Featured Writer Spotlight and Interview: Author Robb T White

Last year I reviewed author Robert White's book NorthTown ECLIPSE. After the review I had the opportunity to speak with the author a little more about the book. He patiently answered my questions and  through emails I began to understand his writing style a little better. I thought he would be a great author to introduce to you, my readers in this year's Writer's Spotlight and he graciously accepted my request to do an interview. So without further ado let's meet crime fiction author Robert White.
NameRobert White
Your Website or Blogtomhaftmann@wixsite.com/robbtwhite
What social media sites are you on?Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
Twitter: @tomhaftmann
Facebook: facebook.com/tomhaftmann
Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/5251365.Robb_T_White

In the Author's WordsI'm married, retired, with three grown children, three grandchildren. Writing is my only hobby, and I have a black cat named Athena, and I've spent nearly all my life in Ashtabula, Ohio. Other than a two-week trip to China in 1999, I'm pretty much a recluse.
Your favorite author (s)?Martin Cruz Smith, Thomas Harris, and David Lindsey
What's on the Horizon?I'm planning a sequel to "Northtown Eclipse," featuring my new series character Raimo Jarvi.
Content TitleNorthtown Eclipse
Book genrehardboiled detective fiction
So what's it about?One brother, a private eye, discovers his older brother is mixed up in something serious and possibly dangerous. As he gets further into the mystery, people associated with his brother's past as a high-school football hero begin dying under mysterious circumstances.
Content SampleThey said it was a bottle rocket that went astray. It dropped into the maple in the backyard where the tent was staked. It dropped to the tent, still sizzling, and ignited the plastic material. In seconds, the whole tent was ablaze. Raimo’s eyes snapped open beneath an inferno. He remembered that helpless feeling over and over, how long seconds could be, spaghettified in the black hole of pain, and how mesmerized he was by the colors of the flames even as the heat scorched his face. The zipper of his sleeping bag was stuck and he couldn’t wiggle free. He thrashed and looked beside him for Rikki’s sleeping bag but he was all alone with swirls of black smoke filling his lungs every time he opened his mouth to scream for his brother to save him. When flaps of the burning tent fell on him, he remembered how it stung at first, like a hive of angry wasps let loose on his face and shoulders.
Did you edit anything out of this book?My editor Chris Black deleted big chunks of text, many paragraphs where he said I was overdoing it. In hindsight, he was right. The novel is much leaner, less telling & more showing.
Why or how did you choose the location for this book.Very easy. I live in "Northtown."
What was the hardest part of the story to write?Ray's relationships to his mother and father.
Why did you choose this subject or genre?I've been writing crime fiction since 2011. My first novel was "Haftmann's Rules," which featured a private eye in the vein of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe.
How long did it take you to write this book or series?The first draft went incredibly fast--about 8 weeks of intensive, daily writing.
What or who inspired you to write this story and why?The plot inspiration that put the characters together was a tragic plane accident over Lake Erie one winter.
What part or character was the most fun to write?Bart, Ray's friend, who works for the sheriff's department. He's modeled on a fellow Northtowner.
Did any of your characters surprise you or take an unexpected turn? Explain how.Two characters: first, Rikki, Ray's brother. I was surprised that he was able to accommodate a darker personality than I had planned for him. The other was a female classmate of Ray's who somehow "evolved" beyond the subordinate's wife's role I'd originally intended for her.
Are any of the characters coming from other books you have written? Who and where?No. Everyone here is "new." I have other manuscripts, one published, where some of the same characters jumped to another novel. The first novel I wrote is in the pipeline at another indie press: Moonshine Cove, which plans to bring out "The Russian Heist" in fall of 2019.
What do you want the reader to come away with after reading your story?The only answer I'd ever give to this question. I'd like to imagine the reader saying,
"Damn, that was an interesting story. This White's an OK writer."
Were you happy or sad when you finished writing this book or series?I like to think I have some stoic tendencies. I felt nothing either way.
Do you reward yourself when you finish a book? Share the deets!All my "rewards" in this latter stage of my life are petty. A hidden Hershey bar, a bag of Cheetos my wife doesn't know about.
Any tips for aspiring writers?Never, ever listen to negative criticism about your writing; that s the worm that destroys.

Author Interview
Do you write full time or part-time?Part-time
Do your family and friends support your writing path?Yes
What do you find are constant obstacles in your writing career?Time. The older you get, the faster it goes by.
What is your writing process like?Coffee first--before anything. I start mid-morning and quit early afternoon. On rare occasions, when trying to complete a short story that's close to the end, I'll write until it's done.
How many un-published or half- finished books do you have?Two unpublished crime-fiction or noir mss.
How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?About 5 or 6 weeks for a decent first draft. A couple pages a day is a good marker for me.
What are your other passions or hobbies?My newest granddaughter Calliope. I have few friends, no other hobbies or interests, and don't desire any more of either.
What kind of research do you do prior to writing a book and how long do you spend in the research phase?I tend to research as I go. The internet makes research very easy nowadays and I don't mind interrupting the writing in the interest of accuracy with respect to what I'm writing about.
Has another author that you admire read your work? Was it a positive or negative experience?Three writers I know of. Paul D. Brazil, who writes tough Brit fiction. Anotehr U.K. writer, Frank Westworth, author of the JJ Stoner and Chastity series; and Frank Rocca, a hardboiled writer of the Collinwood "Jackie" novels. I'm honored that all three have expressed kind words about my fiction.
Do you find it difficult to write in the voice or temperament of the opposite sex? If so what is the hardest challenge?When I created my "Annie Cheng" character for the novel "Special Collections," I was very apprehensive at first and went out of my way to throw in "feminine" traits, owing to my insecurity about being a man writing about a woman, how she thinks, etc. Then I stopped being afraid and decided there's nothing that mentally different and proceeded to make her as interesting as I tried to do for my male private eye.
How do you choose the character names and names of places/worlds?I note down names from the credits of films I watch and flip them around, see how they sound. The lone exception is "Annie Cheng," an actual name of a young woman I met in Beijing. (If that contradicts my assertion of being a "recluse" nowadays, I can't explain it.) That's how "Annie" was transformed into "Jade Hui" in "Perfect Killer.'
What is the best way for you to get your books out to the public?I write to bloggers like S. L. of "Who She Reads." The vast majority decline on the basis of so many authors bombing them with requests like mine.
Who is your favorite fiction crime author?Martin Cruz Smith, author of the "Arkady Renko" novels.
Is there a perfect length (amount of pages) a book should be to tell a complete story?No idea. Things in my novels end where they end.
Do the books that you write have a bit of you in them or are they a complete departure from who you are and what you believe?A complete & total departure. The majority of my characters, even the narrators (I'm often told) are "unlikeable."
Best advise you got from another author?No author ever advised me. I wouldn't listen anyway.
If you write sex scenes in your book how do you determine how explicit or vanilla to make the scene?I tried sex scenes early on. I'm horrible at it. this is the most difficult writing tehre is, as far as I'm concerned. I won't touch it with a barge pole (no Freudian slip there, I hope.)
Are LGBTQIA+ books under represented?I would assume so.
What are the best sites to list LGBTQIA+ books on? Who are the go-to publishers,agents and bookstores.This one's out of my depth.
What book were you reading when the inspiration to be a writer happened?Some novel by bestselling novel by Ridley Pearson. I was standing near the New Arrivals shelf skimming a few mysteries. I read a couple pages of this one and thought the author was opening up too many heads too soon.
What book would you like to be seen made into a movie?I'll dispense with humility by glomming the question for myself: "Sarabande for a Runaway," my second Thomas Haftmann novel.
Do you have conversations with your characters to help develop them and the story line?Never
If you were kidnapped and locked in an air conditioned windowless room with a bed, a microwave, a sink and a toilet, a type writer, 500 sheets of copy paper a pack of pencils and 10 cans of three bean salad for 7 days what would you write about?My memoir of growing up in "Northtown" Ohio.
Have you ever gotten Cheetos dust on your favorite book?Yes
How much money does it cost to (self) publish a book?No idea.
In your opinion, has the popularity of e-books, helped or hindered the industry?Both. It has opened up indie writers to audiences once entirely "owned" by the big houses in New York City. That's also the problem because everyone who can match a subject to a verb believes he or she is a writer.
Do books with explicit, foul and racially charge language ruffle your feathers?No
Do you own a Thesaurus?No
How do you prepare to write content that is potentially a trigger; like rape, physical attacks, killing a character, or suicide, etc.?No preparation. I believe in blasting ahead with it, controversial or banal. It's in the style that it matters.

Author  Interview Part 2
Do you think bookstores are a dying notion?Yes
When researching information for a story line, are you ever concerned that your google history may look suspect?No
What is the last book you purchased online, in a bookstore and at a retailerFrank Westworth's latest novel "Seven Hells"
Has anyone ever written a book you were considering writing?Not a novel but a script based on Karla Homolka's release from prison. She was the "Barbie" of the infamous Canadian "Barbie and Ken" serial-killer duo from the 1990s and the subject of the film "Karla."
What's your take on memoirs?Can be as good as novels if the author possesses style.
Pancakes or Waffles?Pancakes
How do you decide what comedic actions or lines are added to your story?I set up a straight man for a witty answer--for example, I'll use Bart for Raimo in "Northtown Eclipse."
Describe a scene in a book that made you laugh out loud. Then give the title and authorMichael Lander, a Vietnam vet and a psycho, has just detonated a small explosive device in an abandoned barn near an unused airstrip in the boondocks against the wishes of his terrorist partner, a woman named Dahlia Iyad, who is delicately handling the psychotically dangerous Lander for Black September. The explosion is a success; the steel darts riddle the barn in a perfect pattern (and eviscerate the brains of an innocent but gullible security guard). Lander is ecstatic and tells her they had to take this risk in preparation for killing 90,000 people at the Super Bowl instead of filling up a bunch of clinics for the deaf. The author Thomas Harris in his first novel "Black Sunday" (1975).
Favorite Ice-cream flavorVanilla
If you had 17 minutes to write a 500 word short story about anything you wanted could you do it?Probably not
Are bloggers an important arsenal in a writer's tool kit?I would say so. I think bloggers can make or break a beginning writer.
Exactly how important are reviews to a writer?9
Describe a scene in a book that truly moved you. Then give the name of the book and the authorArkady Renko's wife Irina goes into a Moscow clinic for a simple medication. She informs the nurse she's highly allergic to penicillin. The nurse writes it down, but the doctor is distracted and sees only penicillin on the form. When she begins to go into anaphylactic shock, he panics and the key breaks off in the medicine cabinet. All this while, Arkady has stepped out to buy her a fashion magazine. He returns to find her dead on the table. He goes crazy and tears the place up. Martin Cruz Smith" is the author, "Havana Bay" the novel.
What is the best book you have ever read?Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude."
What author's writing style would you say you could be compared to?Unfortunately, many. To be distinct is as rare as the Bahia Emerald.
Favorite under-appreciated or under- read, under- discovered book?William Styron
Have you discovered a new author lately? Tell us who and why you would recommend them!Tom Rob Smith, author of "Child 44." He has elements in common with myb favorite author Martin Cruz Smith.

What blog do you read the most and what about it makes it a staple in your daily life?Sandra Seamans "My Little Corner" because she provides notices for writers to submit crime fiction
What food do you eat the most while writing?None (coffee)
What is your go to drink while writing?Coffee
Do you have a ritual to get you through the editing process? Please share.A gallon of coffee, a limited number of pages per day.
Have you ever been turned down by publishers or literary agents? Did your book go on to be successful? Share your experienceOne NYC agent. She thought my characters were wonderful but my prose too violent for wide marketing.
What author would you like to collaborate with and why?I'm incapable of this.
What advise would you give to writer's pitching to publishers?I have too limited experience here.
Do you or are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?No
What is your 1 pet peeve about writers today?Too willing to self-promote (Guilty, your Honor).
What is your 1 pet peeve about readers/reviewers today?Too opinionated too soon.
Advertising and Marketing is part of every successful business. What percentage should be anticipated in spending to really capture a wide audience?This question's out of my depth also.
Do you like e-books or prefer physical books?Physical
What is your take on audiobooksNo opinion. Never listened to one.
Do you have a favorite narrator?N/A
What famous person would you like to hear read your books?Thomas Harris, author of the Hannibal Lecter novels
What banned book(s) have you read?So many have been banned that I've probably read a few without realizing it. Here's one from the distant past: "Lady Chatterley's Lover."

Author  Interview Part 3
Do you use Book Tour Sites? Who or which one do you highly recommend?No.
What 1 book have you read that you wanted to throw in a fireplace or out a window?An Agatha Christie novel many years ago. I did, in fact, throw it across the lawn.
What book are you embarrassed to say you have never read?"War and Peace"
What is your favorite television guilty pleasure?"Snapped" because I love to see abused women killing bad husbands
Are you :married
Are you a parent?Yes
When did you first realize how powerful words can be?I accidentally spelled a word when I was five.
What College did you attend?Kent State U. & U. of Arkansas
What state or country do you reside in?Ohio
Would you let your parents read your books?No
Are you a secret author?Yes
Do you write under a pseudonym?Several: Robert White, Robb White, Robb T. White, and Terry white
What is your real life profession- if you don't write full time?Retired from teaching in 2015.
What kind of music do you listen to when you are not writing?EDM
What is the 12th book in your Kindle library?"I'm Jack and I'm Back" by Frank Rocca
Where is the last place you traveled or went on vacation?China, 1999
What is your favorite reading snack?Coffee
For writing-PC
Have you seen Misery by Stephen King or did you read the book?nope
Have you seen To Interview A Vampire by Anne Rice or did you read the bookyes, saw the movie
In your opinion, do authors usually smoke?No
Are there any authors that you did not like at first but now have warmed up to?No, my response is always immediate, visceral.
What genre has over saturated the book market?The "cozy" mystery
What is your favorite genre to read?Noir
Do you use Grammarly?No
What do you think of POV writing? Say as opposed to tense writing?Being good at it is all that matters.
What would you like to see changed in the writing industry and why?A decline in the number of self-publishing venues that exploit talentless authors.
Do you think that there is enough awareness overall to support the call for more diversity in books? Why or why not?No, not enough.
Would you read books with a Main Character of color or of ethnic diversity in books outside of Urban genres in non traditional roles such as superheroes, shifters or the antagonist/villian or the victim?Yes.
Do you prefer book covers with live models or artistic ones and why?No preferences. Editors and publishers know best.
Do you prefer book covers with words as the main highlight or scenery?Give me scenery and art
Do your books usually end on a cliff hanger? Why or why not?No. I like finality in life and art.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?Yes. The bad ones make me laugh.
Do you write reviews for books you have read?sometimes
How many books do you read on average per year?about 5, mostly re-readings
Do you volunteer to read to less advantaged youth?No
Has a review ever made you cry?No
Who is the most surprising or unexpected review you have ever read?An Amazon reviewer named "ike"; he (or she) says I'm getting "better" with "Northtown Eclipse."
Have you ever second guessed your decision to write or be an author?No, because it's only a way to entertain myself.
What does your vision of success look like?Me in a hammock, half-asleep, a crime novel on my chest. (I already have it.)
   See my review of Northtown ECLIPSE
Where can readers purchase your books or content?https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/books
Do you have content on any of these sites?Amazon/Kindle/ Kindle Unlimited
Listen to my review of Northtown Eclipse on YouTube

#noir #crimefiction #smalltownmysteries  #NotrhtownEclipse #authorRobertWhite


Lets connect on Social Media

Pinterest  |   Instagram  |  Facebook |   Twitter



Book Blitz: Cloaked in Blood book 3

Book Blitz: One More Time Is not Enough