Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Author Interview with Nikolas P Robinson

Today's author interview is with a great friend and author, Nikolas P. Robinson

Welcome to the blog, and all of that. Has writing always been a passion of yours, or did you discover it at a later age?

I actually have copies (if I can track them down) of little illustrated stories that I was writing back in first and second grade, some poems as well. I always enjoyed reading, and I suppose that writing just came along as a natural extension of that first passion. The problem is that I forgot that for a long time, somehow I lost sight of my passion for writing for a number of years. Thankfully I pulled my head out of my ass, and everything is back on track again.

Do you outline or write as you go?  

It depends on the piece…or where I happen to be in the creative process. Sometimes I write as I go all along, sometimes I begin with an outline, and sometimes I write along at a steady clip for a period of time before deciding that an outline might be in order so as to provide myself with a bit of structure and some markers that I can really feel myself working towards.

What inspires you?  

Snippets of song, random little bits of conversation that I’ve happened to share with friends, elements of things that I have read, thought experiments, a snapshot memory of one location or another…there are numerous things that I happen to find inspirational, so many that I wouldn’t be able to stop if I really opted to go into any sort of real detail.

Do you get inspired by a certain element (Water? Fire? Air? Etc.):

Yes, I happen to find bohrium quite inspirational. Seeing as how fire, air, and the like aren’t elements of any sort, I don’t really know how to answer the question with any sincerity. I do happen to find wildfires quite lovely though.

Do you listen to music or multitask while writing? 

I frequently have music or the television on while writing, though silence is admittedly more conducive to the process for me. Strangely enough, as antisocial as I happen to be, I used to find relatively busy coffee shops and diners to be excellent environments for writing. I suppose that it ultimately depends on timing, different moods require different environments in order to really get me into the right state of mind for creativity to arise.

What is your favorite genre, and least favorite? 

I can’t say that I actually have a least favorite genre; since there are works within every conceivable genre that I do very much enjoy (even romance, since I happen to be a fan of The Notebook and The Time Traveler’s Wife).
My favorite genres would unsurprisingly be horror and hard science fiction.

Who are among your favorite authors?  

Well, I happen to love Ayn Rand’s capacity to interlace genuine philosophical thought into well-composed fictional narratives (at least I always found them to be well-composed, though I have heard numerous other people complaining about her writing over the years). Frank Herbert and Alastair Reynolds are my heroes when it comes to science fiction. Both authors are (or “were” in the case of Herbert) brilliant when it involves crafting immersive, expansive new universes into which they projected their creative vision.

What is your favorite piece you’ve written, and what is it about?  

I haven’t written my favorite piece yet, or not completely. It is still rattling around in my head and slowly being put down on paper and the like…but I do have a favorite. Granted, it will depend on how different things turn out, which of those pieces in progress happens to ultimately be my favorite…but since they’re only partially written, I can’t say for sure.

Let’s change things up:

What is a hidden talent of yours? 

I used to be able to sing fairly well…used to be a musician as well. Now and again I consider going back to making music, and I love the idea of doing so…but the practical application isn’t as pleasant as it might seem, since I don’t do well with being in front of people as a focus of their attention.
Also, I can roll my penis up into the loose skin at the base of the shaft so that it appears that I have a massive scrotum with three testicles and no penis. I refer to it as the mollusk, though I can’t really explain why that particular name was chosen. Should I provide a picture…or even just an ink sketch diagram of the process that is involved?

Do you have any animals?  

I have a beagle, an unwanted nuisance of a cat, and two ferrets…as well as children, do they count? I’ll assume that children count as animals, since they do happen to be primates.


TV shows 

There are far too many to list them all, but I suppose that I will provide the Letterman list of my top ten favorites in no particular order (as of this particular moment, in a second or two my list might be slightly different, depending on mood): Farscape, Firefly, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Dexter, Battlestar Galactica, House, Supernatural, Fringe, and Castle.


This is another one with far too large of a list to really go into, but here’s a brief list of my favorites: Dune, Serenity, Frequency, The Salton Sea, Romeo Is Bleeding, The Fifth Element, Night of the Living Dead, The Evil Dead, The Machinist, and Vertigo.


As with the other media-related queries, I will try and answer with a top ten list, without any numerical values assigned: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, Dune by Frank Herbert, The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan, Hater by David Moody, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress, Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds, World War Z by Max Brooks, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, and Starfish by Peter Watts.


I don’t believe that I have a favorite animal. If asked whether I happen to be a dog or a cat person, I am definitely a dog person...unless “dog” happens to include one of those abominations that are more like hamsters or gerbils than anything of the canine species.


I would have to say that gray or black are my favorites, but they aren’t colors so much as shades…where colors are concerned, I happen to prefer deep, rich varieties of blue, black, and red.

And last but not least, tell us all about your upcoming novel.  

I actually have two novels in progress that are in contention for the title of “upcoming” since they’re plodding along at approximately the same pace, in addition to another one or two that are coming along a bit more slowly. I’d love to tell you about them, but I wouldn’t know which one(s) to focus on…so, it’ll be as much a surprise for you as it is for me, I suppose. Two are horror, one is science fiction, and the other is something akin to the urban fantasy genre in a sense.

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The following is a brief excerpt from my novel The Dead (working title), which I initially started writing a few years ago, only to put it on hiatus until quite recently:

I was sluggish that morning, it was too damned hot in my trailer, and the stifling temperatures of late spring always caused me to be rather lethargic. The air conditioner had stopped working the fall before, and I hadn’t bothered to purchase a new one since then. Money had been pretty tight for a while now, by my estimations at least, too many of my customers had gotten arrested or had found better deals elsewhere over the past couple of months. Besides, heroin was a dying trade. I understood that fact, hell, there was absolutely no way that anyone could have gotten me to inject that filthy shit into my own body. I had seen the scum that got strung out on junk for far too many years to ever actually have any desire to emulate them. But the money was good, it beat the hell out of actually showing up to work at some dead end job for a living. And if these fucking wastes of flesh weren’t getting their fixes from me, the money would just end up padding someone else’s pocket, probably some strung out piece of shit themselves. So I found it to be a far better thing that I be raking it in than the alternative.
                The day was bright, despite the clouds coming in and I slapped at the blinds for a couple of minutes before they finally fell closed. I’d had too much to drink the night before, the throbbing behind my eyes served as a testament to that. I could barely remember if I’d been drinking alone, or if there’d been company along for the bender, but I believed that I’d been flying solo. There wasn’t a woman or another man, an occasional option, in my bed with me, so it stood to reason that I could assume that I hadn’t gotten laid. No great tragedy there, I’d probably had enough of the mindless fuck puppets at the bars around here. And that left only my customers as the remaining option, and I’d sooner take a straight razor to my cock than shove it into one of those degenerates. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of those sallow, scrawny shits were infected with A.I.D.S or something equally as bad. Nothing could make me that desperate for flesh.
                I was going to piss myself if I didn’t get up though, so I stood up on unsteady legs and made my laborious way to the bathroom down the hall. Not that it would have been the first time that I’d been intoxicated enough to just let loose in my sleep. However, on these nights I’d had so much to drink that my sweat and urine were functionally impossible to differentiate from one another due to the high alcohol content of both, so I only presume that I’d pissed my sheets like some snotty little brat. At least I know for certain that my bowels had never released while I was in slumber, so I hadn’t reached that degree of alcoholic decline. However, anything was possible with time, and I was well on my way down the road that would eventually and inevitably lead to regularly soiled linens on par with those found in convalescent or nursing homes. The worst part about all of this was that I really couldn’t care less.
                The yellow light in the bathroom made me appear jaundiced in the mirror, but I knew that it wasn’t all the light, that my pallor couldn’t have been a whole lot better. I lay my .45 on the counter and removed my penis from the open flap of my boxers and pissed standing up into the sink. It wasn’t because there was a problem with my plumbing; it was simply more convenient to relieve myself in this way with an erection, less painful bending of the instrument in question.
                After I was finished I ran some water into the basin in order to clean it out. There was a slight pinkish red tint to my urine, so I had definitely had far too much to drink. Perhaps I should have checked myself into some manner of AA class or another, sought treatment for what was quite obviously a serious problem, but to me more an error in judgment, a lifestyle choice. Hemmingway had been no better, but he’d also been a successful author, who ultimately self-terminated after putting himself into seemingly endless situations that should have probably led to his death anyhow. I was nobody, a nonentity, so I suppose that I didn’t have the leeway that certain others of more redeeming social value might have regarding their behaviour. Fucking artists, like somehow being artistically inclined could excuse being a drunk or a madman. Shit like that sort of arbitrary double standard drove me nuts my whole life and it still does.
                I was well educated though, I’m not just some shit from a trailer park, white trash to the core, not that it really matters in the real world. I had graduated two years before with a degree in economics from UCLA, but contrary to popular belief, college doesn’t change your life…it does absolutely shit for a person like myself. Sure, I could have taken some shitty job at some accounting firm or some business or another, but I had no motivation to waste my life in such a way. What fun would there be in living like that? Besides, my trailer and the lot have been paid off for years, my car is paid in full, and I found that I could make a better living with a less savory use of my understanding of economics. Sure, there are risks in the life that I’d chosen, but the benefits are there as well. I can sleep in about as late as I might want, I can afford to go out drinking every night without having to worry about losing my job for showing up half tanked. I’ve never been arrested, hell, so far as I knew, I’d never even crossed by the police radar. According to my cost-benefit analysis, I had made precisely the right choices as far as my chosen occupation was concerned.
                There were messages waiting for me on the machine when I made it out to the living room, a bright flashing red dot informing me that the outside world does indeed exist regardless of how much better for me life would be if it did not. Fuck them I figured, if it was important, they could wait until I felt like returning their calls. I hate those god damned machines, always flashing, people always calling me. It was like a fucking nightmare, the constant irritant that the phone could be, connecting me with the trash outside who always wanted something from me, the dealers wanting money, the junkies wanting their fixes. Why did I have my number published in the first place? What the fuck could I have been thinking? I should have just picked up a pager like every other drug dealer out there, that way these assholes wouldn’t be able to intrude on the comfort of my home when I didn’t want them to.
                It was only eleven in the morning…I hadn’t slept in nearly so long as I had figured originally, but who ever knows what time it actually is when they wake up with a hangover and a bladder full of piss? It’s a good thing that I’d woken up though; I needed to avoid pissing myself at all costs if it could be avoided. After all, I still retained some small sense of decency, dignity, and self respect; perhaps not much, but there was some remnant of those things left inside of me.
                I felt like a fucking cripple, stumbling around like some kind of defective. I wandered down the hall into the kitchen and moved shit around almost blindly in the cupboard for an indeterminate amount of time before I finally found the bottle that I was looking for, darvocet, the perfect quick cure for the constant thrumming in my skull. How I could continue living like this is as mysterious and alien of a concept for me as it would be to nearly anyone else, but it was habitual now, ingrained into the fabric of my personality. I was an alcoholic, an addict, the exact same breed of scum that my father had been, and likely his father before him.
                I rooted around in the fridge for a short while, finally determining that I should go ahead and wash the pill down with milk, because it was close enough for food, and about as close to solid material that I could ingest and keep down for any small period of time. I twisted off the plastic cap and tipped the gallon back into my mouth. I spit a mouthful of the rancid shit out into the sink; the fucking milk was spoiled. Damn eyes inability to focus, I should have noticed by sight, the shit was nearly transparent in the clear plastic bottle, the curdled chunks floating at the top. My nose was also far too stuffed up to possibly allow me to smell the fetid odor of the disgusting crap that I’d just tried to force down my gullet. What a fucking morning.
                Tossing the gallon jug into the garbage, I walked over to the liquor cabinet and quickly yanked out a bottle of tequila, something guaranteed to wash the rotten taste out of my suffering mouth. The bitter flavour washed down my throat, a catalyst necessary to wake me up properly. It probably wasn’t the wisest decision to be mixing hard liquor with my pain medication on an empty stomach, but this type of behaviour hadn’t killed me yet, so I figured that it wasn’t such a big deal as doctors always made it out to be. And what would it really matter if something did happen? Worst case scenario being that I would kick the bucket, and what a fucking tragedy that would be. I had no family left, never really had any friends. The only people who would miss me would be a handful of needle freaks, and they’d miss me the same way that a child misses Santa Claus when they finally reach the age of disillusionment.
                My mother died when I was 13, unlucky year indeed. My father quickly thereafter lost himself in his work and booze, and I couldn’t really blame him. My mother had been a wonderful woman, holding our damaged little family together. And, all Freudian psychology aside, I wasn’t willing to settle for anyone less than her for myself. Good luck there, my father hadn’t degenerated to my degree of decadence and disrepair until they’d been married for a couple of years. Finding a woman patient and saintly enough to put up with my manner of bullshit from the beginning may as well be impossible for how probable it would be.

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