Robin Leigh Anderson was born in the Montana Rockies and escaped to California in the early 1970s. She attended school in Montana, Washington State, and California, eventually settling in beautiful Santa Barbara with child and cats where she lived for 38 years before escaping sans grown child and late cats to Northern California. An advocate of reinventing oneself, Ms. Anderson dabbled in many of the major disciplines of life, providing fodder for the writing she pursued since she was eight. She has won numerous awards at writing conferences over the years, and was staff of the prestigious Santa Barbara Writer Conference for ten years. She has published numerous articles and short stories in her lifetime. She taught “crash-and-burn” intensive writing seminars in Santa Barbara and was the moderator of a writers’ critique group. She still conducts occasional seminars and enjoys editing others’ works, words being her all-consuming passion, as she writes in several genres.
When a meteor shower forces Lieutenant Ard Jay Solstad to crash land on a sandy, unknown planet, he knows it
will be at least three months before a droid rescue ship will reach him. With only nine weeks of food left, Ard sets out to map the desolate planet. He is stunned to meet the planet’s sole survivor, a silicon-based humanoid, and despite all odds, they fall in love. Leaving the planet will kill her, staying will kill him. When the droid ship arrives, Ard must leave TeeCee behind knowing that she won’t survive.
Three years pass and Ard, now Captain, returns to the Preth planet to stake his mining claim and to reestablish a
generational world there, a fitting tribute to the unique woman he loved. With him come the miners and everyone else needed to set up a new society and reclaim the now empty world. But what he finds will challenge him in ways he never expected and bring Captain Solstad to an amazing point in the evolution of humanity.
What can be said of Hell, when at its most quiet, I was most terrified? The explosions that had rocked every fiber of my being and made my bones feel like they could simply shatter like tempered glass still resonated. I looked over at the wounded, wondering if I had the same haunted look in my eyes, and thought I probably did. In this war, no one leaves. No one goes home… and everyone is a casualty of war.
1. Could you tell us a bit about your most recent release and why it is a must-read?
ACCEPT THE BROKEN HEART is a war story from a young woman’s emotional perspective, based on a true story.I was an idealistic, fearless/foolish kid who felt I needed to go to Vietnam and help, when I learned of the death of a boy who was a brother to me.This is that one story that a writer may have that comes from the depths of the soul onto the page, the raw, gritty truth of a time in our country that was among the most politically polarizing in the 20th century.
2. What is your favorite part of this book?
When asked to share a chapter or two as readings, I always go to “Green Eyes”, and “All Gods Smile”. For me it was all about the people, the very-young soldiers, ‘my boys’, and the innocent villagers who simply wanted to survive. The people I worked with, got to know, loved, and yes, hated, it was a rich tapestry of emotion and experience.
3. In addition to being a writer, do you have a day job? If so, what is it?
At this point I am retired from day jobs, I had many and varied and life was interesting. I have always been a writer, on the side, on my own time, and now I have the time to devote to bringing out all the things I have created.
4. What does your typical day look like?
As a single empty-nester, I probably have more control over my time than just about anyone I know, and I must admit that I spend an inordinate amount of time on my computer, either communicating with others or writing, often both at the same time. I totally admit to living in comfortable jammies, I have a dizzying array of them, and I put on street clothes to go out, which I try to do as infrequently as possible, introvert that I am.
I have to admit, I’m insanely jealous. I commented to Robin that I want to be her when I grow up, to which she responded, “Wait, that means I hafta grow up first? Shoot…”
5. What do you love most about the writing process?
Turning thoughts and emotions into words is exciting, trying to capture what I am thinking and feeling in a manner which others will see the situation the same as I did when creating it. When it comes to fiction, the imagination can run wild, then finding the words to describe that can be such fun. Real-life situations are trickier, one must capture something that happened in such a manner that the reader can feel, see, be there.
6. Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
For me, this is like asking a mother, which of her children she loves more. With fiction I cinematically live the scenes I create, the characters, I actually feel a relationship with them, I am invested in their lives and I try to create so that the readers will also invest. With nonfiction I take as much as I can from the real experiences and emotions to paint who these people were, why they did what they did, how things affected them.
What a brilliant answer. I completely understand that and it helps me to realize, like my children, I don’t have to love one more that another. I can love them all in different ways, for their own uniqueness. Thank you for that.
7. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
I have long said that nothing in a writer’s life goes to waste. I love to people watch whenever and wherever, and I always come away with snippets of personality or behavior or type that I can use. In the case of nonfiction, I rely heavily on journal entries and notes to represent those about whom I write.
8. What is the biggest surprise you experienced after becoming a writer?
How GOOD it feels to write that “The End” at the bottom of a first draft. I know there is work ahead, no first draft is anything but a pile of notes, a suggestion of what could be, but when I get to that point in a story that I know I have said what I wanted, and the ending ties things up the way the story demands, even if that is a cliffhanger, that is like giving birth…without the labor pains! Well, there are some pains, but not as severe.
9. Since being a writer, what has been the best compliment?
People I respected telling me that I could write. The first ‘big name’ who said that to me actually stopped me dead, I just stood there and stared in disbelief. I guess he knew that, he laughed and told me that he probably looked like that once upon a time too, and to take that emotion back to the page with me.
10. If you could ask one question from any one person, living or dead, what would it be and from whom?
I got a chance to ask this of Ray Bradbury, but I would also ask my other idols, Tolkien and Asimov: how did you come up with the seminal characters for which you are most famous?
What was Ray’s answer?
He looked at me with those steely eyes of his, that look that just went into your brain, and he said, “All around me, girl look all around and you will find anyone and everything. Then take it an order of magnitude higher.”
11. What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
All criticism is tough, this is my BABY, but a wise parent knows that good advice can help you raise the baby to be a much better being.
12. If you were riding in an elevator with a new writer, what wisdom would you bestow upon him/her before you reached the top floor?
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Listen to others, but don’t let them TELL you what to do, write. If one person says something, take it with a grain of salt. If two people say much the same thing, consider it seriously. If more than two, sit down and rethink and make what they are critiquing better.
That’s great advice. I’ve seen authors quit because they listened to the wrong people and didn’t believe in themselves.
13. What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
THE most? Oh, I actually can’t talk about some of them due to legal contracts, I worked with heavy metal rockers back in the day, and we had “kiss and tell” contracts. That era was FUN. But one of the most hilarious things that ever happened to me was performing in a USO show in Vietnam, subbing at the last minute for singer with dysentery, and walking offstage from that immense high of pleasing 6000 randy sailors to find my CIA boyfriend standing there with his arms folded over his chest and a frown on his face. I found the whole thing so absurdly amusing that I couldn’t help but crack up.
14. What websites or resources have been helpful to you, as a writer?
The single most used bookmark on my computer is synonyms.com. I really don’t like repetition of the same word too close together, and sometimes I also want something more interesting or varied. Being a member of and even moderating writer’s groups has been a great resources, there is nothing like the feedback of live humans of like mind (writers).
I’m going to have to bookmark that site.
15. Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?
I used to sing opera, might still be able to if I really practiced. I can speak enough of 20 languages to get myself into trouble and not enough of any of them to get out of trouble.
16. What would the main character in your most recent book have to say about you?
Well, since the main character in my immediate release is ME, she would say, “Oh, you silly girl.” Then she would smile and say, “Carry on, you will anyway.”
17. What is something memorable you heard from a reader/fan?
When I thought I had finished a book, as in, The End really was the end for me, TWO readers said, no, this needs to go on from here, and my mind started seeing ‘sequel’ and more. It’s possible that nothing is ever really finished, and that sort of startled me…but I like it.
18. If money were no object, where would you live and why?
I love mountains, so if I had all the modern conveniences like indoor plumbing, electricity, a stable highspeed wifi, and such, I would live in the High Sierras. Oh, and grocery deliver would be a must-have.
19. Currently, how many ideas for different books do you have going/jotted down?
A dizzying number, probably 3 to 4 dozen, no joke. Different sizes, formats, genres. I believe in working on multiple projects at any given time, so if one becomes stale, I just go on to another, and by the time I get back around, I have a fresher perspective. I never have writer’s block due to this practice alone.
That’s actually how I keep from having writer’s block too. But I don’t have a fraction of that number.
20. Where can we find you online?
I have a personal Facebook where I argue politics and giggle at cat videos. I prefer to keep this to personal matters, although I do share writing milestones and such there.
I have an Author page and a Street Team Page where I try to keep readers apprised of releases and upcoming events.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorrobinleighanderson/
Facebook Group Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RobinsRebels/
I’d love to have people join these two pages.
I have a LinkedIn for professional matters under Robin Leigh Anderson.
I have a website that is interactive, people can register and post on discussion threads.
I am slightly active on Twitter. www.twitter.com/rlauthor1
Readers can reach me at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for being here today, Robin. I know the readers will love your work. You are truly a gem in this business!