Writer Wednesday – Robert Sells

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
Who am I? Well, first, I’ m a teacher: forty-five years teaching physics in college and then in high school. I have been writing for the past five years. But, I have been telling stories to my kids, my students, and now my grandchildren for fifty years.

Tell us (briefly) about you…
…and a bit about what you’ve written…
… and what you’re working on right now.

I started writing about five years ago. My wife insisted that her Christmas present that year be a written story from me. Of course, she got other presents from me, but I obliged with three furious years of writing. The end result my first novel, a coming-of-age story about a farm boy becoming king. This book was called return of the white deer. My second novel has been with me even longer in story format. I would have my students discuss what would happen if an intelligent computer got control of the internet. How would the computer behave? Then I would tell them, straight-faced, that it already has happened and it was targeting me. As soon as I finished my first book, I started reap the whirlwind. Before finishing my second novel, another idea tickled my brain. What would happen if someone buried a treasure and then contracted Alzheimer’s? Suppose he was hiding the money for the mob? This line of thought ended as my third book, the runner and the robber. It will be published this spring.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
Brownie the Mouse. At the advanced age of nine, I finally figured out that books actually offered great stories. Up until that point, reading was simply a necessary task done to please my teachers and parents. The story was not that good, but it caught my interest.

What are your three favorite books?

Tale of Two Cities, Footprint of God (By Greg Illes), and Lord of the Rings.

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
I’m always reading one book. Now I read to see how other authors write. Presently I’ m reading Fablehaven.
Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
When I curl up with a book, I go to another world. Then, usually to sleep.
How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Depends on who recommends the book and how many different people recommend it. That was how I was pushed into reading hunger games.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very likely.

What do you look for in a good book?
Interesting mystery and some adventure. Then clear writing and consistent story-line.

Why do you write?
To create a story. Play with characters. Share with others.
If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
A composer, though I don’t know how to read music and shower stops working when start singing.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Just thoughts and ‘what ifs’ in my head. For example, suppose God made a broadcast to the world and said he was going to retire (after 14 billion years). Then he says he is going to leave Satan in charge. Where could I go with that idea?

What has writing taught you about yourself?
Not much. It’s not that I am so perfect that I can no longer learn. Rather, it’s that I pretty much knew my shortcomings before I started writing. I have so many, it’s difficult to come up with new ones.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
They assume that I am smart. But, after we chat awhile, that notion is quickly dispelled.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
Maybe some of the masters can write without a hundred edits and hours just thinking about a scene, but most of the authors I have met work at getting the words just right.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Starting and finishing. Most are afraid to start, fearing they might not finish. Others start, but don’t finish.
Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Yes, oh yes, and yes again.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
I would like to write science articles for western New York. But who would take them? Newspapers are tangled with politics and misery. Maybe blogging?

How do you deal with your fan base?
Respectfully. They are why I write.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
How difficult it is for me to write. My training was not in writing or literature; it was in physics and math. Tad different.

Anything else we should know?
Hmm… I play poker and blackjack (I’m a card counter) and always cash out each year with more money than I put in.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sylvia
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 19:10:44

    Thanks for hosting Robert today 🙂


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