Interview with Robert P. Hansen

When did you first start writing?
I first started writing poetry when I was in high school. Most of it I ultimately threw away, but the practice of writing ballads helped me to develop a lyrical mindset. I started writing fiction in my early twenties. Between them, I designed adventures for my local group of dungeons and dragons, which became a kind of precursor to the fantasy stories I would later write.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first stories to have a significant impact on me were probably the "Three Boys" series ("Three Boys and a Tugboat", "Three Boys and a Lighthouse") and the work of Edgar Allan Poe (particularly "The Raven" and his more macabre short stories, like "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado"). However, the author that has had the greatest impact on me is Robert A. Heinlein. I read almost all of his books in the late 1980s, and they sparked my imagination and led me to read other masters of science fiction.
Actually, what impacted me the most was watching a television program. The first one I remember seeing (though not the first one I saw) is the horta episode of _Star Trek_, and I have little doubt that that program (and Spock in particular) shaped my later interests.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is a difficult question for me to answer, since I don't really have favorite books that I have read more than once. There are too many other books out there, and I would rather read them than return to the ones I've already finished. Still, some of the more memorable novels I've read are Heinlein's _Podkayne of Mars_, _Red Planet_, and _The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_; Frank Herbert's _Dune_, and Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's _Dragonlance Chronicles_ trilogy. These books are all quite different from each other, of course, but they have a few things in common: Complex plots and believable, interesting, somewhat unusual characters experiencing an opportunity for growth.
What do you read for pleasure?
It depends on how you define "pleasure". Since I teach philosophy, I have derived a great deal of pleasure from reading complex philosophical texts; however this reading is generally not what I would call recreational. What I read for recreation (enjoyment without purpose, you might say) is primarily science fiction (now) or fantasy (when I was younger). However, I generally don't read for recreation, and the books I've recently completed were mystery novels, since I am developing my skills for writing mystery stories. I also occasionally read poetry, but usually only in small doses.
How do you approach cover design?
At right angles? It depends upon the text. For the poems, I try to have an image that reflects the thematic nature of the collection, rather than selecting images related to a single poem. For collections of stories, I generally look for a memorable signature moment from the title piece and build an image around it. As for the novels, it depends. Novels are long-term projects that frequently develop a life of their own, and I try to have the image reflect that life, if possible. It was fairly easy to do this for the cover for _The Snodgrass Incident_, since the storyline is centered on a trip to Enceladus and NASA had a public domain image that worked well with it, but my current projects are likely to be a bit more complicated. Finally, I only start with a general idea for the cover, not a finalized one, and then let the cover designer (my sister) play with it, so every cover is a collaborative effort.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I got tired of the tedium of submitting my work for publication -- especially with the poetry. Most publishers don't pay for poems, and it takes a lot of research to increase the prospects of getting them published. Even then, the high-quality literary publishers generally accept less than 1% of the submissions they receive, so there's a lot of disappointment. The smaller presses often don't survive very long, but their acceptance rate is usually considerably higher than the established markets. They also can have a long response time. At least with the collections I've published, I don't have to submit any of the poems or stories anymore! Of course, there's still the new work that hasn't been compiled....
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Aside from having the advantage of growing up in the U.S. and the educational opportunities it has provided, I don't think where I grew up has had nearly as much influence as when I grew up. I am a child of the late 70s and early 80s, and many of the books I read were used paperbacks from the latter parts of the Golden Age of science fiction, when there was still a great deal of optimism for the future of humanity. It was also a time of great social and technological change (the first personal computer I saw was in school in 1981), as evidenced by the development of special effects in motion pictures and television.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm working on three books right now, and each of them are major rewrites and expansions on stories I wrote about twenty years ago. They are fantasy stories, reflective of my interest at that time, and it's been an interesting experience to see how poorly written they were. However, I liked the plots and characters enough to rewrite them. Now, I'm going through the revision process, adding in description, a few more scenes, and checking for technical glitches.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
At present, I don't have one. I read on my laptop.
Describe your desk
I don't have one. I sit in my recliner with my laptop on the end of a bookshelf that I've never assembled.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Can't answer this; I'm just starting out on the process and haven't figured out marketing yet.
Published 2014-04-11.
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Books by This Author

Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 63,220. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Police Procedural
Installments is a complex, multi-tiered literary narrative. The outer level is about Harry, a mystery writer struggling with a new story, and the writers’ group helping him with it. The innermost level is the mystery story he is working on. The interplay between the two levels sheds light on the parts of the writing process readers seldom see in the final drafts of the stories they read.
2016: A Year of Poetry
Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 9,070. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2017. Categories: Poetry » Themes & motifs » General, Poetry » Themes & motifs » Death
The poems in this collection are diverse, with love, hate, murder, nature, social and political commentary, and many other topics being explored. Many of the poems also have a strong philosophical underpinning, with philosophers, philosophical questions, and historical / mythological figures being represented.
Please Don't Eat the Penguins
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 71,920. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Coming of age
The earth has experienced a catastrophic environmental disaster that has left much of the world uninhabitable, and humanity has begun to colonize the solar system. Offworld postings are at a premium, and this year Moon Base has two openings—and six candidates. The testing of these candidates is usually routine, but not this time. This time, Meg Arnold is involved….
Aftermath (Book 1 of Aftermath Series)
Series: Aftermath. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 104,230. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Adventure » Action
The Aftermath series is essentially Book 5 of my Angus the Mage series and assumes readers are familiar with the events and characters from that series. The first book is heavily reliant upon such knowledge and takes place between the last section of Angst (“An End of Things”) and the epilogue of that book. It continues the story of Hobart, Embril, Giorge, and Taro.
Exploitation and Other Stories
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 99,900. Language: English. Published: March 14, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Exploitation and Other Stories is a collection of science fiction (SF), fantasy, mystery, and flash fiction. Space exploration, alien encounters, a little magic, and a few crimes / investigations all make an appearance in the stories of this collection.
2015: A Year of Poetry
Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 14,620. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2016. Categories: Poetry » Themes & motifs » General
This collection of poetry contains about 500 poems written during 2015. Many of which are short poems inspired by the poetry of David Malone and Adriana Dascalu, or the activities promoted by Karen O'Leary for her online poetry magazine, Whispers.... They cover a wide range of topics.
Angus the Mage: Bonus Pack
Series: Angus the Mage. Price: $9.99 $5.00 USD. (50% off!) Words: 550,080. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
This contains the four books of the Angus the Mage series (The Tiger's Eye, The Viper's Fangs, The Golden Key, and Angst) along with The Drunken Wizard's Playmates and Other Stories.
Angus the Mage: Books 2, 3, and 4
Series: Angus the Mage. Price: $8.97 $4.49 USD. (50% off!) Words: 363,900. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Adventure » Action
The last three books of the Angus the Mage Series: The Viper's Fangs, The Golden Key, and Angst. For more, read the first book in the series (The Tiger's Eye) and see the descriptions for books 2-4.
Angus the Mage: The Complete Series
Series: Angus the Mage. Price: $8.97 $4.49 USD. (50% off!) Words: 476,060. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
This contains all four books of the Angus the Mage series: The Tiger's Eye, The Viper's Fangs, The Golden Key, and Angst.
Angst (Book 4 of the Angus the Mage Series)
Series: Angus the Mage, Book 4. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 127,430. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Angus is frustrated. King Tyr has confined him to Hellsbreath. Embril went with the patrol to the Angst temple to safeguard The Tiger’s Eye, but she has failed—or betrayed him. Either way, the nexus has been disturbed and Hellsbreath is in danger—and it’s his fault. Commander Garret won’t let him go after her, so all he can do is wait for Hobart and Ortis to return. But when they do...
Story Sampler
Price: Free! Words: 39,870. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Story Sampler is a free sampling of stories found in my other collections that provide the reader with a broad cross-section of the types of stories I have published in these collections (mystery, science fiction, fantasy, mainstream, cross-genre).
The Golden Key (Book 3 of the Angus the Mage Series)
Series: Angus the Mage, Book 3. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 126,410. Language: English. Published: January 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Adventure » Action
The Banner of the Wounded Hand is in disarray. Giorge has succumbed to the curse and his body has disappeared. Angus and Typhus were carried away by Sardach and are missing. Hobart and Ortis are running low on supplies. Will they find Angus before they have to return to civilization? Or will they have to leave him behind?
2014: A Year of Poetry
Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 8,800. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2015. Categories: Poetry » Themes & motifs » General, Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
The majority of the poems in this collection were written during 2014. The rest are either visual poems that were not included in my other collections or were still under consideration for publication when I posted my other collections. The sections are loosely organized around themes that are reflective of my other collections.
Have You Seen My Cat? And Other Stories
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 98,830. Language: English. Published: December 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The stories in this collection are primarily mystery, science fiction, soft horror/dark fantasy, and cross-genre pieces. Most of the stories are down-to-earth ones set in today's world (particularly the mysteries), or begin that way and take a speculative turn into the possible. With the exception of one fantasy mystery, the rest of the stories are set in the near future or in space.
Have You Seen My Cat?
Price: $0.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 20,530. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
When Detective Frank Primrose woke up this morning, he didn't expect to investigate the disappearance of cats. Police detectives simply don't do that sort of thing. But when the chief's niece's cat is missing that's missing, what else can he do? Besides, it isn't just her cat; all of the cats in her building have disappeared. So, where have they gone -- and where will his investigation take him?
Potluck: What's Left Over
Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 16,200. Language: English. Published: October 25, 2014. Categories: Poetry » Themes & motifs » General, Nonfiction » Psychology » Psychological disorders
These are the poems that were left over when I compiled my poetry into thematic collections early in 2014. Aside from the first section (sonnets focusing on psychopathology that I wrote while I was a psychology student), there is no unifying theme. Instead they are sonnets, formal poems, and free verse poetry that cover a range of disconnected topics that didn't fit into my other collections.
The Viper's Fangs (Book 2 of the Angus the Mage Series)
Series: Angus the Mage, Book 2. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 110,720. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Wintering in Hellsbreath's Wizard's School has been good for Angus. He has mastered some new spells, come to accept his situation, and even made a friend. But spring is approaching and Hobart has planned a brief excursion for the Banner of the Wounded Hand, one that ends up being much longer than he anticipated....
The Drunken Wizard's Playmates And Other Stories
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 74,320. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
The Drunken Wizard's Playmates is a humorous light fantasy novel about two drunken apprentices and the mischief they cause. The humor is a bit crude at times, as you might expect from wayward young men whose judgment is impaired by alcohol and who have the ability to use magic…. As a bonus, I've included four other humorous light fantasy short stories with the novel.
Love & Annoyance
Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 17,830. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2014. Categories: Poetry » Themes & motifs » Love, Poetry » Themes & motifs » General
Love & Annoyance is an unusual mix of poems about love and philosophical speculation.
Last Rites and Wrongs
Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 40,450. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2014. Categories: Poetry » Themes & motifs » Death, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Last Rites and Wrongs is a collection of macabre poetry and short stories that revolve mainly around the subjects of death, violence, and destruction. War, suicide, murder, abuse, deviance, and death. Many of the persona poems were inspired by Ai, and the morbid tone is reminiscent of Poe.
The Tiger's Eye (Book 1 of the Angus the Mage Series)
Series: Angus the Mage, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 112,510. Language: English. Published: June 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Angus wakes up one day with a problem: his memory is gone. He doesn't know who he is or what he does. Voltari tells him he is his apprentice, but Angus knows nothing about magic. Still, Voltari is a Master Wizard, so he would know, wouldn't he? Voltari knows other things about him, too, but he isn't talking. Then, just as Angus begins to come to terms with his situation, everything changes....
Of Muse and Pen
Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 18,180. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2014. Categories: Poetry » Themes & motifs » General, Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
The poems in "Of Muse and Pen" range from general commentaries on writing to frustrations I’ve had in learning specific poetic techniques; the joyful burst of inspiration to lamentations when it fizzles to dust; the arduous, annoying process of submitting poetry for publication to the self-indulgent pleasure of having them accepted. In other words, it covers the broad spectrum of writing poetry.
Worms and Other Alien Encounters
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 69,950. Language: English. Published: April 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » General
This is a collection of science fiction short stories, most of which relate to encounters with aliens visiting earth; the remaining stories happen in space (only some of which involve aliens).
A Bard Out of Time and Other Poems
Price: Free! Words: 34,600. Language: English. Published: April 17, 2014. Categories: Poetry » Themes & motifs » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
“A Bard Out of Time” is a long poem that centers on a bard singing songs and traveling from one village to another in a fantasy world. Spells, magical creatures, werewolves, etc. make an appearance in the bard's ballads. The other poems in this collection are likewise fantasy-oriented ones.
A Field of Snow and Other Flights of Fancy
Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 12,470. Language: English. Published: April 12, 2014. Categories: Poetry » Themes & motifs » Nature, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
This is a collection of light verse poetry. Most of the poems are short, humorous, or related to nature.
The Snodgrass Incident
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 76,090. Language: English. Published: April 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
The Snodgrass is a space vessel testing a new engine design. It is sent to Enceladus to investigate the formation of a new Tiger Stripe. But in space, anything can happen. A new invention sidetracks the mission even before it begins, and once they're underway, they have to face the hazards of alien environments, company bureaucracy, and political intrigue. Then they have to get back. . . .