Interview: Robb Neumann

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* Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hello! My name is Robb Neumann and I live in Denver, Colorado in the United States. I just self-published the novel “Leech” on Amazon. “Leech” is a literary horror novel exploring what it might be like to be in a relationship with something that isn’t quite human and what it might mean for your own humanity when you get caught up in their long, endless life.

* Which writers inspire you?

That’s such a difficult question to answer, because there are so many writers that I’ve read and enjoyed. I’ve really admired the writing done by 50’s expatriates like Ernest Hemingway and James Baldwin. I think I’ve also been really inspired by more contemporary writers like Haruki Murakami, Jeanette Winterson, and William Gibson. I think I learned how to write from hundreds of different writers over the yeras. I’m not sure if I could list them all here, but those are a few of my favorites.

* Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

I’m in the process of finishing up a Young Adult novel with my friend, Terry Taylor Hobbs, who wrote the extremely entertaining and smart book “Zombie Tetherball.” She helped to push me to write “Leech” and has really been a good sounding board for me as I’ve gotten back to writing, so it’s been interesting to work with her on a project. We’re hoping to be able to release it soon, but there’s a lot of editing that needs to be finished first!

Amazon Link for “Zombie Tetherball:”
http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Tetherball-Terry-Taylor-Hobbs/dp/1515241335/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443451936&sr=8-1&keywords=zombie+tetherball

* When did you decide to become a writer?

That’s a really tough question. I’ve been writing, on and off for a really long time. I remember entering writing contests in elementary school, but it wasn’t until this year that I had something that I felt like I wanted to share openly. It’s been really strange to start moving forward with something that I’ve felt like I’ve always wanted, but it’s also been a lot of fun.

* Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time. The rest of my time is filled up with work and parenting and the occasional board game.

* Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

With “Leech” I started with what I thought was a pretty simple idea for the first scene. I was intrigued by what might be going through someone’s mind while they were waiting for a vampire to come to feed on them. Usually that kind of relationship is fraught with various power issues and dynamics, most often a man seducing and overpowering a woman. I thought it might be interesting to flip that around and work out how a female “vampire” might seduce and charm a male victim. The rest of the book flowed from there and focused on those reversed power dynamics and whether it was possible to have a lasting relationship with a monster.

* Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?

I like to read, so I enjoy reading reviews to try to discover new books and authors. My only strategy in looking for reviews for “Leech” has been approaching reviewers I’ve enjoyed or who have a distinctive take on the review process. It’s been kind of fun reaching out to reviewers that I’ve read for a while and I’ve really been surprised by how warm and open the reviewers I’ve “spoken” with have been. It’s been a fun process!

* What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Honestly, I’m just excited when someone wants to read something I’ve written. It seems like free time is at a premium for everyone, so to have someone take the time to read my book is a honor. It’s kind of like a slow conversation, so if someone has taken that time to listen to what I’ve said through reading my book, the least I can do is listen to what they have to say about what they found or how they felt while reading it.

A good review is terrific for boosting your confidence and a bad one can really shred that same confidence, but I think as long as the reviewer is providing good, thoughtful reasons for why they do or don’t like something, it can be useful. It’s a continuation of that conversation, so I’m interested in hearing what people have to say, good or bad, because it helps me understand where I did a good or poor job communicating my ideas. In that regard, I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “bad” review, unless there is a lack of those ideas, so I welcome any feedback I receive.

* How can readers discover more about you and you work?

My online presence, especially as a writer, is pretty unorganized at the moment.
The best way to find me and learn more about other books I’m working on is my page on Goodreads which can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14239646.Robb_Neumann 
You can also follow me on Twitter: @robbneu.

* Any Comments for the Blog readers?

Thank you for reading this interview and for your interest in learning more about me and my book! “Leech” doesn’t feel like a mass-market book, so if you’re found it and enjoyed it, I’m very excited to have found you in return. I hope you’ll continue our conversation with a review or comment, good or bad, and let me know what you think.

* Any feedback for me or the blog?

Please keep it up! Not many blogs take the time to review books while also speaking to the authors to learn more about them and their process. I’ve really enjoyed reading the reviews and interviews you’ve posted and look forward to reading more of them in the future!

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