Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Author Spotlight: Robin L. Rotham

Alien Overnight. What an excellent book. I was so bowled over by Robin Rotham's writing that I found myself truly tempted to analyze her scenes and see how she was grabbing me so hard. But I was afraid to do it. You know how in school when the teacher would give you a writing assignment and give you a couple of examples and then all you'd be able to think about were the examples? That's what I was afraid would happen.

And Kellen and Shauss, the two heroes in her book? Oh. My. God. They are beyond hot. They are welcome to kidnap me and probe me ANYTIME. Bring it on, guys.
I was also mucho mucho impressed with how authentic her science fiction stuff was. Sometimes I read sci-fi flavored romance and tolerate it. This was realistic, believable. She didn't over explain, but nor did she gloss over technology, etc. It was perfect.
So, because I happen to rub elbows with the talented Ms. Rotham (electronically and in real life in Dallas last month), I asked her a few questions. Here are her answers.

What do you feel is your strength as a writer? What do you do best?

Besides having strong technical skills (yes, I did a brief stint as a freelance editor), I tend to elicit strong emotion with my writing, perhaps because my stories are very character driven. I always know my characters and their histories and emotional and romantic arcs long before I have any inkling of the plot.

Is there any of yourself in the heroine of Alien Overnight, Monica Teague, or is she purely a creation of your own imagination?

Yes, there is definitely some of me in Monica, though she's much quicker with a comeback than I am. On the one hand, she's resilient and doesn't let herself be a victim of circumstances. On the other, she drives people off before they have a chance to push her away, trying to save herself some heartache -- but she really only trades one heartache for another by doing so. That was how I used to be before I met, chased, and married Mr. Robin. :D How Monica is NOT like me is that she's mouthy and belligerent and in-your-face. She tells it like it is and screw anyone who doesn't like it. Sometimes I'd love to be like that, but I tend to be more of a peacemaker than a pot-stirrer.

Scenario: You are stranded on a deserted island for a month with either Kellen or Shauss. Who would you choose and why? (I know, that's a VERY tough question. Sue me.) And what three items would you take with you?

That's actually not so tough for me -- I'd have to choose Kellen because he's worked through most of his issues and is relatively easy-going. Shauss is just too dark and complicated for me -- I'd have an ulcer after a week with him. As for what I'd take with me -- an industrial-sized bottle of SPF45 sunscreen, a boombox equipped with lots of fresh batteries and loaded with CDs, and a chess board with all the requisite pieces.

(blinking) What? Why are you looking at me like that? He's probably a very good chess player, and we couldn't very well have sex every waking minute, now, could we? Or could we...? In that case, I'd trade the chess board for an industrial-sized bottle of lube. *grin*

If Alien Overnight was made into a movie, who would you cast in some of the lead roles? Why?

Now THIS is a tough one. I hope that never happens because it would no doubt be a porn movie, and if it wasn't a porn movie, it would no doubt be sadly lacking in passion. I'd probably refuse point-blank to have anything to do with the making of the movie and probably never even watch it, knowing it wouldn't turn out anything like I imagined it. But if I absolutely HAD to choose actors, I'd go with Gerard Butler for Kellen just because Gerard Butler should be in every movie (plus he's got a lovely accent), Orlando Bloom for Shauss because of his fine, dark, intense looks (though I suppose Johnny Depp might be all right, too), Sandra Bullock for Monica because she's funny and doesn't take herself too seriously, and Jessica Alba for Jasmine because the first time I saw her in Fantastic 4 with her hair all slicked back into a stylish knot, she reminded me of Jasmine.

If you were teaching a course on how to write popular fiction, what are a few books that would be on your reading list?

Deb Dixon's GMC, of course. Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. William Strunk Jr.'s The Elements of Style (because good grammar never goes out of fashion). And I'd insist that everyone read all of JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, just so they'd know what they should be aiming for.
If you were to choose a vegetable most resembling your personality, what veggie would you pick and why?

Hmmm... Probably a radish. It's round and red, like me, and looks pretty harmless, but once you get a real taste, it's got lots of flavor and can be on the hot side.

What was the worst job you ever had?

No contest here -- telemarketing. When I moved to Omaha, my day job wasn't enough to support me, so I worked evenings at DialAmerica. It was the longest seven months of my life. The money was awesome, but what I had to do to get it was almost worse than prostitution. Er, I mean prostitution as I imagined it, of course...

What TV show are you embarrassed to say that you like(d)?

The Gong Show -- but I was in junior high school then. (Mr. Robin still likes it.)

What would you do with an extra $10? How about $1000? A million?

With an extra $10, I'd buy a book and a good cup of coffee with lots of real cream. With an extra $1,000, I'd probably decide I could go to both RT and RWA National next year. With a million, I'd build a new house, pay off all our farm debt, take Mr. Robin for a one-time-only erotic adventure at the Mustang Ranch, and put the rest away for college for the kids.

Tell me about your work in progress. Do you have a release date?

My work in progress right now is Enemy Overnight, the second in the Alien Overnight trilogy, and no, it has no release date yet. It's Shauss and Jasmine's story, and yes, it's taking me longer than I thought it would. As I said before, Shauss is a very complicated alien, which my CP says is why he almost overshadowed Kellen in AO. Meanwhile, poor Jasmine's on the horns of several major dilemmas, but she's a strong, resourceful woman who stands up for what she believes in, no matter what the personal cost. Enemy Overnight is a deeper, darker, and more challenging story to write than AO was, but I think readers will be pleased with the end result.

I, for one, can't wait for it to be finished. Get writing, Robin!!!! And the rest of you, go buy Seniorella here. It seriously hot and sentimental at the same time.



Blogger Christine d'Abo said...

Excellent interview, ladies. And Gerard Butler as Kellen...*drool*. I'd never leave the house if he was in a movie version of AO!

4:38 PM  
Blogger Amy Ruttan said...

Great interview ladies!!! I love the vegetable question and I whole heartedly agree for Gerard Butler as Kellen, that man should be in every movie.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Red Garnier said...

Hello Kate and Robin, and what a fun interview!! I love it!! And OMG I am just aching for the movie...Kellen as Gerard and oooh, I'm all for Orlando or Johnny Dep. And why don't you cast ME in the lead with these charming gentlemen? I'll do ANYTHING, lol. =)

5:45 PM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

Can you just see the special effects meeting?

"Yes, we need prosthetic spurs on Gerard and Orlando that can enlarge and lengthen robotically."


8:35 PM  
Blogger Robin L. Rotham said...

ROFL!!! prosthetic spurs... You SO need to be writing some sci-fi!

9:48 AM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

Oh, no, I was thinking about training as Spur Adjuster to the Stars. I'd be oh, so dedicated to my job.

4:11 PM  

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