Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Author Interview with D. Robert Pease the creator of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble

I am pleased to have with me today author, D. Robert Pease. He recently gave me the opportunity to interview him and it was a splendid time.

DMc: Often times writers hear write what you know. In the case of your novel Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble please share with us your creative process in developing a world like none-other.

DRP: Well, there's much in Noah Zarc that is from what I know. The main character is a twelve-year-old boy. I had a twelve-year-old son during the time I wrote the first draft. The story is a lot about family. This is very important to me. Even the technology side, I love science and technology, so it was writing about what I'm interested in. But, you are right; I'm not an astronaut. I haven't been to Mars. So there is a lot of room for interpretation. I really wanted the world I created to be accessible to kids, so I didn't go too far with the technology. Or if I did, I made it okay for the reader to not understand it, since the main character didn't either. There were times though I didn't feel like I was pushing the technology far enough. I mean this story happens 1,000 years in the future. I think things could be almost unrecognizable by then with the pace technology is improving. But I felt it was important to dial it back a bit. Many of the gizmos Noah interacts with are simply more advanced iPads in many cases. At the same time I didn't want to dumb it down so much it wasn't plausible. So I tried to make the science fiction just a stretch of the science that is going on now. I wanted time-travel to at least have a little bit of possibility to it. Not just some "flux-capacitor" stuck on the ship. I wanted something that had a little bit of actual science behind it. So to answer your question, I started with a basic story of a family that has struggles, both internal and external, and then just set it in a fun environment. And what is more fun than traveling through space and time?

DMc: Please share with us a day in your writer’s life.

DRP: I'd love to tell you I have this perfect routine: get up in the morning, go ride my bike for an hour, come home, shower, have a cup of coffee, then sit at my desk and write all day, finally closing up my laptop to welcome the kids home from school having written my allotted 3,000 words for the day, but no. That's not my day at all. Most anything that has to do with actual writing is squeezed in here and there when I can find the time. Sometimes it is late at night. Sometimes it is in a coffee shop while the kids are at some activity or another, but there is no regular routine for me. Lately, I've also added marketing to the portion of my life devoted to being a writer. Since I released Noah Zarc in August, I've basically added another full-time job onto my schedule. Sadly this means I've had even less time to write. At this point I'm lucky to squeeze a half-hour a day in on writing. I'm planning on changing that after the first of the year. Marketing will have to take a backseat to writing, otherwise what's the marketing for?

DMc: Please share with us your road to publication with Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble?

DRP: I've been writing seriously for about five years now. In all but the last year, I had planned on going the traditional route to get my books published. That means, writing the book, querying agents, landing an agent, finding a publisher, etc... I actually started shopping around Noah Zarc, and had some great feedback from agents. I believed (and still believe) that if I worked at it long enough, I could get an agent and find a publisher. But then about a year ago I really started to take a look at my goals with writing. And started to question the reasons for wanting an agent and publisher. I realized for the most part I was seeking validation that my writing was worthwhile. That I needed someone in the industry to tell me I hadn't wasted the countless hours writing my stories. It wasn't money. It wasn't anything tangible. It was vanity. Then I read a post on a blog about the "New Vanity Publishing." The main idea being that in the past, self-publishing was considered vanity publishing (and still is by many). But in reality many of the reasons writers seek out traditional publishing is for nothing more than vanity. That was me. I started seriously considering the idea of self-publishing. The thing is, I realized, most everything related to the actual publishing of a book, I could do myself. I'm a graphic designer by day, so I could do all the design (cover/inside) and website design, etc... And much of the marketing of books, even if you are traditionally published, falls to authors anyway. The only thing I couldn't do was editing. So I hired that. Noah Zarc has now been out for about four months. I'm having a blast. It is yet to be seen whether it will be a financially wise decision, but there are no guarantees with traditional publishing either. At least this way I feel like I have some control over my own destiny as a writer.

DMc: What can we expect from you in the future and any works-in-progress?

DRP: I am currently editing the sequel to Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, called Noah Zarc: Cataclysm. I'm hoping to publish it by mid-2012. I also have a book, in a new universe, called Joey Cola and the Stoat of Many Colors. It's about a boy, from a huge family in New York City, who discovers a hidden Egyptian world where a battle has been raging for 3,000 years between an ancient Pharaoh and a group of "Dream-warriors." I'm super excited about it.

DMc: What has been your most validating experience as an author at this time in your career?

DRP: The coolest thing, so far, is when I hear from kids who have read Noah Zarc. It's one thing to have an adult review it, and sing it's praises, but when a kid simply says, "It's an awesome book!" it really makes me feel like I accomplished something.

DMc: A signature request I like to ask every author, illustrator, editor, etc., I interview is for the individual to share with us a tidbit from their lives that the reader will find either humorous or surprising. D. Robert, can you please share one with us?

DRP: You'll see how this fits in a moment, but when I was in college I worked at Disney World. While there, I went through a phase where I made up stories about myself. I don't mean I told myself tales in my head, I actually told other people "tall-tales" about who I was. To one group of people I fled South Africa because of apartheid, and I didn't think it was fair what the whites were doing to blacks (this came with a bad South African/British accent). To another group I was actually twins. I go by Dale with my friends, and I got a Chip nametag and wore it on occasion and told people that my parents were huge Disney fans and that's why they named us Chip and Dale. Somewhere along the line I realized there was a name for this. Lying! So I put aside this kind of story-telling for another, that isn't frowned upon by family and friends (as much), that of being a writer.

D. Robert Pease, thank you for joining me today. I enjoyed getting to know you and your writing world.

Blog Tour Notes

Noah Zarc: Mammoth TroubleOVERVIEW

Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth's animals from extinction.
Life couldn't be better.
But the twelve-year-old time traveler learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is kidnapped and taken to Mars; his dad is stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying Earth... for the second time.
Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com (available in paperback or as an eBook) or the online retailer of your choice (more links below).

Guess what? You could win a $50 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $50 too by having the most comments. So tell your friends to stop by and comment on this post too!

Win 1 of 5 copies of the paperback version of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by entering the giveaway on GoodReads.

D. Robert PeaseTHE AUTHOR

D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn't been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer's Sirens. It's not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters.

Discover ways to connect with the author by visiting his site at http://www.drobertpease.com/


THANK YOU! for visiting. And don't forget to comment below for that chance to win the $50 Amazon gift card. And of course head on over to your favorite online book store and buy a copy of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, for you or for the kids in your life.

Amazon Paperback | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble Nook | Apple iBookstore | Smashwords | Diesel eBook Store | CreateSpace Paperback | Amazon UK | Amazon France | Amazon Germany

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.


  1. Thanks so much for posting this. It was a fun interview!

  2. Hi D. Robert:

    I'm delighted to host you today. I enjoyed meeting you through your insightful and fun replies.

    All the best,

  3. Fun post! I loved the question about his day. LOL.

  4. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one WITHOUT that picture perfect "writer's day"...lol...

    I have a very demanding, full time job that takes up 10-12 hours of each day so I find myself quite often burning the midnight oil whether it's working on things to sharpen my writing skills or actually working on different projects. As much as I love my day job, it can't compare to the high I get creating stories for others to read!

    Thanks for a wonderful interview...

    Donna Martin

  5. Okay, several things I liked about this blog. The candid answers. The encouragement about self-publishing. I loved the trailer, too, and the fact that it is obvious to me this book will be replete with symbolism, which I love. The name of the protagonist is clever, as is the title. And....last, but not least, it was great to see that the face of the author coincides with how I imagined him by the answers and the genre he writes in. Didn't expect that, right? Well, it's true!! Great post, D. Robert. Love the way you are so constant with your work and newsletters, Donna. Keep up the good work both of you!

  6. Oh, I forgot to leave my blog address. If you enjoy true life stories about earthquakes, start with the post, A Shaky Experience. Here is the address: www.colleenshinephillips.wordpress.com.

  7. I love kids' books, I love the earth, I love science fiction and I have four grandchildren. I like to buy books, read them, and then give them as gifts. This sounds like a terrific book for my granddaughter.

    Also, I am really interested in your possible success story with Vanity publishing, as I have written a children's novel also.

    It's set right here on Terra Firma.

  8. sounds like an interesting book thanks for the nice interview.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  9. I was very encouraged reading this interview. Sometimes we can take great strides and other times it's small steps. But after reading, I realized the importance of plugging away!

    I also appreciated Pease's view regarding self-publishing. So do-able today. It is something I am also looking into.



  10. Your 'routine' sounds very similar to mine. :)

    Good interview, Donna.


  11. Thanks for the comments. Sharon, I know right. Who ever has that perfect day we picture in our heads.

    Donna (Martin), wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to make any money. Just sit and do what we love? (Big sigh...)

    Colleen, so you are saying what about my picture exactly? I look like a big goof-ball? I'd be offended if it weren't so true.

    Mary, if you do pick up some copies for your grandkids, I would LOVE to hear what they think. That is why I write. No other reason. And as for "Vanity" publishing (Oy!) I'll let you know. So far it's a whole lot 'O work. But I'm having a ball.

    Thanks Apple Blossom. Donna had some good questions, didn't she?

  12. A super interview. So nice to "meet" you, D. Robert. Love the title of the book. And time travels are some of my favorite reads. I'm adding your book to my TBR list. I also have two grandsons about the right age that might enjoy it.

    Best of luck with your writing.


  13. Well, not a goofball, per se....but like a guy who writes sci-fi for kids. It gives you more authenticity. So, embrace it!!!

  14. I agree, what could possibly be more fun that reading a book about a family struggling with issues, but set in a fantastic world. So many possible adventures.

    Loved learning about this book. It's a Christmas gift for sure.

  15. Thank you one and all for stopping by and interacting with D. Robert. I'm having a great time reading everyone's comments! Keep 'em coming.

    Best regards,

  16. Great interview! I especially enjoyed hearing about Robert's writing process.

  17. Great interview, both the questions and the responses. It obviously generated lots of interest. Glad to hear my standard writing day lines up pretty well with others struggling to carve out writing time. I'm a sucker for plays on words. So, I love the mc's name.

  18. Forgot my blog address:


  19. Beverly, I'd love to hear what you think, but more importantly how your grandkids like Noah. I've found that parents enjoy reading it, but it's the kids that seem to find some real magic in the pages somehow (remember those days?)

    Colleen, Oh, I've embraced my inner goof-ballness completely. No worries there.

    cleemckenzie - You are so right. There's an awful lot of fun to be had in Noah's world. (Warning, blatant self-promotion ahead.) Stay tuned for more next year, with Noah Zarc: Cataclysm

    Aileen - Just saying I have a "writing process" is definitely making it out to be something better than it is, but hopefully I've shown it IS possible for a totally unorganized, no-disciplined guy with too much on his plate to write a story and publish it. There's hope for anyone!

    Thanks Bill, we slackers need to stick together.

  20. Hi D. Robert Pease, :)

    Wishing you the best of success with Noah Zarc, it sounds like a fun book to read, and a very fun book to write! I enjoyed your description of the typical writer's day, as a writer I agree that writers need to be flexible and write whenever that "perfect" moment appears.

    :) Abigail

  21. I too used to make up stories about my life when talking to friends in elementary school. At one point I had an older sister Elizabeth who ran away so no one was allowed to mention her to my mom or she would get upset. Then I invented an older brother, twin sister, and younger sister for myself with another friend. I remember thinking that I needed to continue making up these fantasy people, but I knew I wouldn't be able to as an adult. Until I discovered writing. Making up characters is still my favorite part!

  22. Abigail (love that name, BTW, it's my daughter's) You are so right. Squeeze it in wherever and whenever possible.

    Melissa, what sad, sad little people we were, eh? Actually it was kind of fun, but we aren't supposed to feel that way about lying, so... I'm terribly ashamed.

  23. I was glad to see I wasn't the only one who didn't have a set schedule for writing and writing related activities! LOL. No, I believe there are a lot of us like that out there, but it was great to have Robert admit it. Best of luck to you, Robert in marketing and selling your book.

  24. I think my kids would love this book! I enjoyed reading about the writing life of the author. Some days I don't even get that 30 minutes in! Yes, in the new year....

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Thanks for the great interview and best of luck with your book, Robert!

  27. Thanks for a good interview. Sounds like a fascinating book. What an imagination!
    My writing blog address is http://shirleycorder.com/?Blog

  28. Boy you all certainly aren't letting me get any writing done today! (Darn promise to myself to answer every comment!)

    Katie, I know there are a lot of us, but of course it's those exceptions, those people that crank out thousands of words every day that we compare ourselves to. We just need to cut that out.

    Luv2HS Boy, amen to 2012 resolutions to write more. I'm all over that. And be sure to let me know what your kids think of Noah Zarc. I'd love to hear.

    Thanks Mayra!

    Shirley, I just took a gander at your site. So jealous of you living so close to the ocean. Man, what a life!

  29. Hello One and All...thank you for your continued interest and leaving thoughtful comments for D. Robert. We truly appreciate it!

    Best regards,

  30. Robert, 1,000 years hence is a fascinating premise. I am intrigued with future technology, yet my mind boggles at that length of time. I will have to read Noah Zare and discover what happens.

    I love your day-to-day writing description. It rings so true for me too. Writing gets slotted into whatever cracks each day offers.

    And Donna, great job teasing all the fun and interesting answers out of this talented author. Great read, mates.

    Give BOOKS this Holiday Season!

  31. What a wonderful, candid interview (I love the 'made things up' bit - think I might have done that once or twice too...). One thing that particularly struck me was the notion of traditional publishing being for reasons of "vanity" (we could say "legitimacy" though I'm well aware that this is changing fast). I think that this notion of 'curation' is one that encourages many an author (myself included, though I've done both self-and traditional pub) to take what is certainly a far longer and often more difficult route to market. Looking at trad. pub as a decision based on vanity is a new slant that makes some sense.

  32. Hi Donna. This is a very interesting interview. I may not be twelve years old, but I love time travel stories. If I win the prize I will definately buy this book.
    Mr. Pease--I love your double entrendre title. Very clever.

  33. Great post, I was not familiar with this author and it is always a pleasure to meet talented writer here.

  34. Thanks Donna and Robert. You have me looking at self-publishing in a little different light.

  35. Margot, it was definitely interesting trying to write 1,000 years in the future. I'm pretty sure it could be much more fantastic than I write it, but I wanted it to be approachable for kids.

    Magdalena, things are definitely changing, but I'm not one of those that think there is only one right way to do anything. Even after I decided to self-publish I've had some regrets. Mostly related to the idea of working so closely with an editor. I heard an editor from one of the big publishing houses a couple months ago, and just loved how involved he is in his author's books. I had a couple of great editors too, but I had to pay them and always felt like I had to keep interaction with them to a minimum to keep from paying too much... But other than that, I couldn't be happier.

    Barbara, so far adults and kids have both enjoyed Noah Zarc, so don't feel like you won't like it. Have at it!

    T. Forehand, nice to meet you too.

    Linda, there are some great self-published authors out there. But there are also some who take shortcuts and publish books that just aren't ready. One of my passions is helping authors figure out how to make sure they are ready.

  36. Lol, I loved the part about Disney because I too have done pretty much the SAME thing! This may be something many writers have in common. When I was really young, I had convinced several of my classmates that I was from an undiscovered candy coated planet and had arrived on Earth by way of an enormous bubblegum slide. Lol! I went on and on and never told them any different, I insisted it was true! Ha ha, then in high school, a friend and I pretended we were twins and I remember our twin names were Keni and Kori Riley. :) I can sooo relate. My first book actually has the bubblegum slide in it!

  37. Mandi, I guess I'm not all that original after all. I love the candy planet ruse.

  38. What a great interview. I love what was said about self publishing and vanity. I agree, as an author you just want someone to love what you've written, and it doesn't take a New York agent to get that. Congratulations!

  39. I loved this interview, Donna! I learned so much about the author. I do enjoy sci fi and wonder what it will be like 1000 years in the future. I hope I win the amazon card. I have so many books I want to buy!!

    What I especially liked about this was hearing D. Robert talk about his typical writing day. They sound a lot like mine lately. Promotion takes up so much time and just when you think you can write another person wants to write about you!! Then you're always checking your buy pages.:)

    Seriously, Donna, this was a great interview!!

  40. Good morning:

    Our heartfelt thank you for making D. Robert's guest interview appearance such a delight.

    Best regards,

  41. Entertaining post. I look forward to reading your book. Marian

  42. Great interview. I thought the discussion about how to balance future technology with kids was very interesting.

  43. What a great blog and a great idea for driving traffic. Thinking maybe you, Donna, and Robert would be interested in writing a little article on how this works for those who have never done it. We'd of course put it into my Sharing with Writers newsletter (www.howtodoitfrugally.com) and maybe some other places, too. And include credits for BOTH your books.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

  44. I would love to win this book for my stepson. It's right up his alley and something we could read together this summer! I really found your answer about why you chose to self-publish interesting and thoughtful. Thanks for sharing your books and your writing world with us. Donna, great interview!

    Margo Dill

  45. Thanks everyone, this was a lot of fun. Donna's blog is definitely way in front at the moment with number of comments. I'm actually giving each blog 7 days from when they post to get comments, so keep them coming.

  46. I really enjoyed hearing about your writting and publishing adventures! I'll share them with my class of amazing writers.
    Karla @teacher6th

  47. At first glance I thought it was my Dentist Dr. Pease that was also a writer. Thanks for the great interview and best of luck with your book, Robert!

  48. Thanks for the great interview and best of luck with your book, Robert! ps. my dentist's name is as yours.

  49. yankeesfan, that's pretty funny. My friends call me Dr. Obert (Oh-bear) Pease.

  50. I would love to read this book! I love books about time travel! Holly Swint astroqueen67@hotmail.com

  51. My favorite take-away was the book trailer -- very engaging! As a school counselor who has also taught every elementary grade, Prek thru 5th, I'm sure any child would be drawn to read the book after viewing the trailer.

    Your comments on self-publishing were helpful but made me wish I had graphic design skills. I tried to find illustrators (students I could afford) for a picture book I wrote, but I had no idea what to offer them monetarily for my very particular tastes in media and style. I know what you're thinking . . . I need to visit your website. I will!

  52. That was a really nice story Robert!

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.


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