Robert Lee Beers

‘I haven’t a clue.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I started in elementary school because it was fun and most of the things the teachers had me doing wasn’t.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Have you got room to list several hundred pages of names? Every author I read has influenced me to some degree. Off the top of my head I was say Heinlein, Campbell, Pratchett, DeChancie, Byrn, Foster, Eddings, McCaffrey, Stevenson, Dickens, Tolstoy…

Tell me about your series.

The funniest Supernatural Mystery series on the planet.

The Tony Mandolin Mysteries are an urban / noir fantasy series set in current San Francisco. As with most of the classic PI books, it is first person, told with much the same inflection found in Rex Stout’s Nero Wolf mysteries, except Stout didn’t have vampires, fairies, trolls and wizards in his cast.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

None, actually. I am currently writing three and all are due to be published.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

It is an evil, and it presupposes that parents should set aside their responsibility to the state. Frankly, it is part of a very real slippery slope that has manifested in far too many countries. I’d rather ban those who suggest book banning.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Let’s go with the primary guest star in the Tony Mandolin series, one Franklin Amadeus Jackson, Frankie to his friends. Frankie, portrayed superbly by the masterful Elliot Dash in the Graphic Audio audio books, is nearly 7 feet tall, weighs over 300 pounds and was a raging drag queen in the first book. He is also a gourmet cook, a crack shot, inhumanly strong. A pop culture sponge with a chameleonic personality. He has also saved Tony’s life a dozen times over in the series so far.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

It’s true. The best writers have always been prolific readers. In reading you learn what to do and what not to do, if you have the capability of learning such things. Not all do, but then, not everyone can swim. I’m one of those.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The worst is the constant rejection, and the best is being accepted. Even the top-selling authors in the world experience this. You can have a thousand five-star reviews on a book and that single one-star is all you can think about. Beyond that, it is the creation process itself. Finishing a paragraph or a section of a story that just WORKS, all caps are intended, is one of the most satisfying feeling there is. Having to delete a couple of pages because you just read it and it is crap and you know it, is the other side of that coin.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I do both. My outlines are a series of words and phrases that tell me where I want to go. But more often than not, the characters or the story itself refuses direction, and I’ve learned to listen to the voices.

What are you writing at the moment?

A Scottish historical novel set in the time of the ‘45 right after the battle of Culloden dealing with the aftermaths of the Jacobite Uprising. It is called The Tartan and I should be finished with it in about two months.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

When I stop finding traditionally published books full of typos and continuity errors I’ll tell you.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

Fantasy. I like the freedom of imagination it allows.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

Not on your life. I’d mouth off to a troll and wind up a pink smear on the ground.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Do not waste all that time trying to find an agent.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

I prefer instrumental. There is a YouTube playlist titled Epic Pirate Music which is my favorite.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That I was actually very good at it.

Robert, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!