Today I want to introduce you to Michael Robertson, the author of Crash. I first met Michael last year when we were both on Authonomy together writing our books and critiquing for eachother. I'll warn you before I start, Michaels novel CRASH is a horrific horror book.
There's no monsters, no boogymen and things that go bump in the night. This book focuses on society and the end of the world as we know it. A dystopian nightmare to be more precise. It's dark, grim and made me feel physically sick at times. It was brilliant! Here's a link to my review on Goodreads.
Michael has given me a small excerpt to share with you and also the chance to win a copy of his book, so let's get on with the show!
My name is Michael Robertson and I have been writing for about fifteen years now. My life as a writer started when I had aspirations to be a drum and bass MC in my late teenage years. It was embarrassing, I was rubbish, and I gave it up very quickly. However, what stayed with me was the writing. I wrote lyrics that I turned into poems. I had several of them published but had to accept, when my poems started spanning pages, that longer stories were waiting to come out.
Ideas have never been a problem for me. At present I have at least twenty fully formed novels and novellas queuing up in my head. More are knocking on the door all the time. However, a misspent youth meant that I’d had a poor education and I needed to learn how to write. Over a period of about ten years I have tried to write most days. I have several process novels sat in a desk drawer. None of them are suitable for release.
Winning a competition to have a short story published in a special edition of The Jerusalem Puzzle by Laurence O’Bryan gave me the final push that I needed to put Crash out in the world. Having HarperCollins accept my story has given me the confidence to put my work out there. Having a little boy has given me the push that I needed to follow my dreams and give him a dad to be proud of.
Michael Robertson Interview
Other contacts/social media sites:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MichaelRobertsonAuthor
Twitter - @MicRobertson
Google + - https://plus.google.com/u/0/113009673177382863155/posts
Link to your Amazon page and or any other place that your books can be purchased:
My website has links to Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords - http://www.michaelrobertson.co.uk/crash --available-now.html
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Croydon in the UK and then moved to a quieter part of Surrey. I spent my youth living at the end of a very quiet private road. It was pretty boring as a kid growing up.
What made you start writing?
I didn't find my brain until after I'd left school. I had a problem with authority when I was a kid and did everything I could to rebel. After leaving school I found my love for writing. It initially started when I tried drum and bass MCing - I was terrible, but I loved writing the lyrics I've been writing now for the last fifteen years. The ideas have never been a problem for me, but it took me a while to learn how to write. I have since studied at university level but wish I'd had made the most of it when I was younger - Cliché I know, but it's true.
Is it something that you have always wanted to do?
Only after leaving school. It's driven me for the past fifteen years.
What is your favourite genre to read, and do you have any favourite books or authors you would like to recommend?
I'll read all genres. Irvine Welsh is my favourite author. I love Trainspotting. It blow me away how a book can be so gritty and crass at points, yet so beautifully poetic.
Do you ever base your characters on anyone that you know, or are they solely from your imagination?
Hahahaha. Ummmm. Should I answer that? I often base the characters that aren't very nice on people I know. I'm leaving it there. I have joked with my friends about including them and giving them miserable and bloody deaths.
CRASH BOOK COVER
Tell us about your latest book. The story/plot.
Crash - A post-apocalyptic / dystopian thriller.
Chris’ life of luxury is gone, devastated by the collapse of the European economy. Gas, water, and electricity are all cut off. Food is running out. Even his wife and daughter have gone. Huddled in the smallest room of their lavish house with his petrified and dirty eight-year-old son, Chris has made the decision to stay put. A small army of psychotic scavengers is outside, hell-bent on making the once-privileged pay. Chris now knows that not leaving when he had the option was the worst decision of his life.
Cowering in his home, he watches as his neighbours are dragged into the street and brutally executed. The scavengers have one more house to go, and then it will be his turn. He has to act fast, or he and his son will meet the same fate.
Driven by the need to survive, Chris has decided to keep secrets from his son. Secrets that will make all of the events up until this point seem trivial. Secrets that, one way or another, will come out before the day is done.
What gave you the idea?
I'm just about to release a revised copy of Crash with a new authors note and epilogue, so I thought I'd include that here: -
This is a revised author’s note for the updated version of Crash.
Some of the feedback I’ve received for Crash is about the lack of hope in this story, which is valid. It’s not that Crash as a series has no shining light, but by judging it simply on book one, it’s easy to make that assumption. With this feedback in mind, I’ve decided to include an epilogue. I always had this scene planned but didn’t know if I should include it in book one.
Also, I wanted to explain why I’ve written Crash. I like dark fiction and frequently write horror and dystopian sci-fi, but Crash is much more graphic than my usual style. There are a couple of reasons as to why I chose to make it this way. Firstly, the main instigator of the violence in this book is insane. While his grievances are rational, his actions are certainly not.
Secondly, the aggression is a reflection of the venom currently aimed at the most disadvantaged in UK society. The people labeled as ‘benefit scum’, ‘chavs’, ‘a drain on the system…’ The current trend in the media is to blame these people for the state of the country. While this is happening, those actually responsible for the global recession are walking away with huge bonuses and getting tax breaks from our government. They’ve committed corporate crime on a massive scale and the capitalist system pats them on the back for it.
Crash looks at how someone who may have felt helpless and wrongly accused, reacts when the rules change and suddenly there are no consequences for crime. It also takes the venom aimed at those on welfare, and turns it back on the group of people perceived to be the ones making the judgment of them. I say perceived because I don’t believe the identity attached to a group of people is necessarily a reflection of the individuals within that group.
Looking at social constructions like economies and the interconnected nature of our globalised world, Crash questions if money could ever be rejected by the people it oppresses. If a system benefits the few over the many, at what point will there be a revolution? Could the actions of a small country like Greece destroy the world’s greatest system of oppression?
Thinking of how to portray a dysfunctional society where there are no rules, I looked at both war, and at places like The Democratic Republic of Congo. I am deeply affected by what’s happening there, as I’m sure anyone who knows about the situation is. If you’re looking for the apocalypse, it’s real and it’s there. 5.4 million people have died in The DRC since 1998, and that figure’s still rising. The violence in Crash is toned down compared to what’s happening in that part of the world.
Some may perceive this book as mindless and gratuitous, and that’s their right. I’m not here to change people’s opinions, more to explain why I’ve written Crash.
Crash is a horror story. To me, the most horrifying events in life are real and happening daily.
What genre is it?
Who is your favourite character? And why.
I like George. He doesn't have a huge role in the first book, but in book two onwards, he plays much more of an important part.
I should say Dean, but I enjoy writing him. Probably Dick. He's not a big character, but he's horrible.
What are your hopes for it?
That it sells millions of copies, is turned into a movie franchise, and Toys R Us start selling Crash dolls. Hahaha. Maybe a bloody hammer next to the transformers?
What’s the project that you’re going to be working on next?
I'm currently editing Crash 2 and a novel called The Game - although that title may change. I'm sad to be missing NaNoWriMo this year because I don't think my brain can cope with another project considering what I already have on. I have the plan for about twenty books fully formed in my head and I want to write them all now.
What’s the best piece of advice that you have been given in regards to your writing, and by whom?
Write every day.
Treat it like a job.
It will never be perfect.
Neil Gaiman's speech on making good art really motivates me too. I watch it from time to time - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikAb-NYkseI
Chris knew that Michael could see straight through him. He’d have given every drop of blood and his final breath to give his son a guarantee that things would get better. But he couldn’t. They currently existed in a world without precedent. Life was now a desperate struggle. Looking at the small, dirty boy in his arms, he had to swallow the lump rising in his throat and blink away his tears. “All I can really promise you…” he coughed to clear his throat, “…is that I will do my best to look after you. I will do everything in my power to…” Before he could finish, a loud crash exploded outside.
Crash Ebook Giveaway
Michael is kindly giving away two ebook copies of Crash to a couple of lucky winners. All you have to do is 'like' him on Facebook or Twitter (links below) with the following quote:
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