Interview with R.J.S. Orme

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Putting aside anything I would have read as a small child, I do recall in Junior High that when I picked up "Homeland" by R.A. Salvatore in his dark elf series. When I read that I suddenly got excited. There was a character I felt embodied a hero without standards of living that told him to be a good guy. I always enjoyed characters who faced struggles that weren't very mundane. Imagine overcoming your entire society at one point, or as Drizzt did, running away from it and being chased.

It got me thinking, what other heroes are out there that didn't come from normal circumstances? Sure, it's easy to say a tragedy will spur someone head in their destiny. But it's the characters that choose what they do without incident you realize you like much, much more.
How do you approach cover design?
Honestly? I had to ramshackle together a handful of well known symbols to come together with the symbol of the Cie series. Maybe one day when I actually have any money to spend I'll be able to hire someone competent to draw my covers. Probably near the Outsider series! I've never been incapable of creating art in some forms, but that's not where my talents lie.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"Where were you Robert?" - Not only because it has my name, but it was also a very interesting trip with time travel in our own world. Well worth a look.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows" - The idea of death being the final trigger, and not the final destination was a great way to end a series people fell in love with reading. You can't usually pull off the "love answers all" route without being sappy. Rowling pulled it off.

"Streams of Silver" - Salvtore was deeply ingrained into the wizards of the coast setting, but he also made the quest to find an ancient dwarven citadel really entertaining read. Characters you love, situations that curl your hair, and sequels to grab your attention and wonder what happened. Great book.

"Lord of the Rings" - Who can say no?

"Ender's Game" - This and the sequel "Speaker for the Dead" were both really excellent books in my opinion. It dealt with problems people didn't think they would ever see, and better, later explored other species that we had more problems with that weren't conventional invasions or slaughter. Read them!
What do you read for pleasure?
Fantasy. Always fantasy. No other book type will really give me an excited feeling or a generous need to explore more into the topic. Anything fictional usually entertains me.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't have an e-reader device! I know, right? If I ever have the time and money to be able to start reading frequently again, this answer might change.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've only spread my books over facebook and onto forums, as well as word of mouth. Maybe Smashwords can help me, and of course, maybe they could also look into other sights to help advertise the same way! Imagine if you clicked a button and got a press bomb to go off! Maybe on a timer...
Describe your desk
I have a flat green glass desk. It's mostly covered in daily items and paperwork and bills. It's actually quite messy, but I know where everything is. The only tools I really need are my laptop and brain after all. I've been staring at that desk an awful lot lately...
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Fort Collins Colorado and have lived here my entire life. I'm not sure if it has influenced my writing, other than having fresher and cleaner air to breathe. As I grew up I was surrounded by serious people. My mother is a concrete thinker, and my father was weekend nerd after his weekly serious business as a microbiologist. My father was the one who got me interested in all sorts of fiction. Media from England, where he was born, was funny, strange, ironic, and clever. I got more enjoyment out of those then I did from cartoons. They started me reading early, and by the time I was a teenager I had really gotten into it.
When did you first start writing?
I think I tried writing something serious when I was near sixteen or so, but that flubbed and my motivations died regarding it. The Cie series, my first, is the first idea I really had from beginning to end. The more I thought of it, the more expansive the plot got, and the more characters came into being.

Other then that I had a large interest in writing during high school as well, where I was really able to stretch my legs, so to speak.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The city in Exile is much akin to purgatory. People are trapped inside with key parts of their memories stolen. Still, with regular motivations, the people inside the city are intent on escaping. The reader follows their journey from not only escaping the city, but facing the obstacles involved and eventually creating a true world around them. You follow Prairie and Agni as they help their accomplices.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Honest to goodness truth: Money.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy writing otherwise I wouldn't have chosen it, but I do fit the stereotype of the starving artist. My only real talents are in writing and imagination, so what would I be doing with my time otherwise? I work a forty hour week at a hotel and slowly watch my happiness drain out, but when I create (and even better when others comment) I feel a hell of a lot better.

Still, if this will pay the bills and let other people be entertained and happy and excited over my work, I'll work hard.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating. Period. Characters, environments,unique problems and mysteries, even if I'm not good at mysteries. Something about figuring out how a culture works based off their physiology and upbringing, then their environment and the troubles they would face as a species is somehow fascinates me to imagine them. Then again, a race that plays a game where they literally slap each other until one wins is just dumb and funny. I like those sorts of things too.

Essentially I think human beings all fall into the same categories in terms of their behavior. I wanted to explore those, expand on them, and try to make them interesting and relevant.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything from praise to cash flow. If I didn't have fans (which at the time of writing this I don't think I even have one) I wouldn't have a career, starting or not. I want fans, I want them excited, and I want them to create things from inside my worlds. It might take time for them to gather interest in doing so, but the day you have people writing fan fictions and drawing things, you've more or less made it entirely. I'm hoping for, and looking forwards to, people understanding my work enough to add to it. That's the good thing about art. Whether observing or creating, everyone has something to add.
What are you working on next?
I'll be working on the Cie series for a good while, but after that I think I'll tackle one of my favorite creative subjects. Time control.
Who are your favorite authors?
Salvatore, Rowling, King. I don't usually keep favorite authors.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Whatever doesn't inspire me to stay in bed and relax. Hahaha
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I enjoy combing the internet for goofy things, playing video games with others, reading naturally, and in general sharing shows with my friends. I live a fairly relaxed life when I'm not working but don't have the time or money for other more adventurous things.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Actually... No?

*Grips his head and has a mid-life crisis*
What is your writing process?
Think think think.

I have a surprisingly malleable memory. Once I get a thought stuck in it, it stays for a while and goes on the back burner. When the time comes for the moment to happen in the writing, my brain just automatically tells me "Oh, remember that thing?" and I write it.

I meander in my writing. Motivation wise speaking I don't have a lot pushing me forwards, so I usually get struck by the bug, sit down, and belt out a handful of paragraphs on what I'm working on. I get distracted easily. The main thing to keep in mind is the only way to get it done is to do it. Worry about fixing typos and grammar problems later.
Published 2014-01-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Cie, The City in Exile, Book Three: The Universal Sea
Series: Cie, The City in Exile, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 138,410. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Ten years is a very long time, but not so very long to a dragon. Cieca enjoys another lasting peace as the years fly by. The world has almost all but forgotten the original feats that led to the city being freed, but the thoughts of their enemies haven’t faded, and Agni still faces each day with new friends and bigger problems.
Cie, The City in Exile, Book Two: The Pale Tree
Series: Cie, The City in Exile, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 102,080. Language: English. Published: January 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
A year has passed, and Cieca enjoys a short peace after defeating the Snake God. Their world has expanded, but with it, so have their problems, and looming ever on the horizon is the threat of the two remaining gods resting in the realm. Can Agni hold himself together long enough to do right, and even more importantly, take up the mantle of protecting Cieca in Prairie’s absence?
Cie, The City in Exile, Book One: The Exiled Throne
Series: Cie, The City in Exile, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 126,080. Language: English. Published: January 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Prairie never doubted there was a way to escape, and searches day in and out between her duties in the city. But what remains outside when she finally reaches what she’s hoping for? True freedom, or even greater danger? She will end up discovering more than expected, and all of her friends will be thrust into a fate as yet unheard of while the darkness ravages her beloved home.