Interview with Robert Gonko

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I've been reading stories for as long as I can remember. Even kindergarten books have stories. I do remember being very fond of Curious George as a child.
What do you read for pleasure?
Thrillers, science fiction, alternate history, and the occasional non-fiction book.
Describe your desk
A mess.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow. That's a tough one because I love so many books. It's why I do what I do. Let me give it a shot but there's no particular ranking.

Dune by Frank Herbert. In many ways the ultimate science fiction novel. I've never encountered anything quite so grand in its scope while remaining, at heart, a human story.

Treasure by Clive Cussler. Though I'm a fan of the entire Dirk Pitt series, this book was the one that made me realize that I wanted to write novels.

Celebrity by Thomas Thompson. I actually came across this one by way of a TV miniseries. The book is far superior, as you might expect, and one of these days I must really dig out my copy and read it again.

Chiefs by Stuart Woods. This is another one I happened upon after seeing a TV miniseries (Yes, I'm an 80s kid). This one is a multi-generational story following three small town police chiefs after the same serial killer.

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow. I saw the movie first (big shock, I know) and after reading the book decided the film was one of the best adaptations I'd ever seen. The book is utterly fascinating. As a side note, Turow's Kindle County inspired the creation of my fictional city, Port Mason.

I know the question said five books but I have to throw another in there. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. Unlike many, I actually read the book before seeing the movie. Brilliant work.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
When I have some success, I'll let you know. :)
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
When I find one I'll let you know.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'd studied traditional publishing and realized that getting noticed there would be like climbing Everest, times 100. I didn't want to put myself through that. By the time I was really ready to start doing books, digital publishing was in full swing and I decided that was the way to go. I get to do it my way.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
You'll find this amusing, but I often go to bookstores and see what they have before looking up the ebook editoin.
How do you approach cover design?
Well I usually have an idea, which I then try to communicate to my cover artist. He then makes it look much better than how I saw it in my head. For 'In The Crosshairs' this approach was modified slightly. My daughter (12 at the time) sketched out my initial concept which I then sent to my cover artist, the incomparable Edward Howell. As always, Eddie delivered something that was much better than what I expected.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sitting at the keyboard and letting the ideas flow.
Who are your favorite authors?
In no particular order. Clive Cussler, Harry Turtledove, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, Mario Puzo, Steve Berry, Rick Jones, Scott Turow, Stephen Baxter, Peter David, John Gardner, J.K. Rowling and Ian Fleming.
Published 2017-03-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

In The Crosshairs
Series: Port Mason. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 78,470. Language: English. Published: March 14, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Steve Bennett is back in Robert Gonko's new thriller, "In The Crosshairs". The private detective faces his toughest test yet as he navigates a web of corruption in the police department to find out who is targeting police informants. Could it be the chief of police himself?
The Servant - Special Edition
Series: Port Mason. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,920. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
(4.00 from 1 review)
When same-sex marriage becomes law, the killing starts. The perpetrator: A vicious psychopath who calls himself 'The Servant of the Lord.' The man determined to stop him: private detective Steve Bennett, who joins the hunt when one of his best friends falls victim to the killer.
The Inheritance
Series: Port Mason. Price: Free! Words: 22,350. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Sam Harman has just inherited three billion dollars, thrusting him into a dangerous world of money, power, intrigue and murder. How will Sam and his family survive?