Interview with Daniel A. Roberts

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in two different places. My first seven years was in Erie, Pennsylvania. When my mom and dad retired to Florida in 1976, I was their youngest child, so I naturally went with them. I finished my childhood in Lake Tropicana, near Dunnellon, Florida. Going from a city kid to a country guy gave me some unique contrasts between the different lifestyles. A good part of that has crossed over into my fiction in various ways.
When did you first start writing?
My first year of middle school, in the early 1980's. Even in 6th grade, I was itching to pen stories. I told many an adventure to those who would listen, because I enjoyed their reaction, their desire to know what's going to happen next. My mother couldn't get over how much notebook paper I was going through in the 6th grade, until she found out that it wasn't for school work. She didn't get mad, but was impressed with my diligence.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Darya Rising is a spin off story, from the pages of Passion of the Different and Passion of the Same. I like females in strong, leadership roles. I've always winced every time I heard the phrase, "the weaker sex" and I know, deep down, that a woman can be one of the most influential, powerful protagonists the universe has ever witnessed. Manly heroes are fine, I don't have anything against such men. They're needed too. However, when that one woman rises above adversity, displaying unique qualities, we should recognize her for those feats.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Over the years, I've sent out enough paper manuscripts that would scare any sane tree to death. It never failed to generate a rejection letter that started with, "While your manuscript was well written, this topic isn't popular enough to consider publishing." - Any variation of that sentence possible, got attached to my name and mailed back on the supplied postcard. (It was considered kind to mail a postage paid postcard that was self addressed for a reply.)

In 2009, I found Smashwords.

That should say it all, but it really doesn't. I went Indie to prove to everyone of those editors that they dropped the ball. I've gotten plenty of stellar reviews, my freebie novels are being downloaded daily, and my novels are just starting to glean a little bit of international attention. I do very little promotion in the International market, yet they are the majority of my sales. If I knew being an Indie author would be this cool, I would have done it the first day Smashwords opened their website for business.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The learning curve wasn't as steep as I expected it to be. When I realized that the Meatgrinder wasn't an adversary, but a tool of extraordinary powers that I needed to conquer for personal use, it gave me the focus I needed to take my work and finish what i started.

I started many novels, finishing some of them, putting others on the shelf, and with the ease in which I could publish, I started to think, "Hey, I can finish this one too! Smashwords will put this in front of readers, who will love or hate it! Yes!"
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy is knowing that I entertained a reader, somewhere in this crazy world we live on. My imagination owns a scary ability. It can conjure entire movies from scratch. Worlds. Characters. Universes. Human and inhuman. Writing these things down for another to enjoy is like opening a window into another universe. That's the joy I feel. Giving something unique, that no other can conjure, and having people enjoy themselves when they read about it. .
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. I can count on one hand the amount of fans who have written me more than once. I reply to them all, of course, and I look forward to the day when those numbers are too high to complete that task. Without fans, then who is my audience? Without readers, what are the books of the world to themselves? We need each other. I write, they read, and we're both giddy-happy about it. What more can be said? <smile>
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on Darya the Pirate. Add to that a couple of unnamed projects that may or may not get done by 2014, I intent to have my next full length novel released by 2014. I'm also working on a second edition of the Passion series, which will be ultimately renamed and released in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre, a step across the isle from the original Romance line. The edits and re-write will reflect the new genre without changing the plot and characters, so more people can enjoy the story.
Who are your favorite authors?
My all time favorites are, and in no special order; Roger Zelazny, Don Pendleton, Piers Anthony, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. There are so many more that I simply love to read, but these names are at the top of my personal lists.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh yes. I wrote "A Temporal Mistake" while in middle school. It owned many different titles throughout the decades, but returned to the original title, and original plot, only recently. How I wish I kept so many of the others from being lost!
How do you approach cover design?
Before I was a writer, I was an avid reader. I try and imagine what would make me pick up a book, to regard it with interest. If it doesn't grab my attention, I doubt it would grab somebody else's attention. I believe each book should have a unique cover, one that makes a promise about the story. Showing you a scene, or characters within that novel, is priority. Every novel I've written has a scene within the story on the cover, which is as it should be. At least, that's how I feel about it.
Describe your desk
To say that my desk is the focal point of several dimensions of other-worldly clutter, would be the understatement of the year. I hear there was a war between the paperclips and pen caps, but I think it's all hogwash. I haven't smelled anything burning behind my monitor for more than a couple of years now.

Humor aside, my desk is always a mess. I tell visiting folks that it's a statement for the chaos theory. They believe it, each and every time.
Published 2013-09-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Paradise Project
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Series: Epic Science Fiction, Book 1. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 231,320. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2014. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
His adventure begins in the deep woods, opening his eyes to look upon a world he doesn't recognize. It's too bad that he can't even recall his own name, or why he isn't wearing any clothes! From one discovery to another, this epic tale spans an entire twenty years of action, blazing fury and ultimate consequences.
Darya the Pirate
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Series: Epic Science Fiction, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 98,770. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2014. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
Darya uses every stratagem available to plunder technology from military grade starships, uniting not only other criminal organizations, but bringing together several Independent worlds who are hungry for the forbidden advanced technology.
Castle of the Damned
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Series: Short Story Hodgepodge, Horror. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 14,530. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2014. Category: Fiction » Horror » General
Alisa Morris finds herself in an unfamiliar castle, hired for the lead part of a new reality television show. Her loyal bodyguard, Will Jones, wishes she would abandon the contract and get out of that place. However, the money is too good, the new series too lucrative for her to simply walk away. Little did the new cast members know, the castle is an elaborate trap for unwary souls.
Darya Rising
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Series: Epic Science Fiction, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 90,610. Language: American English. Published: June 21, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Liberated from a primitive world, Darya leaves a throne of luxury for a new life among the stars. Warned of the perils from her friend and trusted mentor, she tackles the dangers without hesitation. Using black market technology and Elizabeth's knowledge, the adventure begins with much needed combat training on an incredibly hostile planet.
Low Functioning Autism
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Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,590. Language: American English. Published: January 1, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Relationships and Family » Autism spectrum disorders
A father exposes the trials, efforts and difficulties with raising his low functioning autistic daughter in a society that doesn't quite understand the true complexities of this disorder. Step into their lives and take a good solid look from a much experienced point of view, one that won't flood you with medical acronyms, in a no nonsense method of sharing.
Heroes of Valinthia
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Series: Valinthia Saga, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 94,250. Language: English. Published: December 2, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
During the ceremony to dedicate the brand new starport from Galactopolis, our Heroes are visited by the Zarg Empire. Offered friendship quickly turns to subterfuge and treachery. With the world's most powerful sorcerer and seer vanishing, can the Heroes of Valinthia prevail? The epic fight for survival begins now!
Rulers of Valinthia
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Series: Valinthia Saga, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 92,660. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
With the war won, Valinthia's truce between good and evil is clearly at an end. Aided by renegade changelings, Raphael's necromancy flourishes unhindered on Galactopolis. The Rulers of Valinthia struggle to prevent the spread of infectious evil to the rest of the galaxy, and to save the life of one of their own.
Defenders of Valinthia
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Series: Valinthia Saga, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 93,140. Language: English. Published: March 1, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
A world where magic reigns finds itself at war with a universe dominated by science. This conflict won't be won by the humans alone. Valinthia holds more to its mysteries than a functioning magic. Changelings and their love for chaos sign up. Pixies and gnomes learn to get along! Sleeping dragons stir during their rejuvenating slumber. Battle lines are drawn as the conflict begins!
The Unintentional Vampire
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Series: Short Story Hodgepodge, Sci-Fi Horror. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,260. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2011. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
A deep space exploratory team finds a pristine world filled with a humanoid population. Having an entire crew of alcoholics under his command, Captain Mark Trevor faces more than a shortage of booze and severe alcohol withdrawal. An act of vampirism proves that monsters are indeed real, and not who you expect them to be.
Passion Of The Unknown
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Series: The Passion Trilogy, Volume Three. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 82,060. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2011. Category: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
The Elerian and Sanego realms have enjoyed two decades of peace while Ryan and Myra’s children matured into interesting adults. As the riddle of the Machine Master’s Hand reveals intriguing discoveries, passion flares to life in the most unlikely places. Between the fear of a terrifying new enemy and the pending annihilation of all they hold dear, is their hope for survival futile?
Passion Of The Same
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Series: The Passion Trilogy, Volume Two. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 73,840. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2011. Category: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
Surrounded by forces from two different worlds, Myra and Ryan struggle to survive the efforts that are intent upon destroying them. Old enemies become new allies, but will their combined skills be enough to save everyone?
The Gift of a Kiss
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Series: Short Story Hodgepodge, Fairy-Tale Fantasy. Price: Free! Words: 2,260. Language: English. Published: January 20, 2011. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » General
An incredibly handsome gentleman offers Malinda a kiss for an act of kindness. She quickly learns that he isn't an ordinary man. Destiny and sorcery both conspire to grant a woman everything she never had in a way she never thought possible!
A Jalapeno For The Vampire
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Series: Short Story Hodgepodge, Horror. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,580. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2011. Category: Fiction » Horror » General
Kidnapped and thrown into the lair of a deadly vampire, Susan Smith fights through the terror of her plight to survive. Will the evil creature get her in the end or will she find a way to defeat him?
Passion Of The Different
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Series: The Passion Trilogy, Volume One. Price: Free! Words: 74,760. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2010. Category: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
Amnesia robbing him of all identity and found by Myra, it's clearly evident he isn't of her people. As exotic to her as she is to him, will culture differences be too much for their growing passion? Or will Queen Darya successfully steal what no peasant should have? Torn by subterfuge and conflict, his choices may have little bearing as the forgotten past catches up.
A Temporal Mistake
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Series: Short Story Hodgepodge, Sci-Fi Time Travel. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,330. Language: English. Published: August 7, 2009. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
Harshly yanked through time and space from an experiment gone wrong, a lonely man named Alexander does his best to fit into utopia as the long list of mysterious facts come together to reveal the shocking truth of where he truly landed.