Interview with Robert Turtle

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Reading was a puzzle at first, but I caught on quickly when my teacher Mrs. MacMonnies helped me. My mother got "To and Again" by Walter R. Brooks from the library, and I remember how exciting it was to read.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I tried to write a story when I was seven, but it was much too difficult! Later, I gained confidence by writing practice essays on topics I chose for myself. My English teacher in ninth grade encouraged me to write a description of Viking ships. For a term paper, I studied old popular histories of the Civil War and tried to fill in missing technical details by comparing different accounts of the same battle. Now this information is much more accessible because of search engines and the Internet.
Who are your favorite authors?
Many authors have influenced me, but I often thought of Charles Darwin, Anna Sewell, Henry Williamson, Philip Pullman, and Gary Larson while I was working on "Beasts of the Open Space."
What is your writing process?
At the start of writing "Beasts of the Open Space," I asked myself what unforeseen outcome awaited my characters. After I found a conclusion that seemed compelling and inescapable, it was possible to describe the adventures they would have.
How do you approach cover design?
The cover photograph for Beasts of the Open Space shows exactly the sort of place where I imagine a beast would wish to be. It calls to far-off places. My friend John Strance and I were on a jeep trip in Hidden Valley, Nevada, and I remember climbing the sand dune to get the shot.
What do you read for pleasure?
While writing "Beasts of the Open Space," I enjoyed reading about how horses are trained and the nutritional requirements of different kinds of animals. I find the history of technology especially interesting, and reading about famous engineers and scientists gave me the patience I needed to persevere in my studies. Fantastic fiction is a great love. As a fantasy writer, I am forever in awe of the two short opening chapters of "Black Beauty" by Anna Sewell.
What does your desk look like?
I still have lots of paper on my desk and sometimes on the floor beside it. There's a ragged dictionary my parents gave me years ago and style manuals, too. I keep a paper change control copy and back up frequently. Because I use email and the Internet, I work with two computers as a precaution.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I've going back to technical writing. The next book will be an overview of air conditioning using mks units in place of the mixed units that make advertisements and operating manuals difficult to interpret.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was amazed by Lyra's confrontation with the polar bear king in the movie based on Philip Pullman's "The Golden Compass." Then I was surprised to learn that "Paradise Lost" was the inspiration for his trilogy. After that, fantasy writing had become a game I wanted to play.
Have you ever raised animals?
I worked hard at raising Bourke's Parakeets in an aviary when we lived in Southern California where the climate was favorable. Gapeworm and other problems prevented me from achieving the success I hoped for. The one bird we kept indoors flourished for many years and was a gentle, quiet pet. The lesson seemed to be that endangered species will be better served by habitat preservation than captive breeding!
Published 2016-07-25.
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Books by This Author

Trekking On
Price: Free! Words: 71,130. Language: American English. Published: May 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Trekking On is the sequel to the eco-fiction fantasy Beasts of the Open Space. Prehistoric herbivores Nama and Westwind are together again after a time of crisis and separation. Their former way of life has been swept away, and they set off with their daughter Acacia and her pal Shadow to seek new opportunities in new places.
Beasts of the Open Space
Price: Free! Words: 53,280. Language: American English. Published: January 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Travel, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Horse-like beasts Westwind and Nama hope to start a family. They're smarter than big herbivores have any need to be and see themselves as the product of impersonal forces rather than the willful creatures of a purposeful deity.