Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Bookish Conversation with Robert J. Dornan, author of '23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.'

Robert J Dornan is someone who wishes to leave a better world to his children. He realizes that the odds are slim but he will do whatever he can to increase the probability of success.  He is always open to discuss new and innovative ideas and hopes someday to see the building of a functional solar city as well as a fair and community-driven compensation system.

Robert’s latest book is the historical fiction, 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.
For More Information

Title: 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.
Author: Robert J. Dornan
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 550
Genre: Historical Fiction
In the early morning of her sister's wedding day, Mila Kharmalov stared in stunned silence at the coloured sparks streaming from Reactor Four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.  At that very moment, her life and the lives of everyone she knew changed forever.

Years later and on another continent, Adam Byrd was writing biographies for everyday people looking to leave their legacy in book form. When the woman he loved phoned from Kiev offering him the chance to write the story of a lifetime, he jumped at the opportunity not realizing that his voyage would be a bumpy ride through a nations dark underbelly. With the help of his friend's quirky cousin, Adam is nudged into a fascinating adventure of love, greed, power and psychotic revenge, culminating with a shocking finale.

23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is a work of fiction based on factual events from Chernobyl and villages throughout Ukraine.

For More Information

  • 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is available at Amazon..
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

First of all, thanks for the invite. I’m excited to be interviewed by the most unique named website on the writing tour.  I’m Shelfish…classic name for a book site!

I work full time in the financial industry so I’m fairly busy throughout the day except during the Olympics when I secretly livestream certain events.  Don’t you? 

I have two teenaged children who don’t keep me as busy as they used to so I am now involved in environmental issues.  My pet project at the moment is promoting vertical farms in the Philippines.  I realize that may sound strange but we can discuss this some other time (if you want to).  I plan to finish my website in the near future and it will explain my vision for inexpensive energy and food.  That was a plug in case you weren’t paying attention.

When did you start writing?

I began dabbling with short stories in University.  I should have been studying but my mind would wander into more fascinating venues than the lower bowels of the library.  I eventually wrote a screenplay called The Dance that went absolutely nowhere but it was read by a handful of artsy personalities who in turn recommended me to a couple of authors who needed help in editing and creating their own books.  I found this incredibly dull until I received my first “writing” paycheck.  Dull began to accumulate some color thereafter. 

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life? 

With no hesitation I’ll answer the birth of my children. All parents want to leave some kind of legacy to their children aside from the total adoration you have for them. I wrote two books for teens before I wrote the more serious, 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.  The main characters in each of the teen books are based on my kids.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

First, I’d go to my kitchen where I’d bake and then down a large pizza.  Then, to my room and underneath my bedcovers for a weird but awesome dream. 

OK, maybe not.

I would go to Asia because my next offering takes place in three Asian countries.  It’s called Sins of the Samurai, so you can pretty well guess one of the nations in question. I have already begun the book and am thrilled with the progress thus far.  And yes…that was another `plug.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?  Nap, eat and maybe nap again. If that’s not an option, I’d hang out with my children. 

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?  

Probably a beach setting in Costa Rica.  I’d have to stay there until completion and I’m guessing this project would be a series of books so I’d probably be done in ten years.  Look me up if you’re down there.

I have a couple of books on the go that are fairly large projects so the thought of beginning another hurts my head.  Mind you, Gypsies have always fascinated me, so maybe a Romanian setting is in the tarot cards, so to speak.

Back to your present book, 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M., how did you publish it? 

I went the self-publish route.  This is and will continue to be a popular and debatable subject in our collective group. To me, there are very few benefits to sign with a Publishing House unless you are an established author.  It’s all fine and dandy to have your book in the neighborhood book chain store but without your own marketing, you’re depending on word of mouth.  As for sales, I may buy a book from a brick and mortar retail store at Christmas but other than that…online only.  That being said, I have not sent any manuscripts to a Publishing House and wouldn’t know where to begin. 

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

No, not further than the local library.  It’s a new age, isn’t it?  I did no less than four hundred hours of research on this novel and a good portion of it was done in the comfort of my home. I’m not insinuating that videos, pictures and articles are better than the real thing but if you’re not able to travel to a location then YouTube is your friend.  Besides, we’re talking Chernobyl folks; it’s not on my bucket list of tourist destinations.

Why was writing 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. so important to you? 

Thanks for asking.  I strongly believe in alternative energy, and to me, anything nuclear is just plain wrong. We live in an age where horrific events have become so commonplace that we forget the latest shocking event a month later.  Fukushima, for example, is a disaster that is still happening but CNN hasn’t covered it in five years. I don’t know what can be done to stop an individual from driving a bus into a crowd but I do know that there is absolutely no need for nuclear power plants.  If my work of fiction can inspire one person into fighting the good fight, then I’ve done well.  Thirty years later, Chernobyl is still killing its innocent victims.

23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. takes place in Ukraine.  Many are aware what happened in Crimea in 2014 (and fighting is still ongoing) but very few know much about the life of Ukrainians – especially those in small villages – during the communist reign.  Although some of the story details are gory, I found it necessary to remind readers of how depressing life can be under oppression.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I’ll hear something on the news or in a discussion group that fascinates me and then I begin to research.  If I’m still researching a day later, then I will begin a storyline.

Any final words? 

I can be reached at jackcityguy@gmail.com   Feel free to discuss my novel(s) or sustainability projects.  I’m big into vertical farms and am trying to get the funds to build a sustainable village in the Philippines.  I would certainly like to hear any suggestions.  Take care, and to the site owners, thank-you for having me.

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