‘Roberta M. Roy imagines in chilling detail the aftermath of a nuclear fallout on
the lives of a number of sympathetic characters . . . their joys, trials, and
conflicts in both engaging back story and traumatic present as they fight to save
folk from the nightmare of radiation. This futuristic novel is well written and
researched, and the victims’ stories are poignant; the plight of the young
Matters brothers, in particular, will stir the reader’s blood.
Nancy Means Wright, author of ‘Mad Cow Nightmare and Midnight Fires; writes, “Jolt is a well written
and thoroughly researched novel which portrays, through the lives of its
multiple characters, the apocalyptic aftermath of a post-nuclear 9/11. . . . in
a fictional but believable future, Ms. Roy adroitly manages to involve the
reader in her characters’ loves and lives while simultaneously illustrating the
medical and societal horrors of a nuclear disaster. A “must read” for anyone,
politician or otherwise, who needs to be reminded of the unimaginable
consequences of a nuclear accident or attack on those fortunate or unfortunate
enough to survive it.”
I generally don’t begin an interview with a blurb from the author’s book, but in this case, I thought it might help me to introduce this week’s guest, Roberta M. Roy, author of ‘Jolt: a rural noir’.
I have to be honest and say that I have not had the opportunity to read Roberta’s book, but did research it before doing this interview and from what I have learned, it falls into more than one genre. Although it is about the aftermath of a nuclear fallout as the blurb indicates, the aftermath takes place around a romance. It seems to be a public consensus that readers of either genre would enjoy this novel.
But, I am not here to sell you on Roberta’s novel, although if I can accomplish that I’m sure she would be happy. I am here to acquaint you with the author, Roberta Roy.
A medalist in the Inspirational Fiction category in the 2011 Jenkins Living Now Awards, prize-winning author, Roberta M. Roy is here with me to talk about writing and her award-winning novel, ‘Jolt: a rural noir’
IDI – When did you have your ‘writer’s epiphany’? When did you know that you were a writer?
RR – I have always written. This is not to say, however, that it was for others. Early on writing seemed to crystallize for all eternity special people, moments, and insight for me. And I liked the words. How they looked. How they sounded. And I enjoyed the natural challenge they posed in my effort to get it right. I never questioned the notion that I was a writer. But when I took the week-long course on Medical Effects of Ionizing Radiation (MEIR) in Bethesda, MD, one of its key instructors at that time was the wonderful and informed oncologist-educator, William E. Dickerson, MD, then a Colonel in the US Air Force. In a conversation following one of the classes Dr. Dickerson and I discussed how it was a shame that more people did not understand the importance of Time, Distance, and Shielding to survival following a nuclear meltdown or dirty bomb in which ionizing radiation was released. So I asked him if I wrote a book to help get the word out, would he read it for accuracy of my survival related references. Dr. Dickerson said he would and I wrote ‘Jolt: a rural noir’. Five rewrites and many first readers later, my scratching always patiently reviewed by my caring and talented editor, Joan Schweighart, some five years later my novel came out in hard cover and paperback, confirming what I’d always known. I am a writer. Always have been.
IDI – Within your writing, what is the passion that keeps the fires burning?
RR – Two things: The real people who will read my book and the books characters. After 9/11, in writing ‘Jolt: a rural noir’, I wanted so to tell a story that would calm my own fears and those of the reader in relation to the potential for a nuclear meltdown. Once I started to write, however, the characters took over. I noticed it especially with the lovers, Thaw and Natalie. And with the two boys.
IDI – Who is your target audience? What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
RR – The avid reader who would like to learn but also demands passion and depth. The worried mom who wonders what would happen if the nearest nuclear power plant went down. the male who loves action and practicality and passion – always passion and depth. Jut people, especially anyone who wonders about the rightness of nuclear power.
IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt maybe?
RR – I have a children’s book that should be out in the fall. It’s called ‘Yell’n'Tell’. It’s about two children, one of whom is a bully. Also, I have a sequel to ‘Jolt: a rural noir’ which I have named ‘Too Close’. Too Close has been outlined and its writing begun – except with my being a full-time speech language pathologist while also publishing eBooks through my company’s eAlvalnk eBook department, I don’t know when I will get to finish it.
‘Too Close’ is the story of some people who were dangerously nearer the site of the meltdown described in ‘Jolt: a rural noir’. Below is an excerpt from it:
Mary pulled off the road, slammed the car to a stop, and – tearing at her clothes as she went – anything to rid herself of the radioactive materials covering here – ran toward the trunk. Passing motorists noted her actions with little more than vague disinterest.
Naked at last, Mary opened the trunk in search of their go-kit. From it she pulled some clothes – an over-sized sweat shirt with matching pants and a pair of flip-flops. She pulled them on and grabbed a long-handled ice scraper with brush kept in the trunk regardless of season. She used it to sweep the ash from the car’s surfaces. In so doing, she took care to ensure the fallout dusted outward, away from her own person.
Done, Mary threw the scraper far into the bushes beside the road, slammed shut the trunk, left her clothes where they were strewn, revved the car, and took off to find her family.
IDI – I’ve heard it said that writer’s can be idiosyncratic. Presumably, Mark Twain only wrote lying down, Ernest Hemingway only wrote standing up and Friedrich Schiller only wrote to the odor of rotten apples, which he kept in his desk drawer. Do you have any such habits or superstitions that are essential to your writing?
RR – For shorter pieces I can bang out words and pages at any time, but for my novels I seem to work best if I have full week blocks dedicated only to writing. By that I mean that Monday through Thursday from 9:00 until 1:00 each day I write.
IDI – Are your stories plot or character driven?
RR – I think that in each of my works, one is the vehicle for the other. I work hard to develop both clear plots and well-developed characters with the one pulling along the other on every page.
IDI – Who is your favorite author, and why?
RR – Jane Austen. I can hold her books in my arm and know she was all things that I should like to be, but in my time – the world of today – in my place, as I am – in my voice.
IDI – Everyone has their dream. What’s yours… best seller, feature film adaptions, fame, riches, Pulitzer?
RR – Perhaps to be a frequently invited speaker. Or perhaps not to be a speaker at all but to see Alva Press, Inc. eBook publishing arm eAlvalnk become a major publisher, outlet, and distributor of high quality eBooks including ‘Yell’n'Tell’ as an audio eBook and ‘Jolt: a rural noir’ and its sequel as best sellers.
IDI – Pen and paper or computer and Word? Ambient noise or dead quiet? Alone or with a collaborator? Tell us, what is your most productive/inspiring setting?
RR – Writing rather than writing groups has been my best teacher. I’ve involved myself briefly at times in writing groups but somehow I have not found them helpful. And they take my time. As for the actual writing, I write alone, word processing as I go.
IDI – Everyone has their own style/voice, but what author would you say your work most resembles?
RR – ‘Jolt: a rural noir’ is akin in various ways to that of many writers I admire:
Kamila Shamsie’s ‘Burnt Shadows’ also discusses the effects of nuclear events on the individual and culture.
‘Zeitoun’, by Dave Eggers, while factual, treats the topic of an individual’s response to disaster and his quest for a community’s survival and for the first half seems oddly quite akin to my writing – except he writes of New Orleans after Katrina and I write of an imaginary part of the United States after some terrorism and a nuclear meltdown.
Nancy Mean’s Wright’s book, ‘Mad Cow Nightmare’ resembles mine in that it is also a rural noir, however the disaster in it is the threat of Mad Cow Disease rather than nuclear contamination.
Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Jose Saramago and author of ‘Blindness’ has also informed the writing of both ‘Jolt: a rural noir’ and ‘Too Close’.
I would like to thank Roberta for joining me here today and let you know that her book is available at: http://alvapressinc.com
Interviews are conducted by Kathy Reinhart, author of 3 novels, most recently ‘Lily White Lies’ and ‘Missouri in a Suitcase’, both available through Smashwords and Amazon.
Ink Drop Interviews was created in an attempt to help new authors build their platform and give them a chance to introduce themselves to their prospective readers. If you would be interested in participating in an Ink Drop Interview, you can reach me at ladybuggerly at hotmail dot com.
You can also follow me on Twitter: @kathyreinhart
Samples of my work can be found on Goodreads, WritersCafe.org and Smashwords.
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Next week: Jane Rowan, author of ‘The River of Forgetting’, a memior of healing from sexual abuse.