Interview with Robert L. Slater

What do you read for pleasure?
Science Fiction and Fantasy or FantSciFi [Pronounced fancify] as my first choice. I also read a fair amount of classics, especially Shakespeare. For non-fiction, I like history and memoir.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Whatever is in my hand. I have Kobo, Nook and Kindle readers on lots of devices, but no actual e-reader.
Describe your desk
It's a mess. They're all messes. I have four desks. One at work that has so many layers as to be unusable and three at home that serve various purposes. The ones at home are stressing out my cats. They're really that bad!
When did you first start writing?
As a youngster. I wrote songs, poems and short stories. Or what passed for all of the above. They had words in them.

I started seriously writing fiction the first time in 1991. I finished a novel and a bunch of short stories over the next several years and submitted 600+ times, collecting 14 sales a few acceptances and yes, more than 500 rejections!
What's the story behind your latest book?
I wrote a short story call Nor Iron Bars a Cage in 1996, or so. It featured a prison in an apocalyptic setting. It was literally and literarily a response to Lord of the Flies, which I had recently read. It made me so angry, I wanted to write a story where the worst of humanity proved worth saving. I was never satisfied with the story.

In 2009 after teaching at alternative high schools for a decade, I came up with the idea of placing an at-risk teen girl in an apocalypse. I thought about it off and on for the next couple years before deciding it was time to get serious. I wrote the first draft of All Is Silence in November of 2012. Almost 60,000 words. Then I added 20,000 more in December. My goal was to publish it the following August. Oh, silly author. It came out in early 2014, still not bad.

After All Is Silence, I have at least 10 more novels and a bunch of short stories and novellas to tell in the Deserted Lands universe. I think there are not enough stories about regular people surviving a realistic apocalypse. And there are especially not enough with strong female protagonists!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had gone the traditional route. All the rejections and all the near acceptances suggested I was close. When All Is Silence started coming out, I knew I had to get it out there for people to read. And I wasn't going to wait two to three years for it. I felt like it occupies a niche that is not overpopulated. Lizzie, the protagonist, is half Mexican-American and has issues with depression and suicide. She is a conglomeration of so many students I worked with over the years that I think she resonates with people who might not find a protagonist they can identify with so closely.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When the words are flowing and I laugh out loud or start tearing up. And then of course, the two edged sword of praise from a passionate reader. "I loved it. When is the next one going to be finished."
What are you working on next?
I've got a parallelequel novella, Toils and Snares that will be out in the next few months. I am aiming for having Straight Into Darkness, the next book in Lizzie's story, out by summer of 2015.
Who are your favorite authors?
Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffery, Mindy McGinnis, Spider Robinson.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I teach high school: English, Media, Creative Writing. I also play guitar and write songs. You can hear my songs on Spotify and other music services. I like to cook and travel and read...
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Not much. It's in a file somewhere. I remember the characters were walking in the woods and I said they had walked acres and acres! Area instead of distance! Doh!
Published 2015-01-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Straight Into Darkness: Deserted Lands Book II
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 88,580. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Deserted Lands Book II: Lizzie survived a pandemic that killed 98% of humanity. Now she is pregnant after an end-of-the-world, one night stand. She and her unborn baby are 'protected' by her family and the government of The City—no travel or endangering herself or the baby. Lizzie doesn’t like to be controlled, so she runs away as the power goes out.
All Is Silence: Deserted Lands Book I
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 94,350. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Coming of age
Lizzie, 17 & suicidal, barely navigates her life. Then everything falls apart. In an apocalyptic land deserted by disease, she lacks reasons to live until a shocking turn of events reveals a phone number. Her call pulls her dangerously cross-country to meet a stranger she thought was dead. There is plenty of food, gas & space… but fear, anger & lust for power still remain.