Dragon Soul Press interviews E.A. Robins, one of the authors featured in Spirit.
1. When did you start writing?
I’ve always written. Not always well, obviously, but it’s something I’ve always done. When I was a child, I’d write stories and illustrate them, staple them together and show my parents. When I was a teenager I wrote/created an excess of personal journals. And, when I went to university, I majored in a writing field.
2. How do you handle writer’s block?
Honestly, I just keep writing. Eventually, you find a way through the problem. The answer is there, you’ve just got to keep working until it becomes evident. I’ve often likened writing to painting, which is also something I enjoy. In painting, the first layer is never the final picture. The more you paint (write) the more detail is added, the more precise and lovely the work becomes and more often than not, there are things discovered in the process that were never part of the original concept.
3. What comes first, the plot or characters?
It’s always been characters. A story is a path, but the character is the one that walks it and if there isn’t something that draws you to that person/creature than it’s hard to be interested in where they are or where they are going.
4. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
Creating the everyday habit. Not giving up. My background is actually in poetry, which is lightning and flash floods compared to the farming process of prose. For me, short stories and novel length works have been a lesson in patience and perseverance.
5. What famous author do you wish would be your mentor?
If the stars had aligned, Ursula K. Le Guin.
There are so many authors I admire, but Le Guin really embodies everything I would like to be become as an author. Her work is genuinely entertaining and transportive while addressing real world political and social issues. It’s story telling with a message without distraction from narrative or style. It’s poetry, and it’s powerful and important.
6. How do you handle literary criticism?
I welcome criticism. The constructive and the deconstructive both allow me to access how others perceive what I create and I find that very useful for growth. It is a process of sifting through what they’ve offered and retaining what might be useful for current or future projects.
7. How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?
This varies, depending on the project and how long it’s been fermenting in my head. Though, in general, I think ‘world building’ is a trap because there is a never ending amount of detail to be created and endless paths down which one might get lost, often willingly. The exercise here is to build only as much as is needed to further narrative.
8. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve only written one novel so far, Scion of the Oracle, due to be published sometime this fall (2021). It was written for Of Metal and Magic Publishing’s CORE fantasy world of Soria and was an interesting first project. There were structural constraints, as well as a good bit of in-house research. Meaning, there were a lot of details and history of the established story-verse that I needed to locate and include in my manuscript. It was geeky and fun and I think great practice for my DSP short story, “The Berlin Assignment”, which has a real world historical setting.
9. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Well, I have a full time job, so that tends to keep me pretty busy. I love to travel, but haven’t had the opportunity in about a year due to Covid. I read voraciously. I paint from time to time and sketch when the mood strikes. I like jig-saw puzzles and playing poker. I enjoy adult beverages and Netflix binges. I’m almost always listening to music and I love to drive.
10. Where can readers learn more about you?