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Meet Alan Robertson Author of The Money Belt
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Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

To read more about Norm Follow Here






 
By Norm Goldman
Published on November 17, 2008
 


Title: The Money Belt

Author: Alan Robertston

ISBN: 8781432727352

Publisher: OutskirtsPress

Alan Robertson discusses his debut novel, The Money Belt With Norm Goldman. Alan also discusses writing in general.

 


 



Click Here To Find Our More and/or PurchaseThe Money Belt


Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest, Alan Robertson author of The Money Belt.

Good day Alan and thanks for participating in our interview.

Norm:

Could you tell us something about yourself and when did you first consider yourself a writer?

Alan:

           That’s a tougher question than it appears to be. Coming from a humble background, I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to do a wide variety of things in my life: musician, salesman, carpenter, electronics technician, commercial pilot, corporate president, college instructor, day trader, recording studio owner/record producer, and now writer.

           I’ve met so many people who say “Gee, I wish I could be a (insert occupation here)” and I tell them just start and then you are one. Don’t wait for someone to anoint you as a writer, musician or whatever; just start doing it and you are one. You may be a bad one. But that’s where everyone begins.

           Furthermore, I believe that naivety is an important ingredient to success. If a first time builder knew how difficult it would be to build a house, no one would ever try. It’s the same with writing a book. Start now and deal with the problems as they come into focus; one day you find you’re done. And regardless of what the world thinks of your effort, you’ll have fulfilled a personal dream. I truly believe that’s critically important in this fragile and fleeting existence we call life.

Norm:

Did you write The Money Belt from an outline? Where did you get your ideas for The Money Belt?

Alan:

           When I’m writing a story I am both the writer and the reader. I don’t have the slightest idea of what’s going to happen next. That’s what keeps me writing the story. I want to find out what happens. I sit at the keyboard and I don’t so much write the story as act as a stenographer as the story comes through me onto the computer screen. With book-length stories there is always a “seed” element that starts the story. With The Money Belt it was the lead character, Willie Salo, finding an old money belt, being intrigued by it and seeing the belt as the solution to his problems.

Norm:

How did you develop the plot and characters, particularly Willy Salo and Eric Kramer? Did you use any set formula?

Alan:

           No set formula other than the need for conflict between opposing views. Willie Salo is a working-class everyman kind of guy. My protagonists, like Willie, are generally men and women who are only vaguely aware of how heavily the deck is stacked against them. Eric Kramer is the polar opposite; unaware of how chance has given him every advantage and how fragile his existence really is. The interplay between Willie and Eric, and of course Willie’s love and desire for Carmen, moves the story forward.

Norm:

What was the most difficult thing about writing The Money Belt?

Alan:

           The most difficult part was editing and polishing. I’ve written nine book-length manuscripts. They generally take about two months to finish. Then the real work begins: repairing logical inconsistencies and timeline problems in particular, adding in color, taste, texture, smell and sound, as well as atmosphere, flora and fauna and other descriptive features that may have received short shrift in the first pass. The dialog and story line are the easy parts, it’s creating a sense of place and an interest in the setting that are more difficult for me.

           In addition, the writer’s admonition “cut, cut, cut” is vitally important. Only after multiple line-by-line edits am I able to trim the unnecessary words, sentences, paragraphs and scenes from the manuscript. I probably went through The Money Belt twenty times, only stopping because I felt it was as good as I could reasonably make it based on my skill, insight and talent as a writer.

           When a mechanic works on your car you expect him or her to give you their best effort. The public expects no less from a writer. It is up to others to decide if The Money Belt is a good book and worth reading. I have no control over that. What I do have control over is the effort I put into writing and editing the manuscript. If I don’t give it 100 percent effort then I’ve cheated both the public and myself.

Norm:

What are the preponderant influences on your writing?

Alan:

           As far as other writers I’d have to say John D. McDonald, Elmore Leonard, Tony Hillerman, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly and Carl Hiaasen are authors who produce work I always enjoy reading and have undoubtedly been influenced by. And my own life has been the kind that, depending on which phase it was in, many people would have dreams or nightmares about. On the cusp of fame and fortune one day, seconds from a grim death another. Money flowing like water from a fountain and grinding poverty. Love, lust, greed, betrayal, I’ve had them all in spades. There’s plenty to write about.

Norm:

Can you tell us how you found representation for your book? Did you pitch it to an agent, or query publishers who would most likely publish this type of book? Any rejections? Did you self-publish?

Alan:

           I sent out some query letters to agents and received the usual rejection slips. None even wanted to see a sample chapter. After that I decided to self-publish and use the finished work as my calling card. The publishing process has been an education in itself and improved my writing. I’m hard to discourage. The business is so competitive that a person better have a thick skin and a healthy ego or they’ll end up sitting alone in a dark room crying about how unfair the world is.

Norm:

What has been your overall experience as a published author?

Alan: 

              My experience has been wonderful! Dreams do come true if you work at them. Writing, editing and publishing a novel is a mammoth undertaking. If the public likes my work that will be frosting on the cake. The joy is in the doing.

Norm:

Do you feel that writers, regardless of genre owe something to readers, if not, why not, if so, why and what would that be?

Alan:

              Absolutely! As I mentioned before, writers owe the public their best effort. Period. Not just until the project becomes tiresome and you want to move on, but until you honestly feel that there is nothing—no word, sentence, paragraph, etc.—that falls short of your expectations of yourself in your manuscript. I like to think of my audience of readers as my friends. I would not insult my friends by giving them anything but my best, then I will trust them to be the judge of whether it was good enough.

Norm:

What is next for Alan Robertson and where can our readers find out more about you?

Alan: 

              I’m in the process of polishing several other novels for publication: Sierra Joe 9. A story about a long-distance hiker in the Sierras who encounters trouble with a beautiful woman, a desperate man and a pack full of stolen loot. Prisoner of Desire. A story set in Manhattan and up-state New York about an elaborate scheme to con a man out of his inheritance. The Rogue. Murder and adventure in the Canadian wilderness. And, Lila. A pure detective story about an elaborate murder-for-money scheme set in Northern Michigan.

              Readers will notice that lust and greed are mainstays of my writing. If you like lust and greed, I’m your man. Seriously, the human condition—longing, desire, fulfillment, disappointment and the challenge of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles—are topics everyone can relate to. These are things we all, in some measure, face in our everyday lives. A writer’s job is to entertain the reader with the struggle and drama of real life.

              I am a nose-to-the-grindstone writer but lazy in other respects, so I have no web site. But should anyone wish to contact me, please email alanr9@comcast.net and I’ll be happy to respond.

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Alan:

              Only a big thank you to you, Norm. Writing the answers to the questions posed in this e-interview have given me a chance to think about the process of writing as opposed to just writing.

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.

Click Here To Read Norm's Review of The Money Belt

Click Here To Find Our More and/or PurchaseThe Money Belt