Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Author Spotlight: Robert Arend

Robert, please tell us about yourself and your writing.

I am very old, yet not as old as a lot of other people, but not as young as those school pictures of me I have posted all over my laptop desktop. I sometimes wonder if I am an old man dreaming of being the boy in those photos, or if I am the boy peering into his own dreams, longing to be as old as the old guy looking back at him, though considering the possibility that both the boy and the old guy are nothing more than avatars in some video game being manipulated by some methhead living in Wisconsin. I write short stories.

What does your writing space look like?

My lap is my writing space, parked on my overstuffed recliner with DVD episodes of “Lost in Space” playing on my big screen TV. That June Lockhart was a real hotty.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing in my mother’s womb to pass the time. Life was pretty boring in there.

Do you have a process for coming up with character names and book titles?

I am both editor and short story contributor for the Circle 8 Writers Group Anthologies: a group of fiction and poetry writers from all over the United States. We collaborate on titles. As far as the characters in my stories, I usually give them the first names of famous sitcom characters and last names that don’t rhyme with yogart.

What inspired your current book? How do you come up with your book titles? How do you name your characters?

Hunger. Needing to pay the cable bill. Having to choose whether to continue buying my cat, Merlin, expensive cans of food or push him outside to fend for himself. The problem is that myself and most of my fellow writers at Circle 8 have individual short stories for sale on Amazon, Smashwords and Internet hell that do not sell enough unless they are free. I suppose 99 cents for a short story (No matter how pretty the book-like covers) is a bit steep for 15 pages or less. So, we are presently at work combining a lot of those single stories, others previously published in the C8 anthologies, and new stories into what we presently refer to as “The Big Monster Anthology”, figuring our readers will appreciate the value of thick. I am too old to write a novel with odds of dying before chapter 12.

Name one person, living or dead, you'd most like to meet.

The inventor of the indoor flush toilet. I’d just like to thank him personally.

What is your favorite book genre? Who are your favorite authors?

Sci-Fi and horror are my favorite genres, but I do appreciate those writers who eschew genre limitations to merge all into one great read. My favorite authors are the late Gore Vidal (my favorite), the late Truman Capote, author of “The Thorn Birds” Colleen McCullough, Joyce Carol Oates and Joyce Maynard. Oh, and that other late dude, Ray Bradbury.

Has anyone in particular been an influence on your writing?

Besides my great, great, great, great, a thousand times great grandfather Ludwig Von Arendt, who invented beer, I have to say the greatest influencer on my writing was my 8th grade English literature/composition teacher Ann Evangelisto, who singled me out as a marked boy (teacher’s pet) for my other classmates to hate by always reading my compositions aloud as examples of what all in the class should strive for in their own work. She privately counseled me that I was already a good enough writer to go professional, but I wanted to be a cartoonist, then, so it was years before the writing bug bit me so hard I actually skipped some episodes of Barbara Mandell’s TV variety show to work on a novel—and Barbara was so hot, but so was Mrs. Evangelisto in an unglamorous sort of way. Junior high school boys didn’t date their teachers back then, though.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? Who is it and why?

Yes, the gothic mother in my short story “The Butterfly”—free to read via C8’s only FREE anthology “Mothers & Other Strangers” who falls in love with a butterfly she believes is the reincarnation of her dead husband. The love scene will knock your socks off.

Tell us something strange or interesting about yourself.

I have a scar over the left side of my chest from a scalding tea accident since I was four. It’s in the shape of a flaming cross. When I’d go shirtless, I’d impress other kids with the story of a crazy religious aunt who babysat me one afternoon and, because I did something that annoyed her, decided I had Satan in me. So out of her purse she extracted a rod with a cross on one end, heated it in the flames of the gas stove until it glowed, then straddled me and branded the cross over my heart. Sure it was a lie, but it was an early sign I was born to be a fiction writer, for the best fiction writers are the best liars. Lying—it’s what writers do.

Who is the sexiest man/woman alive and why?

There are no sexy men, only sexy woman. Barbara Mandrell is still the sexiest, but Jane Fonda is just a quark away.

Is there anything else you'd really like our readers to know?
Heaven is a peanut butter, jelly and mayonnaise sandwich.

Quick quiz:
·         Favorite food? Peanut butter, jelly and mayonnaise sandwich
·         Favorite color? I’m colorblind
·         Favorite animal? Merlin, my cat
·         Biggest pet peeve? That Gore Vidal is dead. He really disappointed his fans by doing that.
·         Dream car? George Jetson’s
property of Hanna Barbera

Author Bio:

Robert L. Arend (known by his many (12 or fewer) Facebook friends as “The Robert” is the editor and one of a number (8 or less)of contributing short story writers for the Circle 8 Writers Group short story/flash fiction/poetry anthologies. Born before fan fiction (bff), Robert grew up in a household where his needs were meant far more so than his wants, causing him to suspect he’d been kidnapped when an infant from parents who would have given him everything he asked for. He never was reunited with those parents, but he wants them to know (if they are still alive) that he loves them and to get in touch via Facebook so he can let them know what he wants for Christmas, and all those other Christmases and birthdays they missed because he was kidnapped.

Where to find The Robert:


  1. Writers aren't liars. We actually have to be the best at telling the truth--the truths most people don't consider or look at. If we lie in our stories, our readers will know, and we won't have readers for long.

    We create. We breathe life into the beings we create. We let them live and we tell their real, true, honest stories.

    Just because no one ever sees these people except inside our heads and on the pages of a book doesn't mean we 'made them up'. We simply created them that way.

  2. I respectfully disagree. It is called "fiction" instead of "non-fiction" for a reason. Sorry you didn't see the humor in my statement. And thanks for raining down on my parade. You really do know how to take someone's good thing and turn it into manure....

  3. Nah, I totally see the humor in it. I laughed through most of the interview. I apologize for not making it more clear I wasn't being ugly. You choose to take it that way, but I sure didn't mean it that way, and I could have made that clearer, so that is my fault. For that, I am sorry.

    I was simply addressing that part of it, because I've actually heard this from others before too--and we even talked about it on the board before, where we've discussed about how this isn't really 'making stuff up' versus more letting the creations come to life and writing their truths. It wasn't that long ago--I can see if I can find the thread for you, if you'd like to see it.

    I was just in a hurry this morning, because I was behind on some stuff, so I was trying to make all the rounds to everyone's blogs I comment on regularly and leave a thoughtful comment. I hit this blog and that's what stood out to me.

    Robert, it's not my fault you choose to take it negatively, but I am going to apologize if it came across that way at all, because I really didn't mean to be negative. And I did see the humor in the entire piece and smiled and chuckled through it. But I absolutely did not rain on your or anyone's parade and it's not fair to accuse me of that when that is not who I am or what I meant to do at all.

    YOUR comment left me in tears, but I don't expect an apology from you for that, because *I* chose to take it that way. Please try not to take my words in ways I didn't mean them.

    Again, my apologies to you and Ms. Snark for any part I played in bringing any negative to this. Those who actually know me know I would not intentionally do that, ESPECIALLY on someone else's blog!

    Love and peaceful stuff,

  4. I'm good. I do hope you both reach an agreeable understanding, but everyone is entitled to their opinions.