IndieView with Robert Hill, author of Alone Together

It’s 75% done, tentatively titled Rectification, an adult horror novel. I explained that life would go on without their gadgets – they disagreed. One thing I do toward the end of the editing process is to have Word read the text aloud. It helps me re-immerse myself in the story before I jump into that day’s writing. My family was on an extended vacation and I had the house to myself for a few weeks. A friend turned me on to Stephen King in the late 70’s and I’ve read most of his work, including his book On Writing. I do a little of both. I’m fortunate enough to have a study in my home where I do all my writing and I use a PC with Microsoft Word. Kyle must work harder and grow up faster than he ever imagined. I knew what I wanted for a cover but lacked the skills to create something polished. What are you working on now? The book is available in print and eBook formats. I have a higher appreciation for authors and now read very differently, paying attention to word choice and sentence structure in addition to the story arc and plot twists. The primary genre is middle grade. My next novel is very different. We follow the family as they wait for a rescue that never comes. Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? When I began, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever share the book beyond my family.   About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? When I suggested my kids should go outside to play, they responded with cries of outrage. I’m a quadriplegic, and my hands are paralyzed, the result is my typing is atrocious. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Did you hire a professional editor? The music is never loud, usually playing in the background. Relying on each other, they face an almost impossible situation and work together to survive. I often bring work home and my family assumed I was doing office work. What would you like readers to know about you? Neighbors and friends drift away in search of water and food. The Stryker family could be any family, in any town anywhere in the country. I began this book in the summer of 2017. Not only did my novel improve after each iteration, I also learned a ton from each cycle through my work. With the first book under my belt, I’ll re-evaluate publishing alternatives again with my next novel. I alternate between no music and classic rock from the 70’s and 80’s. I set a goal to work my way through all, and have managed 60 so far. The best choice for me was to hire a professional. J
We all know how important it is for writers to read. This was great, because it provided an anchor for who and where. As the story grew and improved, I gained confidence. What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Other feedback was more subtle and occasionally I disagreed with the suggestions and kept the prose as it was or reworked it another way. Alone Together is a tale of survival. My outline was simple, ten parts to the story and one sentence for each. I have two boys, (11 & 13) and grew frustrated with how much they were on their phones, tablets and computers. Those years are gone; I can’t get them back. I hired a developmental editor, then a copy editor and a proofreader. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) The novel explores what might happen if all technology stopped working. As I began to write, if I had an idea, I’d hop forward, jot a few notes in that section and return to where I was. Some suggestions were so blindingly obvious I couldn’t believe I missed them. It’s important for everyone to understand his or her own strengths and weaknesses. End of Interview:
For more from Robert, visit his website and like his Facebook page. I hired an artist whose specialty is cover artwork. I’ll go back each writing session and clean up the most egregious errors and typos before I knock off for the day. I remembered my childhood, living in small towns where we would spend hours and hours outside. Thirteen-year-old Kyle Stryker tells the story of his family, friends and neighbors as they grapple with life without electricity. I wrote the book to explore what might happen if all technology stopped, including everything that uses electricity in any form, even cars. Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? Do you have a target reader? The response was silence or the standard rejection letter, and I grew frustrated. For the first half year, I kept secret what I was doing. How would you fare? It freed me to weave my ideas together into a cohesive story. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? One of the first effects of a loss of technology would be the sense of isolation. I find it helps block out distractions. I explained that life would go on without their gadgets – they disagreed. Michener’s work, or J.R.R. Maybe then, he can earn his father’s respect. With his family, friends, and neighbors, they struggle to understand and wait for a rescue that never comes. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? This is no ordinary blackout. I looked at some of the canned marketing plans on the internet, and ended up creating my own version. The world changes for thirteen-year-old Kyle Stryker in a blaze of unnatural light as every piece of technology stops working. If so can you please describe it? They are all 100% made up, good, bad or otherwise. I wanted the book to appeal to middle grade readers like my kids, so I kept the language and scenes age appropriate. The setting and main characters came quickly. Your only information would come from what you experience or from conversations with others. The next time I want to write, I’ll read over my prior day’s work, lightly editing as I go. What came easily? Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? I submitted to a handful of agents gleaned from the standard sources. Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? Since I work full time, I write when I can, which means nights and weekends. I generally charge forward to keep the flow of the story going, anxious that I don’t lose my train of thought. I moved to California over 20 years ago and live in Tustin, part of Orange County, south of Los Angeles. Get your copy of   Alone Together from Amazon US or Amazon UK. Everything that uses electricity is dead, even cars! How long did it take you to write it? When I was in university, I broke my neck. If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? There are several intense scenes in the book. Do you outline? I struggled to balance the scene tension with pacing, appropriate descriptions, and dialogue. I often re-wrote these sections many times, always looking for the right balance. About You
Where did you grow up? Do you listen to music while you write? I also like to read unexpected books. Should they stay or go? I often find little inconsistencies, repeated words and awkward phrasing I missed in prior edits. I hope to release it in the next year. I grew up in the town of Orangeville, an hour from Toronto in Southern Ontario, Canada
Where do you live now? About Writing
Do you have a writing process? I didn’t want the book to be yet another zombie apocalypse; I wanted to keep the scale local. Just start! I wrote the book to explore what might happen if all technology stopped, including everything that uses electricity in any form, even cars. I spent countless years thinking I’d like to write a book and never acted.  
Robert Hill – 11 November 2018
The Back Flap
Would you survive? It seemed so pure and magical to create something from nothing. How might a family respond? It’s straightforward, a binder with tabs to keep all my notes and information organized. About the book
What is the book about? Without reservation, I would recommend authors find a writing buddy, coach, group or editor to work with. They quickly run out of food and water, as do their friends and neighbors. I read voraciously as a teenager and began by going through my dad’s paperback collection in the basement of our house, primarily spy novels and detective stories. Impatience was the reason I went the self-publishing route. Several years ago, I found a list from Time magazine of the 100 best novels of the 20th century. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? I wrote it in about six months and spent almost that long again polishing and working with editors. By the end, I just wanted to let my baby out into the world—I couldn’t wait. Learn the craft; be open to criticism and just start! When I suggested my kids should go outside to play, they responded with cries of outrage. Going the agent and traditional publisher route is tough slogging for debut authors, the beauty of today’s technology is authors can take control of their own destiny. Each decision will mean the difference between life and death. I also worked hard on the story, characters and setting to be realistic and genuine to appeal to the adult reader. I am a stick figure artist at best. If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? When did you start writing the book? I enjoy large sweeping stories, like some of James A. But, now that I’ve started writing, I may never stop. Hours turn into days and weeks. I’m just an ordinary guy who loves to read and waited too long to start writing. There are sections for my Facebook page, website, newspapers, writing contests, reviewers, bloggers, libraries, print and e-book resources. In reality, I was having a blast creating something from nothing more than a virtual blank sheet of paper and an idea. I created an outline of the story, characters, setting and jumped in to the first chapter. Where did you get the idea from?