Interview with Robert G. Williscroft

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I have been reading since I was four, but the earliest meaningful story I remember is "The Boomerang Boy." I was raised in a very religious home, and this story is told from a very religious perspective, but its message is that "truth" is better than "untruth." The importance of this concept transcends religion, and has remained with me all my life.
When did you first start writing?
About the time I started reading, however, my first published book was in the mid-1980s, except for my doctoral dissertation (A System for Protecting SCUBA Divers from the Hazards of Contaminated Water) that was published by the U.S. Department of Commerce and distributed to Port Captains around the world. During the eighties, I also published a relatively long list of articles related to diving.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yah...and that 's all I will say about it!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Born in Montana in 1942, moved to Switzerland when I was 8, to war-torn Germany a year later, where I remained until I was 19. I see things from a mixed perspective. I attended a private, progressive school in Germany that taught me to see the entire world around me, and to react to its reality.
Describe your desk
Clean...except when it's cluttered.
What is your writing process?
I come up with a story idea. I develop an outline plot, and create a background setting. I develop the dynamics of the relationship between the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s). I populate my outline with memorable characters by choosing appropriate names, and then developing a detailed description and personality profile for each character (much of which may not be used in the story, but that gives each character a distinct personality and depth). I flesh out each chapter with a short summarizing description in the present tense of what happens in the chapter. I commence writing the actual story, allowing it to flow freely, but within the constraints of the outline, that I allow to change as the story develops. I pay particular attention to character development, so that each character remains true to that character's profile. When the first draft is finished, I rewrite at least twice before asking another person to review the manuscript. That person functions as an editor and reviewer. When I believe the manuscript is ready, I give it a final review, and have another person review it. Then I ask three or four more persons to review the work and supply me with comments. A final review and a final proof, and it is ready for publication.
How do you approach cover design?
I put together my initial thoughts in Photoshop, and then hire a cover designer to bring life to my ideas. I require that the designer keep his layers accessible to me, so I can tweak the final product.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"The Iapetus Federation" is the third book in "The Starchild Series." The hard science fiction series commences with "Slingshot," the story of the construction of the world's first Space Launch Loop. The second book is "The Starchild Compact," that presumes Saturn's moon Iapetus actually is a derelict starship. Earth's nations mount an expedition to find out about Iapetus, and discover that it is a starship that brought humans to the Solar System 150,000 years ago. This discovery and its impact on the human race is plays out in the rest of the novel. "The Iapetus Federation" picks up where "The Starchild Compact" leaves off. A radical Islamic terrorist who tried to hijack the Cassini II, the expedition's spaceship in "The Starchild Compact," becomes the leading Islamic prophet and leads a global Jihad. The Iapetus Federation is a loose confederation of off-Earth communities that have banded together to resist that Jihad. The book follows the Jihad, the resistance, and the eventual discovery of longevity, wormhole transportation (stepping through a portal from "here" to "there" -- wherever "there" is), and even FTL starships.
What is in your current pipeline?
"The Iapetus Federation" will be released in August, 2018. After that, I expect to write a sequel to "Operation Ivy Bells," my bestselling Cold War semi-autobiographical thriller.
What do you read for pleasure?
Hard Science Fiction, Adventure/action tales, physical sciences updates...this list changes with the times and my moods.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is difficult, because my interests are eclectic. Robert Heinlein's "Time Enough for Love," because it connects with me on virtually every level, Philip Wylie's "An Essay on Morals," because he showed me the way, James P. Hogan's "Voyage from Yesteryear," because he shows that it really is possible, Vernor Vinge's "Across Realtime," because he redefined out-of-the-box thinking (and developed a concept that I had proposed at least a decade earlier), R.M. Ballantyne's "The Coral Island," because he inspired me to adventure...but I have just started. This list goes on and on...and every time I start it, it changes...
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Whatever is at hand.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Frustration with the traditional publication approach, and the potentially higher returns. My first 5 books were traditionally published. I have published the last 3 myself, and intend to publish my current book, "The Iapetus Federation."
What do your fans mean to you?
Without fans, I am nothing as a writer. The symbiotic relationship between writers and their fans is what makes it all work.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, diving, traveling, flipping houses...and I even watch TV from time to time.
Published 2018-06-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Starchild Trilogy
Series: The Starchild Trilogy. Price: $8.88 USD. Words: 405,130. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
THE STARCHILD TRILOGY: SLINGSHOT, THE STARCHILD COMPACT, THE IAPETUS FEDERATION, is building the largest machine in history enabling cheap access to space; discovering that Saturn’s moon Iapetus is a starship; forming a compact with the builders to advance their technology; using artificial wormholes to rescue millions from a global Jihad; developing FTL starships, and pushing out into the Galaxy.
Slingshot - Building the Largest Machine in Human History
Series: The Starchild Trilogy. Price: $3.85 USD. Words: 120,650. Language: English. Published: July 17, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
Constructing the first space launch-loop stretching 2,000 km between Baker and Jarvis Islands in the Equatorial Pacific. Slingshot’s characters loom larger than life as they work, play, and love from Seattle’s world financial district, to the ocean bottom off Baker Island, to the edge of space 80 km above. (Revised Second Edition)
The Starchild Compact: A Novel of Interplanetary Exploration
Series: The Starchild Trilogy. Price: $3.85 USD. Words: 132,190. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
Jon Stock and crew travel to Saturn’s moon, Iapetus. While underway they deal with a Jihadist stowaway. They discover Iapetus to be a derelict starship and meet the Founders, descendants of the starship builders. Their revelations impact the entire Solar System with momentous implications going backward and forward in time, paving the way for a joint push into the Galaxy. (Revised Second Edition)
The Iapetus Federation - Exodus From Earth
Series: The Starchild Trilogy. Price: $3.85 USD. Words: 163,600. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
The Iapetus Federation expands Solar Systemwide, while the Caliphate sweeps Earth. The Starchild Institute creates wormhole portals, using them to rescue groups not yet overrun by the Caliphate. Earth sinks to medieval levels, while human activity focuses on the Iapetus Federation. Humans settle every potentially habitable spot in the Solar System and begin expanding into the rest of the Galaxy.