JEREMY ROBINSON was born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1974. He stayed in Beverly through college, attending Gordon College and Montserrat College of Art. His writing career began in 1995 and includes stints on comic books, and thirteen completed screenplays, several of which have been produced, optioned or have gone into development. He is also the author of two non-fiction books: The Screenplay Workbook and POD People – Beating the Print-On-Demand Stigma as well as the Barnes&Noble.com and Amazon Canada bestselling novel, The Didymus Contingency and newly released Raising the Past. He currently resides in New Hampshire with his wife, Hilaree, daughter, Aquila and son, Solomon.
What made you want to become a writer?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been telling stories, but originally through art. Growing up, I would paint huge murals in my bedroom depicting dragons, aliens, huge castles and cityscapes. But the images were more than illustrations; they told stories. As a high school student, my interest in telling stories through art led me to comic books, which I illustrated after college. Illustrating comics led to writing comics. While I had written several stories previously, I had never considered myself a writer or a good writer at least. My interest in comics morphed into an interest in film, for which I wrote 13 screenplays. Eventually I was consumed with telling longer and more in-depth stories (which can’t be done through comics or screenplays) and I began adapting my screenplays into novels. And now I have two published novels, The Didymus Contingency and Raising the Past and three more on the way!
Was the journey difficult?
The journey, more than anything else, was fun. I can’t say this is true for everyone, but I really enjoy improving my writing and have spent the past ten years writing and rewriting manuscripts. I love telling stories, so I always enjoy getting my hands dirty with a new story, or rewriting an old one.
However, what haven’t been easy were the sacrifices that needed to be made in order to really make a career of writing. The term “starving artist” works just as well for writers as it does artists. It takes a certain level of dedication to push on against the odds, which I have, but the odds are stacked against all new writers. It’s a long road to success. As for help, I would have to thank my wife, Hilaree. She has been an amazing support, giving me time to write and encouraging me when I met setbacks.
What were some of your favorite stories growing up?
Growing up, I was a huge fan of Godzilla…and I still am, but he’s more of a film icon. For novels, I would have to say James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Hobbit. I have vivid memories of my mother reading these books to my brother and me before bed. They are such vivid and imaginative stories. I believe they planted the seeds in my imagination that led me to daydream and conjure unknown worlds and creatures.
What inspires you as a writer?
My first instinct is to say, “Everything.” Every good writer looks for story ideas and elements in each and every nook and cranny of life. But the true answer for me is science and the Bible. I’m always keeping track of new developments in scientific discoveries and advances; from Archeology and Paleontology to Astrophysics and Oceanography. Science is an amazing resource for ideas and is constantly changing the way we experience and view the world.
As for the Bible; whether you’re a believer or not, the Bible contains a wealth of stories that inspire the imagination and presents amazing possibilities for modern stories. Out of my five novels, three involve Biblical themes. As a result, most of my stories involve Biblical themes enmeshed with modern science. Of course, to inspire myself to write I simply need to read a good novel or see a good movie!
What advice would you give a writer with writer’s block?
Writer’s block has actually never been a problem for me. In general I can’t find enough time to get all of the ideas in my head out. If I do have trouble writing I take a break. If my imagination is stalling it usually means I’m stressed out. So I’ll watch a good movie or take a walk in the woods or, but by far my favorite imagination booster is visiting the ocean. I find the ocean to be mysterious and amazingly huge. I feel the same way in a lightning storm, but they come when they please. The ocean always relaxes me and fills my imagination ideas about what might lurk beneath.
What stories are you working on presently?
I’m currently finishing up my fifth novel, a story involving a sea creature that lives in the Gulf of Maine. As I love to do, I’ve got hard science mixed with Biblical history to create an interesting thriller. I can’t say anymore than that, except for that it is tentatively titled, From the Deep. I’m also hard at work promoting my newly released novel, Raising the Past, which is an arctic adventure similar to James Rollins’ Ice Hunt. The story takes place in the Nunavut region of Canada and starts with an excavation of a Mammoth from the ice and tundra. Things take a dangerous turn when an ancient woman falls out of the Mammoth’s belly, clutching a futuristic object. The crew of the expedition suddenly find themselves wielding the key to mankind’s freedom or destruction…and are pursued by the sinister forces that want it back.
Finally, what advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in writing?
Have fun! Seriously, you should enjoy what you’re doing, whether you’re a writer or not. But as a writer, if you’re not enjoying yourself and your stories, then it’s going to show in your work. Let your imagination go wild. Be creative. That doesn’t mean you should let things like grammar, spelling and vocabulary go, because they’re very important. But building an imagination and constructing complicated plots are much more difficult skills to acquire.
While grammar can be taught in school, your imagination can only be sustained by yourself. Allow yourself, as you grow older, to maintain and enjoy your imagination. My advice to parents on this point would be to encourage your children’s imagination. I credit my parents for bravely allowing me to paint murals on my bedroom walls. They recognized my imagination was worth far more than a coat of paint (which I would apply before starting my next mural!)
Where can kids and parents find out more about your work?
First and foremost, I respond to all e-mails I receive. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. My website can be found at www.jeremyrobinsononline.com and my publishers website, where Raising the Past is featured, can be found at www.breakneckbooks. I also have a blog at http://jeremyrobinson.blogspot.com and a myspace page at www.myspace.com/robinsonwrites. I’m very easy to reach and love interacting with fans!
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