I know Child of Creation is a fantasy. Is this the only genre you write, Robert, and if so, why?
I write to relax. I enjoy reading Epic Fantasy novels and so, my first published book is in that genre. I grew up reading Louis L’Amour and Clive Cussler though, so I have a desire to try that genre at some point, and I have started about half a dozen times a book about my adventures in Baghdad, Iraq in 2004 when I was there serving as a police advisor helping to stand up a democratic policing presence in a country that had none. Basically, I just like to write, and the fantasy genre is the most open, allowing me to be the most creative with character development and what I can do to create conflicts that drive character interaction.
I sometimes wonder if fantasy isn't the modern version of those Westerns! What can you tell us about your latest book.
Child of Creation is an epic fantasy novel about a young man, Lark, who is suddenly, and violently, torn from the only world he has ever known when the small village he has never been more than a few miles away from is attacked and everyone in it, including his parents, killed. As the only witness to that atrocity, Lark is sent away by his mother who strangely tells him to keep who he is a secret just before sending him away. Lark then has to figure it all out, how to survive in a world he doesn’t even really understand and wanders into a variety of challenges along the way, forcing him to grow up faster than he ever thought he could, and face the fact that somehow, his tragedy is tied up in a much greater series of events than he ever imagined he could be a part of.
Those epic fantasies are sometimes epically long. So... what did you edit out of this book?
I started this book when I was a young police officer, and as such, I was seeing quite a bit of the seedier side of life. As I got older, and my children started growing up, I started to wonder if what I wrote was appropriate for them to read. With a book about a 14 year old I wanted kids around that age to be able to enjoy it as well so much of the more descriptive depravity of the world Lark finds himself in was edited out to make the book more acceptable to me as a parent.
That makes a lot of sense. Thank you. I have to ask---14-year-old Lark has such an interesting name---how do you select the names of your characters?
The most popular question I have received since people started reading my book. I basically didn’t want to accidentally step on any toes, so whenever I ran into the need for a new character name, I would start putting vowels and consonants together until they sounded like the character I was creating. I wanted an entirely new world that broke stereotypes from other worlds while at the same time, creating an entirely new set for this new world’s inhabitants. There are patterns in the names that I try to follow. I will leave the identification of those patterns to the imaginations of my readers.
What an intriguing idea! And is Lark your favorite character in your book?
I tend to be like a parent who prefers not to declare one of his kids, (characters), the favorite. They all have their positive and negative traits but in the end, it is their humanity and their way of dealing with each other that will define them. I truly would rather each reader find their own favorite for their own reasons. Imagination is a wonderful thing and, at least inside this world we live in, each person has his own experience and environment to rely on to help him choose who might become the one he most wants to know what is going to happen to as the series develops.
Do you have any intriguing marketing methods you're using to promote your book?
A part of my choosing Page Publishing was their offer of sending out a press release about the book’s release and setting up a web page. I was also moved to work with a terrific group of publicists out of Austin, Texas, called PR by the Book who helped me make contact with you. It is an uphill battle for any self-published author to convince people to give your work a chance, but I have been pleasantly surprised at the acceptance the book has received and hope that the more people read it, the stronger word of mouth advertising will work in my favor. It is about the characters and the world they live in, and if they drive people’s imaginations strongly enough, I will reach a point where the book can and should sell itself. All I have to do is keep finding people to convince to read it until I reach that point.
What formats is the book available in?
The book is available in paperback, and ebook versions. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, I-Tunes, Google Play, and Kobo along with a host of other sites. It is also available through Ingram wholesalers for any bookstore looking to carry it.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
My book is available online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, I-Tunes, and Google Play as well as on request from most any book retailer upon request. I would really love to see sales pick up in the local bookstores as I am a small-town guy and that would generate interest that would allow me to make some appearances in many of these smaller venues where the events would be more personal.
So... I've looked it up and found it here on Amazon:
Presumably your hoping people will buy book two in the series next. Is that what you're working on currently?
Book two of the Then Came a King series, Coming of Age is complete…for the most part. I am editing it for contextual disagreements with book 1 and trying to make sure I haven’t taken the characters to places they really don’t need to go. I am afraid of the sequel syndrome where everything after the first one is disappointing and so I want to use each book in the series to build a stronger connection between the readers and their favorite characters. The hardest part of that for me is keeping each character in their lane so to speak. The amount of time it has taken to get this published has made that effort considerably harder than it should have been. Imagine trying to remember what your motives were for a particular idea, 25 years ago.
What a thought! But, thinking of 25 years ago, what are some of your all time favorite books?
The Sword of Shannara was the first Fantasy novel I ever read. The Belgariad series by David Eddings was an important part of my teen years, as was Louis L’Amour and Clive Cussler. I stumbled into the Song of Ice and Fire long before it was a fad to do so and really really liked it. There are so many historical books that I have really enjoyed that I can’t even name a single author other than Winston Groom who wrote an interesting historical non-fictional account on the Battle of Vicksburg about the town I live in.
And when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
My wife would tell you I am a professional sleeper, but in reality, I work about 60 hours a week between all of the jobs I work and then I am a part time graduate student as well. Soon I will be teaching at the college level also and hopefully still be writing and doing press and book signing events.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Alone and terrified, the only son of the village’s hunter is on the run from a threat he doesn’t even understand. Marauders, who destroyed his village and murdered his parents, are chasing him to silence the only voice left able to bear witness to their atrocities. His parents ominously warned him to trust no one as they sent him away while they fought courageously to give their young teenage son a chance to live. Thus, begins the adventures of Lark.
Follow Lark as he joins a group who teaches him that the world isn’t as simple as he was raised to believe. Lark soon learns that the fantastic stories he and his friends grew up hearing of a much bigger world where not just Elves and Dwarves, but Gnomes and Trolls, even magical Sprites could exist, are true. Even more disturbing, he begins to learn that his own heritage includes stunning secrets. Secrets that cause Lark to question not only who he can trust, now that he is on his own, but why his parents kept so many truths from him. Lark is forced to grow up quickly as he ventures into the incredibly dangerous world outside the sleepy little village of his youth and must learn and adapt, or die. Without any other real options, he begins a personal quest to make those who destroyed the only world he had ever known pay for their crimes. All the while, learning what it means to be the Child of Creation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in Chicago and raised in Syracuse, New York, Robert Donohue moved in his mid-teens to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he has been ever since except for a few years of college. He spent most of his career in law enforcement and some retail management. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in Organizational Management and is currently working on his Master's Degree in Homeland Security at Mississippi College. Robert has been an avid reader since about two and his favorite authors are Terry Brooks, Louis L'Amour, David Eddings, and the master, George RR Martin. He lives in Vicksburg with his wife and has two grown children.