Updated: Feb 25, 2019
| by Winter Lawrence |
If you hadn’t already noticed, I’m a cover girl — LOL, not the model type, of course, but the kind who selects my newest read based on what catches my eye. As it so happens, last week I was scrolling through my Google+ page and I spied the cover of Robot Depot by Russell F. Moran. There was something about those robots standing there that stopped me dead in my tracks, probably because it reminded me of a scene out of I, Robot. Intrigued, I clicked the link and I was tickled pink by the synopsis, so I downloaded the eBook and I enjoyed it immensely! I liked it so much, in fact, that I reached out to the author and I was happy to hear that he was up for a few candid questions about his latest project.
(Q) Russell, the first thing the reader encounters is an amazing dedication to all of the inventors of the world. Did you have someone in mind when you were writing the book? Any favorite inventors or inventions that you’d like to share with your fans?
(A) Mike Bateman, the “hero” of Robot Depot is, like most of my characters, a composite of people I’ve met or worked with over the years. I didn’t write him as a particular person I know, but rather as one who appeared in my imagination. When I write a character, he is often a composite of people I’ve met. Sometimes these decisions are subconscious. Sometimes I will write a character who is a mirror image of someone I know. These tend to be people with out-sized personalities who basically write their own scenes. Often a character will appear in many of my books, such as Buster, the CIA agent. Of my 15 novels, Buster has appeared in all of them.
(Q) You’ve included a character list that was inspired by Russian literature. Do you have a favorite book or author from that genre?
(A) Yes, Boris Pasternak.
(Q) You chose to begin your novel with a scene depicting a moment of sheer terror and panic. The reader isn’t yet orientated to anyone or anything, and so they must discover that this isn’t your average 911 call and that it isn’t happening in our current time. Were you fearful of losing the audience, or did you ever consider easing the reader into the story, perhaps by using a futuristic date, a far-off location, or in this case, mentioning an alternate reality?
(A) I try to hook the reader as I liked to be hooked with a novel. I like to hit the reader with an opening that will make her want to read further. In Robot Depot I wanted to make the reader curious about the robot wife. I hope you noticed that the opening scene had a lot of humor in it.
(Q) There are beautifully depicted scenes of Long Island, NYC, and other cool locales sprinkled throughout the novel. As an author, you’re clearly in favor of using real locations in fiction, but there are those who feel that it’s best to use truly fictional settings. What are your thoughts in that regard? And what is your process when writing about places you’ve never visited before?
(A) Often I chose a location with which I’m familiar. I once owned the house where the Bateman’s live, so it was easy for me to write the scenes. It was my house (except for the fire). When writing about a location I’m not familiar with, I draw on my memory of real places I’ve visited. A few of my Long Island readers have told me how much they enjoyed the local setting. Sometimes a story requires some actual locales.
(Q) You’ve incorporated machinery that “listens” to its surroundings and then uses that information to improve its performance. What are your thoughts on the real-world implications of that? Do you feel that it oversteps some personal and privacy boundaries?
(A) I’m fascinated by Artificial Intelligence and robotics. The scenes I wrote, such as those where the robot “Angus” appears were drawn from my reading and understanding of AI, although the “fact” that Angus is sentient, and aware of his own existence, is pure science fiction. That said, I don’t doubt that it will become reality in the future. I don’t think it oversteps personal or privacy boundaries, although I would find it creepy if a real Angus lived in my house. Can AI come into conflict with privacy concerns? Yes, that’s why science fiction is so much fun.
Russell, I couldn’t agree more! Science fiction is fun and you’ve definitely created an exciting, imaginative, and compelling world that readers abound will enjoy. Thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions!
* * *
Russ Moran is the author of 14 novels. Moran also published five nonfiction books: Justice in America: How it Works—How it Fails; The APT Principle: The Business Plan That You Carry in Your Head; Boating Basics: The Boattalk Book of Boating Tips; If You’re Injured: A Consumer Guide to Personal Injury Law; How to Create More Time. He’s a lawyer and a veteran of the United States Navy. He lives on Long Island, New York, with his wife, Lynda. Readers, to learn more about Russell and all of his amazing books, you can visit him at www.morancom.com.