Interview with Robert Collins

Hello Everyone!

We are delighted to have author Robert Collins amongst us today at Musikdiv India Online Magazine at our Special ‘Authors Festival’ interview series to tell us about his new book Lisa’s Way (The “Lisa Herbert” Series)!
Please read on …

Teenager Lisa Herbert lives in the small town of Mountain View on the planet Fairfield. The “Savage Rain” decades earlier shut down the hyperspace gate and isolated her world. A casual remark from her sister gets Lisa to ask a simple question: “If life was better before the ‘Savage Rain,’ why couldn’t it be better again?”
That question starts Lisa on a journey. She reactivates Fairfield’s H-gate and travels to three worlds. Each planet offers her a chance to improve life by hard work, by trade, or by making friends. She relies on her brains, her compassion, and a little sneakiness to solve the problems she faces.
Lisa’s Way presents a heroine more interested in reasoning than fighting, and more concerned with doing good than looking good.


So Robert, we’ll start your Interview with the very first question

1.Please introduce and tell the readers something about yourself.

My name is Robert Collins. I write science fiction and fantasy, and Kansas history.

2.What brought you to writing?

I became interested in SF through Star Wars, the Star Trek. That led to the book Asimov on SF. The book showed me a way to channel my creativity.

3.How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing professionally since 1987. My first short sale was in 1990. My first book was published in 1996.

4. What was your first literary project? Tell us something about it.

Back in high school, a friend and I had an idea about a post-apocalypse story with us and our friends as characters. After high school I fictionalized the story. Over the years that became my second published novel, Lisa’s Way.

5.Is this your new/latest project?

Yes. I have a new edition out with a new cover, in print and as an ebook.

6. Traditional books or e-books? How do you prefer to see your works published? Have you tried ever publishing the traditional way?

First part: both. There’s room for both print and ebooks.
Second part: published and read.
Third part: Yes. My first three novels were published by small presses.

7.Can you give a chapter sample preview of your book here for our readers to know more about it.

The first 3 chapters of LISA’S WAY are at Wattpad:
( Please look at the bottom of the interview for book excerpts )

8.What are your hobbies? Things that you enjoy doing besides books of course.

I like reading, model railroading, and listening to music.

9.Who is your favourite author?

I don’t think in terms of favorite author or book. I like stories. I read to enjoy a good story. Fiction or nonfiction, whatever genre, it doesn’t matter so long as the story engages me and keeps me reading.

10.What is your favourite genre to read and also to write?

Science fiction and fantasy.

11.Do you have a role model that you get inspiration from?

Not really. I am following the blogs of Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Joe Konrath. I’m trying to keep up with what’s going on in publishing.

12.Where do get your ideas from? Do you take your story ideas from real life situations?

Anywhere. Other books. Since I also write nonfiction, I get lots of ideas from my research. One of the things that helped put Lisa’s story into focus for me was my research into the Santa Fe Trail. It showed me how important trade and commerce could be to a society trying to rebuild.

13. Do you have a pseudonym?


14.What’s your experience been like in the publishing industry? Positive or negative? Please share your experience with our readers.

I had one small press where things started well. Then the owners decided to go in a certain direction, and I no longer got my calls and emails returned. Another almost disappeared before the book came out due to the owner’s health issues. A third wants a large order of books from the author before putting out print copies.
These are reasons why I like that self-publishing is a viable option now. My fate isn’t in the hands of others, but my own. I’m not ruling out ever going with a traditional publisher. That publisher will have to offer something that I can’t get myself.
As to my short fiction, I still like sending out my stories to magazines. Acceptances are good, as are helpful rejections. I do think, though, that as more authors also self-pubish shorts and sell them, magazines will have to keep up. The one area where they can offer something is feedback. The form rejection has to be relied on less. Otherwise, authors won’t bother continuing to submit to publications and self-publish.

15.Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I hope I’m doing well enough to make a living from my writing.

16. What motivates you to write?

I have stories to tell, and I want to tell them.

17. How important is good cover art for your books?

Cover art is important. In the case of LISA’S WAY, I had the art done by a friend who’s a professional. His daughter liked the original version, so he was willing to work for free. An attractive cover, like an on-target blurb, makes that good first impression that can hook a reader.
That said, I think too many indie authors try to get covers that are beautiful, without realizing the downside. An ebook cover isn’t going to appear very large. In fact most potential readers will see a cover image that’s only an inch or two high. It’s better to have a simple cover that looks good in any size.

18. Do you have a price strategy for your books?

Nothing besides keeping them priced as affordably as possible, without making them seem too cheap.

19. How does it make you feel when you read a bestselling book that you don’t feel is as good as yours?

I don’t worry about it. That’s what’s great about being an artist: either the work hooks you or it doesn’t. Not every work engages everyone. What some think is good others think is bad. Just because a bestseller doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean I should get upset. I’ll just keep trying to find my own readers.

20.Why do you think readers should buy your book? What can you offer them through your book?

I hope I’m offering a good story, with a heroine they can like. If that’s something a reader is looking for, great. Otherwise, the best salesmanship in the world isn’t going to work. There’s a lot of talk about promotion these days among indie authors. Promotion isn’t going to succeed if your book isn’t what the reader is looking for. Instead of hard-selling my books, I’m working on getting the word out that they’re available. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Get the word out, win over a few readers, and keep writing. I hope in time that a few readers will turn into many.

21.Where is your book available? Any Buy Link for our readers?

Amazon Kindle :


22.Do you have a website or a blog that you’d like to share here?

23. What advice would you give to other writers?

Keep writing!

24.Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Buy books!

  • Thank you Robert Collins for gracing us with your presence.It was a sheer pleasure.Good luck with your book.We conclude the interview here

    Thanks again from Team MusikDIV

    Book Exerpts – Sample Chapter

    Lisa’s Way (The “Lisa Herbert” Series) By Robert Collins


    “There you are. Got your nose in another book.” Lisa Herbert wished she could ignore her sister and make her go away, but ignoring had stopped working a while back. Short answers and quips seemed more effective, therefore Lisa replied with a simple “Yeah, so?”

    “Why are you in here?”
    “I’m reading.”
    “Why read?” Lisa looked up and smiled. “Leslie, if you don’t know why we read, there isn’t any hope for you.”
    Leslie smiled stiffly. “Keep that up, and I won’t be helping you meet any boys.”
    “I don’t need your help.”
    “Oh, yeah, like boys are just lining up to meet you.”
    Lisa let out an exasperated sigh. “I don’t think life has to be about meeting boys and getting married. I want something better than that!”
    “Like what? Teaching? Tending this little library?”
    “Leslie, did you come here to annoy me, or did you have something you needed to tell me?”
    “I came here to tell you that Dan has promised me a fun afternoon.”
    “Oh, I’m sure.”
    “Cathie and Zack are going with us. I could go find Pete, and you could join us. Forget about this old stuff. Have some fun.”
    “I’ll think about it,” Lisa lied.
    “Great.” Leslie turned, and jogged out of the library.
    Lisa forgot about Leslie’s offer almost as fast as it had taken Leslie to leave the library. Something she said, however, stuck with her: Lisa’s own statement of wanting something better. She put away the book she struggled with, and searched for another that she’d noticed days ago. It struck her then as an odd title for a book. Now, that title sparked her curiosity.
    “There.” Portals to Job Security: New (and Old) Career Opportunities. She removed the book from its place, returned to the desk, sat down, and began to read. She soon became absorbed with the slender volume. She discovered that the book contained ideas for jobs in an “inter-planetary economy tied through the H-portal.” Many of the ideas required travel between worlds. Others seemed temporary but related to each other. Lisa paused to consider the ideas presented. It took time for her to realize that the author suggested that a person wouldn’t spend a lifetime at one job, but could have several jobs throughout their life. The book didn’t suggest that certain jobs were restricted to men or women. Lisa knew she would need some time to ponder what she read.

    Leslie returned before Lisa had even one moment to think. “You ready?”
    “For what?”
    “Dan’s going to show us the ruins.”
    “Leslie! If Father finds out…”
    “You won’t say anything. You’re coming with us.”
    “The Hell I will!” Lisa stood up. She walked with firm strides to where her sister stood, just inside the doorway. “You want to risk your life to spend some time with Dan, fine. I don’t care if you’re going out there to fool around with him, but don’t try to drag me along.”
    “You have something better to do?”
    Lisa smiled. “What do you care? You’re popular, and I’m the red-haired freak. You don’t need me.”
    “What are you up to?”
    “Go on, go on.” She grinned wickedly. “I thought you didn’t like to keep Dan waiting.”
    “At least he’s waiting for me.” Leslie stuck out her tongue. She turned, then turned back to Lisa. “If you say one word to Father, your hair won’t be the only part of you that’s red.” She turned again and left the library.
    Lisa returned to the book. She reread the passages about jobs. She wanted to be certain that the text made sense, that its claims sounded true. Satisfied that book’s opportunities were indeed absent of limits to women, she began to consider the implications of that insight.
    I suppose that fits with what I know about the Savage Rain, she thought. After all, if there wasn’t a society to be knocked down, the gangs ranging through the portals wouldn’t have knocked it down in the first place. I guess I never really thought about it that way. Since that’s true, there had to be something better before the Rain. So, I guess that also means that things could get better again.
    But, how? Maybe I ought to find out what it was like before the Rain. Maybe that will point me in the right direction.
    Lisa went back to the shelves. She tried to remember the title of another book, one that she had wanted to read for some time. She remembered the book was kept on the higher shelves, something being said about it being too fragile for too many people to look at. It took long, slow minutes of searching, but she found the precious volume: The Mountain View Scrapbook.
    She discovered that it wasn’t a conventional book. There were pieces of paper cut out from some other place and stuck onto over-sized pages, like the scrapbook name implied. Some of the pieces had a title, Fairfield Daily Gazette. Unlike other books, this one told the story of Mountain View.
    Each cut-out contained a separate story about something that happened in the village. She read about the founding of the town, the first birth, the first death, harvests, elections, and more. There were a few short notices on visits from a family not living in Fairfield. Two of them struck Lisa: the first one said a visit was approaching; the second, that the visit had been cancelled because the family couldn’t get travel passes to go through one world.
    Now, that’s odd, she thought. They couldn’t get from their world to Fairfield because some world in-between wouldn’t let them pass through? Why would anyone do that? If it happened during the Rain, I could see that. But…Wait. How did the Rain start? Yeah. A gang fled from one world to another, and once they got there, they couldn’t leave. The first world attacked the second, because of simple hatred.
    If people on one world didn’t like people on the next, they wouldn’t let outsiders cross between them out of fear of being attacked. That being the case, it was only a matter of time before the Savage Rain happened.
    Lisa glanced at the Scrapbook, and she flipped through some more pages. The more short pieces she read, the more she became convinced that her speculation was true. A third of the way through the book were the first reports of the Savage Rain, then it stopped. The rest of the pages were blank. Lisa picked up that book, along with the one on jobs, and put both back in their places on the shelves.
    Well, now I know. There was a time when life was better, when there could be more to a woman’s life than getting married and having babies. Wishing for those times to return won’t help me. If things were good once, why can’t they be again? What could anyone do? What could I do to help make it happen?
    I think now’s the time I should ask Father for that notebook he’s been promising me. I need to write some of this down. I’ll need to focus on the possibilities.
    She walked out of the library, and as she turned towards her home, she saw Pete riding into the village on a lathered horse. She dashed to him. “What are you doing here? Where’s…?”

    “They got ’em pinned in the ruins!” he huffed.
    “Who does? What’s going on?”
    Pete slipped off his mount. “Wild men, in the ruins. They attacked us, got us hemmed in so the rest couldn’t get away. Zack and Dan covered me, so I could get back to get help.”
    “Are they all right?”
    “When I left them, they were pinned down. Don’t know how long they can hold, or if they can get away.”
    Lisa paused for a moment, thinking. It’ll take time for Father to gather the men and ride out. Leslie and the others might not have that much time. I may not be able to save them, but I could stall until Father arrives!
    “Pete, catch your breath, then find my father. Tell him what you told me. Do you know where they are?”
    He nodded. “They’re in a big white building, the one with ’hotel’ on the front.”
    “Okay.” She turned towards the village stable.
    “Where are you going?”
    “To buy them some time.”

    Buy The Lisa’s Way (The “Lisa Herbert” Series) by Robert Collins On Amazon Kindle >>

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