Interview with NP author Robert Craven
Alas, this is going to be the last interview with a Night Publishing author for a while. There are still interviews with Jessica Degarmo and Ian Ellis in the pipeline but next week I’ll continue by interviewing a number of self-published authors.
So, today it is Robert Craven I may introduce to you. Robert has just published his debut novel Get Lenin with NP and as you can imagine he’s over the moon with it. The book takes us back to the 1930s when Lenin was still a household name. It is a novel full of intrigue and suspense and it offers us a first-class reconstruction of one of the most famous and most described times in history: the second world war. Robert stands his ground and paints his plot and characters with passion and diligence. Get Lenin is a great read!
Where do you live (town, country)? Were you born and bred there?
I live in Rush a seaside town outside of Dublin, Ireland. I wasn’t born here, I was born in Manchester, England, then the family moved to Sydney, Australia before moving here.
What kind of food do you like? Are you a good cook? How important is food to you?
Love food – hot curries and anything spicy. I’m an average cook; I can serve up hearty casseroles, a decent fish pie & seem to have a knack for making omelettes. I believe food is very important both for your well-being & for the social aspect. I’m very lucky where I live; Rush is known as the ‘Market garden of Ireland’ with wonderful locally grown fresh produce, we also have great local seafood too.
Do you do any sports? How often? What does exercise mean to you? Any other hobbies?
No I don’t do sports & should exercise more. My other pastime (passion) is drawing & I’m trying to develop as a painter. I’ve been attending Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery’s figure drawing classes for a few years, though with grafting to GET LENIN published I haven’t had as much time to pursue it this year
Do you have kids/grandkids?
I have a son, he is 5 years old.
Do you like travelling? Where do you go then?
Love to travel – have been to Canada, the Pacific North West, Paris, Amsterdam and spent ten amazing days in Finland one summer 10 years ago – love Helsinki. If I’m ever rich I plan to buy a vineyard in Italy’s Chianti region; Siena is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.
Do you have another job apart from writing? For how many hours?
I have a full-time job.
How do your family/friends react to you being a writer? Have their opinions changed since you became a published author?
I think everyone was bemused when I wrote Get Lenin as I have no academic background. Though once they saw me really putting in the hours to complete it & the mind-numbing slog of trying to find an agent or publisher, they knew I was serious. My family & friends keep me pretty much grounded; which means even though I’m a published author, its business as usual – I still have to put the bins out on Thursday.
Would you call yourself a social human being? Do you have time for going out and spending time away from the writing desk?
Very sociable and every first Friday of every month I try to catch up with my friends and enjoy the odd pint – the first, the third, the fifth, the seventh, the ninth, the eleventh….. Love live music, if there’s a good band in town – I’m there.
Which character trait do you like best about yourself and why? Which trait would you rather do without?
Best trait – Once I set my mind to something, I’m dogged to the bitter end. The trait I could do without is an inherent inability to listen to other people’s sage advice.
Can you describe the place where you write + the view?
I don’t have a specific room where I write, usually the kitchen table in the evenings.
Is there something you always need to have near you when you work (beverage, cigarette, mascot, music, quote, etc)?
Music – usually Jazz from the internet radio stations, though I’m partial to Alice Cooper on Planet Rock and a cup of Roobush tea.
What genre(s) do you write in? How did that develop?
As Get Lenin is my first novel, I don’t have a specific genre; though I’ve always believed there’s a niche for an old-fashioned action / adventure page turner. I would like to tackle a horror book sometime.
When was your first book released and how did that make you feel?
Get Lenin was released June 4th 2011 on Kindle and June 11th as paperback in the US – my feelings? 3 cherries in a row on a Vegas slot machine.
Can you tell us some background information on the book? (How did you get the idea, how long did it take you to write and edit it, is it part of a sequel, how does the published book make you feel now?)
Get Lenin is set between 1933 to 1941 with the premise of Germany attempting to intercept Lenin’s mausoleum as it was being shipped out of Moscow in the face of the invasion & thought ‘what would happen if…..?’. When you look at the savage stupidity of the Third Reich, this premise isn’t a big leap stacked up against the other lunacies Hitler & his cronies dreamt up. I read a lot of history books and was fortunate to be put in touch with Hugh McCracken who checked the manuscript for historical inaccuracies and correcting them as they occurred. Get Lenin started out as a 26000 word novella, but expanded to over double that as I had to build in a back story to make the heroine more rounded and her actions justified. It took roughly 5 years to write, edit, polish & pitch. I’ve the sequel drafted, but that does depend on how Get Lenin does. Looking at Get Lenin up on the Amazon site gives me a great feeling of achievement. Getting a novel published really is a life-defining moment.
What are your writing habits? (every day, number of words, etc.?)
I don’t have specific writing habits. I write everything out in long hand on an A4 pad or into notebooks – I bring one with me everywhere, then filter the writing again in longhand before typing them up on the mac at home. The book was a bit of a patchwork written in blocks of free time in the evenings, weekends, bank holidays and bouts of insomnia – on a good day I’d get 1000 words down. Now that I am published I’m going to have to get a bit more disciplined with the next one.
Who’s been your biggest inspiration and why? Since when?
I learned to play the electric bass in 1987 & was taught by Ronan Guilfoyle and he was an inspirational teacher. What I’ve always admired is this suburban Dubliner who has become a successful jazz musician, teacher and composer who has won accolades with his work & doing it all on a bass. He inspired the belief in myself of making the impossible possible. If I hadn’t met him I wouldn’t have toured.
What does Night Publishing mean to you?
What does Night Publishing mean to me? the toe in the door to a brand new direction; Tim Roux took a punt when no-one else would, I’m grateful to him for that. There was a few afternoons of to-ing & fro-ing making the final edit plotting work & I enjoyed the fact he was passionate about the book & working to make it better without riding rough-shod over it.
Where do you see yourself in 5-years’ time?
In 5 years’ time? In Rush, writing.
Final fun question. If you had to choose: are you a Houdini or an Edison? This is for the official NP tally.
Houdini – but hope I don’t get taken out with a sucker punch!
THANK YOU SO MUCH, ROBERT!!
GET LENIN FB page:
amazon UK Kindle link: