Wednesday, June 10, 2015

An interview with the writing duo, Rob and Joan Carter!

It's a pleasure to welcome the writing duo, Rob and Joan Carter as my guests!

It’s exciting to have you here,for several reasons – you write a different genre than I do, the titles of your books draw attention right off the bat, your stories sound amazing, I’ve never had co-authors on my blog, you live in the sunshine state and the graphics you use on Twitter are absolutely amazing. I thought it would be great to find out more about the Carter novelists! So welcome, Rob and Joan.

Let’s get to the Q & A right away:

Q:  I’ll start with an easy question. How long have you been writing?

Rob: I started writing in Junior High School while under the influence of JRR Tolkien. Unfortunately my first venture was rather similar to his amazing work and, well that didn’t go anywhere. At the same time I experimented in the poetry realm. With the advent of raising a large family, my writing endeavors took a back seat but Joan and I continued to write scripts for plays and other articles for our church. Finally after everyone left the nest, we were able to bring our first novel to completion in 2013.

Joan: I began writing at the age of 6. I wrote, directed and starred in an Easter play when I was in the first grade. I lived in a small town and the whole town came to see our performance at the local school. There was even a article written about it in the local newspaper which my mother kept until the day she died. I continued to write short stories, plays and skits through all my school years. As Rob said above, writing took a back seat until we had finished raising our family. Rob and I did write skits, plays, articles, etc. while our children were growing up. I also wrote women’s Bible studies and Sunday school lessons.

Q:  Writing isn’t easy. Do you find it easier or harder to write as a couple? Have you been doing this so long that you know where each other is going with a thought without needing clarification?

Rob: It’s definitely easier to do as a couple. With the  the O’Rourke series, I take the lead on the story line and Joan follows closely with her ideas and where the story line should go. Then when we are finished with the first draft we do two more rewrites and edits together and sometimes a third. Joan definitely has the eye for editing and keeping our perspective in line.

Joan: I really enjoy writing as a couple. We don’t always know where each other is going with a thought but we play off each other’s ideas very well. Rob would have the characters eating hamburgers, French fries, steak and baked potatoes all the time. He’s never met a salad or a vegetable (except a potato) that he liked. So when Siobhan complains to Ryan that he needs to eat more vegetables and fruit – that’s all me. When Ryan orders Martinis and pitchers of Margaritas – that’s all Rob. If you are wondering if that happens in our real life, well yes it does. Also Siobhan constantly punching Ryan on the shoulder may or may not happen in our real life. Rob thinks of things that I would never think of and vice versa.

Q: You write crime novels, more specifically the O’Rourke series. Have you always loved thrillers and investigative stories? Can you tell us a little about the research that goes into writing these type of stories?

Rob: I have always liked detective stories and especially the old fashioned type from the 1940’s and 1950’s. My favorite author in that style is Max Collins. His Nate Heller series is historical fiction. I don’t have the patience to research to that degree so you won’t see that in the O’Rourke series. I do however research all the hi-tech aspects of our books. Bioprinting was and still is an eye opener. Human body parts are being reproduced by 3D printers and they are close to replicating human tissue and arteries (Yikes!). I also draw upon my own experience in air traffic to help in the aviation portions of the books.

Joan: I love to read. I have always been a fan of mysteries. I love historical fiction and especially historical mysteries. I also enjoy science fiction, dystopian novels and cozy mysteries. Did I just say mysteries a few times? I have always loved them so that was definitely why I chose the mystery genre. As far as the research goes - I love it! I am always researching what a C.I.F.I. would or wouldn't be able to do (Certified Insurance Fraud Investigator). I have also researched the hierarchy in the FBI, the type of mobile crime units they use and which agent would be called in for which crime. Just about everything our characters do I research to see if it is a feasible action. Actually I have looked up so many criminal acts and what the punishments would be, I sometimes worry I might be on a watch list somewhere. For example, I looked up what countries didn't have extradition treaties with the U.S. (now that doesn't look suspicious does it?) 

Q: You’re both very involved in the promo part of being an author. Who comes up with the wonderful meme’s or graphic art you use on Twitter and Facebook? Can you show a few so my readers know what I’m talking about?

A: We both work on the publicity part. A friend has helped with some of the graphic art we use. Most of our graphics we have put together ourselves. We use readily available apps and our own or royalty free pictures. 

Q: You currently have Bioprints, Flash Zombies and Clone Drones in the O’Rourke series. Will there be a book #4?

A: We are currently working on a complete overhaul of our first novel Bioprints. When we complete that project we’ll start book 4. We have ideas brewing in our heads already and even some notes jotted down. 

Q: Could you share some excerpts or favorite passages from your books?

A: Excerpt from the Bioprints rewrite:

Malibu, California……..three weeks earlier…..

A black sedan waited silently in the darkness just off the beach access road. The partial moon cast a glow on the relentless surf on the beach down below. The driver waited patiently for the call that would set things in motion that couldn’t be stopped. Shortly after midnight, the silence was broken by his buzzing cell phone. Slightly startled by the call that he expected, he answered the call.


“Delete the target,” a deep voice instructed and the line went dead.

Excerpt from Flash Zombies:

Oakbrook Mall, Oakbrook, Illinois…

It was a bright spring afternoon in northern Illinois. A tall, handsome, dark haired man with a pencil thin moustache strolled into the high end Mason’s Jewelry store. The store had several locations in the Chicagoland area and was perhaps one of the oldest and most respected jewelers in America. Dressed in a jet black Hugo Boss suit with a light blue shirt and thin red tie he was not at all out of place. He asked to see the Harry Winston collection in order to select a bracelet for his wife. The sales clerk was delighted to show this obviously qualified gentleman the most exclusive and expensive display in the store.

The brightly lit case was located in the back center part of the store. It was surrounded by six evenly placed security cameras. As he looked over the selection of sparkling bracelets, he asked to see the two on the rotating stand. The seven inch platinum and diamond bracelets were each close to thirty carats. Taking out a pair of reading glasses he examined them very closely, admiring them as he set them down side by side on the blue velvet cloth.

The sound of a buzzing cell phone broke the pensive silence. The man reached in his pocket and took out his phone. Typing in a response to the text, he also selected an app. Two keystrokes later, he glanced up at the security cameras and watched as they all winked off. No one else seemed to notice.

Excerpt from Clone Drones:

Chicago, Illinois suburb...

A full August moon bathed the northern Illinois landscape in a soft ghostly light. The security guard, at the entrance to the exclusive collection of imposing homes, yawned as he monitored the video feed from numerous cameras. Tirelessly keeping watch on the sleeping residents, the electronic eyes maintained their vigilant task. The walled and gated community was surrounded by a county forest preserve and was designed to offer the utmost in privacy and security.

A Senator resided in one of the stately homes. On this evening the Senator's wife had already fallen asleep as he finished the last chapter of his crime novel. He put his book on the shelf and poured himself a nightcap before making his way upstairs for the night. Glancing at the security panel he made sure everything was secure.

His normal routine, when he wasn't in Washington, was to sit out on the massive balcony and enjoy a cigar with his Scotch before retiring for the night. This evening was no exception. He made his way out to his evening retreat to relax and clear his mind. Pleased with the way his novel had ended, he exhaled a large cloud of smoke that drifted slowly out over the railing and hung in the still night air. A few minutes later, as he thought about tomorrow's busy schedule, he noticed the smoke begin to ripple from below the balcony rail. 

Soon the smoke cleared away with a whisper of sound as a small black box with rotors on top appeared hovering in front of him. The Senator stood rubbing his eyes in disbelief. Suddenly a small panel retracted on the front of the box and two muffled shots hit him in the chest. He looked down as blood began pouring out and soaking his shirt. Grabbing his chest he turned and stumbled toward the bedroom door. Another muffled shot from behind dropped him in his tracks.

On the other side of the balcony railing the flying black box retreated silently into the darkness. 

Q: When you’re not writing, what do you like to do for fun or to unwind?

A: We both love our children and grandchildren and spend most of our free time with them. Last year we took a family vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We rented a huge cabin high in the mountains. There were beautiful views from every room, a hot tub, a pool table, four indoor fireplaces, four decks and one outdoor fireplace. We went hiking, took a scenic train trip and visited an orchard. Every night Joan did Bigfoot whoops off the deck to the delight of our grandchildren. This year we are renting a beach house on the Atlantic coast for all of us. We also like to do paranormal investigating, traveling, cruising and camping. 

A word from Jan:

Rob and Joan are incredible authors who are incredibly helpful to other authors. Their generosity comes in many ways. One of the big ways is by BROWSE for BOOKS (Formerly AHA – Authors Helping Authors). It’s a cool site. Check out the carousel.

It’s been a pleasure having Rob and Joan as my guests. If you’d like to learn more about them and their books, you can follow them here:

Twitter for Rob:


Twitter for Joan:

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