I was born in Manchester, England in 1966. The family moved to Ireland in 1979, where I now live in Dublin. I left school at 16 taking a job in manufacturing, but always had a love of books. I joined the Dublin Youth Theatre and studied drama with The Oscar School of acting. I wrote a short story which was published titled 'The Chase', there I got the bug. A part time course in journalism led to a qualification in Desk Top Publishing, and I worked for two of Ireland's leading publishers for nearly 8 years. I played bass in a number of bands and during the downtime between gigs I was always reading. My years on the road I recorded in diaries and wrote a draft novel which I never developed. I started writing GET LENIN 3 years ago and now here I am!
Yesterday was wicked crazy. I was out and about with a friend. We watched I Am Number Four. Totally awesome movie! Still riding high from the craziness, I'd like to introduce everyone to our featured author today. We fly to Dublin to meet the oh-so-cool, Robert Craven, author of Get Lenin. I actually have plans to visit Ireland for ten days some time soon. For now, we must live vicariously through Robert.
Thank you, Robert, for visiting Reads, Reviews, Recommends and allowing our dear readers to get to know you and your work better. Please state your name, occupation, and cocktail of choice for our readers.
My name is Robert Craven & I work in as an executive. My cocktail of choice is a Mojito.
A mojito, you say. We have to pace ourselves with this one, dear readers. One too many and by the end of this post we'd need someone to pick us off the floor. But this refreshing drink brings me to my next question: If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three books would you bring with you and why?
1) Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski - I'm fascinated by Russia & afer the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kapuscinski travelled around the satellite countries observing the effects of this, what life was like under communism and the early stages of new-found freedom. There is a passage that describes the production of the oak casks for Armenian Brandy which is sublime.
2) Underworld by Don DeLilo, an incredibly dense read covering America from the 1950's to the late 1980's, covering the Cold War, urban degeneration of New York and the travels of a coveted baseball through the lives of various characters. All the great conspiracies are touched on, including the idea, that sno-one has ever accurately mapped Greenland.
3)Ulysses by James Joyce; for a number of reasons; firstly I read this through my late father's illness & has a poignant value. Then when you immerse yourself in it it's almost 5 different books on one and you'd need a few years on an island to grasp it all. And lastly its about 24 hours in my home city of Dublin.
I applaud you for thinking of bringing Joyce along. I couldn't get past the first page of Ulysses. But if I were on a deserted island, I just might have the time to read the whole thing. And since we're already on an island with our Mojitoes, which do you prefer the most: Sunrise? Sunset? Or totally the full moon? And why?
Sunset - work done & the possiblity of new challenges the next day!
I'd toast to that! Speaking of work getting done, when did you decide to start writing?
I was always writing or doodling in some way, my mother had an old portable typewriter I found in my teens and I banged out a few short stories on it. It was about 1993 / 94 I entered a short-story competition for a Sci-Fi magazine & though I didn't win, it was published along with the other runners-up. There's no word to describe how that felt.
I feel a kinship here, Robert. In high school, I wrote my short stories on my father's electric typewriter. Yes, dear readers, there used to be a time when there were no such things as computers. Okay, I hear your collective gasp of horror. There weren't cell phones, either! Now, come back from the ledge, there's more to discover here. Robert, tell us a little about your road to publication.
Getting to this stage was a long one; I bought 'The Writers and Artist's year book 2009' and emailed an initial approach to every agent & publisher in it. My approaches went as far as Sydney Australia to Los Angeles, in the end I counted 200 or so emails and postal submissions sent with 71 rejections. (They were the only replies).
I posted GET LENIN up on www.authonomy.com when I pitched to Harper Collins. It's been up for 10 weeks & the feedback to date has been positive. Authonomy featured Night Publishing on their blog and I pitched GL to them from there. They have a monthly list of authors who receive votes & the highest vote gets published, GL didn't get the highest vote but was accepted for publication. Its launch date is Spring 2011, so there is still the editorial stage to go. Its been 3 years since I typed 'The End'. I developed a Facebook page for the purpose of promoting GET LENIN and hopefully it'll generate a few extra sales.
You can never go wrong with having a Facebook Page. I say: the more people who know about you, the bigger the chance you get of getting the word out about your book. Why the title Get Lenin?
I wanted a short-punchy title that sums up what the book is about. I had a few work-in-progress titles; Cadmean Tears was one, but mid-way through the first draft I wrote the line 'but first they had to get Lenin' and that was it.
It really is a punchy title. I'm curious about why they had to get Lenin. *takes a sip of her mojito* These things are dangerous. Are you curious about Get Lenin, dear readers? Don't worry, you'll get a chance to win a copy in tomorrow's giveaway. Let's shift gears, Robert. What do you do to get through tough times?
Laughter - When I'm down I watch comedies - Mel Brooks, Monty Python & the Black Adder series. laughter is the best medicine.
I totally agree! A good laugh does help, and you can never go wrong with Monty Python. And if you could bring someone back to life, who would it be and why?
Jimi Hendrix - I've a few questions about his chord structures!
Don't we all? I'm sure most of them were drug induced. Last question: What's the song that best describes who you are today?
Song: 'Heroes' by David Bowie.
Nothing like a little Bowie to wrap up an interview.
Are those mojitoes catching up with you, dear readers? It's been quite illuminating to get to know you, Robert. When I visit Ireland, you have to show me around. Again, thank you for allowing the Reads, Reviews, Recommends readers a peek through the Mojito-filled glass at who you are as a person and writer. We certainly enjoyed ourselves.
Itching to know a little more about Get Lenin before the giveaway? Click on this link for a sneak preview: http://www.authonomy.com/books/25020/get-lenin/
Next week, the Author Interview Series has the pleasure of having over handsome-as-sin Jason Ancona, author of Debugging Tori Redding.