Jeremy Robinson’s newest book, MirrorWorld, just came out, and he stopped by to answer a few of my questions. Please give him a warm welcome!
Will you tell us a bit about your new book, MirrorWorld, and what inspired you to write it?
The inspiration for MirrorWorld came primarily from the main character, Crazy. This was the first time I came up with a character before the plot, so in some ways, it’s my most character driven story. Though it’s also one of my more action-packed novels. The character of Crazy came about after I read an article about people with damaged amygdalas—the part of the brain that generates fear, both physical and social. There are challenges for people with this condition, and great liberation. The results can be bold, or humorous, but they can also be tragic as there is no fear filter for the person’s actions, or words. The result is an unpredictable character. The story built around Crazy, giving him lots of room to explore how true fearlessness would effect a character in an sci-fi action novel.
Why do you think readers will connect with, and root for, Crazy?
Crazy is a deeply flawed man. He can do things we can’t, but he’s by no means perfect. And he knows it. Is constantly trying to make up for his shortcomings. His life has been full of tragic mistakes, but like most of us hope we can, he struggles to overcome them and become better than his past self.
What kind of research did you do for MirrorWorld?
I had to do a lot of research into how a damaged amygdala would effect a person’s choices. The impulsiveness that results could lead someone to jump off a cliff without a parachute, comment on someone’s weight, grope a stranger or juggle poisonous snakes, all without an ounce of fear. I also did a lot of research into “things that go bump in the night,” and urban myths about strange creatures from the present day to thousands of years ago. The similarities are interesting…and explained in the book.
You’ve got many titles under your belt. How has your writing process changed or evolved since you first started writing?
The main change is that I write more, better, and faster. I’ve been blessed with a career that lets me write full-time. I’ve also been blessed, or cursed, with an ambition that has me constantly aiming higher. So I write 4000 words a day, sometimes finishing novels in a single month. You’d think that quality would suffer, but those novels that go fast are some of my most popular, and I think it’s because they’re just flowing out of me. Once I have an idea that sparks my imagination, it’s hard to contain it. That said, finishing a novel in a month is less about inspiration and more about discipline. That’s the biggest change. I can now sit down (or stand) and write 4000 words even when I’m not feeling inspired.
What’s one of the first things that you can remember writing?
In sixth grade, I entered a “Your vision of the future” contest where we had to play futurist and write what we thought the future would look like. My vision was pretty standard in some ways; tall and flashy sky scrapers, flying cars, but it was also fairly dystopian, with cities replacing the natural world across the globe. I won second place. And then my writing went unnoticed for about twenty-five years.
You’ve surely influenced many authors with your work, but who has inspired you? What are a few of your favorite authors or books?
There is a long list of authors who have influenced me, but the one author who really inspired me to start writing novels was James Rollins, who I’ve now had the opportunity to hang out with and he’s as nice in person as he was in all those e-mails I sent him. I was living in Los Angeles at the time, trying my hand at screenwriting. Movies were my thing, and honestly, I didn’t read a ton of novels (I blame the boring reading forced on me by school). Then I read Subterranean by Rollins and realized that people were writing novels similar to the screenplays I was writing. I devoured Rollins three books, Preston/Child, Crichton, and then tried my first novel, The Didymus Contingency, which Rollins loved. From that moment on, the course of my writing career shifted.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Be realistic. You’re not going to get rich or famous quick, and odds are, never. The average time for an author to get published is ten years. For me it was closer to thirteen. It’s a gut-wrenching slog, but those who persevere might just make their dreams come true.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first got published?
That all my hard work would pay off. There were several times, after not making any money for eight, ten, thirteen years, that I nearly gave up. I lived in crappy apartments, skirting the poverty line, in bad places and racked up a vast amount of credit card debt paying rent and buying food. It would have been easier to get a “real job” and live like everyone else, and I nearly did. Had I known I would one day have an awesome career, the deep lows of that struggle would have been far easier to handle.
When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I spent pretty much all of my free time with my kids and wife, having adventures and gaming as a fam (video games and board games). And if I’m not with them, I’m gaming with friends.
What’s next for you?
This is always such a hard question to answer because there is always a lot! After MirrorWorld, I’m launching a new pen name, Jeremiah Knight, whose first novel is Hunger, the first of three post-apocalyptic novels. Then comes Herculean, a new novel spin-off from my Jack Sigler thriller series. Then comes the second Jeremiah Knight series, The Berserker Saga, a post-apocalyptic Viking trilogy. Then comes two new Kaiju novels, Apocalypse Machine, and Project Hyperion, the fourth Nemesis novel. And speaking of Nemesis, a comic book adaptation of Project Nemesis is being launched in September! All of that, and a little bit more, is happening between now and November. To stay up to date on all of this (and more, like the Jack Sigler movie) visit www.bewareofmonsters.com and sign up for the newsletter!
Crazy has no memory and feels no fear. Dangerous and unpredictable, he’s locked away in SafeHaven, a psychiatric hospital, where he spends the long days watching Wheel of Fortune and wondering what the outside world smells like. When a mysterious visitor arrives and offers him a way out, Crazy doesn’t hesitate to accept.
But outside the hospital, Crazy is faced with a fear-fueled world on the brink of nuclear annihilation, and he finds himself relocated to Neuro Inc., a secretive corporation with shady government ties. After discovering evidence of human experimentation, he escapes with a syringe, the contents of which are unknown to him but precious to Neuro. Cornered and with a complete disregard for the results, Crazy makes himself indispensable by injecting the substance into his leg.
The mystery drug opens his eyes to a world beyond human experience, where fear is a weapon and the shadows hide the source of mankind’s nightmares. Struggling to understand his new abilities, Crazy allies himself with the company he fled and begins peeling back the layers of his past, the brewing war between worlds, how he can stop it–and what he did to start it.
With MirrorWorld, Robinson, whose trademarked pacing and inventive plots, which have been highly praised by bestselling authors like Jonathan Maberry, Scott Sigler and James Rollins, treats readers to a wildly imaginative, frenetically paced thriller exploring the origins of fear.