Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Well even though I was born in Eastern Europe where I lived till I was 13, I lived the rest in Egypt. To that I would say that the influence was huge in general, its a completely different way of life here. Everything from the mentality of the people till the taste in food is different, so adapting was quite harder than I had first thought. I would say patience is one of the main things this place taught me, besides figuring out who I truly am. I learned many harsh life lessons here and found myself here. My rebellious nature only thrived here, and it is here where I learned to fight for what I want and to stay the way I am, even if that means rejection from society among other things. I shall remain the way I am, and nobody will ever change that.
When did you first start writing?
That would be around 2005, when I started with my summary writings. I had many ideas and all of these I summarized and penned down into lists. One list per story, nothing of this was ever more than a list of ideas and events taking place, and half of the ideas turned out really bad anyways. For the years that followed I kept evolving each and every story beyond its original value, perfecting them as I went along. There were so many changes, from old ideas new were born, while others were changed beyond what they were at first. It took till 2013 for the first story I chose to be completed, thus "The Darkness Within" was both born and released. Releasing that opened the floodgates, hundreds of new and old ideas resurfaced and more are born the more I write. This resulted now in my Anthology series Enlightened by Darkness among my other works. And there is so much more to come.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I am working on more than just one single project. The one to be finished and published soon is the 3rd book in the "Enlightened by Darkness" Series: "As Darkness Spreads". Just like its two predecessors its an Anthology, a collection of short stories. When the first book of the series was finished, it spawned many brand new ideas, I want to continue the series, make each one different and yet similar. One shall have more psychological sub themes while other shall have more the explosive action found in many films today, and everything between and beyond. Each story is a statement and stands on its own, some are even divided into separate parts, connecting over different stories in different parts of the series. Besides that, my first and ultimate creation, the first story I ever thought of back in 2005, which has been modified over and over again is now being written. Its the first part of an entire saga spanning over different generations. Its called "Seed of Evil" and its like the Father to everything else since. Am really excited about it, and there is plenty more to come. Both new and old ideas are surfacing one by one and each one will emerge at its given time.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After years of silence, and more years of being put down and never reaching my full potential, well to put it simply I cracked. I could not take it anymore, got rid of all the doubts, and of everything that kept pulling me down and away. Finally I not only stood up to everyone and everything, I stood up to myself. Thus I began my journey, the way I wanted. I am free now, free of all obstructions. Everything that stood in my way has been obliterated and is used now to fuel my goals and ambitions. I write what I want, the way I want it. As I mentioned my rebellious nature, I can't follow others. I do what I want, write what I want to write about. There are those who support me, and I am endlessly grateful to them, while the rest who would stand, well they have been cut down to size and can never again stand in my way.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
One of the first sources to bring me out of my shell, the first place where my both my face and my writings become more and more visible on a daily basis. It is here I learned many valuable lessons as well, and I keep learning, evolving and changing. Trying to be at my peak, the best way I can be in my own writings, it is here where I start to show that, its not an easy road but well where would the fun be if it was easy? Onward and upward, I keep pushing through, improving along the way.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Is to see that crazy insane idea I had so many years or days ago written down and polished to the maximum. It being solid and standing with me. Its and amazing feeling seeing something that is your own, completed and shinning bright. Everything I write I enjoy, each and every single story. There are all my children, and its a great feeling to watch them evolve from birth to full maturity.
What do your fans mean to you?
Well without my fans my words would not reach somewhere. If I can get one complete stranger, someone who I have never met in my life to Like and enjoy what I do, it means the world to me. Every single person that ever reads, and enjoys what I do is like family. My fans are a part of me, and it pleases me when they enjoy what I offer them. I write for myself and for them. I write what I like, and this way they get a 100 percent me all the time. Unfiltered and straight to the face me that they can enjoy, always.
What are you working on next?
Well besides my "Enlightened by Darkness" series and my "Seed of Evil" saga, there are many more projects itching to be released into the open. Some more recent than others. Lets just say there is a whole lot more coming than one would expect, and its coming hard and fast. Many projects have already been selected for 2014 and even 2015. One could say, I am just getting started.
Who are your favorite authors?
Well there are many, but at the top will always be the following: Clive Barker, Stephen King and John W. Campbell. Their works inspire me to keep on pushing myself further and further, not just in their works. John's "Who Goes There" is a masterpiece, most of you may know it as "The Thing". Clive's Hellraiser or Jericho, Books of Blood and Stephen's Carrie, Maximum Overdrive, The Shinning and many others are just exceptional masterpieces. One day I hope that even they might enjoy something I wrote.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The surprises of life, each day brings something new to the table. Every day I think, I create and mold something. From days when I write to days when I rest, and all in between. I enjoy what that the day brings and am always excited when I even surprise myself. That moment when I go " Damn, how did I ever come up with this!" is always really exciting and fun in the highest level. Each day is in some way a new adventure or challenge, there is never a boring moment out there.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
There are many different things I enjoy and also take inspiration from. From listening to my favorite art of music: Metal, to watching different movies, reading to enjoying video games. There is always something out there that interest me. Even anime and manga, there is always something I find to do, something that interests me so much I need to know everything about it. Example I like a movie, I read who directed it, what others thought of it, who stared in it. What else did they do in their life's and etc etc. Once I am hooked I need to know as much as possible, this way I enrich my own life and widen my own views and perspectives. I also enjoy the good company of my close friends and family, the people I care and love the most in the world.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
First draft of "Seed of Evil" or summary you ca say. Damn that was ages ago, I still remember how it was when I first created it and how it evolved to the stage it is now. Evolution right before my eyes. I am filled with pride and joy and am really excited about they day, when "Seed of Evil" will see the light of day. When it will be out there for everyone to enjoy with me.
What is your writing process?
There are a few stages, when the idea is born and basically done in my head, I write the first draft. Things like mistakes and typos are of little concern. Once the first draft of the story or part of the story, depending on the length, is done it undergoes a revision or clean up process. Mistakes are corrected. Then it undergoes a 2nd check to see if everything is the way I wanted it and to make sure it satisfies everything I planned for it. This creates the 2nd draft which is than also polished. Finally a 3rd check usually adds nothing to very little, only the small details if needed. Than it is polished once more, formatted and ready for the eyes of the world. If needed the process is extended and repeated as many times as it needs to reach the final stage.
How do you approach cover design?
I make my own covers, usually just like my writings its starts with an idea. I think about what the story is like, and how I would like to see the cover or what I would like to have there. Then I start creating, sometimes it takes weeks and months to reach ultimate perfection and fulfilled desire. Like in the case of "The Darkness Within" the cover underwent many changes and versions in a period of about 4 months. While others now are created and finalized much faster. Some ideas are more easily portrayed. Others are more difficult. In every case I try to make it visible on the cover that its something from me. Not just by the name listed there, but when people see it, they would recognize it as something I created. That moment when they see the cover and go like: "Yes, that must be one of Robert's books." That is what I strive to achieve with my covers, among other things like shock value.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.