Interview with Robert Benjamin Mccrabb

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was an autobiographical memoir with an inspirational theme. It is called "Real Christianity (faith in a hard world). I remember it very well. I had a thirty foot motor home and I drove deep into the mountains to a secluded place and opened up my Bible and asked the question, what is a real Christian. I borrowed two hundred bucks from my girlfriend at the time because I was so broke. I will never forget her for doing that for me. It launched my writing career.
What is your writing process?
I live in the Philippines. It is very noisy and crowded around our place during the day and there are a lot of distractions. It is also very hot, so I write at night, when everyone else is sleeping and it is a bit cooler. I do not start with a plan, I just sit down and start writing and it comes to me as I go. Sometimes I wonder at the story that comes out of me. I really do not know where it comes from and I can't force it or try to reinvent it. It just has to come naturally from my inner creative spirit.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read was Watership Down. It had a great impact on me. I can still picture those rabbits and the scenes from the book in my head thirty years later.
How do you approach cover design?
I always pay a professional to design my covers. I have a specific person that I use and he allows me as many changes as I need until I get it right.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Bible is my favorite book. It is also the best selling book of all time. I love it because it covers all of life and it is full of wisdom. My next favorite book is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. He was so gifted and he put things in layman's terms that any reader can understand. My next book is the Screw tape letters by the same author. I like it for the same reason. A book called the Shack really touched me as well. My last book would be my Believers Commentary. It looks at all the interpretations of various verses in the Bible and gives them all an equal weight allowing the reader to decide which one to choose for themselves.
What do you read for pleasure?
I am reading books by Cyndi Lord. She is one of my favorite Authors. She uses a technique called tell don't show and I am trying to learn to do the same thing in my own writing.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle Cloud reader, available on amazon.com.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Honestly, I do not find book marketing very successful at all. Sometimes I think it is a total waste of time. People just seem to stumble onto my books and if they enjoy them and give a good review, then I rise in the Amazon ranking system. The more I rise, the more people see my book and buy it. It works like that and it is very organic. I still advertise all over the place. I promote my books on facebook, Goodreads, Awesome gang, Linkedin, my website and twitter. I spend a lot of time doing this each day, but I still have not seen much of an uptick in sales that I can link directly to these activities.
Describe your desk
My desk is neat and small. I have a group of papers with keywords and web sites that I have picked up over time. When I write, my desk must not be cluttered at all. I need to be able to think clearly without distractions.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Canada. In the nineteen sixties and seventies, there was a movement to reform the divorce system in our country. In my opinion, they got it all wrong and the system is badly tilted in favor of the women. I have suffered all the implications of this but the worst one of all is the total loss of my four children. I have not seen them in four years. This experience with the Canadian divorce, child support and child custody laws has influenced me greatly. You will catch a hint of the resulting pain and trauma in all my books.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing four years ago. I have been writing full time for two years now. I usually spend two to twelve hours a day at my desk.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Americano in the Philippines is the story of a brooding loner who has been bruised by a nasty divorce, the loss of his children and the great recession. The only job he can find is as a bag boy in a grocery store. At forty years old, he finds this incredibly humiliating. He seeks out gratification in the form of internet Cam girls from Asia. He falls for one of the girls and decides that he must meet her. This decision is the impetus for a whole new reality filled with culture shock, mortal danger, intrigue, and suspense. He faces a gauntlet of nasty characters intent on sending him back to his own country, including corrupt policemen, a politician and a condescending doctor. He has to fight through all this if he wants to rescue his sweetheart from a life of sexual slavery. He faces his own inner demons and it is touch and go for most of the book. It is a romantic suspense novel with a sweet love story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I got sick of rejection letters from traditional publishers. The whole publishing world is changing. On amazon, they sell four e books for every one hard copy. Publishers are not willing to take a chance on up and coming authors like myself. So I got down to it, put up my first book on amazon.com and I have never looked back.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am just starting out with smashwords. I will let you know how I do.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the creative process, putting words down on paper that can possibly entertain, edify or even change a reader in some special way. There is nothing like seeing your finished work before the masses. It can be terrifying but also incredibly exciting. It is a rush and I am addicted now.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans mean the world to me. I love to get positive reviews from them. It makes my year. I think of my readers as new friends and i try to stay in touch with them as much as possible through any means possible. I want my writing to be remembered and I want it to be relevant in our world today. So the readers are where all that starts. They are not the most important part of my writing though. First and foremost, I write for my children in the hopes that they will read one day and know me better. I also write for God, hoping that he is pleased with whatever I put out there.
What are you working on next?
I am working on the second book in the series, Americano in the Philippines. The story picks up where the first book ends and follows the main characters, Robert and Angelyn, through the incredible trauma of an invasion of the Philippines by the Chinese. I honestly believe this will happen in the next ten years and so I feel the book is very relevant in our time. I also know that the book will be just as action packed and suspenseful as the first book.
Who are your favorite authors?
Clive Staples Lewis and Cyndi Lord.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My beautiful young wife and my four year old step son are my inspiration at this time. I also want to live a good life for my children. I know they want me to be happy and I want the same for them, so I jump out of bed and take it one day at a time, giving it everything I have to give.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to go to the bar and sing Kareoke. I am a good singer and I feel like a rock star. I also love to swim in the sea and go for long walks on the beach.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I find the E books that I read on amazon.com most of the time or by connecting with an author through facebook.
What is the thing that you care about most.
I am very passionate about the cause of helping girls escape sexual slavery. I give a portion of all the sales of my books to this cause and I have started up a gofundme campaign. It can be found at gofundme.com and searched under "save girls from sexual slavery".
Published 2016-03-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.