Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview with Robert C. Roman

Tell me a little about yourself, where you are from, do you feel where you live influences how you write?
I'm a High School teacher in Camden, New Jersey. For those of you who don't understand what that means, my kids would eat The Shades alive if dropped into Ankh Morpork. If you don't get either reference... Ooh, I'm not sure how to communicate it to you, really. Most of them could stare down Clint Eastwood and give Jack Nicholson lessons in crazy? Yeah, that's about it.
I'm originally from New Jersey, although I've also lived in Florida and Delaware. I came back to New Jersey following work, and now that my kids are in school, I intend to stay right where I am for the next dozen years at least.
Where I live definitely influences how I write. Most people don't realize this, but the state of New Jersey rivals most cities in the world for population density. People move out of New Jersey into California and Ohio to get some elbow room. That sense of always having someone nearby leads to a very different kind of thinking than, say, Nebraska, where you can get to points where you can't see another human being all the way out to the flat horizon, or Florida, where everyone is pretty laid back, or even Delaware, where things are a little tight but there's a sense of order. Also, for those of you who have seen the show, the Jersey Shore crowd are New Yorkers. Not From Jersey. KTHXBAI.
Also, a lot of my 'close to the real world' settings are set in New Jersey or Philadelphia. Road
Mage, Fae Eye for the Golem Guy, and What Not to Fear are all centered there, and the third part of Iron Angel will even visit that region of the world briefly.

What sort of expectations did you have when being published was on the horizon?
I'm not really sure. When I first got something other than a rejection (it was a unofficial R&R) I thought 'hey, I'm close!' Then I kept getting those same types of rejections for almost five years. Since that first 'other than flat rejection' was also my first submission, that was really frustrating. By the time I submitted Fae Eye to Decadent, I'd given up and was just writing to be a better writer.
So I didn't really ever have a time when being published was 'on the horizon'. I can say that I never expected to have to learn the facets of publishing I've had to learn, but I'm not really surprised that I do, now that I'm here.

What is your biggest pet peeve ?
At the moment? Writers who focus so much on the business of writing that they forget the art of writing. While I can't stand 'artiste' writers, who think they can throw anything on a page, and if the audience doesn't get it, it's the audience's fault, I'm even more annoyed by folks who have spent years on networking, query writing, marketing, and assorted 'business' items, but have completely overlooked things like grammar, punctuation, spelling, characterization, plot, setting, and all the other elements of literary storytelling.

Have you always been interested in steam punk?
Since I heard of it, yeah. I've been interested in the genre since before I knew it was a genre. All the work I'd seen in the genre before I heard the word 'Steam Punk' appealed to me. That includes the original 'Wild Wild West' series, the OAV of Read or Die, and most prominently the webcomic Girl Genius.

Where/how did you come up with the idea for the Artifice series?
I was talking with Dana Marie Bell about 'what's next' for the Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy genres. Shifters and Werewolves have been done to death, and it's hard to compete with the Harrys (Potter and Dresden) for Magi, so we were looking for things that haven't been quite so high profile. The lesser fae intrigued us, but the thing that stood out were Golem. We were watching a makeover marathon at the time, and were brainstorming for a ParaRom / UF Comedy submission, and Fae Eye for the Golem Guy (an play on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, for those who missed it) slipped out of our mouths near simultaneously.
After that, I ran with the idea of artificial beings finding romance and adventure with a strong comedic element. Hence the title 'Artifice' (and the series names, which are all plays on makeover shows).

Is there a genre you prefer to write? What about to read?
I waver between Weird Fiction and Slipstream. In case you're wondering, those two are different parts of the Venn intersection between Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Horror. Each work tends toward some portion of that area, so some come out more Sci-Fi, some are more Fantasy, and so on, but all of them have some action/adventure, and some comedy. Most of them have some romance as well.

Care to give us a peek at what you latest writing project is?
I'm presently actively working on... *counts* three different things.
Primarily I'm rewriting Cat's Paw, a novel about a shapeshifting stripper, a genetically engineered porn star, and a completely normal math professor from a family of supernatural superheroes. Those three social outcasts wind up facing down a sociopathic demon intent on using a VR videogame to conquer and destroy two worlds.
Next month (NaNoWriMo, Baby!) I'm going to write the third book in the Artifice series. This time the artificial being is an AI, and the heroine is one that no one will ever suspect. The Pixie Fairy Godfathers, X and Ricardo, have their hands full this time, because everyone else's hands are tied.

Halloween just passed, what where you? Got any pics?
Nope, no Halloween pics this time.  Instead, I'll give you a pic of me at the Fairy Masquerade this year at RT!

Be sure to check out the Giveaway Hop post before the 11th for a chance to win a copy of Robert's What Not to Fear!

Also click here to find out about a contest he is currently holding on his site for some really awesome swag from Author's After Dark!

You can also find more about Robert in these places:
Robert C. Roman - His website/blog
Bob's Books - His Facebook Page

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