Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Horrorween!

Is this an awesome cover or what? And just in time for Halloween! I'm pleased to have Robert Ropars join me on the blog today. He's the author of DARK BITES: Four Tales of Horror. We're sitting here nibbbling on skull cookies and sipping rummed-up apple cider. Robert, welcome!

Thanks, Susan. These skulls are delicious.

Here, have another and tell us how many books you've written.

I have published seven books since 2008.  These include two books of poetry, Carriage Returns in 2008 and Romantic Confessions in 2009, a four-part ebook series in 2010, including Windy City of the Dead, Like Cats and Dogs, The Red Planet, and 848, and these latter four I subsequently published as a collection called Dark Bites:  Four Tales of Horror in December 2010.

Ah, I see.
What books or authors have influenced you, Robert?

A wide variety of authors including (but certainly not limited to) Stephen King, Tim Powers, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelly, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lloyd Alexander, J.R.R. Tolkein, Neil Gaiman, Len Deighton, Robert Ludlum, etc.

What has been your most rewarding experience during the writing process?

The reaction/comments from so many people all over the world has been gratifying and encouraging.  It further fuels my desire to write and publish many more stories.

Tell us  more about Dark Bites.

After publishing two books of poetry, I sought to return to fiction, which I had previously pursued within the context of short stories.  I had researched ebooks and deciding to get going again, I felt that doing a series of shorter stories/novellas that I could then combine into a collected volume made a lot of sense.  This book contains four stories of horror with strong female protagonists.  Though they can be read on their own, they interlock in a variety of ways creating a larger world.  The women face zombies, werewolves, vampires, ghosts and the scariest monster of all-a sexual predator.  I wanted to explore these classic horror genre themes with a fresh eye creating a new look at old stories.

Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?

Boert, ...?

Whoa, Susan! I think you've had too much rummed cider. LOL.

Ahem, perhaps. Let me try that again. Were any of your books more challenging than others?

The Dark Bites series was definitely more of a challenge than the two books of poetry.  The first was a collection of poetry I had already written over a twenty-year period.  The second book of poetry was new poems and haiku written in 2009, but they were a labor of love and not a prolonged endeavor.  With Dark Bites I was creating a four-part series with stories that needed to stand on their own as well as work as a cohesive whole.

What are some of the problems you faced while plotting a series with ongoing characters?

The challenge was to be prudent about how much/often characters and locations appeared in each story (if at all).  In other words, I wanted to ensure that any crossovers mattered and weren’t just included to artificially link unrelated stories.

How do you develop characters?

Once I have my story idea in place, the characters come to me and I mentally draw out their lifestyle, interests, tastes and name.  It’s a bit like inventing someone I’d really like to meet, have tea/coffee with and hopefully end up long-term friends with.

How do you choose your setting?

Living in the Chicago area since 1986, and loving the area as I do, I never felt that my stories would take place anywhere else.  However, I wrote the stories in such a way that if they were to be adapted for film for example, if needed they could be transplanted to London, Paris, San Francisco, etc. with only minor tweaking.

What are your protagonists' strengths? Flaws?

All four women are strong, intelligent, and largely self-sufficient.  I wanted to write the kinds of strong heroines I enjoy reading or seeing in movies.  I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from women who’ve read the stories and appreciated the main characters’ strength and courage. 

Can you tell us about current or future projects?

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a new horror ebook Dead Woman’s Curve which should be available right about now.  I have at least three or four horror and thriller stories outlined ready to write.  I am planning to constantly push my boundaries and comfort zones and try other genres including western and romance.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

I Tweet a LOT so definitely consider following me on Twitter ( ).  I have a Facebook account ( ), but rarely use it (feel more in tune with Twitter I guess).  I blog occasionally, not often enough. ( ).  In addition, I have author pages on both ( ) and Amazon ( )

Grab another cookie, Robert, and have great success with your books. Maybe we can connect on Twitter and Facebook.

I'd like that, Susan. Thanks again, and a Happy Horrorween to everyone out there!

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