This week we have a not one, but three giveaways from Bob Rich. He is offering two free copies each of 2 books, to randomly chosen commenters. The titles are “Guardian Angel” and “Ascending Spiral”. He has also said he is happy to send out a free advance review copy of his next book “Hit and Run” to anyone who requests it; his email address is at the end of the interview.
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
Nothing. I am an open book, or more exactly, two open books.
When my stepfather died, I gave my mother a project in order to stop her from rushing after him: to give me enough information to write her biography. After all, she had survived the unsurvivable many times, including when the man she loved transported her son (me) to the Antipodes for the term of my natural life. (This was to prevent a murder: my stepfather’s or mine, depending.) She also achieved the impossible whenever she put her mind to it, such as building a million-dollar export business behind the Iron Curtain, although she was “only” a woman, and Jewish at that, in an anti-Semitic, patriarchal culture.
The result is “Anikó: The stranger who loved me”, which has won several awards.
The second book that exposes me to the gaze of whoever will look is “Ascending Spiral”. This is historical fiction — sort of, and science fiction — sort of, and my life story — with a difference, and definitely a call to arms. It has won one award, and was finalist in another contest.
You see, one of the five occupations I’ve retired from is as a psychotherapist. (I am legally prohibited from calling myself a retired counselling psychologist, because if I apply the word “psychologist” to myself, it’s “go to jail, go directly to jail, do not collect £200.”) A standard technique is to ask a client to write a film script in which the hero experiences all the events in the client’s life, but handles them the way the client wishes to have done. Then of course the client is to step into the starring role. Well, I don’t write film scripts but novels, and that’s what I’ve done. I wish I were like my hero, Pip, and we’re both working on it.
But also, every character in every story I’ve ever written is a piece of me. For example, my just-published book, “Guardian Angel” will tell you as much about me as about the short life and rebirth of a wonderful Aboriginal girl in New South Wales in the 19th century. Maraglindi is one of my favourite children: child of the land, fruit of an evil deed, and instrument of love.
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
Oh dear. Through the years, reviewers have been kind, and it’s hard to choose. Since currently I am promoting “Guardian Angel, I’ll quote British writer Geoff Nelder:
It takes a brave writer to tackle racism and prejudice even in this ‘enlightened’ age where slavery is technically forbidden. Dr Bob Rich lays into the theme with zeal, but with a cunning writer’s craft so the story is rich, page turning and unforgettable. Set in Victorian Australia, a numinous spirit from the universe – if you will – has the task of steering humanity towards the engagement of love rather than hatred. The spirit is manifested in Maraglindi, an aboriginal girl. In spite of heinous acts against ‘the people’, love is to shine over hatred. Does it though? You have to read it yourself.
You’ll enjoy the writing. Where you can tell horses are galloping near via ‘the drumming in the soles of his bare feet’; ‘smell the scent of the gum trees’; and when ‘Mrs Mac laughed her silvery laugh.’
Guardian Angel is more than a story, more than an epic tale, it’s an ineffable message for us all.
Pity you asked for one review because I am tempted to keep going…
What did the worst review you ever had say about you and your work?
My science fiction novel “Sleeper, Awake”, which has won an international award, is set in a world where women rule. The genius who designed it wanted to channel males’ testosterone drives into competing for women’s attention, while creating a sustainable economy by limiting global population to one million. So, a woman has absolute control over who fathers her next child, and men do anything and everything to be chosen. One of my major characters is Souda Ramirez. Based on the undoubted fact that a ram is a male animal, one reviewer dubbed the book sexist.
That surely is a case of excrement-coloured glasses. “Male writer, must be sexist, right?”
How did you choose a title for your book?
Um, which one? <cheeky grin>. OK, Guardian Angel simply could not have any other title, even though there are dozens of other books with identical or similar titles. You see, my heroine is an Enlightened Spirit who has been assigned as guardian angel to humans, but has never lived as one. She needs to experience a few human lives.
My short story collection “Bizarre Bipeds” contains a 50,000 word novella and three shorter stories, all poking fun at us arrogant humans who think we’re the crown of creation. So, what else could it be called?
I have a book about to be published. It’s only waiting for cover art. The start is horrific: a 14 year old boy drives over seven little kids and the crossing supervisor, narrowly missing 84 year old Sylvia. When I started writing, I thought the theme would be just retribution, but Sylvia took charge, and reformed the killer boy through empathy and compassion. The title was fairly obvious: “Hit and Run”. Until the book is published, I am happy to send out free advance review copies to anyone who emails me for one.
My beta readers have all told me this is the best story I’ve written to date, although of course that was before they’d read Guardian Angel.
Will that do?
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
Well, it’s not quite like that. Almost anyone can write, but a writer just IS a writer. I didn’t know I was a writer until 1980, but all my life, my head has been full of monologues I didn’t share with anyone — who’d be interest in what I think, for heaven’s sake?
So, writing is not instead of anything else, it is just what life is. If I never allowed anyone else to glimpse the products of my imagination, I’d still be a writer. I have so far retired from 5 different occupations (you can see what at my blog). But your question is like “Have you ever wished you could do something instead of eating?”
Are there any habits you wish you didn’t have?
All too many! Perhaps the worst is thinking like a scientist. I don’t believe anything, but go with the evidence. And since 1972, the evidence has clearly shown me that humanity is racing for planetary suicide. I am a professional grandfather, and want a future for the children of the world, and a future worth surviving in, and it ain’t gonna happen.
We are now in the 6th great extinction event of earth’s history, and it is accelerating. The extinction rate is about 100 times what it should be, and when we destroy the web of life, we also fall through the hole. I discuss what to do about it in my essay, “How to change the world”, but what with galloping climate change, and planetary plasticitis, and all the toxins in air, water and biosphere, and the emergence of Trumpistan, my informed guess is that we’re way past the OOPS and are heading for the SPLAT.
This causes me realistic anticipatory grief. I handle it through the tools of Buddhist equanimity, which works — sometimes.
But it would be so nice to be like a bird, and simply be unaware of such things. That’s why the welcome page of my psych site has a poem about birds on it.
If you could commit the perfect murder where would you hide the body?
If? I have committed five perfect murders, in imagination of course. Probably the best one is a short story in my anthology “Striking Back from Down Under”, titled “The Perfect Crime.” A 15 year old boy killed his girlfriend’s sexually abusive stepfather while crippling and framing his own stepfather who was violent with him and his mother. The body was in plain view, but arranged so that only the other fellow could have done the act.
You know, when in ancient times I was an academic, I didn’t hide questions for a coming exam in a locked drawer like my colleagues. After all, if someone broke in, where would they look? Instead, the list of questions was on THAT corner of my cluttered desk, seven layers down.
But if I really wanted to hide a body I’d probably think of a morgue or funeral parlour. Hmm. There may be a story there…
Linda, I’d like to ask myself another question: “Why did you seek out an interview?”
Thank you for asking, Linda. Amazon UK is running a “Storyteller contest.” To enter, you need to publish your book via KDP. Deadline is 17th May. Those books with the most sales and reviews will go into the second stage, in which judges read them.
I have submitted “Guardian Angel,” which is for sale as both paperback and e-book at Amazon, including Amazon UK. While the contest is on, I’ve made the price as low as Amazon allows. I hope your readers will invest a few pennies, spend a few enjoyable hours reading, then write a review.
I have an ongoing policy: anyone who buys any of my books anywhere has earned a copy of one of my other titles, free. (Well, you surely don’t need a second copy of the same title!) So, email me the review, and you’ve got a free book.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, thank you for this opportunity, and I wish you and all your readers a good life.
You can find Guardian Angel in Paperback and Kindle format here:
Amazon – Guardian Angel
And, you can meet Bob on his website here: bobrich18.wordpress.com
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.