Mark Robson: A Self Portrait
Mark Robson Revealed
About Mark Robson
What is your birthdate?:5/27
Previous occupations:Royal Air Force Pilot.
Favorite job:Being a full time author.
High school and/or college:Whitland Grammar School
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:Queen.
Favorite movie:Lord of the Rings - brilliant!
Favorite television show:The Big Bang Theory / Black Books - it's a tough call.
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. Focused, driven, manic, fun, exciting, diverse and challenging (I'm counting the 'and' as one of the words!)
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. Life is what you make of it.
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. Pressing the send button after dotting the final i and crossing the final t on a book. It is a wonderful feeling to write a book and know that it's your best work yet. Of course, to make it the perfect experience I would have to be sitting on a beach in the Seychelles sipping a cocktail in front of my multi-million pound villa with my yaght moored nearby and the Aston Martin sitting in the driveway next to the Ferrari!
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. Heights - it might sound crazy (especially as I was a pilot for 21 years) but I'm terrified by heights. The worst bit about flying aircraft was always climbing the ladder to get in - once I was inside, I was fine. I think this was because the height then became more like depth and I was OK with that.
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. On a beach in the Seychelles, sipping a cocktail with ...
- Q. Which living person do you most admire?
- A. Does Wiley Coyote count? I mean, I know he's a cartoon, but you've got to admire him for never giving up on catching that road runner.
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. My editor should answer this ... and the list would be long, but strangely, I can't think of a particular one.
- Q. What do you regret most?
- A. I don't have regrets. I've put 100% into everything I've done. When I've failed at things (and it has happened) it has never been through lack of effort.
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. Playing the piano.
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. Surviving my basic flying training course in the RAF.
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. Not knowing when to say 'No, I can't do that'.
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. Tenacity. Once I set my mind to something I become single-minded to the point of obsession.
- Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
- A. An eagle. I love flying and would love to be able to soar without a aircraft around me.
- Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
- A. Punctuality. I'm the sort of person who catches the train before the train before the train I meant to catch, because I hate being late.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. Paksenarrion from Elizabeth Moon's 'The Deed of Paksenarrion' trilogy.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. Dick Dastardly. Who doesn't love Dick Dastardly?!
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. Leonardo da Vinci.
'That flying contraption you've drawn looks great, but it could do with a couple of jet engines on it.'
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. Hearing the words 'I can't do it' in a whiny voice.
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. Playing golf.
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. Astronaut.
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. Reliability, honesty and a sense of humour.
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. Thai Green Curry ... but I probably wouldn't have too many friends!
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), The Theme from Harry's Game (Clannad), Tainted Love (Soft Cell), Smooth Operator (Sade), Heroes and Villains (Pat Benatar).
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. Oh, there are far too many! Discounting Tolkien, who has been a favourite for years, I would say Philip Reeve for YA readers and Elizabeth Moon as a writer for adults.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. The Lord of the Rings
The Speed of Dark
The Deed of Paksenarrion
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. The Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. Try to write a little every day, even if it's just a couple of sentences.
- Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
- A. When's the next book coming out?
- Q. How did you come to write Imperial Spy?
- A. Whilst signing some of my self published fantasy books in a local store, a lady who attended a charismatic Christian church who was very anti all things magical complained to me:
"Why do you fantasy authors always have to use magic in your stories?"
I thought this a very valid question. So I set about writing a fantasy novel without any magic in it. Imperial Spy mentions magic, but you never see it. The main character, Femke, was one of my favourite minor characters from my previous series - a sort of medieval Lara Croft style spy girl (but not so irritatingly perfect). It was intended to be a stand alone novel, but I was contracted to write a sequel. Fantasy authors rarely think in twos, so I planned three despite the contract!