Interview with Robert Cooke

Who are your favorite authors?
How to choose! I'm a big fan of Douglas Adams, one of the few authors I've laughed out loud reading. Generally if I'm reading I stray towards the fantasy genre and the work of authors such as Robert Jordan, Steven Erickson or Trudi Canavan. There are many authors I could choose though!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to travel as much as I can, I find seeing new places helps inspire my writing and broadens my world view. When not travelling I like to play tennis or read a good book. I'm also a big fan of interesting board games and have a growing collection that I play with friends.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fantasy novels generally, though a good books a good book! I'm currently reading The Malazan Book of the Fallen and am in awe at the scope involved in the world Steven Erickson has created alongside Ian C Esslemont.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a basic old kindle reader and it's been solid and reliable for years as I've travelled around. As much as I'll always prefer turning the page of a real book the lightweight nature of my kindle is perfect when travelling.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first proper story I remember reading myself was probably Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I'm not going to count kids books, though Biff, Chip and Kipper will always have their place! I'd put myself in A and E in France trying to do a front flip off a bouncy slide and had to have my lip stitched up. I was bed-bound for a while feeling miserable, at the time my Mum would read to me and my brother in the evenings but I got impatient waiting and started to read ahead on my own! I'd read shorter books before and sections of longer books but I think that was the first time I really immersed myself in a book. It led to me reading a lot more in the future, and from reading I then moved to making my own stories.
When did you first start writing?
I did some writing in school, but it was whilst at University I'd say I started properly writing. It was plays initially but I soon drifted towards monologues and shorter stories. Writing Darkest Peru was a considerable leap forward, initially started as a short story I decided to push myself and see if I could write a novel. It's a jump I'm glad I attempted.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Suffolk in the UK, close to the beach and surrounded by the countryside. As a result I think I've always been more comfortable writing about nature rather than big cities. I've lived in cities such as London, but there's a difference living in a place and growing up there, knowing it intimately. Living in a small village has also caused me to want to see more of the world, this need to travel and see other worlds is, I believe, reflected in my writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Indescribable Library of Oddments sprung out of a storytelling project of sorts. I'd been doing a lot of research into older stories, the origins of those tales and how they came to be passed down through history. It got me asking questions about what parts of those stories are true and which are not, how can any of us really know? Stories such as 'The Fountain of Youth' spring up across the globe throughout history after all. So I started to write my own short stories, centred around a character who wanted to collect such stories, one who wasn't convinced that stories are always as fictitious as you might believe.

All the stories in the book have their inspirations but it is 'The Chandeleur' that has the most direct. I spent a month at the start of 2017 aboard the ship, helping to restore it with a gentleman called Christophe. 40 years it had been rotting in the harbour of Villefranche. What stories surround that boat unknown to the world? That's what I thought about and that's what led me to write the story in The Library of Oddments. I told it initially as part of an acting workshop I ran on the boat, but then fine tuned it for print.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I decided that with my style of writing, genre and general subject matter would be dismissed by a lot of traditional publishers; particularly with me being an unknown author. I therefore decided that publishing independently would allow me greater control over my writing and allow me to find the audience right for my book.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has given me a platform where I can reach a large readership whilst having complete control over my pricing.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a follow up to 'The Indescribable Library of Oddments', tentatively titled 'The Vault of Horrors' that will delve into Jeremiah's origins and also further push Rob out of his comfort zone. I've been having a lot of fun exploring the blending of truth, fantasy and the unknown and this is something that will come more centre stage than in 'Darkest Peru'. There will be more characters, more action, yet I'll be sticking to the core of what I liked about the first two books.
Published 2017-12-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Indescribable Library Of Oddments
Price: Free! Words: 25,340. Language: English. Published: December 29, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fairy tales
In an old caravan at an English country fair a mysterious storyteller shares tales of ghosts, monsters and forgotten places. Throughout the day though our narrator cannot help but wonder: who is this man and where did he get such a strange collection of objects? He is, however, content just to listen and transport himself, for a time, from the troubles of today and his recent past.
Darkest Peru
Price: Free! Words: 84,960. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Travel, Fiction » Biographical
A struggling actor embarks on an unwise adventure into the Peruvian wilderness in search of a hidden Inca temple. His need to escape 'real life' sees him negotiating the towering Andes and sprawling Amazon basin, fending for himself in a land growing more dangerous by the minute. Alone in the wild he is left with ample time to contemplate why he ever thought it was a good idea.