Interview With An Author
What is your name?
Do you have any pen names?
Tell us about where are you from?
I live in Australia, at a mountain area called Mount Tamborine with my partner Deb and our cat Mr Moo. This is our escape after living on the coast, so can be considered our Green escape.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I have foolishly started a new business in the importation of a water filtration bottle called a Paany! It essentially removes germs from your drinking water. I was approached by people I used to work with and decided – what the heck – I can always do with more money! I suppose I like the thought of humanitarian aid applications, though that is a tough gig.
Oh, why do we do these things?
I am also engaged in the steady renovation of our house and gardens, which is good for my soul. There is something about green things growing that heals. I also go to the local Men’s Shed to learn how to make things out of timber and iron and, now travel has been largely stopped, do a little hiking and getting into wild places.
When did you start writing stories?
I started about 13 years ago. My first book, Traveller – now Traveller Inceptio, was completed 3 years later.
What or who inspired you to write stories?
Traveller Inceptio is a mix of science fiction and historical fiction that examines how members of 21st Century Western society could survive the world of the 11th Century.
I was inspired one day after I had been ripped off by a crooked business partner. I was pretty depressed and sat on a beach, imagining how the location would have looked 100, then 200, then 1000 years in the past. Fortunately, I lived close to the beautiful beaches of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia and the exercise of imagining the location before resorts, powerlines and phone towers brought to mind a very different world.
The next step in the tale was to imagine how modern humans would survive ‘back then’. Then – how could such a journey be possible?
The story was born
Besides a lot of my own research, being banned from my library for being so late with returning books, and making every effort to be truthful and conscious of Australian Aboriginal historical sensitivities, the rest was a lot of fun.
What is your favourite genre to write and why?
I love to read good science fiction and love to write the same. I accidentally immersed myself into historical fiction because that is where the story led me. I also love history, and my father is a very dedicated genealogist, so to merge the two genres was fun.
What is your favourite genre to read?
Science fiction and historical fiction – they have to be good though!! Careful, well researched work only!
Who is your favorite Author and why?
I don’t think I love one author only.
I dearly love the works of George Orwell, Colleen McCullough (The Rome Series), JK Rowling, Bernard Cornwell, Arthur C Clarke, Andy Weir, and so on. These are authors of tales of imagination, of new worlds described with not too much waffle. I especially love a clever tale. Stephen King can provide such tales as well.
Occasionally there are authors like Yann Martel (Life of PI) and Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram) where the painting of the mental picture with words can be magical. I always aspire to such a skill.
What was the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote Traveller. That was the short story that became a book that became a series.
I also wrote a few children’s books that were loved by those who read them. I am awaiting my daughter to illustrate them before I take that area any further. That has only been 10 years.
What happened to it? Did you save it or trash it, and why?
Traveller Inceptio was called Traveller and was liked by those who read but, I realize now, rambled on and on. It was finally edited by an English ex-publisher who essentially tore off my arm and beat me over the head with it.
After being shortened, chapters removed, waffle disposed of, tears shed and resubmitted to another editor, I was told I actually had a great story.
Traveller (crappy name – since then how many TV shows and books have that name?) was renamed Traveller Inceptio – meaning beginning. I was advised it was a unique tale, yet since then there has been Game of Thrones, Vikings, and Outlander – all terrifying similar in some respects, but not close enough.
After I was approached, Traveller Inceptio was submitted to vanity publisher Austin Macauley and wasted 3 years sitting around doing nothing.
I have written 5 other novels, including 2 others as sequels to Traveller Inceptio – written because readers and reviewers insisted. Reader encouragement and love of the story has given me encouragement to keep on going.
Thankfully stories continue to make themselves manifest.
Are there any sub-genres, that you would considering pairing together?
I have written a few novels as experiments – a disaster novel with a gentle sci-fi touch, and also a gentle sci-fi in a format similar to Dean Koontz. I find inspiration in looking at odd occurrences changing people as they try to survive in life
I think action and a little adventure and romance is always useful, because that is what happens to real people and makes a story worth telling. I never appreciate gratuitous sex or violence in a story.
Do you have more fun writing the scenes, or creating the characters?
I really enjoy creating the characters. My first book, the research team for the Transporter were my first real characters. One character, Phil, was essentially based on my son. His friend, Yeti, was also one of my son’s friends by the same name. Believe me when I say the language, stunts and stupidity in which these guys engaged were based on real-life.
I really like to get into the character and hopefully make them a real, three- dimensional believable people. That’s my goal anyway.
Once the character is realistic, I like to place them into the story. The scenes, remarkable as they might be, are part of the character’s experiences. I like to see how a certain person would behave when exposed to the realistically extraordinary.
You’re an Indie Author, so tell us, why go Indie? Why choose to self publish?
Writing is like ‘The Voice’. It doesn’t matter how good you are, or even if you are any good at all. It’s all about being recognized as commercially viable.
I have heard tell that JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame would never be published if she had tried today, because she was poor and nobody would care. Agents don’t want to take a risk. They aren’t really that well paid in most cases. They want a sure thing. So do publishers. That is why there are so many questionable books by best-selling, established authors, celebrities, cricketers and footballers.
So how does an unknown, non-celebrity author break through that?
The desire of so many to be recognized as a credible author makes for a fertile field for rip-off artists ad conmen. Vanity publishers charge fortunes and do nothing for their authors, while we all agonize over if we are truly good enough. What makes it worse is how some of the “Best” new authors touted by some publishers are rubbish.
There is a long and winding road for any author today, and part of that is to find someone like Claire here who is willing to take the risk and help.
Self-Publishing is only the start and, while this may get nowhere in terms of private-jets or Lamborghinis, is the domain of those who don’t want to quit
Tell us how you work. From pen and paper, to your fingers dancing across the keys, do you find yourself cozy and warm with a cup of tea and a blazing fire? Or do you hide in your dungeon, slaving away on your latest masterpiece; the words of wisdom flowing from your fingers as the story is born? Tell us how you write?
I have a study with nice light and a grevillea tree outside where the lorikeets love to squawk and feed.
My best time is in the morning. I am definitely a morning person when it comes to clarity of mind and the ability to place fingers to keyboard. Sometimes, as I go through my day, I get a thought or garner a point that needs to be included in any of the novels I have under way or completed (not published – when they’re published that’s it – it’s too late), so I jot that thought down on paper and make a point of researching further before I add or change the text.
Yes, sometimes I have a lot of scattered pieces of scrap paper sitting on my desk.
Inspiration comes when working in the garden, driving, hiking, chatting or watching You-Tube, which is my preference to normal TV. To be honest, some of what I watch would be scientific and historical, so potentially boring to many, but the research goes on.
Social Media Links
Traveller Inceptio is a fantastic book.431 pages of great writing,fun and interesting characters. Excellent history lessons. If you liked the History Channel’s Vikings you will no doubt love this book I think I understood this book a little better because I watched that show. —->Time Travel is COOL
Artisan Book reviews
Traveller Inceptio is an entertaining, enjoyable and gratifying read, filled with action, adventure and a touch of romance. Rob Shackleford’s exemplary writing style is smart, clever and creative, drawing readers in from start to finish. I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in the Traveler Inceptio series by Rob Shackleford. Highly recommended by Artisan Book Reviews for both men and women, and all insightful, passionate and curious readers!
Title: Traveller Probo: Traveller Book 2 (Traveller Series)
Author: Rob Shackleford
Genre: Time Travel, Science Fiction Adventure
A tour de force in time travel fiction. Incredibly detailed, the author has a keen eye for creating imagery. If an avid fan of time travel, then this book is for you as it will transport you to the past.
If you are a new reader, you will be captivated by New Zealand. The complications that happen in New Zealand take this story into a fresh new turn. The scenes are gripping, realistic and simply draw the reader in.
The portrayal of Special Forces members shows the author has a good appreciation of this special group. The training illustrated for the would-be travellers rings true with accuracy. The continued use of the media’s view helps keep the book grounded. You get a real-world feel for this series with tv and radio personalities involved.
A brilliantly written book that easily draws in a reader. It wasn’t long before I was dreaming about scenes from this book as I read it. The powerful writing simply imbues a reader’s soul.
The book brings to the forefront an important ethical question that is valid today. When is it okay for people of ‘superior’ ways to help those who have ‘less’? In this book, it is the context of the present and past. In our world, it has been the question generally of western civilization and local populations. How does one objectively rate the impact of ‘oh we can help them’ in terms of today? Each reader can grapple with these ethics in their own way. This book does a lovely job of highlighting this contentious theme.
One can’t help but admire the moral and ethical nature of Hunter. The international intrigue and suspense in the 21st century keep this book also with a foot in the present. Recommended to fans of the original book. Recommended to all lovers of the time travel genre. This book will have wide appeal and should be a bestseller.
My Rating: 5 stars
Anthony Avina – Author
This was such an adventurous and thought-provoking follow-up to the author’s equally exciting first book in the sci-fi series, Traveller Inceptio. The world-building and character development the author employs here is masterful, as the time-travel element allows readers to experience both the present-day individuals going back to study these ancient civilizations and the historical figures who encounter these strange individuals. The action kicks off from the get-go, with a mission to New Zealand’s past taking a bloody turn, and the balance the author finds with the political and social intrigue of the present with the action and history of the past was so amazing to read.
The attention to detail and imagery the author uses throughout this narrative was so vibrant and engaging that it felt almost cinematic in quality. I could easily picture this as either an ensemble cast film or streaming series, exploring these vast sets and time periods while employing a unique sci-fi twist that will keep readers engaged throughout the narrative. The themes of morality and western civilization’s mindset that superior technology, intellect, and resources give them the right to change or dictate how others operate and live their lives was felt in every chapter of this narrative and kept readers’ minds active as well entertained.
A brilliant, gripping, and heart-pounding historical fiction and sci-fi read, author Rob Shackleford’s “Traveller Probo” is a must-read novel. The intrigue and mystery of the growing missions and the back-room dealings surrounding the Traveller tech will keep readers on the edge of their seat, and the shocking cliff-hanger endings for both established and new characters alike and their missions will have readers eager to devour the next chapter in this epic series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!
An English-born Australian, Rob Shackleford has also lived and worked in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with a varied career that has included Customs Officer, Scuba Instructor, College Teacher and management roles in too many places.
With degrees in the Arts and Business, he is mad keen on travel, Scuba diving, Family History, martial arts, astronomy, and playing Djembe and Congas. Despite that, he is actually not that boring.
Rob is father of two and has made his green escape with his lovely lady into Australia’s Gold Coast hinterland.
Thank you for sharing, Patty.