Interview with Robert Line

Describe your desk
I built my desk, mostly from nicely finished doors from biomedical lab cabinets. There is a footrest for my fidgety feet and a cypress plank so stout it will outlive the whole house. Various office organizers pilfered from my previous white collar jobs hold things like cables, pliers, and deconstructed electronics.

The most prominent feature is a large window which looks out over an urban park across the street. Families and kids of all description play there in the day. At night, gangbangers, dealers, and such park and do business in the shadows of the cul-de-sac.

On one side of the desk is a soldering iron and custom removable drawers with projects inside -- rayguns, LED lights, toys, steampunk accessories, etc. I'm on the board of directors for a world-class creative reuse arts center so there is not shortage of raw materials. The other side is an *cough* IKEA bookcase.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Between the ages of K-12, I moved eight times and attended nine different schools. I was the new kid in class so often that I became pretty good at self reliance. Sometimes I had lots of friends, sometimes none at all.

Self reliance also means poor limit setting. I got into trouble more than once. For example, at the age of 5, taking my 3 year old sister out on a nature expedition into the deep Blue Ridge Mountains. We were rescued in the evening by a gruff biker on a hog. It was just like Hagrid rescuing Harry Potter, only my parents weren't dead or mean. I returned on the back of a chopper, holding my crying sister tight, to the flashing lights of the rescue squad vehicles. That left an impression and many of my stories feature siblings exploring a wonderland together and facing consequences.
When did you first start writing?
I was first published when I was in 5th grade, but never told anyone about it because I was mortified they'd learn it was me who wrote it. During a relationship with a girl from Canada, I'd write weekly tomes of about 50-60 double-sided sheets of notebook paper. They had colorful inks and everything.

This was before the internet.

I've been writing novels since I can remember. Randy Land is the first one I actually finished.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Impressing people is important to me. My ego is not particularly large, but it needs more feeding than most. I like to surprise people, make them laugh or do a double take. Getting someone's attention, holding it, and providing something worthwhile to them is inherently rewarding.

The most consistent way to do that is writing. I have time to frame the setup and deliver the hook. If I could act, I'd probably rather do that.
Who are your favorite authors?
Trap question! Trap question!

Female Sci-fi/fantasy voices are the most compelling to me. C.J. Cherryh once established an entire universe, defined a crisis, and depicted colliding cultures in a prologue that lasted about 2 pages. Andre Norton's pulp is always fascinating. Anne McCaffrey's Pern is not too shabby. Sharon Shinn actually made me care about angels.

Guys can write too. William Gibson's Neuromancer makes me wet myself every time I read it. He called everything right. Nicholson Baker, especially The Fermata. Ken Follett! Stephen R. Lawhead's Taliesin rocks.

Once the internet happened, I started reading that.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Almost nothing. I work through the night into the hours that are so wee they are getting to be big numbers again. When I have to rise at a "normal" time it is typically after 2-3 hours of sleep.
Published 2013-11-21.
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