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