ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Our interview today is with Rob Horner. He brings this exciting excerpt from his newest novel, Surrogacy. So welcome Rob.
As always, if you would like to interact with Rob, please leave a comment below.
Also, Rob and his work can be found at these sites:
Q: Rob, first of all, tell me about yourself, anything that would interest your readers. Don’t write a book but be complete. What’s your typical day look like and how do you work in your writing/promoting?
A: I’m a weird combination of skills and experience. I’m a US Navy veteran of 10 years with a total of 20 years troubleshooting and repairing electronics. But my goal has always been in the medical field. So, with one career behind me, my wife supported me through a change, first to Emergency Room nurse then to nurse practitioner. Now, I work 12-hour days in an urgent care unit, and it’s between patients that I get to do the majority of my writing. Editing and promoting—and answering questions for an interview—are done at home sometime between cramming a late dinner and crashing at midnight.
Q: Tell me how and why you got into writing? How long have you been doing it? And how do you go about creating a story?
A: I’ve been writing since the age of 17, but I was no Paolini. It actually began when I ran away with the carnival one summer. That’s when Waking Light was born. From there, it was a hobby that carried me through my time in the Navy, never amounting to more than an idea jotted down here or there. It was my wife who pushed me farther, surprising me with a copy of Scrivener a couple of Christmases ago. Considering how many hours I’ve put into it since, she might regret that decision now. I hope not.
Q: Tell me about the protagonist and antagonist of your latest book. What are their goals in the story?
A: My stories tend to be about people reacting to things much larger than any one person should be able to handle. As such, the antagonists have no specific face, and time drives the story. My current WIP is the sequel to Brightness. The family is the same, though a few years older, which allows for better character development of the young girls fighting against a collective they, demons with a hope of bringing about the birth of the Antichrist, with the youngest girl Sofie set up as the only one who can stop it. Unfortunately, Sofie was born with a congenital heart defect that requires open heart surgery to correct. It is during this time, while she is vulnerable, that the demons decide to strike.
Q: Definitely interesting and definitely paranormal bordering on horror. So, continuing with story elements, which do you prefer, character driven stories or plot driven stories and why should readers care?
A: I prefer plot-driven, but I want my readers to love my characters like I do. I tie plots in time and develop characters as they move in time to figure out the plot. I try to put on blinders when I work from a character’s point of view. What does he see? How does she figure out what to do next?
Q: Tell me about your story point of view preferences, tense preferences, and any other thing of interest to you along these lines as we delve further into the mechanics of creating a story.
A: Most new ideas come at night, usually while I’m asleep, if you’ll pardon the cliché. Ideas come in dreams, and if they continue into waking, I jot them down. If over the next few days the idea persists or continues to develop, I might do something with it. In the case of several of my books, the ideas span multiple volumes.
My POV preference is third person, though I’m finding the challenge of writing first person in The Chosen Cycle to be fun and freeing, in a way. I write in the past tense, with only the occasional blurb in the present, as if to specify a dream sequence.
I write exclusively in Scrivener, which gives great latitude in setting up scenes even if they’re outside the current point in the story. With the ability to move scenes around at will, or flip between chapters with a click of the mouse, it makes it much simpler to solidify plotlines and tighten up timelines.
Q: What are your all-time favorite books – top three? Why? Don’t skimp here. Explore it with us? Tell us what genre they are. Who is your favorite author, if different from your favorite book?
A: My all-time favorite is a series, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. The why is easy. Where Stephen King sketches a character and allows the reader to fill in the details, Jordan fleshes them out, bringing them breathing to life in your mind. If you haven’t read the series, you should. The details present in the tenth book which were teased in the second boggles the mind when you consider how much planning he put into the epic narrative. How he kept twenty major plotlines straight with a hundred ancillary characters darting in and out with their own plans and agendas is a feat I doubt anyone will ever replicate. Jordan also holds the title as my favorite author. Second is the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. Third is The Stand, by the aforementioned Stephen King.
Q: What do you find is the most difficult thing about writing fiction? The easiest thing? Elaborate.
A: Fiction is a blast to write. I have no shortage of ideas. The hardest part is making them believable. I don’t throw ideas out there and try to force a suspension of disbelief. I want to find the science to make the fiction more realistic while still keeping it fun and fantastic. So, instead of just creating a zombie apocalypse, I created a believable scenario whereby not only the bug which causes the dead to reanimate is credible, but so is the method by which it spreads. When it comes to futuristic weapons, I base their capabilities on theoretical advances in real technology. And when I write a medical scene, I use my education and experience to make the medicine real. No 5-second chloroform knockouts, no defibrillating asystole. If we’re playing in the ER, we’re going to do it right.
Q: Tell me about your travels. Where is an interesting place you’ve been? Do you travel to research your stories, or is research important to you for your stories?
A: I completed 5 six-month cruises during my ten years in the Navy. I’ve been to 16 countries. Palma de Majorca, one of the Spanish islands, is probably my favorite place, though I’d consider Hong Kong and Singapore to be among the more interesting. Considering my home life with five children and very busy work schedule, I don’t travel for research. But I do use Google Maps to be as accurate as possible in describing locations and neighboring buildings. I’d love for a reader to read about a place and recognize it as somewhere they know. To the second part of the question, I research everything. From medication interactions to surgical procedures, street by street driving directions to in-depth Tae Kwon Do combat…if I don’t know something, I look it up rather than make it up, then find a way to incorporate it. I’m sure you’ve seen the meme asking people not to judge me by my browser history. That applies to me in so many ways, it’s beyond funny.
Q: What kind of stories do you refuse to read?
A: I’m not fond of erotica, but I’ll read it if asked by a friend, or by a friendly author in need of a review.
Q: Finally, the most important question – DC or Marvel? What is your favorite comic book character ever? If none, just make something up!
Easiest question yet. Marvel. Spiderman. Why Marvel? Most of the characters are relatable, everyday Joes who become something more, then go around trying to make the world a better place. DC is the opposite, nearly omnipotent beings with no grounding in the real world, or bored billionaires who confuse vigilante justice with rampant, violent vengeance. Why Spiderman? He is the epitome of the relatable guy, a strong mind in a non-athletic form, a nerd before the world heard The Ogre growl it repeatedly in a rated R movie. That’s his attraction and his staying power. There will always be kids who wish a radioactive spider would bite them.
From one Marvel guy to another, well said. Thanks, Rob for the inciteful interview.
That closes my interview with novelist, Rob Horner. Be sure to have a look at his books. I have and I will again in the coming weeks.
I was running as soon as we popped onto the battlefield, ignoring the wrenching sensations in my gut. Things had changed in the few minutes we’d been gone, some of them for the good. More than half of the Dra’Gal force was down, human forms either unconscious or dead, and only thirty or so of the monstrous beings remained standing. I’d banished a few, both in my initial rush and in my headlong sprint to get to Tanya, and who knows how many might have been caught in the purge bomb thrown by Josh.
But for all those accomplishments, there were losses to consider.
Our forces hadn’t progressed far beyond the trailer wall. Instead they held there, Caitlin, Michael, James, and Gina, supported by Iz, Fish, and Little Jack. Everyone else was down, impossible to tell if they were hurt or how badly.
Jeff had deposited us behind the Dra’Gal. If they’d felt the air of our arrival, they gave no indication.
As happened before, my hands began to glow.
“Get the injured out of here, Jeff,” I said. “And don’t forget the three guarding the fence.”
“What’re you going to do?”
“Make them pay,” I said, charging forward.
They were only twenty or thirty, and within seconds, as light flashed with every contact, that number was cut in half.
Jeff popped in amongst the survivors, reached down and placed his hands on two of the still forms, and teleported away.
As that happened, the remaining Dra’Gal let out a scream, more than a dozen voices somehow lifting together, perfectly timed. They turned to face me, and they paid for it.
Palgwe Chil Jang came over me. Front stance to double low block—light flashed and a Dra’Gal’s taloned foot was driven into the concrete. A double outside block caught two attackers coming in from both sides, my bare forearms against theirs, and two more Dra’Gal disappeared. My hand came down to touch the first demon’s face, banishing him, before both arms came back up in a high cross block, catching the overhand blow of a charging demon—light flashed, and he vanished. Shifting into a back stance, I swung a double knife hand middle block to one side, then a middle block followed by a high punch to the other, strobing light and sending one Dra’Gal flying and banishing the other into nothingness.
This is what I needed, a different way to fight, rather than relying on kicks that were practiced and perfected for style more than effectiveness. These were the roots of Tae Kwon Do, forms that flowed from one stance to another, blocks arranged in an order designed to simulate fighting multiple foes attacking from different directions. It wasn’t a perfect simulation—no simulation ever is—but all that was required to make it work was a slight change in the angles.
My friends didn’t remain idle during my performance. Michael sent out streaks of fire like a dragon’s hiccup, preventing the Dra’Gal from congregating on one side, while Gina and James kept up their tag team on the other.