Saturday, 16 February 2013


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Hi, my name is Bob Atkinson. I was born in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. I live there with my wife, in a little house by the shores of Loch Linnhe.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I  cannot recall a time in my life when I wasnt writing little poems, or short stories, or whatever. I sometimes think dreamers make the best writers; people whose imagination is forever drifting off somewhere, detached from reality.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
I started writing my novel in 2001, and finished the original version about a year later. Over the next few years I revisited the manuscript, cutting, pruning, gralloching.
‘Gralloching’ is a Scottish word that means to remove the offal. It’s a word that is almost onomatopoeic. You can practically hear intestines spilling onto a wet hillside. 
Finally, about two years ago, when it was pared down to its leanest form, I began sending it off to publishers and publishing agents.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
 My book is called The Last Sunset. I would describe it thus:-
The Last Sunset is a  romantic, action packed, time travel adventure, set in Glen Laragain, in the Highlands of Scotland.
If I was allowed 21 words, and wasnt so modest, I would also insert the word fantastic” in there somewhere.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I had the great good fortune to have my book accepted by Greyhart Press. Greyhart is an independent, up and coming publishing company, based in Bedfordshire. The company is run by Mr Tim C Taylor; himself a writer of considerable talent.
How Tim manages to balance his work as a publisher with his own writing career is a mystery to me, and to many other writers in his stable.  

Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
After a manuscript had been submitted, I would avoid walking under ladders. Id throw salt over my left shoulder. Help old ladies across the road. Avoid black cats. Smile at traffic wardens. Be nice to children ( the little rascals ) and just generally do anything to create a credit balance in the Karma account.
Somehow or other this mish mash of sycophancy and superstition paid off.

What genre would you place your books into?
My book contains elements of time travel, nuclear catastrophe, romance, adventure, humour, and tragedy.
Basically, therefore, I would place it in the Dystopian, time-travel, romantic, action adventure, tragi-comic genre.
And if there isn’t such a genre, then there should be.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
As with so many authors, I simply wrote the kind of book that I myself would love to read.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Strangely for a male author, I think my favourite character in the book is Shawnee Cameron, an American woman of Scottish descent. She is small, feisty, and as courageous as they come.
One female reviewer from London remarked: “I was thrilled to find that the author has taken physically diminutive female characters and armed them with a feistiness that would make any Redcoat think twice!
I realised, after writing the female characters, that they were composites of the women in my life; primarily my wife and daughter, who are diminutive, feisty, etc etc.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?    ie.Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
Initially my wife ( the small & feisty one ), who will tell me bluntly if the story has wandered off the trail and into a thicket or swamp. After that. my sons, daughter, sister, all get to cast an eye over the work. All have been incredibly supportive, and this book would never have seen the light of day without them.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
There is a real danger of becoming a review junkie. In crafting a novel, writers inevitably bare a little piece of their soul. They look for approval, for positive feedback. It can be incredibly hurtful if the response is harsh or derogatory. Sometimes it’s a risky business thrusting your head above the parapet.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I’m happy to say I’ve had quite a number of very favourable reviews. About one in five have been less than favourable.
One of the least complimentary, from America, stated, amongst other things, that the moral standards of 20th century and 21st century people would have created much more outrage amongst 18th century clansfolk than is depicted in my book
Although the reviewer did admit that he or she knew very little about Scottish culture or Scottish history.

I think my favourite review is from a fellow author from Texas, who wrote:-
“Ill start by saying that nothing jumped out at me I was too immersed in the story. And what a story: evocative writing, gripping tone, astonishing scope, lush settings and individually realized and fully unique characters. I have nothing to say except, Bravo, Mr. Atkinson for writing such a gem. You put me through the emotional ringer, making me experience your novel versus simply reading it. And kudos to Greyhart Press for snapping it up.
I sincerely hope that this book, and Greyhart Press, receive the acclaim and attention it deserves.”

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No, I might not agree with their review, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.
That poor review did bother me, however. I felt it was really quite unfair. I know that the worst thing a writer can do is become involved in a public slanging match. The writer has little to gain, and a great deal of dignity to lose.
In the end I posted a brief response to the above review:-
Hi. I am truly sorry that you didn't enjoy my debut novel "The Last Sunset" as much as I would have liked. Thank you, however, for taking the time to read and review the book.
I have given myself a damn good rollicking, and will try to ensure my next effort is of a much higher quality.
Thank you.

The next day I received the following reply:-
Hi. I'm sorry, I just reread my review of your book and realized it was more than a tad unfairly harsh especially as I thought your novel was a huge step up from the bodice rippers which seem to dominate the genre.

I still can’t decide whether to be annoyed or pleased.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
I love the late, great Ray Bradbury. Any aspiring author could do a lot worse than treat themselves to a book of his short stories. His tales are maybe a little dated now, but his writing, his unique way with words, is simply wonderful. 

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I have to say I love my Kindle. I love having a library of novels at my fingertips. I cannot, however, see a time when E-books will completely replace printed books.  To me, the electronic word is just a quick, convenient imitation of the genuine article. There is nothing quite like the feel of a real book.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
I think it’s very important to be self-critical. The Last Sunset had a number of rewrites before I was completely satisfied with it.
My advice to any new writer, therefore, is to constantly ask yourself; is what I have written the best it can be? Find your own voice and write about what you know. Keep writing; learning and improving as you go along Above all, never give up.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
I’m not sure they would qualify as writers, but my three ideal dinner guests would be Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, and Marilyn Monroe. The idea would be for Darwin and Einstein to become involved in some profound, esoteric discussion, leaving Marilyn and I to become acquainted.
Although, knowing my luck, Darwin and Marilyn would probably hit it off, leaving me stuck with Einstein.

Where can readers follow you?

Blog site:- 
Publisher's Web page:-               
Facebook page                          
Goodreads author page:-            

Twitter details:-

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