Hey, gang. I have a new author interview for you! This time, Dale Robertson was kind enough to drop by the blog and answer some questions. Dale is a new-to-me author who looks like he has a promising career in horror fiction. His work has a appeared in a few anthologies and his new novella, THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT, is now available on Amazon. Well, let’s get to know Dale a little better, shall we?
TIM MEYER: Hey Dale, thanks for dropping by the blog. First off, tell us a little about your latest release.
DALE ROBERTSON: Hey Tim, thanks very much for having me. My latest release is called The House that Jack Built, and tells the tale of three kids who try to gain respect from their peers by going to said house and conjuring up a local myth – a myth that has been told all around the playground for years. Stories, that’s all they are. But is there an element of truth? The kids decide to find out.
DR: To be honest, I’ve never read any Goosebumps books (shame on me). I used to watch it on TV, along with Eerie Indiana and Are You Afraid of the Dark? These were probably my first experiences of “horror”. It had me fascinated.
TM: What books influenced you early on? What about later on?
DR: I wasn’t too much of a reader when i was younger – more content with my video games, drawing pad or listening to music. BUT, I do remember my mum’s bookshelf having several Stephen King and James Herbert novels, and being fascinated by the covers. It would have been my teens when i eventually picked them up to read (from what i can remember).
My later influences came mostly from indie authors (this was when i was into my thirties and I’d picked up reading fiction again) – the first I can recall was The Last Plague by Rich Hawkins. I still follow Rich’s work and have read most of what he has published. Adam Nevill is another influence that springs to mind. Richard Montanari, Karin Slaughter, Paul Finch, and Chris Carter are several others also.
TM: Who are some of your favorite authors today?
DR: Paul Finch, Chris Carter, Rich Hawkins, Justin Park, Stephen Leather, Jeff Menapace, Angela Marsons, Tim Weaver, Mark Dawson. You are also creeping up that list Tim – I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read of yours so far.
TM: Of all the characters you have created, which one is most personal and why?
DR: This would be an animal, not a person – Broxy, the dog. He appeared in Dobson Drive and also in Man’s Best Friend. He’s a rescue dog I’ve had for about 9 years and he’s a great companion – very docile and brilliant with my kids. I felt the need to make him “famous”, since it’s usually when I’m with him that story ideas begin to formulate.
TM: What’s your writing process like? Do you outline or “wing it?”
DR: I started out by “winging it”, getting excited that I had a story idea and rushing off to jot it down before i forgot. I found that the story (and my enthusiasm) quickly ran out of steam and I was left feeling lost, twiddling the pen in my fingers trying to figure out the next part of the tale. I have a number of half (or quarter) written stories in my writing pad still waiting for me to go back and pay them some attention.
I find it much easier if I have a rough direction now, from start to finish, of where the story is going. I usually write down a couple of lines about each chapter, just to see me straight.
TM: Where do the ideas come from? Has getting the stories out been easy or a struggle?
DR: My mind has a habit of wandering (often!) and there’s no better place for that to happen than when I’m out walking my dog. Several, if not all, of my stories have generated during that time. I just need to make sure I write the idea down when I get back home so I don’t forget them.
I’ve self published everything so far. Not that there’s been much – two short stories and two novellas (as well as short stories that have been included in charity anthologies), but getting my head around the process was difficult. I had a lot of help from Facebook friends who also self publish. Little tips and tricks they have offered – I couldn’t have done it without them. Iain Rob Wright offers a course, ranging from writing the manuscript to getting it published to marketing (and everything in between)- everything an indie author needs and it’s been a godsend. And it’s all FREE. I constantly refer to it.
TM: Do you write with music on, or do you require complete silence?
DR: I usually write in silence as it helps focus my mind. But saying that, I’ve just completed a short story and I wrote half of it whilst listening to music. I thought I’d give it a try since I hadn’t done it before. See if it helps, or hinders. It didn’t do either; I found I could write fine with it on. I’ll definitely try it again.
TM: Favorite beer?
DR: Top of the charts is Peroni (Italian lager), next would be Mythos (Greek lager). Depends what’s on offer at the time haha. I do usually stick to what I know and like. Cobra is also quite nice.
TM: What’s next for Dale Robertson?
DR: Work on getting more of my own stuff out there, and to hopefully gain more visibility. The advertising/marketing side of writing is lost on me and I resort to Facebook and Twitter posts, hoping for likes and shares, to gain a wider audience.
I also would like to start on a novel, as all my works so far have been shorter pieces. I would definitely have to plot that out though so I would have a path to follow. The thought of writing 40-50 thousand words is quite intimidating to me. I know I need to stop thinking about the word count and just let a story flow, see where it takes me, but I’m obsessed with the word count for some reason (weird I know!).