Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Falling Immortality by Robert Downs

Welcome to Author Robert Downs

Robert 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 Casey might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, and now resides in New Mexico. 

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
If you like MANfiction, along the lines of Robert B. Parker and Michael Connelly, then you might enjoy my debut novel about a playboy PI, a mysterious bartender named Dragon Lady, two girlfriends, and a two-year old murder.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Absolutely. Writing is as much a part of my life as breathing or dreaming. If I gave it up, which I have done for brief periods of time in my life, I’ve felt incomplete. Graceful Immortality is the second book in the Casey Holden mystery series, and it’s with my publisher Rainbow Books, Inc. right now. I’m told I’m improving with each manuscript, and I’m getting more and more comfortable with Casey Holden. He’s like a long lost friend that I have the pleasure of visiting with on occasion, and he tells me his stories, however crazy they might seem initially. And it’s a friendship I treasure each time I sit down at the computer.

Even though I’m a very goal-oriented person, I don’t have many specific writing goals. I’d just like to write more days than I don’t, and I’d like to improve with each manuscript. Once I’ve established myself a bit in the mystery genre, I’d like to branch out to thrillers, as well as more general fiction. But that’ll be several years down the road.
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
The movie Finding Forrester helped change my way of thinking when it came to writing. I always hated writing in school, because it was all about the rules (not necessarily a bad thing), and it was forced down my throat. I never thought of writing for myself, until I watched Finding Forrester. After the movie, though, something clicked for me, and I realized for a shy guy I had a whole lot to say. I opened this massive floodgate that I haven’t been able to close since. And if I’m lucky, it’ll never close.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I’d have to say inspiring one of my good friends to branch out from reading mainly non-fiction. To be able to influence someone in that fashion means more to me than I could ever put into words.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Write because you love it, and because you have to do it. If you write for any other reason, then you’ll probably give up before you ever see publication, if you go the traditional route, unless you’re the next incarnation of Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. In the end, persistence and a love of writing will save you. Not much else will.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
When I was little, I wanted to be a garbage man, and I used to practice when my mom and I went to the grocery store. I’d hang off to the side, one-handed, and I’d toss random cans into the cart when my mom had her back to me. But I did always love reading, and when I was smaller, being read to. That was how I woke up in the morning: with a stack of books taller than I was and either my mom or dad’s lap. I’d sit for hours listening to story after story. Out of all the gifts they’ve been able to give me that was certainly one of the best.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Absolutely. I see myself in virtually every character I write, to varying degrees, because in all cases, my characters come from firsthand experiences, whether that’s me, people I’ve met, books I’ve read, or TV shows or movies I’ve seen. Most people would be surprised to know how much Casey Holden is like me. He’s what my dad calls my alter-ego, and that’s probably not too far from the truth. He’s an exaggerated version of me, without the filter and conscience to help guide him. And that’s certainly one of the reasons why he’s so much fun to write.
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
Every writing idea I come up with is crazy, because all of them start out as a germ of an idea, and I have to inject it with a serious amount of steroids before I ever actually get anywhere. The creative process isn’t for the faint of heart: it holds more thrills than Cedar Point’s Raptor, and that blinking cursor scares the crap out of me every time I see it, but somehow I muster up enough courage to plow through the blank spaces.
But I was probably completely insane in my approach to the Immortalityseries, as I’d already written two sequels, starting with Graceful Immortality, before I’d even published the first manuscript, and in the process of publishing Falling Immortality, I’d already begun work on three more. I had strong faith, or possibly complete insanity, or maybe even a little of both to become that invested in a character. You could also make the argument that Casey was like the annoying friend who just doesn’t seem to go away. In the end, though, writing helped keep me sane throughout the querying process, and then through the extended publication process.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
At one point I had lost faith in the whole publishing industry and struggled with whether I should keep at it, keep trying to publish, or whether I should give up. I don’t remember exactly when I questioned my decision, but I do know what triggered it: a pile of rejection letters. I’d been struggling for years to break into the publishing industry, although in hindsight, and like most writers, I started submitting query letters prematurely. I asked my mom whether or not I should give up, and she only had one question for me: Do you love it? I told her yes. And that was pretty much the end of the discussion. So I kept at it, and now that I’ve published a novel, I’ll keep at it, even if it’s the only published novel I ever have.
How do you react to a bad review?
The only way an author should. Do absolutely nothing. For whatever reason, the reviewer didn’t understand the point of your book, and there’s nothing you can do to change his or her mind. By responding, it will only make you look worse, and you’re liable to stoke this reviewer’s fires even more. If you want to do something positive with something negative, let it drive you to even greater success. Anything worth doing will have hiccups along the way. If you write a book for everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one. You want to write the book you were meant to write, and that means you’ll face some tough outcomes as a writer, but you and your writing will be stronger in the end.
Which authors have influenced you most?
Believe it or not, every author influences me in some form or fashion, which is why I read voraciously both inside and outside the mystery/thriller genre. But I’d have to say Robert B. Parker, Lawrence Sanders, and Gregory McDonald are all writers I was reading around the time I discovered Casey.
What do you do in your free time?
Well, as one of my colleagues told me recently, when she realized how much I was promoting my writing, she told me that I didn’t really have all that much free time. And I’d have to say I agree with her in some respects, but I love writing, and everything associated with it, even editing, so it’s not a chore for me: it’s actually quite a bit of fun.
But when I’m not reading, writing, or promoting my writing, and I’d lump all three under the giant writing umbrella, my wife and I are doing our best to singlehandedly keep Netflix in business. We have both the streaming and DVD mail-in option. I also enjoy traveling, but I don’t get to do quite as much of it as I’d like.
Print or Ebook?
Both, actually. One of the best feelings in the world is holding a book, especially your own, but I also enjoy ebooks for the convenience. Jeff Bezos and Amazon have made the ebook buying process way too easy. I find myself clicking that buy now button more often than I expect to, but I’d rather have a shelf, as well as a Kindle, full of books than not, since the only way to improve as a writer, other than placing butt to chair, is to read like someone has a nine-millimeter pointed at your head.
Action or Drama?
Action, definitely, although I do enjoy the occasional drama. I had a friend tell me once that I had way too many chick flicks, but I also enjoy the Bourne trilogy, Inception, The Town, Thor, The Avengers, and the first two films in Christopher Nolan’s planned Batman trilogy, as well as other action flicks. I’m an individual who has never limited myself to specific genres, whether that’s movies, music, or reading.
Sweet or Salty?
Definitely sweet. I have a sweet tooth that rivals the size of Idaho. If I wasn’t so diligent about brushing and flossing, and seeing the dentist, I’d have probably lost all my teeth by now, and I’m not even thirty-three yet.
Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook, definitely. My life isn’t interesting enough for Twitter, and I’m not sure how well I would adjust to 140 character tweeting. It’s enough of a challenge to confine myself to Facebook status updates.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Well, I’ve shocked almost everyone in my life with Falling Immortality and my playboy PI, to include, friends, colleagues, and even my mom. I had one friend tell me that it was like learning a priest had lived a double life, or something along those lines. Not that my life resembles that of the priesthood, but I am a shy guy by nature, who happens to have a very active imagination, and who isn’t afraid to color outside of the lines. It wasn’t until the end of my freshman year in band that I was able to march, and I’d like to think that has something to do with my inability to conform, although certainly a good part of that was my lack of rhythm.

Falling Immortality

Debut, hard-boiled mystery fiction for men. Stephen King’s son describes a fitting genre as MANfiction (the opposite of Chick lit). 

Casey Holden, former cop, current PI in Virginia Beach, VA, screens his clients the way he screens his women, based on whichever drop-dead gorgeous woman happens to waltz through his door first and manages to hold his attention. So when Felicity Farren, widow-at-large, struts into his office asking him to solve the two-year-old murder of her husband Artis, she intrigues him. When Casey starts digging, he learns the murder isn’t what it seems to be and he doesn’t have a big enough shovel to unearth the truth. And to top it all off, his former rival at the police department, Greg Gilman, is determined to disrupt his investigation. Casey’s challenge is to learn what really happened to Artis, and why Gilman can’t seem to remove his head from his butt. And he’ll need all of his wits to complete the task.

Giveaway Details
1 copy of Falling Immortality

Paperback open to US, Ebook open Internationally

Ends 8/13/12

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