Today, I’m pleased and privileged to have another Featured Author of the Week post here in Patty’s Worlds for you.
In fact, not only did Rob sit down and do an interview for the blog, but we’ve a podcast with him as a featured guest coming soon.
For now, rather than go on with a lot of unnecessary preamble, I give you author Rob Shackleford.
First, in your own words tell us a little about you.
Where do you live?
I live in the hinterland behind Australia’s beach region of the Gold Coast. We, my lovely lady and I, used to live in Burleigh, which is a surfing reserve, but it became just too busy.
We now have made our green-change to Mount Tamborine, a pretty area graced with tropical national parks and millions of avocado trees, where we actually see a change of the seasons rather than the perpetual heat of the coast, just an hour away.
So, we are now engaged in gardening and landscaping, which is kind of cool (no pun intended).
Who are the special people in your life?
I have my partner, Deborah-Jane, and we have been together for about 7 years. She is my forever person.
Between us we have 4 children.
My two children are my son, Kyle, who is a chef and musician who has just moved to Sydney, and my daughter, Bree, a very clever artist who makes so much money with her art that she works in hospitality.
Do you have any pets?
We are owned by a very chill cat by the name of Mr Moo. He is an indoor/restricted garden cat who makes a great deal of fuss in catching the odd cicada or baby snake. Occasionally, he delivers one of the garden frogs to us, but as they are unharmed, we let them go.
What keeps you going? I mean, like what inspires you and keeps you moving forward in your work?
There are a number of things that keep me going.
First is the need to write, to create.
Second is that many who have read my books love them and have been very complimentary. Thankfully, the 90+ reviews for my first novel, Traveller Inceptio, average about 4.8/5 stars, so I have been compelled to admit that what I write is “Good Enough,” a phrase Deb hates for me to use.
Third is a little odd. Deb dabbles in the esoteric arts. That doesn’t mean she dances naked around a campfire by the light of the full moon, but she once purchased a time for me with her psychic. Now I don’t believe in that normally, but without any interview before-hand, this lady told me I had a busy mind full of words and/or numbers. Once it was confirmed I was a writer, she told me all about my writing and how, after the second book, I would begin to see some traction and commercial success. There was a lot more said that was surprisingly correct to my life, so I hope not to prove her wrong.
Fourth – I am a little stubborn when it comes to striving for specific goals. That can be an attribute at times.
What is your favorite song?
I really don’t have one. I do like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and sometimes peaceful background music. I like Mozart and Bach too. Maybe that indicates I am an old fart? Not sure.
What is your favorite movie? Feel free to list multiple titles.
I do like the old Tarantino offerings: Res. Dogs and Pulp Fiction.
Yes – Lord of the Rings has been seen too many times.
Also loved Game of Thrones – except the last season of course. I saw season 1 after I had finished my first novel and thought … “oh no!” But it was ok.
What is your favorite book? Feel free to list multiple titles.
I really have a broad love of books:
Colleen McCullough’s Rome series, Gregory David Roberts’ ‘Shantaram,’ some of Stephen King – like ‘The Stand’ of course, Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune,’ then some boring histories such as Simon Sebag Montefiore’s “Jerusalem: The Biography”
I like history and gentler sci-fi – so I tend to write that set of genre.
What is your favorite food?
Again – I am eclectic in my food tastes.
Raised by English parents, a fabulous roast meal is divine, but I also love Thai, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mexican food. Yum!
When we travel, which we used to do, I especially loved to try authentic, local food. So far, I have survived.
So hot, sour, spicy food is much preferred over sweet.
What is your favorite quote?
“Never believe everything you think.”
What is your favorite affirmation? Does it in some way relate to your work?
“That which we persist in doing becomes easy to do, not that the nature of the task has changed, but the power to accomplish it has increased.”
My father stuck that on my bedroom wall when I was a kid. I don’t know if it made any difference, but it stuck in there somewhere. As an author I understand the difference between a commercially successful author and the others is persistence. Naturally, I hope others can take joy in my work, so I persist.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Or having people lie to me. Yes, thieves and liars. Alas, I have experienced too much of that.
What do you think your best strengths are, and how do they help you in your work as a writer?
Ok – strengths are always relative, but here goes:
I learn quickly, am generally not arrogant, and am a very good researcher.
I persist – sometimes painfully so, and am very focused.
I have been told I have a great imagination.
Most especially – I have wonderful people in my life.
What are your weaknesses, do they hinder your work, and how are you making them stronger?
I tend to be self-deprecating, even anxious at times, so I can get tense and stressed when I should not.
What is your dream for the future, and how does it relate to your work as a writer?
While I naturally would love to have my writing sustain a living, I aim to travel more, if that is ever again possible. I especially love to research places I target in my books, by being there.
I hope to continually write meaningful books that will be enjoyed.
With my partner, there is a lot of work to be completed on our new home. I hope to see our many newly planted fruit trees bear fruit. We have quite a crazy range.
What is your preferred way of communicating and how can someone best reach you if they should wish to buy from or work with you in some way?
I think email is best. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Before you go, is there anything you’d like to add about yourself, or your work that I’ve not asked?
Hi again Patty and all, yes, I’d like to share a bit about my books and where to find them and me.
An English-born Australian, Rob Shackleford has lived in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with a varied career that has included customs officer, scuba instructor, college teacher and management roles in too many places.
With degrees in the Arts and Business, he is mad keen on travel, scuba diving, family history, martial arts, astronomy, and playing Djembe and Congas. Despite that, he is actually not that boring.
Rob is father of two and has made his green escape with his lovely lady into Australia’s Gold Coast hinterland.
If you were sent a thousand years into the past, would you survive?
After the accidental development of the Transporter, university researchers determine that the device sends any subject one thousand years into the past.
Or is it into a possible past?
The enigmatic Transporter soon becomes known as a Time Machine, but with limitations.
An audacious research project is devised to use the Transporter to investigate Medieval Saxon England, when a crack international team of Special Services soldiers undergo intensive training for their role as historical researchers.
The special researchers, called Travellers, are to be sent into what is a very dangerous period in England’s turbulent past.
From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers soon learn that they need more than refined combat skills and modern technology to survive the trails of early 11th Century life.
First Two Chapters here …
Writing “Traveller – Inceptio”
“Traveller – Inceptio” is my first novel and, like any first novel, is the result of years of writing, rewriting, editing, and then leaving it to sit and mature, or rather for me to mature, so I could go back and write new chapters and make adjustments. Originally titled “Traveller,” Traveller – Inceptio was rebranded to make the book name stand out more.
To keep the historical components accurate I had to engage in considerable research. In so doing I have tried not to become too engrossed in the historical minutiae of Saxon or Gabi Gabi Aboriginal life but have attempted to look at what it was like to be a person living there and then. If I have made errors, these are a lapse in my research or understanding and are not meant to be malicious or lazy. I welcome scholarly and cultural input and corrections so I can better understand the rich tapestry of human history where I dip my toes on occasion.
While writing Traveller I have the deepest gratitude for friends and family for their encouragement, input, and correcting my many spelling and grammatical errors. The inspiration for Traveller came when I was sitting on a beach one day and observing the many resorts that proliferate around Australian beaches. Thinking how the world has changed over twenty years then led to speculation of changes over the past two hundred years since the European settlement of Australia. So – why not 1000 years? The world was such a different place.
The cover is an image of a Saxon saex or knife as created by Artist Blacksmith and Bladesmith Owen Bush of Kent in England. I am grateful for his generosity in permitting the use of his image. View his impressive work at http://owenbush.co.uk/
To describe the attempt to professionalise the writing process, this book has been physically published, professionally edited, rewritten and shortened, republished in electronic format, and recently proofread. Phew!
I hope you find Traveller Inceptio to be an enjoyable read.
Traveller – Probo is the inevitable sequel to Traveller Inceptio and the second of the Traveller series. Out Now!!
About Traveller Probo
Would you survive if sent one-thousand years into the past?
Development of the Transporter saw highly trained researchers, called Travellers, successfully sent one-thousand years back in time to early medieval Saxon England.
Traveller Missions now mean enormous national prestige and the recovery of valuable lost artifacts and knowledge, so nations vie for the use of the Transporter and more daring Traveller missions are planned.
As the study of History becomes hotly contested, politics and power soon come into play.
To study lost peoples and civilizations, Special Forces researchers have to be even better trained, better equipped, and prepared to put their lives on the line.
While Michael Hunter continues to build a life in Saxon England, the tragically injured Tony Osborne finds his resurgence in a mission to ancient Turkey, and Professor Adrian Taylor seeks to better outmaneuver his contentious colleagues.
From the misty shores of New Zealand to the shining splendor of the ancient Byzantine Empire, it is soon learned that sending modern researchers into the past is not without its rewards, and pitfalls.
More about writing the Traveller Series
When we examine the history of humanity one thousand years in the past we find:
- Many human populations were experiencing massive change and population migration. Migration meant populations coming into contact and the inevitability of violent conflict. This resulted in the extinction of cultures and races.
- The people of the time were often not people we of the 21st Century would like to visit. Over a surprisingly wide segment of the globe, any strangers risked becoming victims of cannibalism or ritual sacrifice. The Pacific, the Americas, Africa, and indeed many locations would be just too dangerous for a 21st Century researcher to visit.
‘Traveller – Probo‘ covers more about the main characters from Traveller. How will they fare? What is their fate?
Who can say?
Social Media Links
https://www.amazon.com/Rob-Shackleford/e/B06XG6JLVR (Both Books)
Barnes & Noble:
https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1556792303 (Book One)
Thanks to Rob for a lovely interview and to all you readers for reading.
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