Interview with Redginald Abercrombie

Describe your desk
The ecology of my desk is an ever-changing environment. It usually contains my laptop, my dictionary, my thesaurus, and my well-worn copy of The Elements of Style. Pinned to the wall beside me is my writing schedule and calendar. For decoration, I have printouts of proposed book covers, three ancient coffee cups full of writing implements and photos of my granddaughters. The shelf above my desk is filled with my favorite rock and classical CDs that I no longer listen to since everything digital in now on my laptop.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Like most writers, I have a bookcase full of favorite authors. My two favorite books based on prose style have to be Jane Austen's Emma and George Eliot's Middlemarch. My favorite early 20th Century American books are F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises for their dissection of American customs. A more recent book that has had a great influence on me is Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, a marvelous and chilling look at modern paranoia.
What do you read for pleasure?
I have always been a voracious reader. I'm the kind of person who stops and reads the fine print in car ads. I read non-fiction about new technology, political scandals and true crime. In fiction, I read mostly crime novels, especially private eye and police procedurals, and near-future sci-fi along with a smattering of literary novels.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in southwestern Michigan about 90 miles from Chicago. I was the oldest child in a lower middle class family. Typical of many writers, I was a bookish kid who loved school and gravitated toward the school paper and class yearbook as extracurricular activities (although I did letter in track). Growing up where I did gave me a feel for small town America where the urban and rural life styles collide. I think where I grew up also might explain my affinity for the works of Ernest Hemingway and his spare writing style and choice of themes.
When did you first start writing?
For many years I kept my first "novel" written when I was eleven. I wrote it on a tiny spiral notepad, one "chapter" per page. Of course, it was a mystery about a missing cat. I began writing in earnest when I was 16 and my parents bought me a thesaurus to mark the beginning of my career. I began writing as a reporter for the school newspaper and the local paper where my father sold advertising and wrote for and co-edited the school's annual literary journal.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Although writing for publication is fraught with difficulties, I find the entire process to be joyful. Writing is my legal high. I love coming up with a story idea, doing the research to see if it will work as a story, creating the characters and settings, developing the plotline, the daily writing and re-writing, and finally the editing that always seems to make the whole thing better. For me, no career could be more enjoyable.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, The Android Who Knew Too Much, came from reading about the difficulty of creating true artificial intelligence and articles on the latest robots. Soon I was thinking about what the early days of androids might be like when society is getting used to having these intelligent robots walking around, both the comedy of it and the potential for new forms of criminal activity. The plot idea came from a viewing of Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (the second version with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day). I couldn't help thinking what mayhem could occur with murderous androids on the loose.
What are you working on next?
Next up is a series of novels about the heroes of The Android Who Knew Too Much, Det. Eddie Fowler and his some-time girlfriend Cari Dunham (who becomes a part-time investigative reporter) and their misadventures tracking down criminals and their android accomplices. These novels are loosely based on various literary tropes, such as Frankenstein's monster and dystopian societies. Another proposed series revolves around a female police detective who is severely injured by an android and then, as part of her convalescence, she's assigned an android as her companion as she tries to uncover the conspiracy that tried to kill her.
Published 2015-04-23.
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Books by This Author

The Android Who Knew Too Much
Series: The Android Who.... Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 48,210. Language: American English. Published: May 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
In the year 2035 Artificial Intelligence (AI) androids have finally arrived. Detective Eddie Fowler struggles to hunt down a stolen cargo container of state-of-the-art android parts. Publicist Cari Dunham is at first intrigued then alarmed by the abilities of her neighbor's new android. Together, they unravel a plot that presents humanity with a menacing new breed of crime.