Interview with Robin Burks

Published 2013-12-22.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my Kindle Paper White. Although I started out with a Nook and then proceeded to start using the Kindle app on my tablet, the Kindle device itself is so convenient, lightweight and easy on the eyes.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a very small town in Hayti, Missouri, which is about an hour and a half from Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis is actually a setting in my Alex Grosjean novels (Zeus, Inc. and The Curse of Hekate) because I felt I wanted to write about a place I knew well. I'm currently working on a science fiction novel (The Book Of Revelations) where part of it takes place in a post-apocalyptic Midwest.
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing my entire life. I always loved creative writing, both in high school and college. I always received great comments from teachers about things I'd written, but no one ever said to me, "You could be a writer." I really feel failed, in that respect, by the educational system. I spent a lot of time online roleplaying back when the world wide web was relatively new, and that led to what I like to refer to as "interactive storytelling." I eventually started a blog, realized that I loved to write and a friend challenged me to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) several years ago. Zeus, Inc. was born from that and I found my voice as an author.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love those small moments of pure inspiration: they are much rarer than people would think. Most often, writing is just that: writing. But occasionally, there's a bright lightbulb that pops up over your head that gives you an idea that changes your entire perspective. I think every writer lives for those moments and that's why we keep writing, even on those days that it doesn't feel like the words might come.
What are you working on next?
I am currently writing a science fiction novel (or series of novels, as it seems to be rather long) called The Book of Revelations. It's about a sort of apocalypse, religion, faith and a very important mouse.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors are those who inspire me: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Guy Gavriel Kay, George R.R. Martin, Caitlin Kiernan and Charles Dickens.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My "day" job is as a science journalist, so the bulk of my day is spent writing. I feel very lucky in being able to make a living as a working writer. I'm excited about what I'll be writing when I wake up in the morning and go to bed excited for the next day. It also gives me time to work on my novels and sometimes ideas will pop into my head that I cannot forget until I've committed them to memory by writing them down.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a complete geek and nerd, so my free time is generally spent watching genre television (I'm obsessed with Doctor Who), going to fan conventions (as a fan, mostly, although sometimes as a guest), cosplaying (or working on costumes), playing video games and blogging about geekdom.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
If one of my favorite authors has released something new, it's easy to decide to read those. However, I've found a lot of great novels through StoryBundle, as well as through recommendations on GoodReads and from friends. I also occasionally receive review copies of novels and many of those have surprised me with how wonderful they've been.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Oh, wow, that is a tough question! So here goes nothing:

1. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman: I think this book inspired me that writing about gods in a modern-day setting could work. This book was a huge influence in how committed I was to Zeus, Inc. (although the material is very different) and The Curse of Hekate.

2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: There is just something about this book that I keep returning to. I suppose I love a story where someone redeems themselves by becoming a true hero to save others. I am also intrigued by the French Revolution.

3. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King: Okay, this is technically not one book, but a series of them, but I love how King interweaves stories and settings here. And his penchant for wonderful dialogue continues to inspire me to write better dialogue myself.

4. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle: This was the first science fiction book I ever read and I think it's part of why I adore science fiction now.

5. Rise of the Red Shadow by Joe Lallo: How could I not include an indie book on this list? I adore Lallo's Book of Deacon series and this prequel is probably the best of the best. I couldn't put this book down and found myself emotionally invested in the character.
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