Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spotlight: Robin Parrish

I am so excited to introduce you all to Robin Parrish, the author of Offworld. You can catch that review here. I was so impressed with his book. I would definitely include Robin on any 'must-read' list you have.

Me: So, Robin! As everyone knows, I just finished reading Offworld, which is how I discovered you. But I know it's not your only book. How many books have you written?

Robin: Offworld is my fourth. I'm currently contracted for 2 more adult novels from Bethany House, with hopefully lots more to come.

Me: Did you publish the first book you wrote?

Robin: Yes, the first book I wrote was Relentless.

Me: I have to get that one too. I loved your writing style. How long did it take you to find an agent?

Robin: My route to getting published was not the usual one. I signed my first publishing contract with Bethany House without an agent. That was for my first three books. Only while I was working on the third book did I start looking for an agent to help me with my next contract. I found my agent based on the recommendation of a friend, so it really didn't take long at all once I started the process.

Me: I love that there are so many different ways to get into the publishing world. I bet once you had two published books under your belt, getting an agent was a lot easier than otherwise. Why did you choose to write speculative Christian fiction?

Robin: I'm not sure I have an answer to this question. I'm an oddity in the "Christian publishing" world, because I refuse to write solely for Christians. I want to be accessible to everyone. So I'd probably be writing the same stories I'm writing now no matter who was publishing me. I'm a Christian, and my beliefs will always inform what I write, but I'm not going to shove a "feel-good Christian message" into a story just for the sake of giving Christian bookstore patrons their expected ya-yas. It's paint-by-numbers writing. There's no satisfaction in that for me as an artist, and I can't imagine how anyone could be satisfied with that as a reader.

Me: Perhaps that's why I loved your book so much. There's the theme of God, but it's not preachy at all. I hope I can accomplish the same thing with my books.

Robin: I'm fascinated by stories that ask big questions. "What's the nature of our existence?" "Why are we here?" "Is there meaning and purpose for all of this?" I know what my answers to those questions are, but rather than spell it out for the reader, I'd rather open minds and get the reader to truly, genuinely put some thought into what those questions mean. Especially if it's the first time they've ever considered them. I want to make those questions vivid and real and worth mulling over.

I think all of my stories ask those kinds of questions in epic, exciting ways. I like to take those questions and personal moral dilemmas and stick them under a ginormous magnifying glass to see what happens.

me: Well done, Robin. I'm sure you will attract a lot of readers who appreciate being given something to think about without having anything shoved in there faces. That's hard to accomplish. Do you do an outline or fly by the seat of your pants?

Robin: I am an outlining fiend. An outline is crucial. It's one thing to write a great big story. It's another to write a great big story that makes sense. And it's another thing altogether to have a big story that makes sense and flows well, reads well, is entertaining, and resonates. It's a complicated undertaking, and I'd be lost without a roadmap.

Me: Wow. That's inspiring. I know you just had a little girl, because I stalk you on Twitter. Congrats!!! Who else dwells under your roof with you?

Robin: My wife Karen and I are blessed to also have a 2-year-old boy named Evan.

Me: Which Battlestar Galactica do you like more, the old one or the new one?

Robin: Are you kidding? There's no comparison! The new one was a perfect case study in "how to transcend genre." The new BSG was raw and emotional and powerful and poetic and dirty and one of the best television shows to ever grace the small screen -- of any genre. It was one of those rare confluences when writing, casting, acting, direction, production, music, editing, etc. were all pitch-perfect. I already miss it something terrible.

Me: Alas, I never saw the new one. I grew up watching the old one and loved it. My favorite show. I was very very excited for the remake--until I found out that Starbuck was now a girl. Um...couldn't get over the gender-change. If it weren't for that, I'm sure I would've loved it. I love the show's premise. Which would you rather watch, Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?

Robin: Lord of the Rings. No contest. There's so much moral depth in Lord of the Rings that watching it is a spiritual experience.

Me: Totally have to agree with you there! My husband and I have debated several times whether we should include it in our Sabbath-appropriate movie list. Ha ha. If you had your choice, would you eat Chinese food or pizza?

Robin: Pizza. No other reason than personal taste. I'm not big on Chinese and I like pizza.

Me: How involved is your family in your writing? Do they read your drafts?

Robin: No, the first and only person to read my drafts is my editor. I don't let anyone else read my early drafts, most especially my family, because I know how unreadable my early drafts are compared to what they will eventually be, and I want everyone to read the very best versions of my stories! But my wife is always the first to read the finished product.

Me: Yes, that's me too! I let my husband read a draft once--or start one. It was so not ready to be read that he couldn't get into it. I haven't asked since then. I'll let him read the finished product when it comes out. What are you working on right now?

Robin: Right now I'm hard at work on the first draft of Nightmare, my next novel. I'm not ready to reveal the plot yet, but I can tell you that it's a standalone thriller that touches on a subject matter that's very hot in pop culture right now. It asks another of those big questions of existence that I mentioned earlier. And it might just tingle your spine a little. It'll be out next July.

Me: Oh my word, that makes me so excited! Definitely adding it to my list. Oo oo, let me guess. Are there vampires?? Robin, I've appreciated talking to you! I think you are very talented and on your way up. Thank you for coming to my humble blog!

Oh, and to my commenters: You can comment on the blog today, of course, but I wanted to let you know, Monday is the big day to comment. I'm in a contest to win a book, and the book goes to the blog with the most comments on Monday! So help me show everyone that I'm the most popular! Ha ha. Okay, it's not that funny. You can stop laughing now.


Kate said...

Thanks for once again introducing me to a new author. Oh...and what time will you be arriving Thanksgiving day?

LMJ said...

Sounds like a cool book I'd like to read sometime. I'll be back on Monday.

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