Interview with Robert Hobkirk

Why do you write?
Writing is a creative outlet for me. I work in fiction, so I create the characters, dialogue, plot, setting. Before they are written, they only existed in my imagination. Although they haven't been created in the real world, they now exist in the imagination. I also write to connect with others. It's about being engaged with the human family.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a novel, Tommy's Exodus, which is based on a short story from Blind Date called "Sure Thing." When I wrote "Sure Thing," I liked the character Tommy and wanted to see where he would take me in his struggle. I wrote the short story and the novel without first doing an outline and was surprised along the way. I've got 90,000 words so far and beginning to make the final edit. I hope to publish it by next spring in 2016.
What do your fans mean to you?
I sincerely appreciate getting feedback from anyone who has read anything I wrote.
Who are your favorite authors?
As a boy I read everything I could find in the local library that John Steinbeck wrote. I've recently reread some of his works, appreciating them even more than when I first read them as a boy. John Mortimer, an English writer and creator of Rumpole, I enjoy for his wit, perception, and wonderful sentence construction. I've just recently discovered the Russian writer, Ivan Turgenev, who I am awed by his great talent. I'm currently reading A Sportsman Notebook, which was instrumental in influencing Tsar Nicholas II to abolish serfdom in Russia. It's a collection of short stories written in the mid 1800's that was the cause for Turgenev being put under house arrest for upsetting the status quo. It was one of those rare books, and he was one of those rare writers who helped to make the world change for the better.
What is your writing process?
Once I have an idea for a story, I write it down so that I won't forget. Once I begin working on it, I think of where the character is and what he has to accomplish. I don't use an outline, letting the story and characters surprise me. I write my quota of words per day, at least 1,000, or if I'm excited more, maybe 2,000, leaving a little for the following day. I like walking to a coffee shop and thinking about the story on the way. When my imagination drowns out the hubbub of the coffee shop, I know my writing is on the right track.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't remember the first story I read, but the first story that had an impact on me was Steinbeck's Cannery Row. I thought that was a great way to live, just finding creatures in the tide pools and making a living fromf them - everyone got along and everyone had dignity. Steinbeck really sprinkled fairy dust on it, little did I know. Today of course, you have to leave the creatures in the tide pools alone, and everyone doesn't get along. But it made a big impression on me as a boy.
How do you approach cover design?
I've learned to do my own cover design. Right now i'm using Paint, MS Word, and Gimp. I try to be original. It's the last step in the book process, very satisfying.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use a PC desktop. I'm not much of a techie, although I use an eight year old laptop for writing.
Describe your desk
My writing desk is a small table along the wall in a coffee shop with a wall outlet to plug in my laptop. A cup of coffee, using my own cup with half calf, and extra steamed brevi. My bag is on the other chair across from me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up mostly in Michigan and California, although short times in Oregon and Arizona. I went to public schools. Everything that my parents gave me came from their honest work, producing something of value. In Blind Date I wrote a couple short stories - Perfect Life and Junior High in Smog City - which were about my growing up, so it must have had quite an impact on my writing if I wrote about it.
Besides being a vehicle for creativity, what else do you like about writing?
Writing is an open door - there is no gatekeeper. Paper is everywhere, and if you know where to look you can find a pencil or two lying about on the ground. Learning grammar and other mechanics can be learned for free if you have a library card. Now with print on demand and a distributor like Smashword, you can be your own publisher. There is nothing getting in the way.
Published 2015-09-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.