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Meet Rob Gullette Author of Waking Apollo
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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 7, 2013
 



Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com Interviews Rob Gullette Author of Waking Apollo


                                                                                                                                              


Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest today Rob Gullette, author of Waking Apollo.

Norm:

Good day Rob and thanks for participating in our interview. Could you please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.

Rob:

I retired from The Boeing Company in 2007, after working there for almost thirty years as a lawyer and business executive. My work focused on technology in one way or another—technology transfers, intellectual property and technology asset management. It was challenging but very rewarding. We always seemed to be working on projects that no one had ever attempted before.

After graduating from Seattle University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, I was most fortunate to have the opportunity to obtain a law degree from George Washington University and an MBA from the University of Washington.  All three degrees served me well during my professional career.

I’ve called Seattle, Washington, home for the better part of forty five years, although since my retirement my wife Linda and I spend the winter months in Palm Desert, California, along with our two border terriers.  After all those years, the Seattle rain got to be a bit much.

Other than writing, my main interest is golf, but I must admit my game isn’t what it used to be.  Perhaps because of my technology background, I’m a sucker for every new cub that claims to give more yardage or a straighter ball flight.

I have four children and five grandchildren.  When I’m not writing or on the golf course, it seems like I’m babysitting one or more of the grand kids, which I find quite fun, knowing all I have to do is return them to their rightful owners when they get out of hand.

Norm:

What was the time-line between the time you decided to write Waking Apollo and publication? What were the major events along the way?

Rob:

It was about four years from the time I began writing Waking Apollo until it was first published by Silver Leaf Books as an e- book. The most memorable event during that time was the passing of my dad.  He was the first to read my original manuscript. I ended up dedicating the book to him.

Norm:

In writing your book, did you work from an outline? As a follow up, did you know the end of your book at the beginning?

Rob:

Actually I had a high level outline of all three titles that would make up what I then called the “Apollo Trilogy.” The outline for Waking Apollo was part of that.  When I reached the end of the book, I was still on track with my original outline.

Norm:

Where did you get your information or ideas for your book?

Rob:

I know this sounds a bit odd for a science fiction novel but most of my ideas came from current events. It’s been quite gratifying to see that many of the factual assumptions that I made still hold true, particularly with respect to China’s relationship with the United States and the Iranian attitude towards the Strait of Hormuz.  The description of the sinking of the Iranian submarine Scimitar was prompted by a number of discussions with my dad, who was retired submariner.

Norm:

How did you go about creating the various characters in your novel?

Rob:

I put a lot of myself into the hero of story, Chris Cooper.   For instance, I drew upon my own experiences as a “geek”  growing up during the early phases of the space age, before the days when Bill Gates made it cool to be one.  I like the idea of a hero who is thrust into an extraordinary situation and rises to the occasion, perhaps again drawing on my own experience with Parkinson’s.

In thinking about your question with respect to other characters, Dani comes to mind.  She and my wife Linda have many traits in common.  That was unintentional but in retrospect not surprising.  The skiing scene at the beginning of  the story, where Dani hands Chris her skis and slides the mountain on her butt, says it all.  She is not a woman to  be trifled with, but on Chris’ side there is no limit to what they can do together.  By the way, the idea for that scene came from my first ski date with Linda.  

Norm:

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?

Rob:

Learning to “show” rather than “tell” the reader what is going on.   Lawyers are trained to tell, often in no uncertain terms.

Norm:

What do you want your novel to do? Entertain people? Provoke thinking?

Rob:

I’d like to think my novel does a little bit of both. Many of my readers have told me that they could not put Waking Apollo down once they started reading it.  Others have told me that some of the factual assertions were so chillingly accurate that they had to wonder if I had a crystal ball or an inside source somewhere in the classified world.  That of course could not be further from the truth.  I simply connected the dots.  Nonetheless, it was gratifying to have my readers ask, “What if he’s right?”

Norm:

In fiction as well as in non-fiction, writers very often take liberties with their material to tell a good story or make a point. But how much is too much?

Rob:

As a novelist and in particular a science fiction writer, I have more latitude with my material, but only to a certain point. The material still has to pass the reader’s laugh test.  I tried very hard to make the science accurate and, if somewhat futuristic, to make it sound plausible in light of current technology.  That’s why I often characterize Waking Apollo as “contemporary” science fiction. I had to be careful not to stray too far from today’s reality as it will evolve over the next ten to fifteen years when the story occurs.

Norm:

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

Rob:

When I was in my early teens I lived on the rock of Gibraltar. My father was a career naval officer who served a tour of duty there as the NATO attache to the Royal Navy.  With no television, only one theater and nothing like today’s video games to occupy me in my spare time, I resorted to reading. I spent  hours upon hours searching the local library for interesting reads. It was there I first discovered the works of Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein.

Norm:

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Rob:

Writing is a humbling experience.  On rare occasions you surprise yourself.  I think Robert Heinlein said it best.  “Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”

Norm:

What do you think of the new Internet market for writers?

Rob:

I have mixed feelings.   Anything that gives authors  an outlet for their work and access to readers is a good thing in my opinion.

When Silver Leaf Books first published Waking Apollo, it did so strictly as an e-book.  The early sales were promising but it soon became evident we were missing an important part of the market— readers who still preferred the touch and feel  of real paper.  I was most pleased when Silver Leaf Books came out with a printed version.

I have to say that, at least for the foreseeable future, traditional paper books still have a place, or at least ought to, if for no other reason than signing a traditional book and presenting it to a reader can be so rewarding.  The first time a reader actually asked me to sign my book, I was surprised and a little embarrassed, but when I saw the way he carried the book away, holding it out in front of him like it was some sort sacred artifact, I realized that I'd done much more than give him an autograph. I’d given him a piece of myself.

Norm:

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Rob:

Benjamin N. Cardozo.  He was a famous jurist from the 1930’s.  As to literary mentors, I’d have to say Heinlein or Clarke.

Norm:

What do you think makes a good story?

Rob:

A clever premise that grabs and holds the reader.

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and Waking Apollo?

Rob:

My WEBSITE AND BLOG

Norm:

What is next for Rob Gullette?

Rob:

What started out as the Apollo Trilogy is now a five title series I am calling Apollo Evolutions. I've just completed the fourth in the series and I’m about to begin work on the fifth and final title. After that we’ll just have to see.

Norm:

As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.

Rob:

A question along the lines of, “What made you decide to expand the Apollo Trilogy into a five title series?”

While I was working on the third title of the series, The Torch Bearers, it occurred to me that  there were all sorts of loose ends and interesting character twists that would be fun to explore further.   One character in particular had me wondering what happened to him.  He makes a brief but chilling appearance in a 500 year old video that is discovered in the present day. I decided to write a prequel to Waking Apollo that explores his world and the events leading up to and following the video. I’m almost done with the manuscript for the prequel and I must say I’m very  pleased with the result. The fifth and final title will be a sequel to The Torch Bearers. I’m excited about getting to work on it.   

When it is all finished, Apollo Evolutions will be quite a read. 

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