Today I will be interviewing William P. Robertson! Enjoy, and remember if you ever want to be interviewed Contact Me!
First of all, tell us a little about yourself!
I was an English major at Mansfield University located in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. After graduating from college in 1972, I taught high school English before starting my own house painting business. I’ve also pursued a second career as a freelance writer. My stories, articles, and poems have now been published in over 500 magazines worldwide.
What inspired you to become an author?
My ninth grade English teacher, Mrs. Mary Ann Johnston, recognized that I had writing talent and encouraged me to compose poetry. When I heard the lyrics of Jim Morrison and the Doors in senior high, I was totally blown away! From that time on, I wanted to be able to express myself like that! I then became a serious student of literature.
What was the main inspiration for your most recent book?
I wrote STORIES FROM THE OLDEN DAYS after losing both my parents and my only sister in a very short time. I didn’t want to remember the sadness of their passing, so I wrote about the good times we shared instead. The result was this humorous look at growing up in the 1950’s and ’60’s. As the old adage goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.”
Who influenced you the most in life?
My dad! He gave me my love of the outdoors and taught me so much about history. He also encouraged me to read such classic authors as Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Roberts, and C.S. Forester.
What is the kindest thing someone has ever said and or done for you
My creative writing professor, Joe David Bellamy, contacted me on Facebook and asked me to be friends. After I accepted, he told me he always thought I would become a professional writer and he was proud of me for following that path. That was 40 years after I had him in class at Mansfield! I couldn’t believe he remembered me after all that time. He was very famous in literary circles, after all!
Do you have a favorite author?
I always enjoyed reading and teaching the books of Ernest Hemingway. His work is autobiographical and written in language anyone can understand. His adventures are spellbinding.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
One of my professors told me that writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. When all is said and done, it’s the editing that makes a story great. One of my novels, AMBUSH IN THE ALLEGHENIES, was edited 32 times before I got it right. It became my second biggest seller.
Did you always want to be a writer, and if not, what was the first thing you wanted to be or do?
I always had a gift with words, so I followed my main strength and became a writer. I think my mother had a lot to do with my love of language because she read to me every night at bedtime when I was just a little boy.
Do you like to listen to music while you write?
No, I like to have complete silence. That’s why I get up at four a.m. every morning and am on the computer by five. It peaceful that time of day, so I can fully concentrate.
What helps you write when you’re stuck or have writer’s block?
The worst thing to do is keep hammering away on something if you’re stuck. It’s like spinning your tires on an icy road. I usually head off for work early or take a walk in the woods. For some reason, doing something physical unfreezes my mind. Sometimes reading a book helps, too, because it gets words flowing again.
After a long day of writing, do you have a favorite TV show you like to watch?
I really enjoy CASTLE. The plots are interesting as is the interplay between Castle and Beckett.
What are you working on currently?
I’m writing a collection of action stories for men titled MISDEEDS AND MISADVENTURES. The heroes are gangsters, soldiers, and spunky boys. Ernest Hemingway’s IN OUR TIME serves somewhat as a model.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I love to go trout fishing in the wild, beautiful streams of McKean County, Pennsylvania. I also enjoy taking nature photos of my area and watching Pittsburgh Pirates baseball.
What are some of your favorite books of all time?
I loved reading Ernest Hemingway’s IN OUR TIME, John Steinbeck’s THE PEARL, and MAGGIE: A GIRL OF THE STREETS by Stephen Crane. The poets I enjoy are e. e. cummings and Edgar Allan Poe.
Which of your characters do you love and why?
David Rimer and I wrote an eight-novel historical fiction series about the Pennsylvania Bucktails of Civil War fame. One of our main characters, Bucky Culp, is my favorite because of all the adversity he has to overcome. Bucky’s mother dies when he is very young, and his father is killed by wolves, making him an orphan. Being half Indian, he is also the target of much prejudice. To top it off, Bucky must survive the rigors of army life and the horrible battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness.
Which of your books are you most proud of?
I’d have to say HAYFOOT, STRAWFOOT: THE BUCKTAIL RECRUITS. This is the first novel in the Bucktail series. The book required a ton of research and countless edits to ready it for market. After all that work, it was accepted by a royalty publisher and went on to be my best-selling book.
What is the title of the last book you read? Was it good or bad?
BOOTLEGGERS, BULLETS AND BLOOD by Sally Ryan Costik was well-researched and very interesting. It tells the story of Bradford, Pennsylvania gangsters in the Roaring Twenties. I used some of the information in a short story I wrote for MISDEEDS AND MISADVENTURES.
Is there anything specific you’d like to try writing about in the future?
David Rimer and I wrote a two-novel French and Indian War series. The books, AMBUSH IN THE ALLEGHENIES and ATTACK IN THE ALLEGHENIES, have been very popular. Next, I need to finish the series. I’ve been putting it off because I’ll have to go it alone since David retired.
What is an interesting or hidden talent you have?
I enjoy casting and painting lead soldiers. When I was a boy, my dad and I would make a different army every fall. We did the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, and the Spanish American War in successive years. It’d take months to cast and paint our soldiers in historically accurate uniforms. Then, we’d have a grand review to admire our handiwork. After that, we played war games with our armies. It was great fun, and I learned much history along the way. A chapter in STORIES FROM THE OLDEN DAYS deals with this topic.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why would you choose it?
I’d like to be able to go back in time. Just think of all the accurate details I could add to my historical fiction books, then!
Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?
More information about my writing can be found on my two websites. I created http://www.thehorrorhaven.com for my horror story collections. My Bucktail and Alleghenies novels are covered on http://www.bucktailsandbroomsticks.com. This site has received well over a million hits!
Where can we find you on social media?
I’m pretty much a Facebook guy. I’m located at https://www.facebook.com/william.p.robertson. I also can be found on Goodreads and LibraryThing.com. I’ve appeared on YouTube numerous times, as well. Search William P. Robertson there. You’ll be surprised at what comes up! Thanks for the interview, Sophia!
Make sure you check back later this year as I will be reviewing William's book Stories From the Olden Days!
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