Interview with Rob Shackleford

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
To risk a cliche - Life lets me get up each morning. Every day is a beautiful thing that lets me learn more, see more and take a step in the direction of my desires and goals. I am fortunate to live where and with whom I want, so I have that advantage.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am fortunate in that I have experienced a life change where I can write all day if I want. However when not writing, or going through the marketing process for books, I engage in research, or enjoy the outdoors, which means getting into the surf or the surrounds at where I live.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I tend to be referred to ebooks, either through articles or, I hate to admit, advertising. If the topic or author looks interesting, I'll buy it.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first stories were, surprisingly, children's illustrated stories. Because they were rather unique I have recently returned to them and are going through the illustration process to see if they will be viable.
Early stories are certainly cringe worthy.
What is your writing process?
I started writing when sitting on a beach where I imagined what the area would look like 100 years ago, then 200 years ago, then 1000 years ago. Based on the premise that someone could actually travel to the period, I engaged in research. Research is king, for there are more details in reality, and in history, than I could ever create. The research allows the narrative to flow and additional creativity to be prompted.
I then follow my inspiration and create outlines for chapters, though on many occasions the writing process takes over and my fingers lead me in directions I never imagined. That then requires more research, and so on.
Once the manuscript is completed I have to go back and remove the waffle, which is always a challenge.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I think one of the earliest books I read, besides children's books and the classics to which I was encouraged by my father, was 'Cat's Eye' by Andrea Norton. I wasn't very old but the imagination and new worlds inspired a love of Science Fiction, which still persists.
How do you approach cover design?
I approach Cover Design in an attempt to clutter bust - to stand out in a crowd. My cover - soon to be covers - are deliberately kept simple, bold and yet in sync with the story. I look at book covers to be a powerful form of marketing where I look aat what I like, while trying to stay away from cliche or cheese.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is always difficult as my tastes have changed over time.

1984 - George Orwell
Magnificent ideas and prose that inspire and terrify. Any book that stimulates emotion and presents what, then, were new ideas, all presented in an easy to follow format, means a two-thumbs-up from me. Alas, George Orwell's predictions still seem all too close for comfort.

Dune - Frank Herbert
The Dune Trilogy was brilliant, but Dune was the best. It is one of those books that I have read on a number of occasions and enjoyed thoroughly each time because of the breadth of the ideas and concepts that inspired a generation of geeks.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
A creation of clever silliness, Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide is brilliant and full of quotable quotes. another re-readable book when bored or needing a lift.

The Stand - Stephen King
Though I am not a huge fan of Stephen King, when he does something right it is brilliant. His Science Fiction offerings include The Stand, which is truly a great read.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy - J R R Tolkien
Before the movies, these books set my heart free into a strange, fantastic world. I think the movies gave the books credit and they are always worth another read.
What do you read for pleasure?
I tend to read Science Fiction, particularly clever stories, though I also tend to be very eclectic and give anything a go. Biographies, war stories, Harry Potter, George R R Martin's Game of Thrones, and historical novels are all fair game.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Alas - it is an IPad. I have yet to break into more sophisticated devices.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Too early to determine at the moment. I hope on-line promotions through marketing specialists will do the trick.
Describe your desk
2 large screen computer, surround sound speakers with a small motivational shrine on the sub-woofer, books stacked to one side with backup drives, bookmarks, and a keffiyeh head scarf I picked up in travels. Not too messy but ...
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up, and am still growing up, in Queensland, Australia. My blue-collar upbringing was at a time when we could create our own adventures, while my father's conviction that we could escape and broaden our horizons caused me to struggle through many of the Classics at a young age. I still think Johnathon Swift of Gulliver's Travels must have been stoned.
This gave me a love of the written word and a source of stories from the perspective of the working man.
When did you first start writing?
Only recently - about 6 years ago. I always thought I couldn't write, but in the end I had to write. I think it started as therapy.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Traveller Inceptio is the first of three books. I didn't plan it that way, but after the book was completed it cried out for a sequel or two. My second book - Traveller Probo - is almost in draft form.

As with all books, mine starts with a premise - What would it be like if we could travel into the past - but have the travel limited only to 1000 years. How different was the world then? Would we survive?

Traveller Inceptio - Inceptio is Latin for Beginning or Inception - examines the work of a PHD research group at a small regional University to develop a new scanner for passenger and baggage clearance for Customs. On testing the device, the target items simply disappeared.

Only after intensive research, and eventually sending back one of their team, do the researchers come to the conclusion that the device, which they called the Transporter, sends the subject back in Time 1000 years.
Their research was not classified and their findings are published. After intense global academic debate it was considered, how would the world use a device that sends subjects back in Time? An audacious project is devised to send survival specialists back to the safest location Historians determine, which is Saxon England. Lacking Indiana Jones types in the Historical researcher ranks, a select group of Special Services troops are trained to survive the rigors of travel into the past.
Traveller Inceptio details the invention of the Transporter and how 21st Century Special Service researchers survive the trials of the early 11th Century England.

A few spoilers, but I hope not too many.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wrote my story, then self published, realised there were errors, so engaged a professional editor, changed the manuscript again and again, and here I am. My motivation is plain bloody mindedness I suppose, as the process of becoming an author is now almost insurmountable. But I have faith in my story, hope my writing is good enough, and now have to believe in myself.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
To be determined - I have high hopes.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is when someone comments that it is a terrific story and a real page-turner. Through family and friends I managed to have quite a few copies distributed to their networks, and I also performed a few book signings at bookstores. The feedback was very favourable and book two eagerly anticipated.
That relief and joy is the greatest feeling.
What do your fans mean to you?
I consider anyone who likes what I write with enormous gratitude. When I have fans, I imagine I will feel the same.
What are you working on next?
Traveller Inceptio lends itself to a sequel, which is Traveller Probo - Latin for prove or examine.

Acting on the assumption that Saxon Traveller was successful, more nations are eager to engage in their own Traveller projects. But there is only one Transporter, so enormous efforts are target creating a second device, while nations squabble over who will be the next to engage their own Traveller project.

That's all I can describe at the moment.
Who are your favorite authors?
Having gone through a number of authors such as Wilbur Smith, James Michener, Tom Clancy, Alistair McLean, Dan Brown, etc and tired of their works, I admit that I still like the following:

Tolkien
J K Rowling
George Orwell

While George R R Martin and Steven king are great story tellers worthy of a read.
How have Family and Friends support assisted in your writing.
When we delve into the murky world of what is now called being an Indie Author, we are first stunned by the lack of interest and the innumerable barriers to new work. Nobody cares and, on further inspection, I realised how many budding authors are out there.
Family and friends have been honestly supportive and encouraging. They passed on my work, even if it in its first edition, to their friends and people who didn't know me, and their positive feedback was invaluable and overwhelmingly positive. These are the people who have helped me to continue and persevere.
Published 2017-03-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Traveller Inceptio
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 199,440. Language: English. Published: March 26, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Historical » Medieval
If you were sent a thousand years into the past, would you survive? With the accidental development of the Transporter, university researchers determine that the device sends any subject one thousand years into the past. Or is it into a possible past? The enigmatic Transporter soon becomes known as a Time Machine, but with limitations. An audacious research project is devised to use the Transporte