Interview with R. Peter Ubtrent

Welcome Peter. I've read the Dark Pilgrim Series and found it a fascinating read. How many books do you currently have available on Smashbooks?
Thanks for the complement. I'm glad you enjoyed reading my books. I currently have nine books available through Smashwords. Six in one series called Dark Pilgrim, with which you are already familiar, two in a series called the Sslithax Heresy, and one stand alone called Eternity's Handmaiden.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote, and the impact it had on you?
I wrote a short story when I was in sixth grade, about the time that Star Wars came out (now I'm dating myself). I used old paper from my dad's store advertising a Christmas special. It was green. I even self-illustrated it. Needless to say, it was a shameful rip-off of Star Wars, but I was only 12. But everyone I showed it to told me that they liked it, especially this one friend of my dad's and that was the catalyst for me to want to write more. I still show all my work that that friend of my dad. Amazingly, he still likes it all.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow. That's a tough question. Does the Lord of the Rings Trilogy count as one or three? One? Okay, the Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit comes next. Tolkien was a master at description as well as character development. You can't help but have empathy for Sam and Frodo, especially Sam who's burden was just as great as the ring-bearers. Plus, the guy invented his own languages and writing. How can you not like that? The Lion of Ireland by Morgan Llywelyn was a great book. I read that one when I was about 18 and it just captivated me. It felt like you were there and that's what a great novel should do. Europe: A History by Norman Davies was very good, though that's non-fiction. He has a master's touch with prose and his insertion of humor into it all makes the reading very easy and enjoyable. The original Dune Series by Frank Herbert would have to be my last choice, but if I had to pick it would be Chapterhouse Dune. It tied it all together so nicely. Herbert had a commanding way of inserting sub-plots into his work that didn't reveal themselves until the end of the series and I really like that.
What do you read for pleasure?
I discovered a long time ago that if I read fiction and am writing, then I sub-consciously add plots from what I'm reading into my story-line, think they're original and only when I'm done realize with much chagrin that I've basically copied someone else's work and have to start all over again. Thus, I only read non-fiction, mostly history. It's not so much of a problem if you base ideas on historical events or themes. The lawyers are far happier....
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
None. I've sold the most books on Smashwords and I thank you for founding this site, but as for other sites.... Well, with over a million self-published authors out there it's rather difficult to get noticed unless you have the time and money to spend on marketing.... Which I don't. I figured it out once and I'd have to spend at least a $3000.00 a year, if not more, on marketing and I don't see that much revenue coming back from sales.
Describe your desk
Computer. Printer. Thesaurus. Lamp. Encyclopedia of 1000 Gods and Deities (for names... great source) Several notebooks with all my important facts regarding the book I'm currently working on. Kleenex. (a must) Chocolate that my wife always puts in a little jar for me. Oh, and can't forget the dust....
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Regardless what I did, I couldn't get any of the BIG publishing houses to even look at my work. All the people who read my stuff always told me to get it published because they really liked it but I never even got a nibble. So I turned to self-publishing, had a few hiccups at first and then e-books came along and made it much easier. This way I get to have my books out there and I don't have to pay for it. Now I just need to sell a few of them.
What is your writing process?
All of my stories have come from dreams. It's not the whole story laid out for me, that would be too easy, but the seed of the story is there, always the beginning and sometimes the end. Then I start to write and, regardless how lame it sounds, I feel as if there is a muse standing there whispering into my ear and telling me what to write and so I write and although I know how the chapter is going to start, I'm usually surprised by how it ends. There are several chapters I've written half-way through a book or series where I release that the characters want me to go in a different direction and so I go there and it turns out far better than what I wanted to do. Characters tend to know their place in the plot-line far better than the author does. Odd how that works out.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Trying to make money. I repair watches and clocks with my father and it keeps me rather busy though not very wealthy. Other than that, I have a nice vegetable garden and I do lots of landscaping around my house and I build plastic and wooden models..... oh, and then there's the wife. Need to spend time with her also. It doesn't leave much time for writing.... no wonder I'm always tired.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest creation is a trilogy... well, it's starting out as a trilogy but then the Dark Pilgrim Series started out as one also and ended up as six large books, so one never knows. It's a combination of sci-fi and fantasy. A large galactic empire called the Va'Shan Empire, systematically attacks planetary systems, killing off all the inhabitants but the males under 6 years old and the females between 13-18. They take the males and turn them into their soldiers and the females are presented to the Archus Superus for his pleasure, picking those he likes and letting the lords of the empire have the rest for whatever devious purposes they want. The planet of Caelus is a quiet, backwoods non-technology planet where magic flourishes within the people. It is picked at random to be Suppressed by the Va'Shan. Only eight inhabitants of the planet manage to survive and are thrown into a world of hype-drives, blasters, mega-warships, and advanced tech, fighting to stay alive in a world that no longer believes in magic. The story itself revolves around Lothar and Lorelei who were to be married the day of the attack and who are separated, she to be a sex slave of the Archus Superus and he to fight his way through a world he doesn't understand to find and save her. There are a few gods along the way who are disturbed by the attack on Caelus as well as court intrigue and religious in-fighting. The first book is already written and I'm about 3/4 of the way through the second book and as usual, the story has taken on a life of its own.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Like many of those in my profession, I don't have an e-book reader. I have a library of over 1500 books and love to sit in one of my big soft leather chairs with the fire crackling and hold a book in my hands and read. There 's something about physically turning the pages and holding the book, the smell of the paper and the binding that makes it special. I can't even imagine reading something on an e-reader. Go figure, seeing that I see most of my books as e-books. Guess I'm just a dinosaur....
Published 2014-05-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Chaos of Unity: Book two of the Sslithax Heresy
Price: $5.00 USD. Words: 214,120. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical
The second and final book in The Sslithax Heresy by acclaimed author R. Peter Ubtrent.
Sacrilege: Book One of the Sslithax Heresy
Price: $5.00 USD. Words: 208,590. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
From acclaimed author R. Peter Ubtrent comes the epic story of how humanity was created and why....
Dark Pilgrim Fallen: Book Six of the Dark Pilgrim Series
Series: Dark Pilgrim Series, Book 6. Price: $5.00 USD. Words: 263,450. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(5.00)
The sixth and final book in the acclaimed, 5-star rated Dark Pilgrim Series
Dark Redemption: Book Five of the Dark Pilgrim Series
Series: Dark Pilgrim Series, Book 5. Price: $5.00 USD. Words: 192,460. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(5.00)
Book Five of the acclaimed, 5-star rated Dark Pilgrim Series. Science fiction at its best
Dark Enlightenment: Book Four of the Dark Pilgrim Series
Series: Dark Pilgrim Series, Book 4. Price: $5.00 USD. Words: 202,560. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(5.00)
Book Four of the acclaimed, 5-star rated Dark Pilgrim series. Science fiction at its best
Dark Throne: Book Three of the Dark Pilgrim Series
Series: Dark Pilgrim Series, Book 3. Price: $5.00 USD. Words: 181,380. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(5.00)
Book three of the acclaimed, 5-star rated Dark Pilgrim Series. Science fiction at its best.
Seed of Power: Book Two of the Dark Pilgrim Series
Series: Dark Pilgrim Series, Book 2. Price: $5.00 USD. Words: 191,350. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(5.00)
Book Two of the Dark Pilgrim Series - science fiction action/adventure space opera
Eternity's Handmaiden
Price: $5.00 USD. Words: 222,870. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
(5.00)
Science Fiction mystery thriller that deals with time-travel and the the fate of the universe.
Dark Pilgrim Rising: Book one of the Dark Pilgrim Series
Series: Dark Pilgrim Series, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 205,200. Language: English. Published: June 20, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(4.00)
A Science Fiction thriller set in the far distant future against a backdrop of hostile aliens, scheming Greater Houses and The Church of the Blessed Prophets, all trying to claim the throne of the Imperium left vacant when the emperor is assassinated. Greed and avarice, love and hope, despair and lust all find a place in the first of a six book series.