Thursday, 2 July 2015


Title: The Wonderland Effect
Author: Robert Arrington
Release Date: 15th July 2015

BLURB supplied by the author
Alice Littleton, gifted with the powers of Wonderland, draws a catastrophe down on herself when she tries to use them in aid of a kidnapped child. Now, she and her father are being pursued by a relentless paranormal intent on recruiting other supers - or eliminating potential competitors. Alice finds her way to Prometheus Academy, a new school with a truly empowered student body. When the school comes under attack, she must decide whether to run again, or take a stand against the forces threatening her and her new friends.



What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
I am Robert Arrington. I was born in Duarte, CA, and I’ve drifted slowly eastward since then. I currently live in Raleigh, NC.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve toyed with the idea over the years, but it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I developed the confidence to start writing seriously. I experimented with screenplays before settling on novels as my preferred format.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
January of 2014, when I set my sights on actually publishing The Wonderland Effect. In a sense, though, I think it will all become “real” to me when I get to my release date.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Since I’m self-published, I did an end run around the whole agent/publisher search, so not really. There’s definitely been time invested in learning the ropes, though. It’s still an ongoing process.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yes. I still pay out more than I make in pursuit of my writing career, so a day job is essential. I’m a computer help desk technician for a major Raleigh law firm.

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 latest book is The Wonderland Effect. Summary: “Professor X, meet Lewis Carroll.”

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I am self published.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
The Wonderland Effect took about 18 months. I hope to cut that timeframe down significantly with the next book.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I will continue the adventures of Alice and her friends from Prometheus Academy, perhaps with more of an emphasis on some of the other characters. I also have an idea for a dark comedy movie script that would probably be a good vehicle for an indie movie maker that I hope to start developing this year. I’m calling it The Low Road.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I’ve got some ideas for the next Wonderland Effect book, but nothing that I would go so far as to call a story line yet. As soon as I’m done formatting this book for the various editions and get my marketing efforts moving a bit better, I’ll be working on fleshing it all out.

What genre would you place your books into?
I consider The Wonderland Effect as YA fiction. Since superheroes aren’t really a category in a lot of people’s minds yet, I guess we’ll just call it fantasy for now.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I came up with the first conceptualization for Alice many years ago, in my tabletop RPG days. I never really had much of an opportunity to play her, so I finally decided I would have to write stories about her if I wanted to explore her capabilities. She’s changed quite a bit from that first draft.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Aside from Alice, I think Sarah and Min Ki are my favorites. Sarah’s ability is so awesome I had to add a drawback to it to keep her from using it all the time and overpowering most situations. Min Ki is just fun to write because he’s so enthusiastic about the whole powers gig. He definitely tries to mimic his comic book heroes when it comes to banter, and he tries not to take life too seriously.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
Again, it would have to be Sarah or Min Ki, at least in terms of power set.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing a couple of years now, about 18 months seriously. One of my biggest inspirations is Jim Butcher, author of The Dresden Files series of books, among others. I love both his stories, and his approach to writing. I really hope I get a chance to meet him someday.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
Honestly, my ideas take a long time to form, and I develop plot arcs without a clear idea of where they fit into the story at first. I had the characters of Kirdja and Hector developed for a long time, without a clear idea of their motivations for getting involved with Alice and Prometheus Academy, before I realized that Julio was Hector’s nephew. Basically, plot points well up from someplace so deep inside I can’t really say what experiences or bits of knowledge came together to generate them.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I’d really like a more comfortable chair. Beyond that, I like quiet and time to think.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I had a review group I met through linkedIn, but that’s kind of fallen apart. I also posted the Wonderland Effect as a web serial on my site,, but feedback from readers has been minimal so far. What feedback I’ve received has generally been positive, however, so I’m going ahead with publication.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes, within reason. Anyone is free to make the request for an e-copy, with two caveats. First, I reserve the right to say no depending on whether or not I feel another review would be helpful (Hint: right now, it would be.) Second, don’t make the request if you won’t follow through with the review. Just be fair and honest. If you don’t like it, that’s fine, but I would like to know what didn’t work for you. Other potential readers would, too.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
As many as I can find.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I haven’t really had a review I disagreed with yet. Even the negative comments one reader made on my site had merit. As for the best, one reviewer on said he considered Alice the third most original supers character he had come across. In this sub-genre, originality is hard, so I was very pleased with that comment.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
As long as it represents the reviewer’s honest opinion, no. No book ever satisfied everyone. Reviews are meant to be useful to people considering investing time in the story, so I would hope that there would be some explanation of what the reviewer didn’t like, though.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
Titles just come to me. I try not to put a lot of thought into them.
For Desire of Ages, a short story I published on Amazon’s Kindle store, I created my own cover. I licensed three photos from and brought them together using GIMP and some freeware fonts I downloaded to my computer. The whole thing cost me $20 (and I’ve made just over half of that back on royalties – woo-hoo!).
The cover for The Wonderland Effect was a gift. I met Diane Gronas on a LinkedIn writer’s group, and offered her some critical advice on her book, Starseeker: Flower of Tamaroon, that went beyond the typical “I like it”. She even took some of the advice. Then, quite unexpectedly, she sent me three mock-ups of covers she had developed for me. One of them just blew me away. I did a little clean-up work in GIMP and added the tag line. I’m very grateful to her; I wouldn’t have come up with anything half as good on my own and the cost of hiring someone to do it for me would have been prohibitive at this point in my writing career.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I generally have a title in mind when I begin writing, but the story comes first.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I’m usually trying to capture some essence of the character or place in the name. It usually requires a lot of thought.

Are character names and place names decided after their creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
As with titles, the thing comes before the name.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I created extensive character sheets for all of the main characters in The Wonderland Effect well before I began writing. I expect I’ll probably continue this trend on future books.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I am definitely a plotter. Not to the extent of mapping out several books in advance, but I need to have a goal I’m writing toward. I still try to remain open to taking things in a different direction if inspiration strikes in the middle of the process, however. It has happened.

How do you market/promote your books?
You’re reading this now, right? Seriously, I’m still trying to figure this out. I running a rafflecopter contest to try to generate reviews/visibility, as well as seeking ways to participate on various blog sites. I have a Facebook page and Twitter account, but I’m still not convinced these are effective marketing tools. At some point, I’m probably going to need to pay someone to help me out, but I haven’t settled on an approach yet.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
If I knew that, I guess I’d already be cashing in. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a balance between something original and something a lot of people can relate to in some way. Add to that, the writing must flow well and communicate ideas and setting clearly.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Yes, but I work through it. I try to approach my writing like I did my school papers. I got those turned in on time despite a lack of interest in most of them. Why shouldn’t I be able to bring the same degree of commitment to writing about things I do care about?

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
At this moment, writing is my hobby. I dabble in Frisbee golf and my wife wants the whole family to get bikes, which we’re working on.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Not yet.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
If there is, I haven’t found it yet.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Jim Butcher.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
There are advantages to hardbacks and paperbacks, but these days I’m all about not having to carry boxes of books with me when I move. I love my Kindle.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
The Anubis gates by Tim powers. It has Egyptian cultists/wizards, time travel, Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and a secret society of beggars plotting the overthrow of the British monarchy. What’s not to like? I’ve read it too many times to count. Last Call, also by Tim Powers, is a secret magic story set in present day (mostly Las Vegas) where professional gamblers have the inside track to enlightenment. It’s a very close second.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
A lot of books make the transition quite well, although there is always a loss of detail that’s somewhat regrettable. The Harry Potter books made very entertaining movies, though we lost out on Hermione’s campaign to liberate, or at least protect, house elves, and a number of other fun moments. On the other side of the coin, The Hobbit turned into three movies where we got a lot of additional information which, while not in the original canon of Tolkien’s work, dovetailed with it fairly well. I had a hard time buying the dwarf/elf love affair, though. The worst movie adaptation I’ve ever seen, though, was Raise the Titanic, an adaptation of Clive Cussler’s book from the 1970’s.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
At the moment, I’ve taken a detour into history with The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 by Joseph J. Ellis. I’ve got a hardback copy I checked out of the local library. The author shows that in the aftermath of the War for Independence, the American colonies wanted nothing more than to go their separate ways as independent nation-states. However, four men – George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison (assisted by Robert Morris, Gouverneur Morris, and Thomas Jefferson) basically imposed their will on the confederated states and convinced them to accept a new central authority based on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I love it when a historian can show us that our often unconsidered opinions about why things are the way they are are flawed on a fundamental level, and Joseph Ellis does a great job in showing us what was really going on in the 1780’s.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No. Even the technologically-adaptive teen demographic still prefers physical books over digital copies by a wide margin. If they’re not buying into it whole-heartedly, there must be something embedded in humanity that will always seek out the comforting feel of bound paper in  hand.

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
I do think that children are encouraged to read. Writing, not so much. Writing is usually approached as a technical affair for reporting knowledge or opinions.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I have always been a reader. My writing is of a far more recent vintage.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
Not really. I was mostly into mysteries growing up, until I discovered sci-fi and fantasy.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
The Dueling Machine, by Ben Bova. It was my introduction to virtual reality before the term even existed. Treasure Island is probably a close second, though.

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
It depends on how wide you cast the genre net. I love most types of speculative fiction, including fantasy/paranormal as well as straight-up sci-fi.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
Fifty Shades of Grey – I mean really, what’s the point? There’s so much better stuff out there to occupy my time.

Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
I am a member of the Pen and cape Society, a collection of authors specializing in supers fiction. I haven’t had the time to read samplings of all of the members’ work yet, but if you enjoy the genre, you will undoubtedly find someone here that writes stuff you’ll enjoy. Head on over to, and check us out. I particularly like the works of Drew Hayes, Marion G. Harmon, Ian Thomas Healy. R. J. Ross, Cheyanne Young, Elsie Stokes,  and Jim Zoetewey. Just be aware they all write for different audiences and not everything there will be appropriate for younger readers.

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
I don’t know that there’s anything I would change at this point, but I haven’t really started receiving concentrated feedback yet. If there’s anything I’m a little concerned about, it’s language. I restricted myself to a few “damns”, “hells’ and such – in other words, nothing a typical middle-schooler hasn’t heard, used, and probably discarded in favor of more colorful phrases. But I still worry about what’s really appropriate for the YA audience.

What do you think about book trailers?
I haven’t really investigated them yet. My gut feeling is that a one-minute video promo isn’t likely to get me to pick up a book, so why should I expect mine to be any different. But I do reserve the right to change my mind later.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Just do it! Read some books on various approaches to writing, plotting, dialogue and so on, but then just get busy writing. Be prepared to throw most of your early stuff in a drawer and forget about it for now, but most people can’t develop a good “voice” without doing that initial writing. Like any skill, it takes practice to master, so get started.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I do not use a pen name now. I won’t say I never would, but I’m not really sure what would drive me to do so.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
I’ve already mentioned Jim Butcher and Tim Powers. They’re definitely on the guest list. Since you’re not restricting this to novel writers, the last slot goes to Joss Whedon, who has absolutely blown me away with virtually everything to ever leave his pen. I am literally getting goose-bumps just imagining this evening.

Where can readers follow you?
Facebook page:
Twitter: @MHatter57

Since this post was done and scheduled . . .Robert Arrington published his book on Smashwords on the 4th July and it will also soon be available at the Apple Store, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.


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