Robert B. Lowe, The Novelist, An Interview

Well my friends, today I will be interviewing Robert B. Lowe, the novelist of Project Moses. This is an incredible mystery thriller, please do yourself a favor and give it a read.
Project Moses – a Mystery Thriller,  get it on Amazon.com

ROBERT B. LOWE was a newspaper reporter for 12 years for publications in Arizona and Florida. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting on a small Arizona newspaper. He’s also a lawyer and has worked as both an attorney and business consultant for high-tech companies. He moved to San Francisco 20 years ago and he has raised his family and continued to write near the City by the Bay. Project Moses is his first novel.

Follow Robert B. Lowe on Twitter

Please visit Robert’s Website

Ok, let’s get to it, shall we.

Bob, first off welcome to my blog, it is an honor to have you here to answer a few questions for us. I would like to start off by saying that you and I are a lot alike. We are both writers and both of us are married with two daughters.
How do you find the time (without pulling out every hair on your head) to write without being interrupted?

I’ve only been successful at writing something like Project Moses (an entire books vs. a short article) when it was my main focus in terms of “work.” I have to treat it that way. I’m sitting down at the computer at 9 am with a cup of coffee. If I’m not in “Word,” I’m not working. I probably should have a dedicated computer without Internet connectivity but that might be going to extremes. I’m lucky in that I have a place to work – a guest room above our garage – and the family recognizes that as the ‘writing in progress’ signal when I’m in there. Also, my wife Candace is extremely supportive and leaves me to it as much as she can. Sure, we have to coordinate moving the kid around, etc., but except for the bare minimum I can avoid the back-and-forth of daily life when I’m in ‘studio.’

I know some authors with full-time jobs carve time out by getting up early or working at night, etc. My hat is off to them. I’ve only been able to have one ‘job’ at a time and pretty much go full-bore at it without much energy or mind-share for another major endeavor.

What kind of music do you like to listen to? And do you listen to music when writing? (That’s right, I am sneaking in an extra question)

I usually don’t listen to music when I write.  However, I’m remembering that very recently I borrowed a vacation home that was empty for a couple of weeks to finish the first draft of my next book and  I did listen to music.  I listened to everything from Mozart, to blues to Katy Perry.  For me, it’s like background coffee-house music.  I usually stream a Pandora channel.  I don’t want to actually be making choices and interacting with the music that much.  I even had it playing in a nearby bathroom so it would be more distant.  I have a 13-year-old daughter who commandeers the car radio so two of the buttons are contemporary pop – the groups you see winning most of the Grammys (Perry, Adele, Bruno Mars, etc.).   One channel is set to “classic” 70s rock.  Another to NPR.  The last is the UC Berkeley station which is always a surprise. 

Bob, you won the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for your investigation of the University of Arizona athletic department.
What made you leave investigative journalism to become a novelist?

I actually had a couple of stops on the way.  I went to law school and was a lawyer in Silicon Valley for a few years.  Then, I started a couple of small software companies and worked for a larger high-tech company creating strategic partnerships.  So, one way I look at it is being back to writing for a living again after a long interruption.   I’ve always enjoyed writing and still do despite the struggle it can be at times.  Many reporters I knew were working on books and some were/are very successful.  I shared a newsroom with Carl Hiaasen for several years and we collaborated on a couple of stories.  So, I had the idea that I just needed to be like one of guys with whom I played touch football on Saturdays, not John Updike.  Also, I’ve been a mystery-thriller fan since the Hardy Boy days when I was 11 or 12.   Of course, you read great ones and then you read successful books and authors where you think, “What?  I can do better than that!”  So, I finally decided to try.   

Could you please tell us about your daily NON writing life?
A day in the life of Robert B. Lowe, the person, not the novelist, sort of thing.  

I’m a lousy sleeper so always the first up in my home.  I’m downstairs cutting up fruit for everyone’s breakfast, feeding the cats, maybe helping get the school lunch ready.  I get my 13-year-old out the door and settle down with the NY Times and coffee – two cups very dark.  I try to get to the gym 3 times a week:  Maybe 45 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of light weights.  Or, since I’m a golfer, I might hit balls for 30 minutes at a range 10 minutes away.  It’s amazing how refreshing it is to do something like that where your mind is only thinking about hitting a very small ball for a half hour.  

Lunch is a sandwich or something out at a café nearby.  I should walk but usually don’t.   The afternoon might be a combo of working on book-related stuff – tweeting, blog updates, researching marketing ideas, setting up a reading, etc. – and more domestic things like home repairs (my house is old and there is always something), shopping, cooking dinner (or giving advice), paying bills and the like.   

One of my daughters is in college.  The other is 13 and a circus performer so the afternoon involves chauffeuring to rehearsals, friends’ houses, etc.  TV time tends to be checking out the local sports teams and selective TiVo.  John Stewart.  Modern Family.  Breaking Bad (so sorry it’s ending).  I usually read for a half hour before bed.  Anything from history and biographies to mysteries.    When I’m in the heaviest writing mode I don’t like to read in my genre unless it’s something really different like Agatha Christie.   Otherwise it gets me thinking about what I’m writing in an unhealthy – somewhat paranoid – way.   I prefer being on my own.  

On the cover of your book Project Moses, you have a bio-hazard symbol 
(which just screams READ ME!!!) in the O of Moses.Where did the inspiration for that come from? And does it mean anything? (Yup another extra question)

I had a professional book cover artist help me with the cover.  That was his idea.  The main conspiracy in Project Moses involves a bioterrorism plot so it fits beautifully.  I wish I could say it was my idea.  However, I did come up with the flower in flames – again, some of the same idea of plagues and plants – which I think was pretty effective.  Although I wasn’t sure at the time, it turns out I’m writing a sequel and probably will keep going forward with the main character, a reporter (surprise!).   So, I’m going to try to stay with a similar look and feel for consistency and developing something of a brand.  I didn’t really think about that at the beginning, since this was  my first book and I just wanted to get the #$@$##% thing finished and published!   So, I’m a little stuck with it but it could be worse.  

I would like to thank Robert B. Lowe for taking the time to stop in and answer these questions. I would also like to thank all of you, my dedicated readers, my friends, for your continued support.

Please feel free to leave your comments for Bob and I.
We welcome them all.

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40 responses to “Robert B. Lowe, The Novelist, An Interview

  1. Awesome interview! Can’t wait to read your novel, Mr. Lowe.

  2. Hi Bob and Jim, what an awesome interview! I can’t believe you don’t listen to music when you write. I’m such a tune junkie–I crave the company of music when I write.

    Thanks for sharing your time, guys!

    • Thanks a lot Melissa, sometimes I listen to music when writing but not often, I find myself paying more attention to the music than the writing 😉
      Thanks for taking the time to stop by 🙂

  3. Great questions and insight. It’s Moby all the way for me while writing for the same reasons, something that pulls at the mind without demanding my attention. The soundtrack to Gattaca is also a good back ground noise.

    Really enjoyed this.

  4. Hello Bob and Jim, this was an amazing interview. I really enjoyed how your shared about how you write and what inspires you and I can’t wait to read your book! It sounds amazing! Bob and Jim great interview!

    Syl Stein

  5. Thanks for the interview, Jim,and everyone for their comments. I’m in the middle of reworking a draft of the next book and the challenge is trying to get a fresh look each time you go back through it. I find converting it to mobi helps but I’ll even rotate through different devices – Kindle, ipad, iphone – just to try and keep it fresh to my eyes!

  6. Fab interview Jim, I have loved learning about Robert B.Lowe, especially a day in the life of. Looking forward to reading Project Moses.

  7. I loved your interview, Jim, with Robert Lowe! I really enjoy learning more about the person behind the book. Thank you!

  8. Great interview! I feel like I know Robert Lowe. I REALLY want to read his book. And I love that he’s from San Francisco!

  9. What a treat to get to know Robert better! I share your wish for having a computer without internet access–to be cut off from the internet! Sounds like you have an efficient set of work habits with exercise built in–you should do a workshop on that! Thanks so much for sharing what works for you.

  10. Fantastic interview Jim! I always love the questions about how one finds time to write with children, jobs, and other responsibilities. Rob, it was great to meet the man behind such a great book!

  11. Great interview! Rob, you have such an incredible background. As an author, I always love to hear other authors talk about their writing style. I know exactly what you mean about “should disconnect the Internet,” but I never could either 😉

    • Hi Andrea. Thanks for the visit and comment. It almost seems to easy now. I was writing a restaurant scene and I could actually see what it looked like inside the establishment through google maps. Before, I’d go visit, soak up the neighborhood, etc. It’s like life through TV shows!

  12. Rob, you are living the author lifestyle I’d like to live….minus the golfing, lol. Good luck in all that you do. Great interview 😀

  13. Great interview, Jim! Rob…not ‘working unless you are in word’…I am with you! Today, I got so excited because my internet wasn’t working for an hour. I got some actual writing accomplished! 🙂

  14. Hey Sarah, Thank You so much, it was fun!
    Thanks for coming by 🙂

  15. Amanda Socci, Freelance Writer

    Jim Cantwell: Very nicely done! I enjoyed the assortment of questions. My favorite question pertained to the book cover. Very interesting tie-in between the O in Moses and the bioterrorism plot. I loved Robert Lowe’s honest and inspiring answers pertaining to his preferred work style. Inspiring!

  16. Hey Amanda, welcome, I am glad your here!!!
    Thank You so much, I am glad you enjoyed it, I tried to think out of the box with the questions and stay away from ones that were asked a lot already.
    I think it was apparent that was my favorite question too 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  17. That was a great interview!!! It’s great to see how other authors are perfecting their craft and finding time to do what we all know must be done! Cudos!

  18. A wonderful example to us all, Robert B. Lowe. And thanks to your, Jim Cantwell for taking time for this great interview. Robert, you set a high standard for all authors — whether it’s your “work in progress” time, above the garage, or scheduled “non-work-related” activities with the family. You deserve another Pulitzer Prize for your professionalism. Congratulations and continued success.

  19. Hey Craig,
    Thanks a lot, I am glad you enjoyed it.
    Thanks for stopping in 🙂

  20. What a great interview! Robert, you’ve certainly lead a very full and interesting life, and your author’s lifestyle now sounds great! Like you, I tend not to listen to music when I’m working – I find it too much of a distraction. Project Moses sounds like a great read, and I’ll definitely be picking it up. Best of luck with the contest.

  21. Thanks so much Mike
    Thanks for coming by 🙂

  22. TY for sharing Robert with us… interesting interview. 😉

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