Tag Archives: writers

Author Interview: Rob Howell


As a child, Rob Howell’s parents discovered books were the only way to keep him quiet. Without books, either he or his parents would not have survived. Possibly both. Naturally, he became an author.  Please welcome fantasy author Rob Howell to No Wasted Ink.

author-rob-howellMy resume is cluttered with odd things that aren’t necessarily tied together, but which have all fed into my writing style. I’ve been a medieval academic, an IT guy, a paperboy, a soda jerk, a cook, and along the way dabbled in carpentry, acting, poetry, and a number of other things. I haven’t always been great at any of them, but I’ve learned a ton muddling through.

When and why did you begin writing?

Do you mean the first time? Then the answer is a school assignment. D&D modules and campaigns? Then the answer is junior high through college and to this day. Random scribbles and short stories? I’ve written here and there over the decades. Poetry in a variety of medieval styles? About 15 years ago.

If you are focusing on *completing* novels, though, then the answer is about 3 years ago when my various experiences made me unhireable for most jobs but with a nice set of experiences and skills to bring to writing. I started A Lake Most Deep, which like many things I do is a mélange of influences, which is why my first reviewer called it a “Raymond Chandler novel in a Tolkien world.”

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I had a physical copy of A Lake Most Deep in my hand. Until that point, even though I had completed a 100k-word novel, it still seemed a little ethereal. Now, with three books completed, a fourth on the way, and a process to complete two books a year, I feel like I’m a journeyman level writer.

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

It is the third of my Edward novels and will be called Where Now the Rider. Forensic magic has discovered that a series of stranglings over at least four years was done by the same person. Can Edward see anything that Kapric, the man who is charged by the emperor to find that person, has not?

What inspired you to write this book?

I try to put out an Edward book each year. I guess my inspiration is the work ethic of people like Robert B. Parker and Dick Francis. In terms of the idea of this book, I would credit Randall Garrett and Parker.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, but I think every writer has their own style. I don’t really know how to describe my own, other than to reiterate it’s a mélange of the many influences I’ve had.

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

It’s from the Anglo-Saxon poem the Wanderer. It refers to the loss of place in society to the poem’s narrator. Edward, the main character of these novels, is based in part that narrator.

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

I’m not big on messages, really. I try to create compelling characters and then write what they tell me they’re doing. I suppose if there’s any message in the Edward novels it’s to keep your word, but that’s only because of the kind of character Edward is. If you’re looking for a message in the Kreisens trilogy, the characters haven’t told me yet what’s going to happen so I don’t really know.

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

Occasionally, yes. My rule is that if my friends want to be in my books, I’ll tuckerize them but they will always die in a way I think they’ll like. Do I sometimes have snippets of experiences or shadows of people I know influence my writing? Of course. I don’t think any writer is limited to merely his or her experiences because our entire job is to imagine people, places, and events, but I also don’t think a writer can help using those experiences as either positive or negative influences on their writing.

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

Oh, this is going to take a while.

JRR Tolkien is first, both as a medieval scholar and fantasy author. I love his blending of real world history and mythology to create a depth of world that remains unmatched in my mind. All fantasy authors, including and especially me, are but pale imitators of him.

Garrett for the Lord Darcy novels, which was the first mix of magic and mystery I’d seen.

Isaac Asimov has, oddly enough, influenced my magic system greatly. The R. Daneel Olivaw mysteries are also a wonderful blending of genre and mystery.

Robert B. Parker for his sharp style of writing, especially dialogue. Also, I love his characters.

Elizabeth Moon added a grittier, more solid element to fantasy. The Deed of Paksenarrion is strong work. She is one of the few authors to really touch on the logistical underpinnings of life in a fantasy world.

Robert Heinlein created some fantastic characters, and I love his use of language.

Dick Francis has an amazing way of getting people to keep turning pages. It is especially impressive because he rarely has recurring main characters, but rather instead starts fresh most of the time.

David Drake has taught me how to twist historical events into a great kernel of a story. His RCN novels, especially, are fantastic because he’s pulling Greek and Roman events into a far future space opera.

David and Leigh Eddings gave me a great appreciation of how characters interact.

You gave me a word limit, so I’ll stop here. Like I said, though, my writing is a mélange and I’ve been reading for a long time.

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

Patrick McEvoy, www.megaflowgraphics.com. I had seen his work in some gaming books. He has a liquid, flowing style I enjoy and he has given me three beautiful covers.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

You can’t write a 100k-word novel in a day. Not even John Ringo can and he’s legendary for his productivity. You just have to keep plugging away. A bit here, a bit there. If you do that, sooner or later, this settles into more and more efficient processes. Nothing happens without the flailing away inefficiently part, though, and nothing happens without consistent writing. Bad writing is still writing, and what is bad in one place in a novel may be just right somewhere else, or at least close enough to use. Just keep writing.

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

Four things:
1. Thank you
2. I hope you enjoyed them
3. Please send me feedback so I can get better
4. Thank you again

iaawt-electronic-cover-smallRob Howell
Olathe, KS


A Lake Most Deep

Cover Artist: Patrick McEvoy
Publisher: Aesc & Thorn Publishing


No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksPour yourself a cup of coffee and tea and settle back for another list of writer’s links.  This week I have more general writing tips, but also general advice about being an introvert, writing contests and a nice article about writing battle scenes that I found particularly useful.

How to Find the Right Critique Partner: The 6-Step Checklist

Author Career Planning

Indie Choices: Writing in Multiple Genres or Specializing


7 Tips about the Basic Needs and Stressors of Introverts

Adapt to Change and Become More Productive

3D Organogenesis in Science Fiction

Novel Writing Advice: How to Write Battle Scenes

Writing Tips: Carry a Notebook?

The Problem with Pen Names

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksThis week, the link articles are mainly general writing tips or articles to help you research subjects in science fiction or fantasy writing.  One exception is a nice article about being an introverted author.  Sometimes extroverts don’t understand what is like to be an introvert or introverts feel out of step due to their nature.  I found this article to be instructive.  I hope you enjoy all the articles!  See you next week with more!


How to Get the Most Out of Your Sequel Scenes

Got a Book Idea? These 4 Steps Reveal if it Will Sell

Waste Management in Sci-fi

Let’s Talk Numbers: How Long Should Your Series Be?


Mastering Conflict—Hook Readers & Never Let Them Go

Bulking Up: Fleshing Out a Too-Short Novel

Writing with Personality for Introverts

The Ultimate 10 Step Guide to Plan and Write Your Book

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWelcome back to another Monday of Writer’s Links here on No Wasted Ink.  As you may have noticed, my posts have been a little sparse over the summer.  I’ve been off to several large conventions to promote my book and seek out new authors to interview here on the blog.  I haven’t neglected the link posts, while I do them manually based on articles that I read while I surf, the posts are more a pleasure for me to compile than a hardship. This month I am getting caught up and should get the blog back up to speed once again.  I hope you enjoy this latest batch of articles.

Sketchnotes: A Guide to Visual Note-Taking

Why shop at a brick-and-mortar bookstore?



Ten Social Media Post Ideas For Authors

The Art of Giving and Accepting Critiques

How to Promote Your Latest Work With a Blog

The Value of the Writing Retreat

I’m Marc Guggenheim, Writer and Executive Producer of Arrow, and This Is How I Work

Tech Hasn’t Killed Books Yet

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWelcome back to No Wasted Ink.  This Monday I have a nice grab bag of general writing tips including subjects like author platform, building a community, working on a copy edit and what environments are most suitable for writing.  Pour yourself a cup of Joe and relax.  Enjoy!

Building Community As a Writer

10 Tips For Writing an Effective Query Letter…

The Synergy of the First Draft, Whether You Trim or Embellish

5 Steps to Surviving Your Copy Edit

Facebook Ads Work: How to Use Facebook to Reach Niche Readers

How Your Surroundings Ignite Your Creativity (And What To Do About It)

A Definition of Author Platform


When Reading Books on #Writing and #Marketing

Postcards provide link to Edwardian social media