Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interview with novelist Robert B. Lowe

Mystery novelist Robert B. Lowe is here today. We're just one stop along his virtual book tour for Project Moses – A Mystery Thriller. There's a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commentor at the end of the tour. Details are after the interview.

Robert B. Lowe is a Pulitzer-prize winning author whose fiction is based in San Francisco, his adopted home.

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.

When Lowe isn’t writing he enjoys a day at the golf course and spending time with his wife and daughters.

Welcome, Bob. Please tell us about your current release.
Project Moses is a high-tech bioterrorism thriller in the Grisham mode that has been well received by Kirkus Reviews and readers at Good Reads, B&N, and Kindle (4.7 stars based on 23 reviews as of May 3).

Kirkus Reviews called Project Moses: “A thriller with an ideal fusion of wile and wit.”

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.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was an investigative reporter for 12 years and a lifelong fan of mysteries and thrillers. Having written journalistically for a living and loving the genre, I always wanted to try my own hand at it myself and finally had a chance. 

The main conspiracy centers on a bioterrorism theme.  I’ve long been interested in issues related to genetics and genetic engineering and those interests led to the conspiracy in the book. 

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on a second mystery involving many of the same characters and set in San Francisco. The themes are ones that are natural for San Francisco and the novel will mix suspense, humor and romance like the Project Moses does.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Out of college, my first jobs were writing for newspapers. Certainly, a big part of what you do in that role is to sit down every day and pound the keys producing words to appear in a newspaper or on a website. On some days, the job might be pure writing. On others, pure research. But, I clearly considered myself a writer at that stage.

It is a lot different to write a book and to devote 4-6 hours daily for 3 months or longer to produce it. The challenges are greater from a pure writing standpoint. And, when you’re creating characters, the challenge of making them believable and thinking through human motivation and ways of talking are daunting. Doing that and developing a story that is compelling and tight is what moves you into the “novelist” category, I think.      

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do have the luxury at present of writing full time. My basic mode is to be at the keyboard in an environment free from distractions at 9 am and work until lunch time. Most days, I keep working after lunch for at least a couple of hours. For me, a reasonable goal is 1,000 words a day. Sometimes I’m struggling and don’t make that. On other days, I know where everything is going and can do much more. I’m also revising and editing constantly so that pace keeps me moving forward.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m finding that what often works when I begin a chapter or section is to write an opening and then take the second or third paragraph and make that the first. It’s just a different, less linear way in and can be a nice twist.  It also speeds things up a bit and in the mystery-thriller genre, I think you need to keep a fast pace. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I recall wanting to be a baseball player and, at some point, sincerely believing that I would be President. My goals became more modest after that.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
When I wrote Project Moses, I had in mind more of a fast-paced thriller with a global-sized plot. But, many of my readers have really enjoyed the characters and I have to admit that I enjoyed fleshing them out more than I expected. So, somewhat by popular demand, I’m continuing to develop them and it’s interesting to let them run and see what happens.

Thanks, Robert.

Readers, Robert is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter at the close of the tour. So, leave your e-mail address with your comment if you'd like a chance to win. And to increase your odds, you can follow Robert's tour and comment at other stops. More comments = more chances to win!



Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Robert Lowe said...

Thanks for having me on the blog today. I look forward to answering any questions during the day.

Anonymous said...

At least you weren't planning to be President while you were *on* the baseball team...might have had a time-management issue or two there...


MomJane said...

Fascinating that you could use another paragraph for the firsst. I can really see how that would work.

Lisa Haselton said...

You must have so much fodder to pull from, Robert, from the investigative journalism. Happy to have you here! :)

Mary Preston said...

I'll need to get a move on with reading PROJECT MOSES so that I'm ready for the next book.


bn100 said...

The book sounds intriguing.


Anonymous said...


I read this post 2 times. It is very useful.

Pls try to keep posting.

Let me show other source that may be good for community.

Source: Lowe interview questions

Best regards