RICHARD ROBERTS: I WEAR BLACK ALL THE TIME, AND I SMILE ALMOST AS OFTEN
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Richard Roberts is the author with one of the funniest book titles around. Behind the nice covers and attractive headlines the readers receive thrilling adventures. The Machine Series‘ books were praised with huge positive feedback and a demand for more. The second part Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon was published in January, so we are proud to welcome the young and talented Richard Roberts at Land of Books to speak about his novels and himself.
– What is your book Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon about?
– This book is the second of the Inscrutable Machine series, and it’s about a thirteen year old girl who’s a supervillain. At the start of the second book she’s gotten a little too used to being a supervillain, and decides to play hooky – in a big, big way, by flying to Jupiter. Out there she finds that no matter where she goes, the same kinds of problems follow, including being unable to escape her role as a villain!
– How did you decide to write the story?
– The first book was written so that it could stand alone, but I also kept open the possibility of sequels. As a light and fluffy kids’ book, that was easier than my more serious novels. I found myself telling a story to myself about the main characters in space, so when my publisher and fans started begging for a series, I knew what to write next.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Finding an emotional arc for Penny that supports but is separate from the obvious ‘I’m ready to go back to school now’ arc. I put a lot of thought into laying lots of different plot and theme threads out, so when I tie them together it’s satisfying.
– Tell us something more about your main character Penelope? Is she close to someone from your real life?
– The three main characters, Penny, Ray, and Claire are all a mix of myself and my friend Dana Simpson, who inspires all my books. Claire is mostly Dana, Ray is mostly me, and Penny is deeply blended.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– The book took forever to write, like five months, maybe. The editing process was gruelingly slow, much slower than usual, like three months.
– Tell us something about your novel Quite Contrary, which was part of Kindle Amazon Top 30 bestselling list?
– I think the thing I would want to talk about most with Quite Contrary is Mary herself. One of the reasons I wrote the book was that I had this idea of the most contrary little girl in the world, a girl who would never agree to anything. I wanted to try to make such a girl who looks like a cardboard cutout parody on the surface, and yet is a three dimensional person, someone who would really act like that.
– How you came up with the title Sweet Dreams are Made of Teeth for your book?
– Who are you?
– Geez. I’m an introvert who loves socializing. I’m a very cheerful goth. I wear black all the time, and I smile almost as often. I used to read constantly, but now writing takes up that time and emotional energy. I could keep going with the contradictions, but we don’t have space.
– What are your writing habits?
– I spend three quarters of my time twisting my brain into a mood where I can pour my blood on the page. That involves a lot of listening to music, thinking about my stories when I’m not writing, and making outlines so I don’t have to stop and wonder what to write next.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– I never imagined they would sell this well.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– My publisher does that for me, and I could not be luckier. My marketing sense is pathetic.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– My publisher asked me to write a novella set in the same universe as Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m A Supervillain, but separate from the main books. I wrote a story about a minor character people seem to like, Bull, and his supervillain experiences when he was young.
– Why you select modern fantasy genre for your field of expression?
– I didn’t. Often I have trouble even figuring out what genre my books are. I just think of an interesting story and write it.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– What do you plan to do in the third Inscrutable Machine book? Show how kids you think you know figure out what’s right for them. Maybe they’re heroes inside. Maybe they’re villains. Maybe they have choices they never thought of.
Take a look at his books:
Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain
Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon
Sweet Dreams are Made of Teeth
Curiosity Quills: Chronology