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.
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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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