Interview 110, Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus author, Sean Patrick Little, Conclusion

Welcome back for the conclusion in our talk with Sean Patrick Little, author of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus.

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.

Read Part Three here.

 

 

Airship Ambassador: Looking beyond steampunk and writing, what other interests fill your time?

Sean Patrick Little: I have a 13-year-old daughter, so antagonizing her and making her do homework is a big chunk of my day. I play guitar and bass badly (self-taught), so I try to do that occasionally. Other than that, I work. I write. I sleep. That’s my life. I’m not terribly exciting. I don’t get to travel much. I don’t leave my house much.

 

AA: Antagonizing a teenager, sounds dangerous and entertaining, and hopefully there’s some good story fodder in there, too. What other fandoms are you part of?

SPL:  Anything nerdy, really. Big Star Trek guy. Big Star Wars guy. Big D&D guy. I read a lot of fantasy novels. I’m also a progressive rock fan. Total Marillion guy. Love Rush. Love Pink Floyd. I listen to them a lot.

AA: Good list! What is on your to-be read pile right now?

SPL: Currently, I’m sitting on a ton of stuff. I’m trying to get into the Stormlight Archive series from Brandon Sanderson, but it just isn’t clicking for me. I am reading a lot of CJ Box novels. I’m a big Craig Johnson (Walt Longmire series) fan, so the Joe Pickett novels are along a similar vein. I am waiting for the next books from Sebastien de Castell and Alex Bledsoe, too. Bledsoe’s Tufa novels are some of my favorite books of the last ten years. They are instant classics, in my opinion.

My friend, Maddy Hunter, has a new book coming out in her Passport to Peril series, too. She’s a wickedly funny mystery novelist from Madison, Wis. Well worth your time to check her out.

I’ve also been trying to read a lot of steampunk novels, lately. I read Cherie Priest’s books a while back, and I’ve waded through some Gail Carriger. I’m halfway through Robyn Bennis’s The Guns Above right now, too.

 

AA: Someone’s to-be-read list just got longer. Who is an inspiration to you?

SPL: I suppose it’s cheesy to say my dad, but he is. He’s a guy who has been dealt a lot of bad hands in life, but he keeps forging ahead. Outside of my dad, I look at a lot of people who do things outside the mainstream systems—Elon Musk, Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, Sam Raimi—people who did things their own way because they wanted/needed to. I admire that. I like it when authors who self-published books find success—Andy Weir, for example. Michael J. Sullivan. Marcel Proust. I like people who buck the system and achieve success. Those are my heroes.

 

AA: Plenty of leaders and people with strong visions. What is the best advice you’ve been given?

SPL: One of my college writing professors, Dr. Emilio Degrazia, said, “Tell the truth.” That was basically the culmination of a semester-long creative writing class. He meant that you need to tell the truth about the characters, and the conflict, and the fallout of the conflict, no matter how bad any of it is. Don’t cater your writing to fit other people’s concepts. Tell the truth and stand by it.

Also—writing has NOTHING to do with inspiration. Writing gets done because you put your butt in a seat and your fingers on a keyboard and you grind. That’s it. If you’re not putting in the hours it takes to write, you won’t write. Simple as that. If you want to write, then find the time and plant yourself at that keyboard.

 

AA: Good advice for everyone about the things they want to accomplish. When you do interviews, what is something that you wish you were asked about but haven’t been?

SPL: I don’t do many interviews. I’m very much under the radar. Like…way under the radar. I’m on the ground, undetectable by radar. I suppose the one question I’ve never been asked is “Why do you do it?”  –and the answer is, because I can’t stop. I quit writing all the time (out of frustration, out of sadness, out of feeling like I’ll never “make it”—wherever “it” is), but I always go back. It’s an addiction. A disease. I have stories in me that I want to tell, that I need to tell, so I tell them.

As much as I would like to have a zillion readers, and a dedicated fan base, and get invited to speak at conventions and such—it has nothing to do with why I do what I do. I write, because I must. If you’re writing for any other reason than that, you are doing it wrong.

AA: We are driven to create, to release the energy inside to bring form to the formless. Any final thoughts to share with our readers

SPL: Thanks for reading. Honestly. I cannot stress enough how grateful I am if you take time out of your life to read anything I write, even if you didn’t like it—thank you for reading it. I appreciate it more than you know. So often, writing novels feels like being on a remote island. I’m alone in my head hoping someone sees these stories.

Also, if you read something, if you read anything by any author and you liked it and/or want more of it, PLEASE write a good review for it and post it as many places as you can. You’d be surprised at how many doors open when something gets 50 reviews, or 100 reviews. For authors, a single review can be the difference between a book being put into promotional material and being ignored. Please review books you enjoy. And if you don’t enjoy them, that’s fair. I don’t like every book I read.

However, if you don’t like someone’s work, don’t be a jerk about it. No one likes that sort of person. Stay positive. Spread some positivity in this world. Make someone’s day; don’t ruin someone’s day. Spend your time spreading the word of things you like rather than condemning those you don’t. It’s better for your mental health.

EXTRA POINT: My next book, Long Empty Roads, the sequel to my best-selling post-apocalypse survival After Everyone Died, will be out on Feb. 2, 2018. It should be available in hardcopy and Kindle edition. It will be available for Kindle Unlimited, too—so if you have that, you won’t even have to pay for it.

 

 

Alright readers, get out there and leave reviews for all those books you’ve enjoyed over the years. Authors need our support!

Thanks, Sean, for joining us!   I am definitely looking forward to reading Lord Bobbins and the Dome of Light!

Keep up to date with Sean’s latest news on his Twitter feed or Facebook.

You can support Sean and our community by getting your copy of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus here.

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Published in: on April 19, 2018 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Interview 110, Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus author, Sean Patrick Little, Part 3

Welcome back for part three in our talk with Sean Patrick Little, author of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus.

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.

 

 

Airship Ambassador: What has your general publishing experience been like?

Sean Patrick Little: This has been something I have set upon doing since I was in second grade. I’ve only really wanted to be two things: A novelist and a comedian. I failed at one, and I’m not really successful at the other, so I just struggle along and try to forge my own path in the world of publishing. I’m not doing things by any sort of rule book. I don’t market well. I try not to take this too seriously, because it would probably break my heart if I did. Each book, I get better at the whole process. Someday, I might even get it right.

 

AA: Every step takes us forward, even when it doesn’t feel like it. For the aspiring writer, what lessons did you learn about having an agent and editor, their feedback, and your writing?

SPL: Agents are difficult to find. I don’t have one. I’ve had discussions with some, especially after my last novel, After Everyone Died, became a sort-of best-seller. However, none have latched their horse to my wagon, so to speak. I’m out there mostly on my own. I have friends who beta-read my projects, as most authors do, and I have a network of editors who lend a hand, but editors cost money, and some are far better than others.

No one will care about your book as much as you do—that’s the most important lesson. And no critic will be harder on your book than you are. If you think your book is fantastic, then you’ve probably done something wrong.

AA: Spoken like a true artist. What do you think when people say that writers need to be readers, too?

SPL: You absolutely cannot write without reading. You must be a reader first before you can even think about writing. That’s where I came from—I was a big reader as a kid. Still am. I try to read at least an hour a day. Some days, I will do a lot more. I try to write at least an hour a day, too. So, my ratio is pretty even most days. However, there are some days where I only read for ten or fifteen minutes before bed. And there are some days where I don’t write at all. I am not set in an ironclad schedule.

 

AA: Has anything made you stop reading something before finishing it?

SPL:  I stop reading when I don’t personally identify with a character. This is no knock against the writer, mind you. I just know who and what I like, and who I gravitate to, and if I don’t gel with a protagonist, it is hard to continue to read. I have written books (well, started to write, at least) where I fail to find a way to like the protagonist, and I never finish writing those books.

 

AA: Not liking a protagonist makes it harder to side with them, and yet, I think apathy can be even worse. How have you and your work changed over time?

SPL: As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned I have more to say about the world—specifically, how I don’t understand anything. I am always amazed when a 20-something gets a literary novel published. How did they learn so much in life? I’m 42 now, and I know less this year than I did last year. I think embracing the fact that I’m still clueless to having profound things to say about the world has helped me to streamline the stories.

I’m telling stories, not creating literature. Knowing that has made my writing stronger. I look back on some of the purple prose-laden pages I wrote in college, and I cringe.

 

AA: There’s that old saying, “Too soon old, too late smart.” In your experience as a writer, what have been the most useful skills to learn?

SPL: I think learning to tell the story and not worry about stylistics has been the hardest part. Some writers have great stylistics (Neil Gaiman, for example), and they can tell great stories. If I get worried about how I’m telling the story, I forget to actually tell the story. The story is king. It is the Alpha and the Omega. Everything else is just details.

 

AA: Substance over style. As such, what story would you like to write but haven’t, yet?

SPL: I’m trying to write that very story now! I have always, always, always wanted to write a sci-fi “ship & crew” novel. Growing up as a Star Trek fan, and later following Firefly, I have always wanted to write that book. I want a cool ship and a small cadre to run it, and I want them to tool around to different planets. I’m working on that sort of book right now, trading time between it and Clockwork Girl. We’ll have to see if I can finish it.

AA: New books, new adventures!  What kind of reactions have you received for Romanian Ruckus?

SPL: The book is still relatively new, so I haven’t received a lot of feedback, yet. It usually takes months for a book like this to find an audience without a lot of marketing. The people who attended TeslaCon and got copies there seemed excited to see it. My beta-readers really liked it.

 

AA: You’ve mentioned how writing is a long term passion. If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?

SPL: Well, I was teaching English and overseeing the General Education department at a tech school before that school changed its curriculum and eliminated the Gen. Ed. Classes. I’m currently unemployed, so I’m looking for a new job. It’s a sad fact that the majority of writers out there cannot make a living on their writing income. My writing income is almost non-existent. I tell people I have to work to support my writing habit. I have training and education in Journalism and English Education, so ideally I’d like to be doing something to do with either of those two fields. I like having a steady job, and I need the income.

Having a job really cuts into writing time, but it’s necessary. I would love to be able to have a standard income from my writing, but I doubt that will ever happen. The number of writers who can sustain that sort of life is painfully small.

 

OK, readers, while we need to pause here in our chat with Sean, we need more books to read, so let’s see what opportunities are out there for Sean, and for all of our friends.

Join us next time for the conclusion when he talks about interests and hobbies.

Until then, keep up to date with Sean’s latest news on his Twitter feed or Facebook.

You can support Sean and our community by getting your copy of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus here.

Published in: on April 18, 2018 at 7:27 pm  Comments (1)  

Interview 110, Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus author, Sean Patrick Little, Part 2

Welcome back for part two in our talk with Sean Patrick Little, author of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus.

Read Part One here.

 

Airship Ambassador: There are some other notable guest characters in the story. They weren’t surprises, given steampunk, but how did you choose to involve them?

Sean Patrick Little: You mean Nikola Tesla, right? He’s not a surprise because he’s on the cover. I figured Bobbins is the type who knows everyone who is a major player in the world. He’s well-connected. He’s an industrialist. Any industrialist worth his salt would know Tesla and have one ear attuned to Tesla’s ideas, because any of them might grow to be worth a lot of money. Plus, I liked making Tesla a foil for Bobbins. Their personalities clash terrifically.

 

AA: Haha, it is quite a clash, especially since they have a few things in common. Looking behind the scenes, how do you connect the readers with the characters?

SPL: I just try to tell a fun story with good characters. That’s it. You can’t write to and audience. You have to write something you, yourself, will enjoy and hope that others will enjoy it, too. That’s all you can do. I had fun writing it. I like the characters. I just hope others will like them, too.

AA: It was great fun for me to read, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished. There are some wonderful twists and turns in the developments of the story, and some clever bits of science and technology. What are some of the interesting and important details within the world of Romanian Ruckus?

SPL: Well…one of the important details is something of a spoiler…so I’d better pass on this one.

 

AA: Argh, the suspense for our readers! Guess they’ll have to run right out and get the book, now. What scene was really memorable to write?

SPL: I liked writing the first chapter. To me, that’s where I found the feet to this book. The first chapter is basically the introduction of Nicodemus Clarke. It’s the first chapter where I found the hero who could lead this book. Before I wrote that chapter, I had no book. I had a story, but without Clarke, it was not going anywhere.

 

AA: That makes quite a change, as you mentioned earlier, from Bobbins being the lead to being Clarke instead. Not everything ca be crammed into a book. Was there anything that you loved but which just had to be cut?

SPL: Many. I had some extended takes with Bobbins and Tesla needling each other verbally, but they just got to be too long and tedious. Too much back and forth weakened the story. I tend to do that in writing. I like dialogue a lot. For many years, I wrote dialogue a lot like how Gregory Mcdonald does in the ‘Fletch’ novels—two people talking without attribution or further description. Short, fast dialogue. I like that. But, a lot of people don’t. So, I had to scale back a lot of those exchanges.

 

AA: Liking to write dialogue is a great skill to have as a writer. Short, quippy interactions between characters can be very effective in setting mood and creating anticipation to see what gets said next. When people read Romanian Ruckus, what would you like for them really remember?

SPL: That’s too deep of a question for an adventure book. I just hope they enjoy the ride.

 

AA: Right, we’ll save philosophy for the next book! What was one memorable story while writing this story?

SPL: I think I enjoyed the Bobbins’ dialogue the most. You can get away with a lot when writing his speech. He can be mildly offensive or earnest and it fits him. I think power and money let people get away with a lot in this world, and Bobbins is a by-product of that. He’s not a true hero—he has his own darkness, but his worldview lets him be annoying and silly at times.

 

AA: Sounds like hints for future stories! What kind of research went into creating the Romanian Ruckus world?

SPL: Given that I was playing in Eric Larson’s sandbox with setting this in the TeslaCon world, and I had not attended any of the prior conventions, I relied a lot on Eric filling in gaps in the story for me.

 

AA: I’m guessing that wasn’t a short coffee session. How long did it take to write, and rewrite, Romanian Ruckus?

SPL: It was probably a ten-month process. The initial draft was probably six months long (I could have done it faster, but I was working a job with a lot of 12-hour days at the time). The next four months were spent in editing and layout and production.

AA: Might there be further adventures for readers to follow?

SPL: It is hoped that this will be an ongoing series. I actually wrote the second book, Lord Bobbins and the Dome of Light, in a month. Once I knew the characters and had the next story outlined, writing went very quickly. (Plus, I was unemployed, so I could spend four-to-ten hours a day at a keyboard.) Dome of Light is an even better book than Romanian Ruckus. It was easier to write once I had all the character voices and mannerisms established. I am currently working on the third book, Lord Bobbins and the Clockwork Girl. If people like them, I can keep writing them.

 

AA: Excellent! My one request, OK, one of several, is that all the books are the same height so they all match up on my shelf. Matching spines would be nice, too. If someone likes “X”, then they’ll like Romanian Ruckus. What is “X”?

SPL: Indiana Jones movies. Adventure movies from the 1980s. I was born in ’75, so the 80s were a major influence on me. I think a lot of my personal aesthetic is still stuck in the 80s.

 

AA: Ah, the 80s! Great music, great clothes, and the hair! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and read it all in one day, so I know I’d recommend it to others. What do you think puts this story on someone’s must read/have list?

SPL: It’s a fast read. There’s not a lot of downtime in the book. The humor is quick and light. It’s not a book that’s going to bum someone out or ruin their day with a lot of heavy thought. It’s just fun.

 

AA: It really was! If Romanian Ruckus were made into a movie, which would be great fun, who would you cast as the main characters?

SPL: Well…Harrison Ford is too old to play Nicodemus Clarke, so I think I would go with Neal McDonough for Clarke. I’ve always liked him as an actor, and he’s got freakishly blue eyes, so he’s memorable. He’s right in the right age range for Clarke. If I had to pick someone for Dolly Shaw, I’d probably go with Claire Foy. She has the right look, and she was wonderful in that first season of The Crown. Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) could do it, too. She’s amazing. (I would have liked to see her play the Doctor in Doctor Who.) And Bobbins can only be played by Eric Larson. He’s an original. No one else could do him justice.

 

Some good actor choices in that list! We’ll pause here in our chat with Sean.

Join us next time when he talks about his writing process.

Until then, keep up to date with Sean’s latest news on his Twitter feed or Facebook.

You can support Sean and our community by getting your copy of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus here.

 

Published in: on April 17, 2018 at 7:11 pm  Comments (2)