Monday, 6 April 2015

D.A. Roberts

Author Name: D.A. Roberts

Best Known Works: The Ragnarok Rising Saga
Where Can You Find Him?: Email, Facebook, Book Page, Blog, Website
Top Writing Tip: I would have to say, to never give up. Writing is a skill that takes work and practice to perfect. I still have a great deal to learn and I plan to never stop learning. Know your craft, study other writers and keep writing. Even if you aren't ready to publish now, it doesn't mean you won't make it. It just takes work and commitment. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!

Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

I was born to a large family. We lived on a farm when I was young and I loved it. I remember those days with fondness, knowing it was that rural upbringing that would mold my view of the world. I've always believed in hard work and perseverance. You work hard and reap the benefits of your labor. It was also the farm that gave me my love of literature. My mother encouraged me to read, fanning the flames of my desire to write my own stories. Through the years, I continued to write but I never gave it the attention that it deserved. Despite a few minor publications, I didn't have anything significant published until I was in my early 40's. 

When did you realise that you were Pagan?

I've been walking my own path since I left the military. I began exploring alternative paths in the early 90s when I first discovered Wicca. Although Wicca turned out to be interesting and informative, it wasn't the path I was meant to follow. It wouldn't be for a number of years before I learned about Asatru. That's when I discovered that I had found the right path. I am a corrections officer with the Sheriff's Department where I live. I've been doing this for eight years. The Asatru connection fits perfectly with my job, my writing and my personality. It's a warrior's path and I love that aspect of it. 

When and why did you begin writing?

I've been writing since I was a kid. I've wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. Although it took me years to develop the skill and discipline to complete a project that was worthy of publication, I never gave up on that dream. 

How did the topic of your books come to you? 

The idea to create a zombie series came as a conversation I had with some friends. A group of us, all officers, were having coffee one night. The topic turned to horror movies and then to zombies. When someone asked "What would we do if zombies hit here?" We all laughed, but then began discussing what we thought would happen in our hometown if the dead were to rise. I found that after the jokes were done, I couldn't quit thinking about the concept. Soon, I had a full-fledged story idea and began work on the first installment of the Ragnarok Rising Saga.

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.

My series centers around the main character, Wylie Grant. Like me, Wylie is a Corrections Officer and follower of Asatru. When the dead rise, he has to chose between his duty to his family and his oath as an officer. When things get bad, he does the best he can do. He gets his family to safety and returns to duty to help save as many people as he can. The twist in the series is how I work in the Norse references. I've had to change some of the Norse legends to fit the story, but the core is still there. The values espoused by Asatru are all there. That despite the fact that the world is ending; honor, courage, loyalty and sense of duty are still important. Maybe more important than ever before. Facing the dead will challenge more than Wylie's faith. Especially when he learns that the rising of the dead are part of Ragnarok.

Do we see some of you in your book?

I think that you see some of every writer in their books. It's impossible to create anything without putting something of yourself into it. Art, writing, food…whatever you create, you express yourself through it. It's inevitable that part of ourselves…of our personalities…would show through.

Do you ever dream about writing?

Oh, all the time. Some of my best story ideas have come from dreams. I try to keep paper and a pen handy so that I can jot down my dreams. Sometimes I get crazy ideas that might one day end up in print. Who knows? Dreams are those glimpses of our psyche that touch on our deepest thoughts and memories. What better place to inspire your creative side?

Who encourages/inspires you?

My wife is and probably always will be my muse. She encouraged me, even when I didn't believe in myself. She believed in me when no one else did. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn't be the writer I am today. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be the man I am without her. She's been there for me through the worst parts of my life and remained my rock and my strength. She's the mother of my sons, the rock of our family and my inspiration.

Where do you go when you need to recharge?

I like to get outdoors. Camping, hiking or just driving in the countryside. I feel drawn to the woods and rivers of my native Ozarks. I feel a deeper connection to everything around me when I can't hear the sounds of the city or the engines of cars. The wind, the water and nature play us a symphony, if we would only take the time to listen to it.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like a writing retreat?

Hmm…that's a difficult question. There are so many places that I would love to visit. I'd like to write in an old Scottish Castle, or along the shores of a remote lake in the Highlands. Scotland would be my first choice for a retreat. If I ever were to become financially able, I'd love to buy an old manor house in Scotland and live there. That would be amazing, to live among so much history. How could I be anything but inspired there? 

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?

I have four novels currently in release and am working on two additional projects slated for release by summer of 2015. One is the fifth installment of my Ragnarok Rising Saga and the other is the first in a new sci-fi series based on the video game The Infinite Black by Spellbook Studios. I was contacted by them to create back-story for the game and they liked my work. They then asked if I would like to create fiction, set in that universe. This book will be called The Lost Legion: Perdition's Flames. You can download and play the game for free at Spellbook.

Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of this process? 

Although I began my career as a traditionally published author, I have found that the Independent Path was best for me. It's been a tremendous amount of work, but completely worth it. I've met some amazing people on this journey and it's taken a farm kid from rural Missouri to places I never thought I'd reach. I've learned a lot of things along the way, not the least of which was self-confidence. I know that if I put my mind to it, I can make it happen.

Do you think ebooks have changed the publishing market for better or worse?

E-books have made it easier to carry books with you. You can carry an entire library with you in a small bag. With the advent of game systems and smart phones, I feel that anything that keeps people reading the written word is a good thing. We should always take time to enjoy good stories. E-books have made it easier to publish and distribute your work on a global scale. You don't have to have a major publishing house to publish your work, now. Self-publishing is taking the industry by storm. More and more authors are learning that if they do it themselves and can handle the marketing aspect of it, then they can make far more of their own royalties than ever before. Authors no longer need a publisher to take 60 to 80 percent of the pie, just to publish their work. It has put the power back in the hands of the writer. To me, that's where it should be. The writer is the one who creates the story. Why shouldn't they reap the majority of the reward?

What are your future plans for writing?

One of my favorite writers is Cormac McCarthy. He's well into his 80's and still writing. I hope that I can still be writing books and stories when I reach that age. I have a long way to go and no intention of stopping. I plan to still be taking this journey for a long, long time.
Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process. The best of luck with your future books, stories and game tie-ins! 

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