Tag Archives: western

Author Interview: Glen Robinson

Being a writer of steampunk or alternate history novels myself, I was very delighted to discovered Glen Robinson with his interesting mix of fictional and historical characters. Glen writes his steampunk novels under the pen name of Jackson Paul. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming him here at No Wasted Ink.

Author Glen RobinsonMy name is Glen Robinson. I am a professor of Communication at a small university outside Fort Worth, Texas. I have been happily married for 37 years and have three grown kids and one grandson. I have been teaching for 14 years and before that I was a book and magazine editor.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have had a passion for writing ever since high school. Every job that I have taken since college has been one that either called for me to write or allowed me time to write on the side. I write because, as a Christian, I feel I have something to say. And I write because I enjoy it—some projects more than others.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have wanted to be a writer since I was in high school in the 70s, but my first book was published in 1983, so I guess that’s when I first officially considered myself a writer. Although even today, during the writing process, there are times when I feel I haven’t learned enough to consider myself a writer. But everyone goes through that.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I am working on several projects at present, but the book we are talking about here is “Tom Horn vs. the Warlords of Krupp.” I probably had more fun writing this book than any of my other book projects. It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at a steampunk America and Europe, the last years of the Old West, and alternate history. The story is littered with real historical characters, who as far as I know never met each other, but could have. The premise is that Tom Horn, a western gunslinger, is recruited by old friend Teddy Roosevelt to escort his 16-year-old niece Eleanor Roosevelt to Vienna. The Krupp Weapons Corporation is intent on making World War I happen (early actually), and a summit peace meeting in Vienna is intended to stop the war. Eleanor has a special talent of persuasion, and Roosevelt thinks she can help prevent war. But the Krupp people send assassins and other bad guys to stop them on their trip.

What inspired you to write this book?

Since moving to Texas in 1998, I have been inspired by the heritage that is around me here. I am also a big fan of alternate history.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My background is news writing, so I tend not to be too flowery with my writing. I especially love to allow my main character to develop a distinctive voice, and follow that whenever it happens. That’s a lot of the fun of this genre and this particular story. Also the contrast between Eastern and European “sophistication,” versus Western directness and simpleness.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

I look at it as along the lines of old serials of the 50s, so I tried to find something that would fit that mold.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

If there’s any message, it’s that simpleness is not always stupidness. Sophistication has its own issues.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

You mean like falling from a dirigible, being chased across snow by Germans in a steam-powered tank, or launching a glider from the top of the Eiffel Tower? No, most of the experiences are pretty well made up.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I like Orson Scott Card, Tom Clancy and Jerry Pournelle. I like how Card can weave spirituality into an otherwise straight science fiction story. I like Clancy because of his dedication to giving technical details that suggest credibility. And Pournelle was an early writer that got me inspired about the possibilities in my own writing.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Right out of college, my mentor was a fellow named Arthur Milward. He mostly wrote short stories for Reader’s Digest, Redbook and Saturday Evening Post. But he was very good, and had a lot of good advice for me. I miss him a lot.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I teach a class called Applied PR and Advertising, and one of my students suggested I look on deviantart.com for an illustrator. The cover art is by Mateusz Ozminski, also known on Deviant Art as artozi, who lives in Poland. He gave us a good price. The typography was done by my son, Matthew Robinson.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yeah lots. That’s why I teach writing classes. But in a nutshell, you have to keep trying, no matter what anyone else says. And keep your priorities straight.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope to do a sequel to Tom Horn one of these days. In the meantime, check out my many other books under my name or my pen name Jackson Paul on Amazon or on Smashwords.

Tom Horn Book CoverGlen Robinson
Cleburne, TX
Author of 11 published books in Christian suspense, steampunk/alternate history and science fiction.

Tom Horn vs. The Warlords of Krupp
Prevail Publications
Cover art by Mateusz Ozminski


Author Interview: Bobbi A. Chukran

I first met Bobbi A. Chukran over fifteen years ago as a fellow member of an online think tank for artisans learning to market themselves on the internet. This was back before there was a facebook, a myspace or even before the world wide web was generally established. (Okay. Now I’m feeling old!) We all worked in different mediums from writing, to painting, to making handmade jewelry. I credit this group for making me a successful artist and launching my art business. I’ve watched Bobbi grow as an artist down through the years: as a gardener, a painter, an author and everything in between. I was proud for her when her first play won an award and went on to be performed by students in various high schools here in America. Now it is my honor and pleasure to introduce Bobbi and her newly launched book here on No Wasted Ink.

author bobbie a chukranMy name is Bobbi A. Chukran, although I recently published a mystery novel under the name B.A. Neal. I thought using a pseudonym would make it easier for me to branch out into different genres. I’m the author of LONE STAR DEATH, a new historical mystery novel, an award-winning playwright and an author of previous non-fiction books and magazine articles. Right now I’m focusing on the novel and short story writing.

When and why did you begin writing?

I always enjoyed writing in school, and was encouraged by my teachers to do more of it. I remember finding an old copy of The Writer magazine when I was in middle school, and entering a poetry-writing contest. I wrote a lot of poetry back then, most of which was dreck. I didn’t win the award, but it was the first time I came to the realization that writing was something that people got paid for and did as a job.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when a high school teacher told me I was good and that I should pursue it. I wrote for the school newspaper and wrote little stories at home, but also considered myself an artist. My first article was published in a craft magazine back in 1976. I guess that’s when I first thought about doing more writing. I wrote non-fiction for years under the name Bobbi A. McRae, then decided to try my hand at fiction.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

It’s a historical mystery, set in 1880s central Texas. It features a feisty, headstrong young woman, Samantha Slater, who is 19 years old. She comes to town for a job as a typewriter operator, but ends up in the middle of a murder mystery that she can’t resist investigating. In the process, she gets into a lot of danger of her own, and learns a lot about herself.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had almost finished several romantic suspense novels and a contemporary mystery when the Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman show came on TV. I was fascinated by the costumes, characters, small town, and decided to start a whole new book set during that time period, except in Texas. I researched it for a year, learned about a lot of the real people and events going on at that time, and eventually came up with a few characters. I had always been a fan of westerns, and it seems that there was always one on TV in our house, so I guess it’s no surprise how the book turned out.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I tend to write a lot of dialogue, since I also write plays. I start with a few characters talking to each other and before long, they take off. I do preliminary planning, a rough plot, but it always changes.

Can you tell us more about the plays you write?

In addition to writing short stories, I also write the plays for young people. They seem more like “me” than anything else I write. They are silly, use puns and plays-on-words and feature quirky characters. They are inspired by classic tales, but with a twist. My goal is to turn those into books for young readers. Unfortunately, writing plays is a long, hard road because in order to get anywhere, you must first have a production. Only then can you seek publication (unless you publish it yourself). Once it’s published, it’s liable to get more productions through schools, churches, etc.

December 2011 I published one of my plays, THE JOURNAL OF MINA HARKER, a comedy spoof of the classic DRACULA story, as an e-script for the Kindle. Getting people to read plays is a hard sell, but I’m glad I did it because it got my feet wet with publishing e-books.

How did you come up with the title of your novel?

I started out with LONE STAR STATE OF DEATH, because the titles of many of the mysteries at the time were based on puns. When I extensively revised the book and republished it in May 2012, I shortened the title to LONE STAR DEATH.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

First of all, I just want it to be a fun reading experience, a little escape from everyday life. Secondly, a theme emerged that I didn’t plan–that our family is not necessarily those we’re related to by blood.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not really–it’s mostly fantasy.

What authors have most influenced your life?

With mysteries, it’s hard to say. I read a lot of Barbara Michaels’ books when I first started and I love the way she combined everyday stuff with fantasy stuff. Her newer books are much different. I love the sparse style of Robert B. Parker. I read a lot of books, all over the genres. Right now I’m obsessed with reading older short story collections, because I’m convinced I’m a better short story/novella writer than a long novel person. My next books will be novelizations of my fantasy/comedy plays. I’m excited about them, because they are a more cohesive collection than my other writing.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

Not really. I’ve taken some good workshops from good authors, but basically am self-taught.

Who designed the cover of your book?

I did. I used the photo that was on the cover of the previous edition and redesigned it for this one. I bought rights to all the artwork, so it was easy to do. It helps that I have years and years of experience as a graphics designer, printshop experience, desktop publishing experience and an art degree. Those were my “real jobs” for many years. The Kindle cover and the printed cover are a bit different. I used the same photo on both, but the overall design is different.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

It takes a long time to get anywhere with writing. Don’t wait. Sit down and write. I’m developing a new product I call BUTT GLUE. You apply it, then sit down. Just kidding, but it is something we all need. Take a lot of notes, start with a short story or flash fiction story first. Those will boost your confidence. Don’t be afraid to write strange things. It took me years before I would “let myself loose” with my writing, and I’m still learning. If you like fantasy or science fiction, then write that! Don’t try to write a mystery just because you think they’ll sell. Your heart won’t be in it otherwise.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Just, have fun with the book–don’t judge it too harshly because it’s just a story!

Lone Star Death Book CoverBobbi A. Chukran
Taylor, Texas
Limestone Ledge Publishing
Cover artist: Bobbi A. Chukran