Interview with Billy Roper, Jr

After several dystopian, apocalyptic, and science fiction books, you're back to a nonfiction format in your newest book, 'The Big Picture'. Can you tell us, why the change?
Well, as you know, I was originally a nonfiction writer, but once I began trying to get my ideas across through fiction, I kind of developed a knack for it. However, people do take nonfiction books more seriously, especially for some of the more profound and far-reaching philosophical subjects I wanted to cover. Also, I kept being asked to write something deeper, something of a treatise on epistemology. Finally, I caved in to peer pressure. Seriously, I was also deeply affected by the recent deaths of my father and grandmother, earlier this year, just a couple of weeks apart. It's the kind of life-changing tragedy cycle which begs a reevaluation of perspective.
My condolences for your losses. That must have been hard. Was it the most difficult thing to approach, in the book?
Not really, I think the most difficult thing in writing 'The Big Picture' was being comprehensive without becoming repetitious. Whenever you're dealing with abstract to concrete concepts, I think that's inevitable. Because, I not only dragged Nietzsche, Hegel, and Aristotle through the mud, I drag myself around a bit in it, too, hopefully stopping short of any of us wallowing. To try to lay my heart bare, and open my mind completely, as my goal was complete honesty and objectivity, required holding nothing back. It was like writing a love letter to God, listing everything you cherish about the universe and life, without saying the same thing twice. As a former educator, that's even more challenging, because the way that you teach something is to repeat yourself, over and over. One can't write that way, though, and keep a captive audience.
Some of the early reviews of 'The Big Picture' so far seem a bit...I won't say farfetched...but very enthusiastic. Is that more of a help or a hindrance in discussing the book, going forward?
You're right, it was a bit overwhelming, reading the initial beta reader's reactions. I guess I struck several nerves with this book, as all of the reactions to it have been very visceral, almost emotional. And you're right, now comes the hard part, now comes the time when I have to market and promote the book and advertise it, and when I'm lucky, give an interview like this. The questions do come up. I mean, I get it. Those who helped revise and edit 'The Big Picture' represent different native language speakers, educational levels, nationalities, and religious faiths. So, some of their reviews do sound hyperbolic:

“Like ‘Imperium’, if Francis had been less tedious, and had testicles…”

“This book could change how the Alt Right thinks about the Alt Right.”

“Nietzsche would say that Roper went a bit too far, but that’s why Nietzsche’s dead.”

“The ‘Mein Kampf’ of the 21st century…”

That's an awful lot to live up to, so I decided that instead of trying to counterbalance their stated impressions with fake-sounding humility, I'd just run with it.
So, that's why your book description sounds a little, shall we say, over the top?
(Laughing) Sure, that's one way to put it. I went full Monty Python:

"Encompassing the collective wisdom of the human species throughout history in one easily accessible, portable volume, 'The Big Picture' has been called "the handbook of the Alt Right". This literary mini-encyclopedia, a veritable written internet, anthologizes clickable interfaces in brilliant black and white colors. Also serves as a convenient snack mat or coaster! Banned for possession in Israel and several of its client states even before publication, this nonfiction philosophical treatise was written with those who like to read and think in mind. Are you tired of stumbling around blindly, in an ignorant haze, perplexed by the world around you? What if there was a book that could make sense of your apparently meaningless existence? Are you searching for a reason to live? Do you have the money to purchase 'The Big Picture'? If so, then this is the book for you! Thousands of brilliant and essential words, many of them arranged in coherent, complete sentences in paragraph form, for page after page, chapter after chapter! Never before published in this order; well, the chapters and pages perhaps, but not the words. Turn it over, look admiringly at the cover, and you'll be amazed by 'The Big Picture'! Even MORE inside."
Well, it looks like 'The Big Picture' will live up to the hype. Where can readers find your books for sale?
All of my books, the thirteen original works of both fiction and nonfiction as well as the repackaged compendium of the 'Hasten The Day' trilogy, are all available in both print paperback and Kindle e-book formats through Amazon. They also can be found through Barnes & Noble booksellers, Books-A-Million, through you guys (Smashwords), and many other online retailers. As special orders I do sell personally inscribed and autographed copies through the mail and at personal book signing events. They can be ordered for $20.00 each, shipping included, from P.O. Box 1937, Mountain View, Arkansas, 72560.
For those who haven't embraced e-books, is there a link where people can quickly find your books in print form?
Well, yes, there are reviews and descriptions of all of my books on the Amazon page, where people can order print paperback copies of each of them from their choice of secondary vendors, too, if they prefer. The hyperlink for readers to click on to go there is:

http://www.amazon.com/Billy-Roper/e/B00NQC39C0/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Readers can just copy and paste that into their browser window, if they want to take a shortcut. I'm all for shortcuts.
Thank you for your time today, Billy. Before we let you go, which of your books are most popular?
Somewhat surprisingly, 'Hasten The Day' remains my best-selling book, even though, or perhaps because, it was my first published fiction novel. In addition to selling more copies in all formats than any other, it also has received the most reviews, the majority of which have been very positive. 'Glome's Saga' and 'Look Away' do very well, also.

My best-selling nonfiction book has without a doubt been 'The Balk', so far. I sometimes find myself wondering if their shared success doesn't reflect the reflected themes of the two books, which are mutually complimentary. I guess I'll leave it to my readers to decide for themselves whether that's the case. Now that the election's over, everybody is talking about balkanization, but just remember, folks, you heard it here, first...well, after Dr. Brent Nelson and Tom Chittum, anyway. After them, you heard it here, first.
There's that snark. Does it come naturally, or do you have to work at it? Where do you do most of your writing?
On a desktop computer, wherever I can find a quiet morning while everyone else sleeps, and a few moments of solitude to pound them out. Rarely, but sometimes, I will write out scenes longhand, which is easier because a notebook is more portable and I can take it with me anywhere outside in the solitude and peace of nature I wish...but harder because then it all has to be transcribed once again, of course. I prefer to just sit down once and let the books bleed out of me and be done with it, since writing is an exorcism of ideas for me, and as torturous a creative process as childbirth. So the writing, I do in my head. It's just the physicality of the words being given freedom outside of me that takes a process. And, I just let it flow, man. It oozes out of my pores. I should probably see a doctor, right?
Last question, looking forward. How do your books reflect your vision of the future?
In most of my books, especially the fictional "Hasten The Day" trilogy and the nonfiction "The Balk", I explore my view of America's future being one of division, unrest, and ultimately, balkanization. That means the breakup of the United States into several smaller countries. That might happen peacefully, or it might not. Based on the historical examples, like Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, it could go either way, depending on how easily people accept it instead of fighting against the inevitable. Multiculturalism has destroyed homogeneity, stability, and the commonality of identity and shared experience, and that's no foundation to build a common future on. Multiracial democracy can't fly. What can't fly must fall. The only question remains, for what is falling, should we still push...or just try to get out of the way? My job, as I see it, is to warn people, like the watchman on the wall that's crumbling beneath his feet. Whether they believe me, or listen, isn't my responsibility. If I sound the alarm, I've done my duty. My books are that alarm. Thanks for listening, and for the opportunity to talk about 'The Big Picture'.
Published 2016-12-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Commonwealth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 113,190. Language: English. Published: May 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Alternative history, Fiction » Historical » Colonial America
Imagine an America where slavery never happened. Where we are free of that indelible besmirchment on our national character. Oh, and we’re still British. Welcome to the Commonwealth.
The Balk
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 28,160. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Politics & Current Affairs » Current affairs, Nonfiction » Politics & Current Affairs » Civil & human rights
Demographics and recent history indicate that American society is polarizing. Are we headed towards civil war?
The Ice Path
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 40,290. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Politics & Current Affairs » Activism, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general
From the Solutreans, the White Europeans who discovered North America 17,000 years ago, many millenia before the Asiatic Mongoloid ancestors of the 'Native Americans', to the Viking explorers, English colonists, and American pioneers, the past, present and future of our people are explored within the framework of a destiny surpassing all others.
Look Away
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 53,760. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
An alternate history of the American Civil War. What if World War I came fifty years early, and the South had won?
Wasting The Dawn: Hasten The Day III
You set the price! Words: 69,600. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Men’s adventure
The third and conclusive installment in the highly acclaimed 'Hasten The Day' trilogy, 'Wasting The Dawn' continues the dystopian speculative fiction saga began in the award-winning 'Hasten The Day' and its' sequel, the popular 'Waiting For The Sun', both also by Billy Roper. After economic collapse and civil war lead to the breakup of the United States, global chaos ensues.
Waiting For The Sun: Hasten The Day II
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 99,580. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Men’s adventure, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general
The sequel to the highly acclaimed and award winning dystopian speculative fiction novel 'Hasten The Day' by the same author. Five years after the collapse and breakup of the United States of America, new nations arise and compete amid the ruins of a superpower. 'World War Z' meets 'Mad Max'!
Glome's Saga: Vikings In America
You set the price! Words: 31,230. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Ancient, Fiction » Adventure » Men’s adventure
Follow Glome's life struggle in his own words as he travels from early 11th century Norway to England, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, and North America. This rollicking Viking adventure about the Norse exploration and attempted colonization of the new land is filled with action, intrigue, and drama, as well as the dark humor typical of the age.
Hasten the Day
Series: Hasten the Day. You set the price! Words: 93,820. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
It’s this time, next year. Hyperinflation, the collapse of the dollar, and economic depression have America on the ropes, when uncontrolled illegal immigration delivers a sucker punch to the glass jaw of multiracial democracy. Race riots and secessions lead to ethnic cleansing and Balkanization. ‘Hasten The Day’ chronicles the first year after the breakup of the United States.