Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.
Robert E Waters is a technical writer by trade but has been a science fiction/fantasy fan all his life. He’s worked in the gaming industry since 1994 as a designer, producer, and writer. In the late 90’s, he tried his hand as writing fiction and since 2003, has sold over 50 stories to various on-line and print magazines and anthologies, including the Grantville Gazette, Eric Flint’s online magazine dedicated to publishing stories set in the 1632/Ring of Fire series.
He has also written in several tabletop gaming universes, including Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy series and in the Wild West Exodus weird tech/steampunk universe. He has also dabbled a bit in Warlord Games’ Beyond the Gates of Antares milieu, writing about assassins and rescue missions.
Robert currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Beth, their son Jason, and their precocious little cat Buzz.
Wolf: If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?
Robert: I’ve actually given this some thought, believe it or not. There are many animals that I’m quite fond of, but the one I’d like to be the most is a jaguar. Pound for pound, the jaguar has the strongest bite of any wild cat in the world. The jaguar was also one of the most important animal symbols in Mesoamerican and South American culture. In Mayan mythology, the jaguar was seen as the ruler of the Underworld. I have no interest in ruling the Underworld, you understand, but the jaguar symbolized power, ferocity, and valor. That sounds pretty good to me.
Wolf: No kidding. I wrote a short story with a jaguar called Mark of the Goddess. It’s in an anthology called In a Cat’s Eye. You should check it out. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
Robert: Probably alligator. When I worked for AutoZone at their corporate office in Memphis, Tennessee, we would do these so-called “travel weekends,” where diverse groups from the corporate office would go out into the field and visit stores (the purpose of which was to give us pencil-pushers a better understanding of how the stores were functioning in the real world). One such weekend was conducted in the New Orleans area. I ate a lot of “first time” foods that weekend, including sucking cayenne pepper juice from crawfish. But alligator takes the cake. A very greasy, rubbery meat. Not bad, but very different from your typical hamburger at McDonalds.
Wolf: I’ve had alligator before. Tastes like chicken. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Robert: Probably every author would say that the nicest thing that they have ever done for their characters is to allow them to achieve their goals. I’m no different. Whether those goals be marriage, or gold, or sheer survival, allowing your characters to overcome adversity is the nicest thing you can do. Because if you can imagine that your characters are real people, would they not feel the same satisfaction and joy in beating the odds that we do?
Wolf: Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?
Robert: Both, actually. I grew up with dogs. My family had a dog (or dogs) from the time I was born to the time I graduated high school. Since then, however, I’ve gravitated toward cats. Someday, however, I may go back to owning a dog.
Wolf: I’m definitely a dog person. Do you have a favorite character?
Robert: Sonata Diamante. She is the protagonist in my upcoming fantasy novel, THE MASKS OF MIRADA (slated for publication a little later this year from Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire Press). Sonata works for her nefarious wizard uncle, Borshen Galo, as a thief and swordsmaster. She’s the toughest character I’ve ever created, and perhaps the crudest too in many ways. She’s willing to kill when necessary, but she can be funny, vulnerable, and compassionate when required. I’m excited about introducing her to the world.
Wolf: She sounds interesting. What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)
Robert: Well, if I can pick a non-earthen body of water, I’d pick the vast ocean beneath the ice of Europa. There are depths within our own oceans that we have yet to explore, but for me, the idea of drilling down into that water, and then discovering life there, excites me. One of these days, perhaps we will, and I hope I’m alive to see it.
Wolf: I never thought about water on other worlds. Love it. What story are you working on now?
Robert: I have a number of projects in the works right now. Most of them are novels, which is rare for me. Usually, the bulk of my projects is short stories, but I’m reaching a point in my writing career where novels are beginning to take up most of my time. A good problem to have, so no complaints. I’m working on three novels right now.
The first is a sequel to my recent publication, The Cross of Saint Boniface, called THE SWORDS OF EL CID. It should be released in 2019.
The second is a media tie-in novel in Mantic Games’ Warpath SF universe, and its working title is THE LAST HURRAH. The novel is based on their game Dreadball, and it too should be out late 2019.
And third, I’m collaborating on a novel with Charles E Gannon which is set in Eric Flint’s 1632/Ring of Fire universe. The title of the book will be 1636: CALABAR’S WAR, and it’s set in the New World (Brazil and the Caribbean). It will probably be published late 2019 or 2020.
Wolf: That’s a lot to keep track of. I look forward to reading them. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Robert: I’m a gamer, miniatures, board, card, video, you name it. I like to play games, so when I’m not writing, I’m playing games. Or reading. I’m an avid reader.
Wolf: I’m a gamer as well, but not the video kind. Connect with Robert on his website: www.roberternestwaters.com
Don’t forget to pick up your copy of STAR TOUCHED
Can you be who you are meant to be?
Eighteen-year-old Tatiana is running from her past and her star-touched powers.