His early education was received in Mannheim, Germany, where his father, an Army Helicopter Mechanic, was stationed. He and his family returned to the United States in 1973 where he then continued his education at Bass Elementary School, Nova High School and Central Valley High School. His interest in writing began at Nova, where he enrolled in a journalism course thinking it would be an easy A. He was to learn otherwise, and in his sophomore year at Central Valley High he earned the privilege of becoming the first underclassman to ever have his own column in the Falcons Cry newspaper, entitled “For Sophomores Only.” At the age of 18 Robert enlisted in the United States Navy where he received extensive medical training and served proudly as a Hospital Corpsman for almost five years, much of that time being served with the U.S. Marine Corps 1st Marine Air Wing in Okinawa as their “Doc”, in various capacities. He also served his final tour aboard the USS Peleliu LHA-5 out of Long Beach, where he received an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1985 and returned to his hometown of Redding. During his time in the military he traveled extensively, taking in the sights and sounds of different people, their customs and cultures in Japan, Okinawa, South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Peleliu Island, Pearl Harbor, as well as San Diego, Camp Pendleton, Long Beach and Great Lakes, Ill. These are some of the multitude of experiences he incorporates into his writing. In his off time Robert enjoys spending time with his wife Anna, their two Pembroke Welsh Corgis Bella Rose and Sophie Marie, reading, watching his beloved SF 49er's play, TV sitcoms and movies both at home and in the theatre. Robert recently compiled his first two works, The Chains that Bind and the exciting prequel The Link that Shines into a combined effort titled Locked in Time, upon the advice of a literary agent. It will soon be available on KindleDirect and in paperback. His latest project is titled Voices of the Passed, and he hopes to have this novel finished for publication in the summer of 2014.
Julie: Hello! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. How long have you been writing and what inspired you to do it seriously ?
R.L. : I have been writing shorts and such since high school, started in journalism class in 9th grade for what I thought was an easy grade..haha. Found out otherwise but also found out I really liked writing. About 4 years ago I started writing about a part of my life I had obviously buried and when I did it got me going again, as well as my wife reading my first novella The Chains That Bind and encouraging me with how good it really was.
Julie: Well, thanks to your wife! Is she who inspired you to continue and actually publish?
R.L. : Absolutely. She is my inspiration, my muse, my sounding board for ideas. After we self published The Chains, one of it's readers told me that while they really enjoyed the book, they were pissed because I left no room for a sequel, something we had never thought of. We began talking that same night, and with some research and legwork on her part and my mind set, The Link That Shines was born.
Julie:How many books do you have published as of right now?
R.L. : Two..both self published and have done fairly well locally and through people I have met online.
Julie: So, if a reader asked you which of your books he or she should pick up, which would you recommend?
R.L. : Well if I had to choose one probably Link, because it lays the ground work for Chains. I have had a number of people tell me that the first chapter of Link really made them angry, and my question to them is simple...did you keep reading?...I have even had two of my co-workers punch me in the arm because of the first chapter..lol
Julie: Of all your characters in LINK,, which is your favorite and why?
R.L. : Wow..I guess my obvious answer would be Grant, because he always stays true to himself regardless of what happens or what life throws at him. He is grateful for the gifts he is given and ensures that each day he remembers how precious they are to him.
Julie: I believe you are a veteran and I expect that your coming release, Voices Of The Passed.. touches on fallen soldiers. Could you tell me a little more about it and how much of it pertains to you and your experiences in the military?
R.L. : Well your instincts are true. I am a Navy vet, 5 years and spent a fair amount of time with the Marine Corps as their corpsman, something I treasure to this day. Voices does have a military base to it of course, and does have to do with two men Caleb Armstrong and Ricky Martinez Caleb is injured and Rick is killed in an IED attack in Afghanistan and when Caleb returns to the states, he begins hearing voices, mainly Ricks. He also hears the voices of some of his ER patients who have passed asking him to help them move on. Meanwhile he is being watched by someone from his past who knows his darkest secrets. I spent a fair amount of time with patients who passed away, and lost a number of friends in conflicts over the years, and it always made me wonder if they had any unfinished business when it happened, so I thought Caleb was the right guy to tell this story.
Julie: How do you rate your experience in the indie publishing world? Have you found it difficult to promote and spread the word or has it been easy for you?
R.L. : Well it is always difficult because of the vast numbers of extremely talented writers out there, but then again competition makes us better. If it was easy then everyone could do it.
Julie: Do you agree that writers have to be salesmen in the Indie world?
R.L. : I agree definitely. We have to sell something that we believe in with all of our heart and souls, and trying to convince other people it is as good as we say is very difficult.
Julie: What type of advice do you have for new indie authors?
R.L. : Write, write and write. If you want 26 inch biceps, spend 8 hours a day in the gym. If you want to be a writer, write. One of my co-workers talked to me this past week about her 15 year old daughter who wants to be a writer and is working on a short story, and asked me for advice..me...I was flattered, and I simply told her to write, read it, and rewrite it until it is golden.
Julie: Sounds like your wife is an awesome support system! I may want to interview her at some point, lol.
R.L. : lol...She is an amazing woman and I am blessed to have her in my life.
Julie: Is there anything you would like to add or something you would like to touch on so I don't miss anything from you?
R.L. : Just that people need to follow their dreams and their hearts. I honestly wish I had sated back on my journey years ago, but hindsight is 20/20. Life will give you all of the material you need to be an amazing writer, you just have to figure out which piece goes where and into which story. All of my writings are based to a degree on life experiences, and I don't think that any imagination can match what life throws at us on a regular basis. Embrace it, because as I have told my wife many times the story will tell it self, I am simply the teller of the tale.
Thank you so much for your time! R.L. I look forward to the release of Voices of the Passed!