Author Interview: Robert Collin on "Lisa's Way"

Ana: Today we have Robert Collins introducing his novel, Lisa's Way. I haven't read this book myself, but Robert was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Robert, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?

Robert: Teenager Lisa Herbert lives in the small town of Mountain View on the planet Fairfield. The “Savage Rain” decades earlier shut down the hyperspace gate and isolated her world. A casual remark from her sister gets Lisa to ask a simple question: “If life was better before the ‘Savage Rain,’ why couldn’t it be better again?”

That question starts Lisa on a journey. She reactivates Fairfield’s H-gate and travels to three worlds. Each planet offers her a chance to improve life by hard work, by trade, or by making friends. She relies on her brains, her compassion, and a little sneakiness to solve the problems she faces.

Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, what do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?

Robert: The theme is that one person can make a difference. Another idea is that you don't have to fight to solve problems. That might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I think it makes Lisa's story different from what else is out there.

I'm not striving for any experience other than to tell the reader a good story. If I tell a good story, then I can move on from there. In the case of LISA'S WAY, I do hope readers will like Lisa enough to want see where her journey takes her. If I can entertain, and give readers something to think about, I should be okay.

Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book? 

Robert: The idea began in high school when a friend and I wanted to write a post-apocalyptic story with us and our other friends as characters. After high school I fictionalized the characters. One, Lisa Herbert, eventually stood out from the rest. She was the one who would try to rebuild society. The question was, how to go about it?

In the early 90's I published a series of travel booklets. As part of my research I learned about the Santa Fe Trail. It wasn't a trail for emigrants, but a commerce route. That's when it hit me. Trade would be the method that Lisa could use to travel and rebuild society. The first book finally came together when I set the story on colony planets instead of on Earth.

There's one more reason why I wrote this novel. I like Lisa. I spent 15 years trying to get this book right. I like her enough that I want to keep telling her story, and do it right.

Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If  you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea? 

Robert: First off, I'd say that if you like heroines that are smart, you'll like this book. If you liked the "low-tech" approach to science fiction like Firefly, you'll like this book. If you're tired of post-apocalyptic fiction that's bleak and hopeless, you'll like this book.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?

Robert: As to Lisa's story, I do have other books planned. I have some short stories that make up one book, one novel written, and I've started on another.

As to other fiction, I've had two other novels published, and I self-published another. The newest is a coming-of-age story. One is about superheroes, morality, and changing history. My first published novel was a spoof of revolution stories. I thought it would be a stand-alone novel, but I've been inspired to write more with the main character.

In addition, I write nonfiction about Kansas history. I've had several books about railroad history published. I've two biographies of early Kansas leaders published. Last year I released a book about the important events that happened in 1874 in Kansas. My plans are to release a few more history books, then see if I want to continue or just stick with fiction.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?

Robert: The price for Lisa's Way is $2.99 for the ebook or $10 for the print book. You can find it at Amazon, Smashwords, or B&N. You can also follow me on my blog or on Facebook.

Ana: Thank you, Robert. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? And is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Robert: Readers can find the first 3 chapters of Lisa's Way at Wattpad.

Thanks for your time!


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