Interview with Robert Luis Rabello

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I started writing a short story when I was in 5th grade, but I can't recall ever finishing it. I learned that it was a good way to get attention from girls, a dynamic that persisted well into adult life.
What is your writing process?
It starts with daydreaming. At this point, I know my characters really well, so I let my imagine wander into their circumstances. When I began doing this, I wanted to serially publish in a sci-fi magazine, as I thought that was the easiest way to get into print, so I developed "standalone" chapters, each with a theme. Everything in that chapter relates to the theme.

Typically, I write about 1 000 words, then go back over the work several times before pushing forward. Most of my chapters range from 10 000 - 15 000 words and require between six to eight weeks to compose, depending on how busy the rest of my life happens to be. Once the chapter is written, I go over it again before sending it off to my beta people. I incorporate their feedback, line-by-line, in a revision that I'll set aside for later.

After all the chapters have been written, I compile the manuscript and read-through to get an idea of how well the story flows. Then I do major structural revisions. After this, it goes off to my editor, who does her magic, and I do a final re-write incorporating her feedback.
How do you approach cover design?
While I'd like to say that there's something magical about this, most of the time I base my covers on either a scene in the story, or the theme of the book. I usually go through several iterations before settling on one that I think works.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Glendale, California. The Spanish-language influence in terms of place names and vocabulary is obvious, particularly in my early novels. I hated the city, preferring to wander off in the hills on my own. I had to learn how to deal with heat, sun that quickly damages light skin like mine, lack of water, rattlesnakes, scorpions and coyotes. The idea of living in a place that's a little wild is a theme that repeats in all of my stories.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The publishing industry has changed significantly since I was young. It's nearly impossible to get published now without either being a celebrity, having a high-paid agent, or by signing a contract that obligates you to pay for any losses the publisher might face in deigning to print your work. Publishers want rehashed versions of the same stories that have made them money in the past, and they still demand that authors do a significant amount of publicity work out of pocket. In other words, they aren't willing to do what I can do on my own, anyway.

Many very famous authors couldn't support themselves on their writing and had to have other jobs on the side. There was a time when the publishing houses were gatekeepers of quality, but those days are long gone and a lot of what is getting printed is not worth reading.

Indie authoring permits me to write what I want. It allows me to compose epic stories that terrify the publishers.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an old Kindle. With it, I can bomb through books quickly and efficiently. I like that it doesn't have a backlit screen, so it's easy on the eyes.
What do you read for pleasure?
The vast majority of my reading is non-fiction -- mostly science, religion and philosophy. I like authors like Harold Coyle and Martin Cruz Smith, but I don't read fiction very often.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest project, "Secrets and Whispers" is a very different story when compared to the others in the series. It deals with inter-personal conflict in a family whose only daughter wants to marry a priest with a poor reputation. At first, her family's objections seem reasonable, but as the story progresses, their hidden agendas are revealed and it becomes clear that the young woman has chosen her husband wisely.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth works best. I've tried a lot of different things, including promotional videos, book readings, giveaways and promos on various Internet forums, but talking to people directly about my stories has been the most effective.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I've been able to reach more readers with Smashwords than with any other medium. Having multiple formats, being able to set reasonable prices and offering potential readers direct links has been very helpful.
Published 2018-07-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Inquest: Deveran Conflict Series Book VI
Series: Deveran Conflict, Book 6. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 195,640. Language: English. Published: December 21, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Haunted by distressing memories of his recent combat tour, Lieutenant Garrick Ravenwood returns home to his beloved wife and family. Against the backdrop of a Senate Inquest probing the conduct of the Expeditionary Force, Garrick is drawn into an ongoing conflict involving his little sister, Kira. Someone thinks she’s a threat. Someone wants her dead . . .
Secrets and Whispers: Deveran Conflict Series Book VII
Series: Deveran Conflict, Book 7. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 107,590. Language: American English. Published: December 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Bronwyn faces a terrible choice. With her long-anticipated wedding only days away, she can defy her mother’s counsel and marry Algernon – a young priest with a questionable reputation – or call off the ceremony. Meanwhile, a terrorist group attacks the Tamarian palace gate, leading to tightened security and an investigation that raises more questions than answers.
Dreams and Missions: Deveran Conflict Series Book Five
Series: Deveran Conflict, Book 5. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 175,500. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
When Algernon Ravenwood falls into the Desolation River, he is compelled by circumstances to confront his personal weaknesses. Kira, Algernon’s twin sister, has to face strong opposition to her charitable work without the formidable assistance of her brothers. While Garrick, the twins’ older brother, is deployed to the Saradon Plateau, his new bride, Brenna, faces life without her beloved.
The Hollow Solitude
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 18,760. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Of all the creatures who live in the upland forest, the winged gwynling are the most beautiful, intelligent and endangered. What will happen when Jhiran Vell finds herself trapped on a gunboat with smugglers? Will her wits be enough to preserve her life?
Four Days to Freedom
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 24,630. Language: American English. Published: June 12, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » African American fiction » Romance
As an insurgency spreads through the ancient city of Abelscinnia, paramilitary police detectives begin investigating the highly suspicious activities of a wealthy businessman named Tegene, son of Asabi. Why is he buying weapons and heavy equipment? Is Tegene planning to overthrow the government, or does he have something else in mind?
The Girl in the Game
You set the price! Words: 18,890. Language: English. Published: April 19, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Fourth year seminary student Lynden Velez has a fateful encounter with the star center of Sacred Vimlitia during a school-sponsored lacrosse tournament. Who is the girl? Why is she playing men's lacrosse? How can Lynden get to know her when she won't talk to him?
Ceremonies and Celebrations: Deveran Conflict Series Book IV
Series: Deveran Conflict, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 178,840. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Cassie Velez and Jared Hohner, uneasy guests of King Alejo at his palace in Kameron City, witness rioting and political intrigue. Kira and Algernon Ravenwood begin ministering to exploited women in Marvic, coping with hostility and mistrust. Garrick worries that his fiancee, Brenna Velez, is suffering from mental illness in the days leading up to their long-anticipated wedding.
Crisis: Deveran Conflict Series Book III
Series: Deveran Conflict, Book 3. Price: $2.49 USD. Words: 187,630. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
Algernon Ravenwood struggles to build a home on Superstition Mesa, but discovers giants living nearby. His twin sister, Kira, suffers a lingering, secret malaise. As her past haunts her present, can she find hope for the future? Garrick, their brother, faces defeat as a combat leader and dissent within his ranks, while his beloved Brenna is held captive. Will she seek revenge when she escapes?
The Long Journey
Series: Deveran Conflict, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 210,290. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
As a brutal civil war encroaches on the Tamarian border, Garrick Ravenwood undertakes officer training in preparation to stop the humanitarian crisis. Brenna Velez, the girl he loves, worries that the civil war will destroy her family's estate and their high-tech light forges. Meanwhile Garrick's younger brother, Algernon, travels to war-torn Kameron to find and rescue his wayward twin sister.
The Edge of Justice: Deveran Conflict Series Book I
Series: Deveran Conflict, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 116,830. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
As the Azgaril Northern Liberation Army invades the tiny nation of Tamaria, Centurion Dathan Herulus faces the difficulty of harmonizing his orders with his conscience. As the Azgaril move north, Garrick Ravenwood, a young Tamarian soldier, meets Brenna Velez, a refugee who has fled the destruction of her homeland. Their courage helps Tamaria resist the might of the invading force.