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Meet Author Robert Hoppensteadt

I meet a lot of interesting people on this blog, who have come to writing along very different routes. Robert says he sobered up when he was thirty five and really started thinking about writing again then.  It had been an old dream that got lost in the chaos.  Before that he had a lot of different jobs.  Once he got it together he established a very lucrative professional career and found that he did not have what it takes to devote the time to writing a novel and also handle the demands of a stressful and responsible job. He did take some time off and self-published a novel in 1990s when print on demand was in its infancy, but after that he found poetry to be great outlet and something he could handle.  He wrote some pretty decent poems and got published over the years.  He has just started writing novels again after retiring early for that purpose.

What is the title of your latest book?   It is titled The Shelter.  It is a thriller with a bit of romance that is set in Nome,  Alaska. It takes a look at what could happen if one of the many pathogens coming back into the world as a result of melting permafrost is deadly to humans.  Here is the blurb from the cover:   In the half-light of an Alaskan summer night Matt Tulugak pulls his truck off a gravel road and gets out to relieve himself.  Looking out over the tundra, he sees a brown gash where permafrost has melted and sloughed off a low hillock.  A bony claw reaches out of the mud.  He shivers in the light breeze, notices the crescent moon hanging low in the sky, starts to walk.  As he approaches the claw it resolves into five huge mammoth tusks arranged in a circle.  Within the circle a human skull, half buried and yellow with age, looks through empty eye sockets into a world that is about to change forever.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding? The most challenging for me is the loneliness of the task, it is kind of an inherent contradiction that we create and write pretty much in solitude but we want the finished story to be read and find a life of its own among many.  The most rewarding is when I have completed something I can be proud of and it is read and enjoyed by others.

What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?  I have only gotten one novel published so far that was not self-published so I am still aspiring myself.  Keep at it and work hard, write every day.  And when you write do it because you have something you really want to say or create, not just because you want to be “a writer” in some abstract sense.  Also when the time comes to send your work out to be judged, don’t let rejection get you down. Every rejection is just a step closer to getting the only reply that matters.  Make sure what you do send out is professional and fits what is being asked for, take some time to learn what formatting is expected and make sure the work is as perfect as it can be.    I used to think that if something was written well enough it doesn’t matter how it is presented.  That was naïve.

What are you working on at the moment?  I am reworking a novel I did some time ago and also writing a new novel that is semi-autobiographical.  I have lived an interesting life and want to use those experiences to create a good story.

What do you like to read?  I read a lot of good but forgettable thrillers.  I also like reading the ancient writers – Caesar, Cicero, Seutonius, Herodotus, Tacitus, Homer etc. – and I like pretty much anything that is well written and not too slow.  I read Huckleberry Finn every few years, I like historical fiction like Edward Rutherford and Collen McCullough. I like horror especially from folks like Dean Koontz who always have something positive in their stories, fantasy in the vein of Tolkien.  I don’t enjoy grim and depressing.  As a kid I burned through all of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and still pick one of those up from time to time.

Where can readers find you? My author page link at Amazon is https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07R3CFZC9 

You can also follow me on Twitter @RHoppensteadt and my FB author page is https://www.facebook.com/RHoppensteadtauthor/

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