Join me in welcoming Bob Holton, author, dreamer, and scriptwriter. Sit beside us in the Dragonfly Scrolls studio as we discuss the ups and downs of publishing, dreams and inspirations. This is a man with a fascinating story, a man who has used what most would call a disability to fuel his creativity. He is honest and forthright. Join me as we discuss his journey from a fault on Farmtown to the author of novels.
Welcome Bob. Thank you for joining us here.
girl with a quill: Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Bob Holton?
Bob: Bob is a 49-year-old, Husband, Father of 3 great kids, Dad to two awesome Step-Children, and Grandfather to 4 of the prettiest granddaughters in the world (sorry a bit biased there). He is a disabled veteran who has turned to writing to actually survive each day.
girl with a quill: When did you decide that you wanted to be a Writer?
Bob: I was playing Farmtown of Facebook and had a big cross in the middle of my farm. Because of that cross I met a nice young lady named Marlene Milton. She was great to talk to and told me about her husband Derek Milton. It turned out that Derek is a Movie Director and Screenplay writer. She introduced me to him via Facebook and we became good friends. He felt enough trust in me that he shared a couple of screenplays that he had written and wanted to get my opinion on. I read two of his scripts and knew that I could do that very same thing. I told him I wanted to try my hand at it and he began mentoring me. Well the screenplay idea turned out to be a novella instead and Journey to the Edge was born.
girl with a quill: How long have you been writing for?
Bob: Unlike most writers, I have no schooling other than a college English course I had to take for my Associates degree in Mechanical design. But I had always been pretty good at writing. My first real attempt came in October of 2009.
girl with a quill: You write both screenwriting and fiction. Do you have a first love of either of these?
Bob: I am stuck on writing novels. I still have ideas for screenplays in my head, but my books are my love.
girl with a quill: Working in these two creative disciplines would require a different set of skills for each. What tools from screenwriting have helped you in your fiction writing and vice versa?
Bob: The thing with screenplays is you need to work your Characters and tempo quickly. If there is no interest in the first ten minutes it is going to die. I feel with my novels I can take more time with the character and plot building. Screen writing gives me a better feel for building the scenes with a lot of detail. You are limited to about 100 minutes (pages) in screenplays, so it has to be quick.
girl with a quill: Many people in 9-5 jobs have a water-cooler space where they go to talk with their colleagues about work issues. Do you have a “water-cooler” group for your writing life?
Bob: I am 100% disabled due to physical problems and severe bipolar disorder. I can’t function around the water cooler. But I do sometimes tell my wife about a scene and get her thoughts, she is a my water-cooler buddy. I also get ideas from my Facebook family.
girl with a quill: Who or what is the greatest influence on you as a writer? and Why?
Bob: Definitely have to say my Mentor/Best friend Derek Milton (although he lives in Canada and I am in Tennessee). He keeps me going and has taught me the three keys to writing: Faith in yourself, Focus on the prize, Patience that it will come together in time.
girl with a quill: If your life story were a novel, what genre would it be and what would be the story-arc up to this point?
Bob: Hmmmm… well it would be a tear-jerker for sure. I have been through hell and back in my life, but now I have the Lord Jesus in my life and a wonderful wife to keep me steady.
girl with a quill: Tell us about the place that you write? What do you fill that space with?
Bob: The place I write…. There is everything and anything. I am not the most organized person to say the least. I have licorice drops and sugar-free lifesavers. The latest book I am reading (or just finished.) and always a cold soda… no alcohol here.
girl with a quill: Tell us about your writing process from that magical moment when the story’s idea / character voice interrupts your thoughts…what happens next?
Bob: Well I let my manic side take over. I begin with a what if situation and then I figure out the characters. The rest flies off my fingers. I am no good at laying out a story. I seem to know where it begins and where it will end before the first letter is typed. I can envision planets, characters, and creatures from the top of my head.
girl with a quill: Are you a plotter, a pantster or a little of both?
Bob: I am most definitely a pantster… I ride on the seat of my britches when I write. I let my brain and fingers tell me the story. I know that most authors spend a lot of time with outlines… I just have never been one. I sit at my computer and let the mania begin. Hahaha
girl with a quill: You write mainly science fiction. What drew you to this genre?
Bob: I was always from the time I first watched television enthralled in Science Fiction shows. I remember the first episode of Star Trek and loved a show called Space: 1999. But I also had a love of comic books which took me to other worlds. So it all tied in together.
girl with a quill: If you could try your pen at another genre, which genre would you choose?
Bob: Ohhh…. I want to write a full-blown horror. I have a devious mind at times and would love to write one that would scare the crap out of everyone.
girl with a quill: Can you tell us a bit about the books you have published?
Bob: Well right now all my publishers other than the one I am doing my WIP have been fired. I was with Trafford Publishing at first with Journey to the Edge and couldn’t afford the “marketing” packages that they didn’t tell me about in the beginning and it cost me a bit to get it published. I then got hood-winked by PublishAmerica. I was so excited by their “We pay the Author, not them paying us” ploy. I fell for it for both the rewrite of Journey (which they demanded a new name) and Guardian’s Alliance. I was excited at the fact that they would publish both my books. It turned out to be the worst thing to do. I finally have in the past week bought my right back from PublishAmerica for both titles and will be talking with my current publisher about them.
girl with a quill: Your book, Soleri, was awarded a spot in book of the year for 2010 on BooksandAuthors.net. Did winning an award give you added encouragement in writing?
Bob: Soleri is my baby. Yes getting the award from BooksandAuthors.net was a major shot in the arm. I was actually wondering just before that if I wanted to continue writing when I couldn’t see any sales (thanks to PublishAmerica). It gave me a lot more faith in what I was doing.
girl with a quill: Are you working on any WIP now? Can you tell us a bit about it?
Bob: I am in edit mode for my 70,000 word novel called Deep Screams. It is going to be published with World Castle Publications sometime the end of summer. It is a Sci/Fi-Horror-Paranormal about a space station. The original crew meets their end and a new crew is sent up… let’s leave it there for now….
girl with a quill: Why do you write?
Bob: I write because it is therapeutic. I am lost in my own world when I write, and I write all day and into the night. If I didn’t write I would be going nuts for sure. It gives me an outlet to release my anxieties and my depressions. It is almost like a drug for me that I have to have. I am constantly working on something whether it is a new book, or a screenplay, or doing a review of someone else’s work (which I do once in a while).
girl with a quill: On your website, you say that you have used your Bipolar Disorder to fuel your creativity and unlock the writer with. Can you share a little of your journey?
Bob: Well I have lived for many years not being able to control my thoughts and fears. When I began writing that very first time, I found that I could concentrate just on it as long as I didn’t have a deadline (which for me is a loaded pistol). I let my thoughts go free and let them tell me what to write. As I went along I found that there are many worlds in my head and many stories that come from different people that I grew up with or places I dreamed of.
girl with a quill: Your first book was inspired by a dream you had. Do most of your writing ideas come to you this way?
Bob: All my writing comes from my dreams. Journey to the Edge started as a dream of me and two of my sisters being trapped in a cave and couldn’t get out and we hid from the monsters that were actually our pasts. The dream turned into something much bigger as I sat down to write about it.
girl with a quill: Do you have a common theme or Omni-Premise that threads its way through all your writing? If so, what is it?
Bob: I would have to say that all my books are of the good guys versus the bad guy, good versus evil… the constant fight inside all of us.
girl with a quill: If you found a golden lamp with a genie and he told you he could either make one of your stories come true or that you could become a character for a short time
in another author’s book, which option would you choose and why?
Bob: I would love to have Soleri come true, but I would want to be in it as Wesley… Hmmm…. hard choice… I guess to have it come true…
girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?
Bob: Story is for me more important as I can create characters out of thin air. If I have a great story to tell the characters will fall into place for me anyway.
girl with a quill: Who is your favorite character that you have created and why?
Bob: I have to again say Wesley in Soleri. He is fashioned after my Son. He is a sharp-witted fun-loving teenager. That is something I never had growing up the eldest of eight children. I went from child to adult very quick helping to raise my brothers and sisters.
girl with a quill: Who is your favorite character in the literary world and why?
Bob: Well I have to tell on myself. I am not much of a reader at all. I have read more since becoming an author than I have in my whole life. I have done about 6 different book reviews for friends, but other than that I have only read a few books. I know that is bad for 99% of the people who write. They have read everything and love reading. I love writing for others to read. Believe me I give my editor fits!!! I have a brain that keeps everything and I fear that I will think I had a fresh idea when in all actuality it came out of something I had read. So in order to keep my ideas fresh, I don’t read much.
girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?
Bob: I would start with Stephen King (the man is the best at laying out a story). Edgar Allen Poe because he was also a bit crazy (to say the least), L. Frank Baum (the Wizard of Oz to me was one of the most fantastic stories when I was growing up and the movie still brings a tear to my eye). Steven Spielberg again awesome writer and director of one of the best Sci/Fi movies in my opinion. Last but not least at all because he is absolutely the tops Mr. George Lucas!!! He is, just goes without saying, in my book as the best screenwriters and directors in the science fiction genre.
girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 of your favorite fictional characters, who would they be and why?
Bob: Okay don’t laugh…. Yoda from Star Wars would be the first… he is a great teacher of patience and focus. Morpheus from the Matrix… again I see him as a teacher of focus…. You may find these as silly or juvenile but Green Lantern, Superman, and WonderWoman., the best superheros of all… I grew up with comic books they helped me survive a very rough childhood.
girl with a quill: If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?
Bob: I would have told myself “Patience my son!!!” I have learned it the hard way with the problem with PublishAmerica. I now will make sure that my publisher is there in my best interests and not just theirs. I needed to learn that patience is truly a virtue.
girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?
Bob: Remember where it all started, and be true to yourself. Have Faith in what you do, Keep yourself Focused on your goals, and have Patience that it will all happen in due time.
girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?
Bob: I want to leave the world with one of the greatest screenplays and novels of all time. But in reality, I want to be known as a fresh writer that wanted to help others with disabilities know that they too can write if they put their mind to it. Many can write, all we need is good stories and a great editor.
girl with a quill: Where can we find your books for sale?
Bob: Since my falling out with PA they are not going to be printing any more, some are available on Amazon.com, but I have signed copies available on my website http://www.grholton.com
girl with a quill: Finally where can we find on the web?
Thank you Bob. It was lovely having you join me here. We look forward to hearing of more novels and further success.