being preachy or antagonistic. So I'm able to handle religious topics in mainstream thrillers that are otherwise relegated to Christian fiction-meaning they're written for Christians. I chose to write this way because I can handle topics and concepts that are exciting while concentrating on making the pace breakneck, the plot twisting and the characters enjoyable. I don't get bogged down by trying to prove a personal point of view. In my upcoming series I do the same thing, but with mythology as opposed to Biblical topics...which leads to the next question.

 ((WN )) : Will you be writing another novel soon?

Mr. Robinson: I am currently writing two novels (my seventh and eighth). The first, ACHE, deals with the subject of hell, but I'm keeping the story under wraps. Don't want to kill the surprise. The second novel I'm working on now, ROUSE, is the first book in a three book series that I've just signed on with St. Martins Press to write! This deal was actually just announced today, so I'm pretty excited. The series follows a team of Delta Force operatives known as the Chess Team: King, Queen, Knight, Rook, Bishop and their handler Deep Blue. In book one they battle a terrorist-friendly biopharmaceutical company working on human limb regeneration, whose experiments unleash the pinnacle of physical regeneration-the ancient creature known as the Hydra. This is James Rollins meets Matthew Reilly. Should be a ton of fun. The first book comes out Spring/Summer 2009.

 ((WN )) : Is there any advice you can give some of the authors reading this who are struggling with their writing?

Mr. Robinson: There is a lot of stereotypical advice for this question. Some say write a page a day. Some say to have someone other than your mother critique your work. It's all good advice. But my experience has taught me that a ridiculous amount of commitment can make big things happen. When I wrote my first fiction it was abysmal. Absolute garbage. That was ten years ago. Here's what I did in the past ten years to get to my St. Martin's deal. Wrote six novels. Wrote twenty-something short stories. Wrote thirteen screenplays. Interned at an agency. Self-published the first edition of Didymus Contingecy. Went with a small press for the next two. Rewrote the majority of all the previous writing several times. That's really an insane amount of work, the majority of it not making me a dime. I lived well under the poverty line for years so I could write. The point is, do not expect to write a novel, sell and hit the NY Times bestseller list. It's more likely you'll spend the next ten years trying...and that's if you spend 30 - 40 hours a week on your writing like I have. Could take fifteen years. But if you want it. If you really want it and can't imagine doing anything, you'll enjoy the process...though perhaps not the Ramen Noodles. My only other advice is to become a master at marketing and self-promotion. Publishers are really looking for authors who know how to build an audience and kick start word-of-mouth.

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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.