Hi, Robert Stanek, please tell me a bit about yourself.
I’ve been writing stories for nearly 30 years. Though I’ve always been a writer at heart, I never set out to be a writer. What I wanted to be, I didn’t know when I said goodbye to high school. What I wanted to do though, I knew that: I wanted to see the world—and so I did while serving my country in distant lands.
I wrote novels for more than ten years before I ever tried to get published. My big break came with a book about publishing—only a different sort of publishing than you may be thinking. The book was about web publishing and so my career in writing began. While I wrote those other books, I write many, many stories and books for my kids, and I collected them for a few decades, until at my children’s urging I set out to get them published for others to enjoy.
And how about your latest books? What projects are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about my new picture books. I have four new picture books for December/January:
+ Pirates Stole My Booty (A Silly Pirates Picture Book)
+ Mamma Sea Turtle Lost Her Babies (A Silly Colors and Shapes Picture Book)
+ Twelve Dresses, One Star (A Silly Picture Book About Being Who You Are)
+ How Many Fish? (A Silly Counting Picture Book) (Silly Picture Books)
The books are available at Amazon and have been well received. I’m already hearing from happy readers and some are already asking for me to do more along the same themes. That’s really a great change from the past where I didn’t hear from readers so often.
How do you like being an indie author now that you’ve published so many books?
For me, being an indie author has been a long hard road. My first indie-published book came out in 2001 in ebook and 2002 in print. Over those many years, the indie income hasn’t been steady enough for me to be able to write indie books full time. That’s the dream though, true independence from the machine.
I like being an indie more now than in the past. The past wasn’t so good for me. It’s not easy breaking new ground. Now that the greater indie movement has taken flight, things are getting better and I’m liking being an indie more.
Who are your favorite characters from your books?
Recently, the critters are my favorites. Buster, Lass, Cat, Barry, Dag and the other critters have always been my kids favorites. My son dressed up as Buster Bee for Halloween many times and would wear the costume to school for character day too. Fun for me, as the critters and their stories developed from my exeperiences with my kids and the world around them as they grew up. Parents and kids seem to really connect with the the stories and their lessons because of the characters too.
What are your favorite authors or books of all time?
The library was a refuge for me as a child and it’s there I developed a love for the classics—classics like Treasure Island, The Swiss Family Robinson, Kidnapped, Robinson Crusoe, and The Three Musketeers. I spent so many hours reading Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ray Bradbury, Herman Melville, Jack London, and Charles Dickens. I also love the works of W. B. Yeats, J. R. R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, Poe, H. G. Wells, L. M. Montgomery, and Frank Herbert.
Any advice for new writers?
Since I’ve been a writer so long, many would-be writers have asked me for advice about breaking in, and I've helped more than a few people get their first works published (Amy, Butch, Charlie, Dan, Mike, Tim, Paul, Lisa, ...) Recently, more and more people have asked me about self-publishing and indie. As my experiences with being indie haven’t been all roses, my frank reply and advice wasn’t always well received, but it was well meant. Being an indie can be a tough road. It can be a lonely road. It can make you feel like the proverbial falling tree in the forest or the cat in Schrödinger's box.
It is a changing truth, but a truth none-the-less, that few people support indies the way they would support a commercially published author of equivalent status, and even fewer organizations. Indie writers need to support each other, because many others won’t. And increasingly, indie writers are supporting each other—and that’s good news for everyone.
What’s next for you?
Success I hope ;-) It’s the dream, right?