TUESDAY 11th DECEMBER 2012
I am delighted and honoured to be hosting an Author Interview with the fabulous Robert B. Lowe, whose sequel to his novel Project Moses – Divine Fury – is released today! So grab a cuppa and we will catch up with the amazing author…
His past experiences – a 12-year career in investigative journalism and a Harvard Law School degree – enable him to write gripping mystery thrillers in both the legal and journalistic fields. Lowe draws his inspiration from John Grisham, Dick Francis and Lee Child and adds his own San Francisco twist. Readers will enjoy his references to the city’s landmarks such as Chinatown, North Beach and Pacific Heights and the Bay area’s foodie culture.
Divine Fury is Lowe’s second novel. His first was the best-selling Project Moses which reached the Amazon Top 20 Mysteries list and was a finalist in the Best Indie Books of 2012 competition hosted by the Kindle Book Review.
Divine Fury continues the adventures of Enzo Lee, a jaded journalist rehabilitating his career as a feature writer in San Francisco who stumbles into scandals and criminal conspiracies that require his investigative expertise to unravel.
When Lowe isn’t writing he enjoys a day at the golf course and spending time with his wife and daughters.
Synopsis for books:
Project Moses – A Mystery Thriller
By Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author
Robert B. Lowe
Project Moses is a high-tech bioterrorism thriller in the Grisham mode that has been well received on Good Reads, Library Thing and Kindle (4.8 stars based on 18 reviews as of April 4). It has romance, suspense and humor.
Enzo Lee, 37, a burned out reporter, has forsaken investigative reporting on the East Coast to churn out feature fluff in San Francisco. He likes his North Beach apartment, steps away from his Chinatown roots. Running, tai chi, great food, women who are attracted to his exotic looks. Life is good.
Then, Lee is ordered to cover the unexplained deaths of a local judge and prosecutor. Intrigued by the connection, and the judge’s attractive niece, Sarah Armstrong, Lee begins to uncover a bioterrorism scandal whose perpetrators – including government officials and Silicon Valley titans – will kill to conceal.
When Lee and Sarah become targets, the question becomes whether the pair can evade their hunters and piece together the story before their time runs out. Project Moses is set in San Francisco, New York and Silicon Valley.
Now get that cuppa and wrap your hands firmly around it, take a sip and relax as we meet the lovely Robert B. Lowe!
Hi Robert and welcome today, thanks for stopping by.
First of all, congratulations on the publication of your second novel in your Enzo Lee Mystery-Thriller Series, Divine Fury, which follows on from your best-selling Project Moses.What inspired you to write these books? Was there always an intention for a series?
Thanks very much for having me on your blog. Some years ago, I had a few months between jobs. I knew I would be going back to work and I just decided to use the time to write a book. A mystery or thriller was a natural for me because that’s my fun reading and I’ve absorbed a lot from decades of consuming hundreds of books in the genre. I originally had no intention of writing a series but I worked very hard on the characters, trying to make them believable. Readers really liked them so I decided to keeping going with them.
Of the two books, which was the most challenging to write?
I’d say Project Moses, the first one, just because it was the first. There is an awful lot of learning that goes on and it’s hard to trust your own judgment and instincts. After that, particularly if you feel good about that one, you have more confidence in what you’re doing and can be more directed while spending less energy worrying. I mean there still is the “Is this any good?” fear that you’re constantly seeking assurance to placate but maybe it’s a bigger worry if you stop having that concern. Also, in Project Moses there was a bit of science I had to work through and portray in a way that didn’t slow down the book so that was an extra challenge.
How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurred you on?
I was a journalist for 12 years out of college. Later on I became an investigative reporter and might spend months on a single story. But, the first few years were just pounding out several stories a day. Maybe you would put special effort into more important ones or ones that just required a good writing touch. Any way you look at it, you’re writing for a living. When I sit down to work on a novel, it feels like I’m right back at home in many ways. Growing up I liked to write and funnelled that interest into a journalism career.
Which writing style do you prefer then; creative writing or journalism?
Having been a journalist for a while, I’m enjoying this process now quite a bit. Also, having people tell you they stayed up late 3 nights to finish your book and were totally into the story and characters, shedding tears at the emotional moments and feeling angry when things don’t turn out how they want because they’re so involved with the story is incredibly satisfying. It’s a much different process creating that world and having that reaction than what occurs as a newspaper reporter. What I do miss, though, is being out in the world. As a journalist, your job is seeing many varied places, people and events. Writing a book can be pretty isolating.
You also have a Harvard Law School degree (another congrats!) This must have been interesting to work towards, did this experience filter subconsciously into your writing or did you intend to write about the legal field?
I didn’t attend law school with the intent of using the knowledge as a writer. Although having been a journalist, writing in some fashion always seemed not too far away. My wife was also a journalist for many years. We’ll say, “You should write a book about this,” and it’s not as farfetched as it might seem for someone else. I’m not that interested in writing pure legal thrillers or mysteries. I think being able to cross from journalism, to law, to the boardroom, to the bowels of high tech but also write about dive bars and riots – I’ve been in all those places and fields – lets me cover a lot of ground and still write with some authenticity.
How do you organise your writing time?
When I’m in “writing mode” I try to treat it like a job. I write from 9 am to lunch and try to get a couple of hours in afterward on most days. I’ll also keep editing what I recently wrote in sort of three-day cycle where I’m revising what I’ve done the past two days. At the moment, I can write full time which is a luxury. My hat is off those who work full time and write as well. I could never do it. What’s hard for me is the energy spent on the marketing side. I can either be pushing hard at that or pushing hard on the writing, but not both. For Divine Fury, I took a couple of weeks out of town away from my family and just wrote and edited. That was helpful, not just to churn out a lot of pages but also to live with the story and characters for a while and work through a lot of issues and questions. It was total immersion without a schedule. I’d wake up at 3 am, turn on the laptop and write in bed for two hours and fall asleep again.
Wow I love the idea of taking off and immersing yourself whilst writing and editing, I think they are very good words of advice, a change of surroundings can really influence your writing.
Which Authors would you say have influenced your writing?
In terms of the mystery thriller writing, I’d say Dick Francis, John Grisham, Michael Connelly, Lee Child and Michael Crichton. I look to Grisham and Child for lessons in pacing and suspense. Connelly is more about characters and what elements readers expect now. I admired Crichton’s ability to base plots on science and cultural issues or trends. Francis often took the time to learn something new, like how things worked in an architect’s office, and you’d learn that by the end of the book. I try to do some of that – having a content ‘bonus.’ Also, Francis had these ex-jockey types as protagonists, smaller guys who were smart and principled but got beat up a lot. They were sincere but often not particularly dashing or smooth. Looking at that made it easier for me to create a more ‘ordinary guy’ hero.
Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?
I have a guest room over our garage that is the official writing studio. Aside from hard commitments – if the plumber comes you have to let him in – I can tune out the usual distractions while I’m there.
Do you have any wise words of advice to pass onto aspiring authors in relation to Self Publishing?
First, it’s awfully nice to see your book(s) in print or in ebook form and know people are out there reading and enjoying your stuff. Second, I think it’s just as likely you’ll reach a point where you’re making living at it this way than the old agent-publishing house route. Very few of those with publishing contracts actually are that successful and much of the marketing work falls to them anyway, just as it does for us ‘indies.’ Third, you can always get lucky but you should plan on this being like climbing Mt. Everest. It’s a long haul but not impossible.
Very inspiring words of advice! Finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know
We have five cats. Two came with the house. But, still…it’s just far too many.
Thanks again for your time here today Robert, I have really enjoyed hosting you on my blog.
Divine Fury is out now – get your copy here.
- Project Moses – Robert B. Lowe (missuswolf.wordpress.com)
Love Missuswolf xxx