The Eleven Questions to Fame Blog Tour continues with five-and-a-half questions from Bram-Stoker-nominated horror author, Robert W. Walker--a man who has described himself as Stephen King's illegitimate son. I met Rob when he hired me to design his first web-site, and it's thanks to him passing along some information about an anthology being put together that I ended up 24-hours later with my first publication credit. So we go way back.
But I try not to let anyone know.
And here we go!
Join me now for this probing interview.
Me: Titanic 2012: The curse of RMS Titanic is your 50th novel--congratulations. Why another book about the Titanic?
Rob: There have been a great deal of books and films made about the Titanic and its fate, as it is one of those archetypal tales that people do not want to see end. In fact, like Elvis and Marilyn, Titanic will never fully be in its grave and gone. The allure is there and a ready-made audience, yes, but for me it was a chance to turn so many of the myths grown up around the ship and its shit luck that I couldn’t resist placing one of my patented disease-spreading monster aboard for the fateful night when the X factor aboard leads to a Cabal bent on bringing the ship down. It was no accident in my scheme of things.
Me: You write horror fiction. Did you always want to be a horror author? Why horror? Why not become president, or a garbage man?
Rob: I soooo respect what garbage collectors, now environmental engineers I think they are called, DO. I couldn’t do that in the heat and the cold world…hanging onto the back of a truck. I went into horror for good reason, early in my writing career, after failing to sell any of my young adult historical novels. After making the Underground Railroad as scary as it gets but getting nowhere with it, and knowing all editors were seeking a Stephen King mirror image to love and promote, I got into horror in a big way, but you know working with monsters is a great deal easier on one’s psyche than with serial killers. The creatures tale direction and stagecraft a good deal more seriously.
Me: Do you generally use detailed outlines when plotting your books?
Rob: No not ever have I used detailed outlines, and I struggle with outlines as it is an art in itself—how to recast the story in brief. However, that said, I enjoy allowing the story to dictate itself to me and grow exponentially as it comes to me and as I convey it to the reader here and now. Doing an outline kills my energy, strangleholds my imagination. I like to “write where no man or woman has gone before” so I never know where I am going until I arrive. I don’t know what I think until I see what I say – a line I stole from someone somewhere but it sums it up for me, my reckless abandon and reckless method. It takes patience of Job and a willingness to go on a wrong turn or binge and having to write oneself out of that problem. BESIDES “once a story has been told” even in outline, “it can’t help but get old.” I like the way I work, not knowing what will happen around the next page until I write it. I suspect I am not the only author who likes the idea that a novel is episodic and as such should be organized episodically by its creator.
Me: Who are your favourite authors and who have inspired you the most?
Rob: Mark Twain, my spiritual mentor, James Herriot, Robert Bloch, Shakespeare, Dickens, Doyle, Dumas, Martin Cruz Smith, Katherine Anne Porter, the Bronte Sisters, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Increase Mather if you can believe it, as well as Thomas Thompson, Charles Grant, Harper Lee, Margarite Mitchell, James Clavall and many more. Too many to count, I fear.
Me: What are you wearing?
Rob: Jeans and T-shirt, all rather drab in blue as we are moving down the street and am beginning to feel a shower in order!
Me: Please. Do us a favour and opt for the shower. Your wife is an author, too. Does she help or inspire you in your stories?
Rob: Miranda writes under Miranda Phillips Walker (no hyphens), and she has her own stories to deal with; she is working on a sequel to the ebook Absolution which was formerly....
It was at this point in the interview, Rob literally fell asleep and didn't answer the other questions.
Nothing surprises me from this man.
So. You in for the best story about Titanic ever written?
Check Rob's web-site for news of the official release, and the first fourteen teaser-chapters, free!
Thanks for the time, Rob, and good-luck with the book release!
Coming up on Wednesday, we have a double-whammy for you: a fellow Nashvillian who writes crime and mystery, Chester Campbell, and a former Brit who now publishes humour and horror in the US, Simon Wood, so don't forget to join me for that!