Interview with Robert Schobernd

What is the subject of your first book? Is it a stand-alone novel or part of a series?
"Reverse Metamorphosis" is the first book of a trilogy. The story is of a young man who lets circumstances guide him toward becoming a hired killer. His chosen profession is interwoven with his relationships with friends, family and criminal associates. Several people have told me they found themselves liking the lead character even though they knew they shouldn't. But as the story progressed and he completed his "reverse metamorphosis" they assigned him the lack of respect he deserved.
Since your book is part of a series is it possible to read the subsequent books before reading the initial story?
I strongly advise against reading them out of sequence. The story isn't just about sequential events; the main emphasis is the emotional changes the characters go through. I feel strongly that the reader needs to experience those changes with the characters in the order they are presented. As a side note; the outline was originally written as one story, but of course it was too long. The three individual books were created at the points where "natural breaks" occurred. Each book then ended on a strong closing with the promise of a good carryover to the subsequent book.
What inspired you to write a crime series with an assassin as the primary character?
It's in my nature to go against the flow; I don't blindly follow the crowd. Everyone writes about detective heroes so I chose to explore a character study of an anti-hero. I wanted to explore a storyline few others touch. Featuring a bad guy poses many more traps for the author than sticking to the safety of a hero image. It also offers intelligent readers a chance to experience what a character who is totally alien to their morals might go through. Also, I strive for realism and continuity of characters in my writing. 'Things' don't just happen out of the blue in my books. There's a sensible reason for each plot twist and the character's actions.
Do you feel one book of the series is stronger that the others?
Yes, definitely. Book one "Reverse Metamorphosis" must transition the lead character from an innocent young man to a killer and set the stage for his future actions. The process of his evolution from innocence to evil is where the title was derived.
Book two, "The Assassin Evolves" follows the Assassin to the pinnacle of his career and throws him personal as well as professional defeats. Personally, I felt this was the strongest as well as most difficult to write. The sequence where a serial rapist/killer and his girlfriend are dealt with by the assassin was emotionally hard to write, but I feel it was a necessary part of who the assassin is. His wanting to 'get inside the head' of the serial killer provided the tension leading up to the final scene in that segment.
Book three, "The Devil's Homecoming" covers Clayton Albrecht's fall and brings the story to an end. All three books are intense and detail the assassin's family relationship, but book three portrays the pain they are all subjected to by the chaos he creates.
What were you trying to accomplish by writing this story?
My intention was, and remains, to show the complex emotional makeup of a person of extreme violence. Even the worst of human beings have relationships with people close to them who they will defend with their last breath. I attempted to humanize the character; not to make him worthy of praise or gain him approval but to emphasize the total emotional makeup of the character, both good and evil.
How did you come up with the details and plot twist in these stories?
After I build an initial outline of each story (usually about three to four pages long) I begin writing and the story just flows. As I write I get additional ideas and pursue those new story lines. As for details, I sit back, close my eyes, and imagine myself in the scene and then write down what I saw.
Something readers may find of interest in this trilogy is how the names of the characters came about. I was working in Texas and driving back and forth to the Saint Louis, Missouri, area, not often of course. The character names were taken from road signs along Interstates 55 and 10. See if you recognize any of them.
Do you inject your own experiences and perceptions into your writing?
I think to some degree every writer does that, whether consciously or unconsciously. But since I've never killed anyone or even attempted to, I had to rely on my imagination and research material for those details. I suppose other plot scenes, dialog and narration ideas might have been unconsciously influenced by past reading, movies and TV shows.
What are the primary attributes you feel your main character has?
Tenacity. Clayton Albrecht doesn't quit or give up. And consistency; I hate it when characters change emotions in every chapter, or even from book to book. Also, he accepts murder as a moral and acceptable way of dealing with problems. His behavior is unorthodox and criminal, but after all he is an assassin.
What should the reader expect to take away from the story?
I hope the readers are emotionally strong enough to be capable of and willing to let their minds get into the central character from his point of view. Instead of heaping condemnation on him from a societal viewpoint, attempt to get into his head and understand why he is the person he becomes. The story isn't just about murdering someone for pay, it's about the man who can perform such acts against humanity and live with it, all the while having a loving relationship with his family members.
What determines the level of detail to support your writing?
Pure instinct! Upon review I see if the settings are described adequately so I can place myself there and be part of the scene. In several instances I had to delete details because I decided they were overkill, especially in some of the more violent or adult sexuality segments. There is also profanity in the stories because these are coarse hoodlums the assassin is interacting with and this is their language.
My overall goal is to present realistic portrayals of the characters I describe in settings I feel they would be comfortable in.
How many other projects have you completed and what are you working on now?
After "Irrevocable Change" I published two books about a vigilante, the Carter A. Johnson stories. The first was "The Blonde Heiress", followed by "The Dogtrot Murder".
Currently I'm working on the third Carter A. Johnson novel, "Cape Abigail". It should in publish by February, 2015.
Another project was a thriller/horror short story, 59 Hours. The story is only 13,000 words but packs a ton of action and emotion in a small package.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Rejection letters from print publishers. After a dozen rejects I felt bad, until I read that Steven King and J.K. Rowling got more rejections than I did.
By accident I learned about self publishing and then read about Smashwords in a blog. My efforts in writing simply satisfy my creative urge and fill a large part of my days.
Something that surprised me is that female readers like my books in almost equal numbers to that of men judging by reviews and the Favorite Author hits.
Published 2014-12-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Acceptance First: Revenge Second Book 5 of the Carter A. Johnson series
Series: The Carter A. Johnson Novels. Price: $5.49 USD. Words: 83,830. Language: American English. Published: June 11, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(5.00 from 1 review)
Irene Compton awoke one morning with no husband, no home, and few possessions. What she had left was a group of people who had signed her and her husband's death warrants. Those facts had to be accepted. Letting them get away with it was something she could not, would not accept. Her mood then shifted to revenge. A thrilling novel awash in betrayal, conflict, revenge, and vigilante justice.
The Three Monkeys, A Carter A. Johnson & Kate Menke Thriller
Series: The Carter A. Johnson Novels. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 77,580. Language: American English. Published: March 13, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
(4.75 from 8 reviews)
Ex-vigilantes Carter A. Johnson and Kate Menke have opened J&M Investigations in St. Louis, Missouri. Their first major case is solving the horrific murders of three victims dubbed The Three Monkeys by the news media: Hear No Evil, See No Evil & Speak No Evil. While they search for clues, the despotic killer has selected his next victims. Then he turns his attention to dealing with his new nemeses
Outnumbered Volume 2, The Zombie Apocalypse Series
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 18,710. Language: American English. Published: May 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
Few could truly grasp the enormity of what the zombies had wrought overseas in Europe and Asia. The aberration manifested itself on our East and West Coasts and the Gulf States first before working its way to the Midwest. People in the major cities were dying and turning into monsters by the millions. Now we're used to the hourly danger and simply live with it. There is no other choice.
Outnumbered Volume 4, The Zombie Apocalypse Series
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,970. Language: American English. Published: May 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
At the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse, there were approximately 335,000,000 people in the USA. My gut feeling is far less than 50,000 humans have survived, maybe half that. Mankind will revert to conditions of the fifteenth century; we are not emotionally or materially prepared for that upheaval. We prepare for the new old world because we are on an unstoppable downhill run to the past.
Outnumbered Volume 3, The Zombie Apocalypse Series
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 19,310. Language: American English. Published: May 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
The eminent decline of mankind has become apparent to all of the survivors. Most resisted acceptance of the eventual cataclysmic fall to the lifestyles and hardships of the fifteenth century. Someday, if we survive the zombie onslaught and the atrocities of other humans, our heirs will be privy to a spectacular regeneration as the earth cleanses itself of man's past wasteful and destructive ways.
Outnumbered Volume 1, The Zombie Apocalypse Series
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 18,130. Language: American English. Published: May 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
I don't know where to begin because I don't know for sure where they began. Some say it started with the black magic of witch doctors in Africa, others insist it was Haitian Bokor sorcerers and their curses. Then there were religious zealots who professed the very God they worshiped unleashed the Zombie on all of us. But after what I've seen and been through, what do I know? Tom Jacobs
Outnumbered Volumes 1-6, The Zombie Apocalypse Series
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 131,100. Language: American English. Published: March 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00 from 8 reviews)
Some say zombies started with the black magic of witch doctors in Africa or the Haitian bokor sorcerers and their curses. Still others claim a virus caused them. We watched TV and the internet in horror as the undead swept across Europe. Then the aberration manifested itself on the coastal cities of the US. By then the authorities couldn't hide the enormity of the disaster; it was colossal
Outnumbered Volume 6, The Zombie Apocalypse Series
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 25,330. Language: American English. Published: March 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Adventure » Action
A storm is brewing. Whispers of it waft around me as low grumblings or snide looks. Kira agreed she'd heard the rumblings of discontent also. We've not encountered a zombie or another human since moving to this remote section of the Missouri Ozarks. Are we the sole remnants of the once thriving races of humanity? That though is enough to humble even the strongest of survivors, me included.
Outnumbered Volume 5, The Zombie Apocalypse Series
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 23,090. Language: American English. Published: December 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
One beautiful morning two months ago, Elsie Talbot strolled outside our compound and sat on a wood bench facing the rising sun. Without hesitation, she raised a handgun to her chest and pulled the trigger. Elsie was an indirect victim of the Zombie Apocalypse. Ultimately, those of us who remain must continue to struggle for life, no matter the hardships, or humanity will cease to exist.
Cape Abigail - A Carter A. Johnson & Kate Menke Thriller
Series: The Carter A. Johnson Novels. Price: $4.49 USD. Words: 96,820. Language: American English. Published: March 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
(5.00 from 6 reviews)
No murders occurred in the quaint coastal town of Cape Abigail in six years. Last January, three people were heinously murdered in one night. The meager evidence pointed to a husband and wife who were deeply involved with the three victims. Carter A. Johnson arrived and soon called on Kate Menke's assistance. When the ruthless killer turned his attention to Carter, both had their hands full
59 Hours
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,240. Language: American English. Published: August 1, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Horror » General
(5.00 from 10 reviews)
59 Hours, a short (15,000 plus words), dark thriller. Some lives last from less than one hour to over one hundred years. Others bloom, wilt, and die in 59 hours. Settle in and meet Frances and Michael. Both of them have secrets to hide. One has a dark madness and shadows in their past, the other thrives on hellish needs. Which one will triumph over the other?
The Dogtrot Murder A Carter A. Johnson & Kate Menke Thriller
Series: The Carter A. Johnson Novels, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 73,760. Language: American English. Published: February 21, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.83 from 12 reviews)
Kate Menke was sentenced to life in prison for murdering her husband. She soon found that even behind the protective walls of prison her life was in danger. Then she learned a tall handsome stranger has reopened the investigation in an effort to prove her innocence. All hell breaks loose as Carter digs through the mountain of lies and deceit that have framed Kate for murder.
The Blonde Heiress, a Carter A. Johnson Thriller
Series: The Carter A. Johnson Novels, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 50,320. Language: American English. Published: August 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.85 from 13 reviews)
Staging two perfect murders and planning a third horrific crime was child's play for the brilliant defense attorney. Then a relentless stranger began searching for evidence to nail the despotic monster. As the killer cleaned up loose ends the body count increased almost daily. Carter remained one step behind the diabolical killer until he decided to dispense his own brand of justice.
The Devil’s Homecoming The Irrevocable Change Trilogy
Series: The Irrevocable Change Trilogy -The Evolution Of An Assassin, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 106,000. Language: American English. Published: January 22, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(4.92 from 12 reviews)
Since my creation I was the hunter, the supreme hunter of men and occasionally of women. A decade of lies and murder extracted a heavy toll from my family, especially Lizzy. I have no friends, most were acquaintances not true friends. In the last few years those were replaced by enemies. Cruel, vicious enemies. Now as I am hunted I feel the fear and emotions my prey experienced.
The Assassin Evolves Book Two of the Irrevocable Change Trilogy
Series: The Irrevocable Change Trilogy -The Evolution Of An Assassin, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 105,400. Language: American English. Published: January 22, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00 from 16 reviews)
Society has made the word murder seem so ugly. But if pain and death are dispensed to those who truly deserve it, is that not a good thing? I think so. My victims have caused pain and regrets in my life but not the greatest. My family and friends, the people I loved and cared for, are the ones I hurt with the utmost cruelty and disregard, especially Adrianna and Lizzy. I am The Assassin.
Reverse Metamorphosis The Irrevocable Change Trilogy
Series: The Irrevocable Change Trilogy -The Evolution Of An Assassin, Book 1. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 104,100. Language: American English. Published: January 22, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(4.81 from 16 reviews)
As a construction laborer, Clayton Albrecht, was going nowhere fast. Then he discovered a trade he was better suited to. His natural abilities guided him to the unholy profession of paid assassin. The pay was fantastic and the hunt soon became a need, his emotional drug of choice. But there are heavy personal tolls to be paid when your victims invade your mind every night.