InterviewHello Doug! I'm so glad you could join me today. I see you've brought a few...friends with you. Hopefully they'll avoid eating my brains during our interview ;) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid. I used to write short stories that I would give to my mother or my siblings. They’d read them and encourage me…sometimes they’d just laugh. I wanted to write the kind of stories I grew up reading. The kind of stories that took you places in your mind.
That's so wonderful you had such an encouraging family! What has been the most difficult part about being a writer?
I’d have to say the part that came after the writing. The editing, re-writing and marketing that came along with the publication process. The writing part was fun…the rest was work.
Yes, marketing is not an easy task by any means. I'd been warned about the work involved in publishing a book, but I never realized the difficulty until I experienced first hand. Who are your favorite authors?
I have so many. It’s hard to limit it to just a few. I like J.R.R. Tolkien, Jack Higgins, H.P. Lovecraft, R.A. Salvatore, Clive Cussler, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, F. Paul Wilson, Orson Scott Card, Robert Lynn Aspin, Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman, Robert Heinlein, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Leonard Scott, Samuel Clemmons, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Z.A. Recht, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.G. Wells, Robert Jordan, Tom Clancy, Richard Marcinko, Richard Harris….I could go on and on. I love to read. My tastes are rather eclectic. It depends on my mood.
There are so many good ones in there! I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has trouble picking just a few favorites! What authors inspire you?
Inspiration comes from many sources. The book “A Prayer for the Dying” by Jack Higgins was amazing.
“Slaughter House Five” by Kurt Vonnegut. “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Again, there are so many great stories that have inspired me in different ways, over the years. If I had to choose just one author who inspired me the most, I guess it would have to be Robert Heinlein. Several of his books spoke to me on many levels. He was an amazing writer.
Vonnegut has inspired me in some ways with his black humor. I adore his books. Do you like to plan your scenes out or do you just wing it?
A little of both, I suppose. I have an outline for the stories but I like to let the characters drive the story. I’ve had a few simple lines of dialogue end up changing the entire book. I don’t like to be too confined to an outline or predetermined course of action. Small events can make big changes down the road. Sometimes, the story writes itself. Those are the times when even I am surprised at how things turned out.
I think that's awesome that you can merge the two methods. It's never a good idea to fight your characters when writing, especially when they're zombies ;) What type of books do you like to read?
I read a little bit of everything. I love sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, action adventure, horror, zombie horror, military novels, suspense, mysteries, crime dramas, historical fiction, almost anything. It all depends on my mood. One day I might be reading Tolkien and the next I might be reading Steinbeck.
Ooo that's a great mix of genres. What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to play games with my family, ride my mountain bike, go camping, go Geocaching, hiking, go to antique shops and flea markets, amusement parks, travelling, cooking and sitting on the back deck watching the sun go down.
You are far, far more outdoorsy than I will ever be lol. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
I would have to say my favorite place to vacation would be going camping. It’s great to spend time in the woods, away from towns and the stress of every day. To sit by a fire, cook a good meal and enjoy nothing more than the sounds of a river, crickets and animals. The feel of snuggling into a sleeping bag when there’s a chill in the air. The taste of a good cup of coffee, fresh from the fire. Roasting marshmallows and making smores by the fire with my kids. To me, that’s a little slice of paradise.
Somehow it doesn't surprise me that you love to go camping for vacation :) Do you have any special holiday traditions?
Every year, on Christmas eve…the kids gather around while my wife reads “T’was the Night Before Christmas” aloud. As my sons grow older, it’s these little things I’ll always treasure the most. In a few years, all of my sons will be grown…but it will be those little moments that I’ll remember.
Ok I literally just went "aww" :) I love that tradition!! Now, let's head in a completely opposite direction lol. Why did you choose to write a zombie book?
I love horror novels, and zombies in particular. I loved the old horror films that I grew up on. Like the George A. Romero films, the old Hammer Films, anything with Bella Lugosi or Vincent Price. Then as I grew older, I evolved into the more shocker type horror films that were so common. Slasher films and modern horror. I found that when they movies began to emerge where the zombies were fast, it really changed the way I looked at zombies. They were no longer the slow, plodding zombies of the old movies. They were fast, relentless and scary again.
Fast zombies are so creepy. I like being able to outrun them! Was there any reason you chose to set the book in Springfield, MO?
Someone once told me to write what you know. It was good advice. I know Springfield well, so I decided to set it here. To me, it was a good decision. It allowed me to be very descriptive of places that I knew well. I could also look at my hometown in an entirely new way. It was a lot of fun.
That's awesome. It's always best to write what you know. What has been the most fun about working on your books?
I enjoy the writing phase. The flow of the story and the banter of the characters…that’s fun to write. I enjoy seeing the story go from idea to printed word. It’s a very cool process. Then there was the first time I held a copy of my completed, printed and published novel in my hand. That was amazing.
I think that's one of my favorite parts too. Banter of characters is a blast to write! What has been the hardest scene for you to write?
The most difficult scene for me to write is when Southard finds his family. It was a tough scene for me to visualize and to put on paper. It was raw and emotional, and I felt like crying right along with the characters. It was a very tough scene to write.
I love when a scene can drive the author to strong emotions because it means the reader will feel it even more powerfully. I can't wait to read that scene! Do you have any favorite characters?
Ragnarok Rising had several characters that I loved to write. Wylie Grant, obviously, for one. He was fun to write. Spec-4 was very cool. She’s tough, smart and not afraid to put combat boot to zombie butt. Southard and Sanders were both fun, too. Their different senses of humor made them interesting to have in the scenes. Maddie the doctor was fun, too. She was a character that surprised even me. As her personality emerged, I knew she was a character I had to keep around throughout the books.
Ok, now I'm really wanting to read this book. Your characters sound fantastic. How did you come up with the premise for the Ragnarok Rising saga?
I’m a full-time Corrections Officer with our local Sheriff’s Department. One night, I was having coffee with a few of my fellow officers, and we were discussing movies. We all loved horror movies and soon found ourselves discussing zombies. One of my friends said, “How do you think we’d react if it happened here?” At first, we laughed about it…a Zombie Apocalypse in Middle America. But then we started discussing it as if it were an actual emergency that our department had to react to. It made me see my job, my hometown and my friends in an entirely different light. The story grew from there.
That had to be an epic conversation :) How did you come up with the names for your characters?
I like to say the names of characters out loud and see how they sound. I do the same with dialogue. I want the names of the characters to seem as real as the names themselves. You won’t find me naming a character something off the wall or bizarre. I try to give them names to suit their personalities, yet still sound like someone you might meet in everyday life.
I particularly love the name Spec-4 :) Tell me more about the future books and when can we expect the next one?
I have plans for five books in the Ragnarok Rising Saga. I just finished the rough draft of book two, Ragnarok Rising: The Reckoning. I hope to have edits done and the manuscript to my publisher by sometime around the first of the year.
Woot! I love hearing that authors plan to release a number of books :) What's next for you?
I love writing zombie novels, but it isn’t the only thing I want to write. I have other stories in mind, that I am looking forward to getting to. Some are in the horror genre, but others aren’t. I don’t want to confine myself to one genre. However, having said that, should Ragnarok Rising become wildly popular, I could easily see myself extending the series through several more books. Time will tell.
I for one can't wait to see more from you! Your ideas sound so creative and exciting :) Well, we're out of time and those zombies seem to be eying us. Before you head off, is there anything else you want your readers to know?
I love to hear from my readers. Your input and comments are fantastic. I really appreciate all the e-mails and messages I get. It’s the fans appreciation that encourages and inspires writers to keep writing. Above all else, I want to thank everyone who has been supportive and who has enjoyed reading my work. I will always try to write the kinds of stories that my fans want to read. Thank you for all the encouragement and support. Thank you for reading my writing. Thank you to my fans.
Thank you again for joining me today! It has been a pleasure and I hope everyone races out to snag this book before the zombies get you ;)
Ragnarok Rising: The Awakening...Buy it Now!
Initial reports of rioting and chaos begin to appear in the news, slowly spreading east from California. As the unusual "riots" come closer and closer however, the first hints of their true nature begin to emerge. Internet videos show rioters eating those they overtake.Buy it Now:
When the disturbances finally reach Springfield Missouri, all law enforcement officers are called to field duty. Officer Wylie Grant finds himself manning a remote checkpoint. There the true nature of the "rioters" becomes terrifyingly clear, and only Wylie and Corporal Chrissy Wilder survive the revelation. Their new goal becomes to survive the trip back to the Nathaniel County Sheriff’s Office, where the few remaining officers are attempting to regroup.
Thinking ahead, Wylie and Corporal Wilder attempt to rescue as many survivors as they can and gather as many resources as possible along the way. Upon their arrival, Wiley finds himself the leader of the rescue efforts, as many officers are stranded throughout the city.
During his repeated forays into the zombie infested streets, he discovers that the zombies are not the only enemy humanity is facing. In some cases, they are the lesser evil. As he struggles to cope with the loss of friends and innocents, he discovers that the Evacuation Centers that had been their last hope are part of a government "containment protocol". No one is being evacuated.
Wylie and his team are faced with the realization that no one is coming for them, and the government that they had thought to be their ally has become yet another enemy in an increasingly hostile world.
- Amazon US (ebook)
- Amazon US (paperback)
- Barnes and Noble (ebook)
- Barnes and Noble (paperback)
- Pendraig Publishing
Meet D.A. Roberts!
I was born in rural Missouri to a working class family. My early life centered on family, the farm and school. Early on, my mother instilled in me a deep love of reading, which continues to this day. My mother always encouraged my writing, even as a child...when it was really bad.
Throughout a diverse career, I’ve been a soldier, a factory worker, a security officer, a bouncer, a lab technician, and most recently...a Corrections Officer. I love being a C.O. almost as much as I love writing. Ragnarok Rising gave me and outlet for both.
I’ve been married to my wife, Annette, for nineteen years. We have three great sons, Nathan, Nicholas and Noah. We also have an English Mastiff named Xander. He thinks he’s one of the boys, too.
When not playing C.O. or writing, I enjoy Geocaching, reading, riding my mountain bike, cooking, camping and most of all...spending time with my family.
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