The release of Pirates & Swashbucklers, the anthology featuring my short story “Relvan’s Rescue,” quickly approaches. I’m not the only author with a tale of daring adventure included, however. I share the table of contents with several other names you may or may not know.
I wanted to discover more about my fellow contributors, so I asked them some questions and would like to share their answers with you over the next couple weeks while we wait for September 19th to finally get here. Today’s interview is with Alva J. Roberts.
When did you first realize you were a writer?
Just a few years ago, right around when my favorite author, Robert Jordan, passed away. I had tried to write a novel a few times before that but never made it past the first chapter. I always told myself I would finish one someday. Mr. Jordan’s tragic passing helped me realize that someday might never come and if I wanted to write I needed to do it now. Six months later I finished my first novel, it was a horrible, unpublishable, mess but it was done and I had the writing “bug”. Now it is something I do nearly every day.
What authors influence or inspire you?
Robert Jordan, JRR Tolkien, Patrick Rothfuss, George RR Martin, Raymond Feist, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, Fred Saberhagen, RA Salvatore, Stephen R Donaldson, Brandon Sanderson, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Terry Pratchett and probably a few dozen more I can’t remember right now, I’ve always been a voracious reader.
What book(s) have you read more than once? What drew you back?
I try to read the Lord of the Rings every year or so. The series was the first thing I ever read without pictures, in the fourth or fifth grade. Whenever I read the books I get that same magical feeling I got back then. It was my introduction to the fantasy genre, and was the beginning of my long and wonderful love affair with reading.
In 25 words or less, how would you define “pulp” as a genre?
Pulp is action-packed fun. Pulp is larger than life heroes, exotic places, and over the top villains. It is something read purely for entertainment.
What made you decide to submit a story for the Pirates & Swashbucklers anthology?
I wrote a story and was looking for some place to send it. I saw the call for submissions and decided my story might be a good fit. I had already read some of Pulp Empire’s online content so I pretty confident that it was going to be a high quality publication.
How did you come up with the idea for your story? What is your writing process like?
My writing process is unique every time I sit down to write. Sometimes I can see the whole story in my head like a movie, sometimes I have a few ideas and some specific scenes worked out. For this story I sat down and started typing and it just kind of appeared on the screen. I didn’t even know what genre I was going to write in when I started.
Do you consider yourself a “pulp” writer? Why? Is there another genre you like to write?
For novels, I am a fantasy author. I usually use short fiction as a way to practice things I need to work on, and as a way to relax. When I write short fiction, I just write something that sounds fun. A lot of the time that means fantasy or sci-fi in the “pulp” genre, but other times it means something a little darker or a humorous piece. My short fiction really depends on my moods.
Care to weigh in with your opinion of the e-book?
I am a unique position in that I am both a writer and a librarian. I talk to at least two hundred readers a day. Some of them are all for e-books but most of them still prefer books most of the time. When they are traveling, going to the doctor, etc. they want an ereader, besides that they still prefer books. I think the two formats will coexist for a very long time. People who grew up with print books are still going to want them. Print might die out as today’s children reach adulthood, but by then who knows what kind of technological breakthrough will have come out and made ebooks obsolete? That having been said, modern publishers and authors need to be aware of ebooks and all the potential readers out there via the format.
Where can someone find more of your work?
If you go to my website you can find a full list of my published works and read a few of them for free. My wife and I own Pill Hill Press, a small publisher of speculative fiction. I have edited a few anthologies that can be purchased from most online retailers and from our website.