Welcome Robert, we’re excited to have you on Reader’s Entertainment.
Robert, where you’re from, where you live, and is writing your full-time job?
I was born and raised in the Bay Area, California and currently reside in the Pacific Northwest.
Since 2013 I have been writing full-time.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing all my life. I recall writing assignments from the seventh grade, was the Editor in Chief of my high school newspaper, wrote for the Stanford Daily, majored in journalism and communications and wrote for the Los Angeles Times. I took a brief hiatus and practiced law for 13 years before returning to writing.
What does your typical writing day look like?
I’m usually up early. I’m at my desk by six or seven, take a break to work out and get exercise, then continue on until four or five in the afternoon. This is researching, writing, answering email and doing other media related things. In the spring and summer when it remains light until late, I head to the golf course for a break.
Give our readers a look at your latest release.
The World Played Chess is a story about hope in dark times, persevering and overcoming. It’s a universal human condition. It is told through Vincent Bianco who, in 1979 just wanted a final summer before college to hang out with his friends. He gets a job on a construction crew with two Vietnam veterans and gets the education of a lifetime. Now grown, Vincent has his own 18-year-old son preparing for college when he receives a package from William, one of the veterans. In it is Williams journal from Vietnam and Vincent’s education continues, and he shares that education with his own son.
What inspired this book?
I worked with two Vietnam veterans the summer after high school and on school breaks. It was truly an eye opener for me. I was mesmerized to learn about what they had been through at just 18 years of age. It made a mark on me. One I’ve never forgotten. The story is fictionalized, but comes from a very personal place.
Could you share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book? Perhaps a juicy bit of back-story, or something only you know about a character?
I’m pretty transparent when I write. I want the reader to know the characters like they are old friends or enemies. I want them to be real. I will say this…much of the story is true, but not all.
What has been your hardest scene to write?
The scene in The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell when he says goodbye to his mother, who is dying. That is a scene I am dreading. My mother has always been my rock. It will be painful for me when she goes.
Who has been the most difficult character for you to write? Why?
Perhaps David Bateman, the bully in The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, because I have a handicapped brother and I realize the pain that bullying causes a small child. To think of a child in pain, afraid to go to school, unhappy, is so painful now and I know there were times in my life when I wasn’t as sensitive and empathetic to other classmates as I should have been. It pains me to recognize that about myself.
So, if you could be one of your characters for a day which character would it be? Why?
None of them. Honestly, I like Robert Dugoni. I love my wife and my kids and feel so very blessed I have no desire to change my life or who I am. I feel in some ways that I only recently realized who I truly am.
Have there been any authors that have influenced how you write?
I love to read all authors and all genres, so long as it is a good story. I think the book that influenced me the most was The Green Mile. It was such a beautifully crafted novel and so emotional. It made me realize what it means to write from the heart.
Do you have a secret talent readers would be surprised by?
While practicing law I started to do theater for a creative outlet and did shows in the theater district in San Francisco for more than two years. In Redwood City, at a 1,200-seat theater I played Arthur in Camelot to sold-out houses. It was the most fun I’ve ever had and I’ve thought about finding time to start again.
Your favorite go-to drink or food when the world goes crazy!
A good pepperoni pizza.
And what is your writing Kryptonite?
Haven’t run into it yet and hope I never do. I love to write.
What is the one question you never get asked at interviews, but wish you did? Ask and answer it.
How did growing up the middle child in a family of ten children impact you?
It made me seek a way to stand out from my brothers and sisters. They all went into medicine and I followed into college before realizing that I wanted to carve my own path and my talent, which they did not have, was writing. My wife says I’m a classic middle child, starved for attention. Perhaps….I do like the microphone.