by Robert Downs
on Tour March 1 – April 30, 2018
Professional gambler, Johnny Chapman, plays the hand he’s dealt, but when he’s dealt a series of losers, he decides to up the ante with more money than he can afford to lose. Just when he thinks his life can’t get any worse, it does. The loan shark he owes the money to demands that he pay up and sends his goons after him. The man offers Johnny one way out—fix a race by fatally injecting the dog most likely to win. A piece of cake, Johnny thinks, until he looks into the big brown eyes of the beautiful dog, and the price suddenly seems too great to pay. Now Johnny’s on the run and the goons are closing in…
**Read my review HERE and enter the giveaway**
Robert Downs aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he’d already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise his tales might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and now resides in California. When he’s not writing, Downs can be found reading, reviewing, blogging, or smiling.
**Q&A with Robert Downs**
Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I draw from anything that’ll help me tell a good story. I’ve gotten inspiration from reading the news or novels, watching movies, personal experience, overhearing snippets of conversation, and writing prompts. Creative individuals make excellent thieves. I like taking an interesting concept and attempting to put my own spin on it. The process can be very cathartic.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Most of the time I’ll start with the beginning, and have an ending in mind. Getting there is normally the fun part, and when it’s going well, it’s filled with twists and turns along the way. Most of my stories are told in a linear fashion, but I’ve also explored nonlinear storytelling. I like to challenge myself, and I wanted to see if I could make it work. My next novella, assuming my editor doesn’t change this particular concept, will be told in a nonlinear fashion.
Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
Absolutely. I like to think I am creative, and I believe I make an excellent thief. I’ll steal whatever I need to make my story work. Most of my characters aren’t based on one individual, but conglomerations of multiple individuals. There are exceptions to this, but I won’t say which ones to protect the innocent.
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
No real idiosyncrasies. I’ll write anywhere I can bring my laptop. I’ve written on airplanes, in coffeeshops, hotel rooms and lobbies, and I believe I’m on my fourth desk, and my third or fourth laptop. I do have a pen in a wooden box my brother gave me in 2016 as a groomsmen gift, and it sits on my desk. He’s one of the reasons I started writing. His retelling of his dreams at the breakfast table both intrigued and fascinated me.
I’ve written first thing in the morning, and I’ve written after coming home from work as well as weekends and days off. I’ve discovered that days that begin with writing are better than days that do not, and that because I have a full-time job, my writing time feels more precious because I have to carve it out of my schedule.
Tell us why we should read your book.
Honestly, I have no idea. There are plenty of books out there, and there are plenty of authors that are better than I am. But I do know there aren’t a lot of stories or movies on gambling, and Johnny is a fun anti-hero. My characters aren’t always likeable, at least that’s some of the feedback I’ve gotten, but I always like ’em. I like to think I write honest characters, flaws and all. I believe my stories will resonate with the right readers, and when I find ’em, I’ll do everything I can to keep ’em coming back for more.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
How much space do I have? I’ll read just about anything and everything I can get my hands on, and while I read primarily mysteries and thrillers, I’ve stepped outside these two genres on multiple occasions. I like Lee Child and Jeffery Deaver, Lawrence Sanders and Robert B. Parker, Patricia Cornwell and James Lee Burke, Lisa Jackson and Robert Crais, and John Grisham and Gary Phillips. There’re plenty more, but I’ll stop there.
What are you reading now?
I’m always reading multiple books at once, and I read ebooks as well as physical ones. Right now, I’m reading The Kite Runner, Blood Always Tells, Stone Cold Dead, Wrongful Death, The Body in the Birches, Dark Chocolate Demise, and The Big Fear.
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
Absolutely. My next book, another novella, tentatively titled The Bridal Chase will come out in April according to my publisher Black Opal Books. In it, I explored nonlinear storytelling, which was a lot of fun for me. It all started because of a writing prompt in either Writer’s Digest or The Writer. The prompt was something like pick two things that don’t normally go together and see where the idea takes you. Immediately, I had this image of a bride in a white wedding dress driving a pickup truck. I liked the image, and it begged a whole series of questions that allowed me to write the book.
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
I know some writers have specific actors or actresses in mind, but as much as I like movies, I don’t think along those lines. I figure if Hollywood wants to option one of my books, they can cast whomever they want as long as the check clears. I would, however, think it’d be great to show up on set, and I’d probably geek out at whomever they decided to cast. I am a huge movie fan, after all.
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
There is no way I can pick just one, unless I’m only gonna write for the rest of my life. It’s also not a fun answer, and it tells you absolutely nothing else about me. I like reading, watching movies, and traveling. I’ve even been known to dabble in extreme sports like bungee jumping and skydiving.
I am a huge fan of Italian food. Spaghetti is easy to make, and does not require much time in the kitchen, so I like it even more. I also believe leftovers are a wonderful invention, and any meal I don’t have to make gets bumped a bit higher on the list.
To find out more about his latest projects, or to reach out to him on the Internet, visit: robertdowns.net, Goodreads Page, & Facebook Page!
Read an excerpt:
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