Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Interview with author Robin Ray

Author Robin Ray joins me today to chat about his new mystery sci-fi, Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven. (The book is on sale for only $0.99.)

During his virtual book tour, Robin will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Robin Ray emigrated to the U.S. from Trinidad & Tobago at the ripe old age of 12. Already steeped in the rich culture and mysteries of his native land, it would only be a matter of time before he, too, became a musician and storyteller. After a short stint at Iowa State University, he became a nurse for practical purposes but never abandoned his musical and literary aspirations. Eventually, he did play guitar in several bands, committing himself to localized tours and album releases. Leaving the music world behind, he delved headfirst back into his second love - writing. To date, he has authored six screenplays, two novels, seven novellas, around fifty short stories and many poems. Thus far, he’s published six books - five fiction and one non-fiction, all available in paperback and e-book formats.

Welcome, Robin. Please share a little bit about your current release.
A murder in Heaven, an absolutely unlikely event since death was only for mortals, did occur and shocked the afterworld to the core. Because of the growing mistrust between angels and citizens, a PI new to Heaven was tasked to investigate how the singer Amy Winehouse died again and why. The detective and his sidekick, enlisting the aid of rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain, must work fast to uncover the mystery otherwise Heaven may close its doors forever.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’d initially wanted to write a book of interviews where I was speaking to deceased legends like Da Vinci, Beethoven, Turing, Mozart, Einstein, Mahavir, Tesla and many others. When I saw that another Seattle writer had already written a book of interviews of the dead, I thought some of my characters could still come alive in a story which involved them. Meaning to also write a murder mystery novel, I incorporated my interview idea with that. Now, all I had to do was determine who “died” again and take it from there. The idea of a Rock & Roll Heaven, as opposed to just Heaven, came about because I needed to narrow the scope and focus of the investigation which also gave me an excuse to get some rock legends to speak. If “Heaven” becomes a hit, then I may get tempted and/or encouraged to come up with other titles such as “Murder in Jazz Heaven” or “Murder in Chef Heaven,” or even “Murder in Classical Heaven.”

Excerpt from Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven:
5:15 PM and still no Jim Douglas Morrison. The bearded singer of ‘Five to One’ was keeping his company of three waiting: Gregory pacing back and forth in front of the window, Tony spinning around on a padded, reclining office chair pretending to understand what he was reading from the law book opened in his hands, and the polygraph monitor, Eric Witherspoon, himself a past bassist in a bar band from Nebraska and former student of the angel D’Ariel. Eric, the recent consumer of four slices of 6-cheese pizzas, three stuffed cheesy breads, one piece of chocolate cake and a giant-sized cup of organic, craft brewed root beer, was comfortably sleeping with folded arms in his reclined chair. Completely forgetting he was with company, he twisted to one side, eased off his butt, and made a fart sound so loud and wet he’d better check his drawers, like, immediately. Gregory opened the window to spare himself the pleasure of the cheese-inspired wind. Just then, Jim came staggering into the office, his pants wet from who knows what, his shirt disheveled, and a road sign in his hand. Instinctively, the PI and Tony helped him sit in a chair before he collapsed on the floor.

“Before you fellas start lecturing me,” Jim managed to spit out, albeit slurred, “just know I have a history of being fashionably late.”

“What is this?” Gregory asked, pointing to the road sign as the examiner woke up.

“What?” the confused singer asked then look down and noticed the wooden item.

“Who gave this to me?” he asked, stunned. Nevertheless, he read the sign:

Jupiter Barbers – Luxury Styles

“Anybody want a haircut?” he laughed. Not amused, Gregory wrestled the sign from the singer and placed in on the desk. “Come here and give me some love,” Jim beckoned the small gathering, outstretching his arms for an embrace; when no one accepted his offer, crestfallen, he folded them across his chest. “You guys are chumps,” he groaned. “I want my money back.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
The next book I’m working on is a collection of horror stories called “Obey The Darkness.” Being from Trinidad & Tobago, I felt that we’re sorely under-represented on TV, in print and the movies when it comes to our folk legends. Everyone knows about vampires, werewolves, dragons, the Loch Ness Monster, the Golem, Anansi the Spider, trolls, witches, wizards, warlocks and so on. How many have heard of the La Diablesse, soucouyant, obeah, jumbies and Papa Bois? Two stories in “Obey” contain three of these characters; the rest of the stories are either sci-fi horror, fairy tale horror or general horror.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first book got published by All Things That Matter Press. They’d picked up “Wetland & Other Stories” a few years ago. This encouraged me to keep on writing.

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’d say I average around 4 - 6 hours a day writing, sometimes more, sometimes less. I do spend a lot of my free time writing, mainly at night. That way, I’d get less interruptions. I’m glad I’m on disability now; this gives me more time to write. When I’m not writing I’m going for walks, arranging my ever growing digital music collection, reading and researching, or playing Classic Words Plus, a Scrabble variation.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Sometimes, when I’m writing, I like to listen to certain types of music to set the mood. If it’s an action-adventure story I listen to movie soundtracks with a driving score. Generally, though, I prefer silence. Some of the characters I’ve created were actually written for real people. When I wrote “Stranded In Paradise,” I thought Gene Hackman would be perfect to play Captain Wieck. In “Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven,” I had Will Smith in mind to play Det. Gregory Angelicus and Bruno Mars to play his sidekick, Tony Lopez. In “Little Hammer,” I had Wesley Snipes in mind for Det. Michael LaTour, and in “Iron Maiden,” the role of Ingrid Werner would be perfect for Mariah Carey if she ever optioned it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I never thought that far ahead when I was a child. It wasn’t until high school that I thought I wanted to play the guitar on the MTV after seeing KISS at Madison Square Garden. Life got in the way, so I became a nurse instead. I’m glad I can write now. It’s like I’m making up for lost time.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
When I was 30 years old, I tried pulling the plug on myself. After all I’d been through, I just didn’t believe I was supposed to have lived that long. In a sense, this is my 2nd go around, and since I now have all this free time to play with, I’m glad I’m able to write books and maintain a blog. If need be, maybe I’d even like to purchase a guitar in the future and start playing again.

Website | Goodreads | Amazon

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Unknown said...

Thanks to Lisa Haselton and anyone else who visits this blog. I'm quickly learning, in bits and degrees, that writing is only half the journey - the other half is the promotion. I think I've been spending as much time publicizing my work as I did writing it. I don't mind, and from what I've been noticing lately, it's a necessary evil for all new writers, whether they've self-published or working through a small indie press. Next time, I think I'll just hire a sky writer to drag my banner across the sky for a month or so. How much does that cost?

Victoria Alexander said...

Really great post - I enjoyed reading it!

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the post, thank you.

Nikolina said...

I really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading this, absolutely!