Saturday, July 23, 2011
The Fantastic Robert Craven!
I am priviledged to have a guest on my blog today. His name is Robert Craven, and he's the author of the conspiracy-driven Get Lenin, an amazing book set in WWII.
J: Rob, so nice of you to be here! So, what inspired you to write your book?
R: Two things really, the first one was my 40th birthday; one of those landmarks and I really wanted to get a novel published - an item I suppose was on my bucket list. I had written one a few years earlier about my years as a gigging musician in Ireland and on tour, but felt it was limited in its narrow appeal. I pitched it for about a year, then gave up - but didn’t forget the lesson when pitching Get Lenin which is NEVER EVER GIVE UP.
The second thing was living in Ireland I felt there was an endless production line of chick lit being pumped out and thought of an angle- less Mills & Boon, more Mills & BOOM! I had a very rough draft of an young editor who in the process of preparing a dying man’s memoirs uncovers a secret from WW2 and the conspiracy leads her to discover this once bastion of society had been a Nazi on the run. By uncovering this, she puts herself in peril. I then decided to set the story during the period itself rather than back-tracking through the plot - the conspiracy being Lenin’s tomb lay in a wreck of a submarine 100 miles off the East Coast of Ireland.
J: how long did it take you to write it?
R: It took three years to write the first draft; then I was lucky to be introduced to an editor and expert on WW2, Mr Hugh McCracken, to remove any historical innaccuracies. That took about a year and then I posted it up on Authonomy and found some really good comments & suggestions. Then I found Marta Przybysz, who gave me some great information on Poland to help build Eva’s back story - so from first draft to publication, about 5 years.
J: what message are you trying to convey?
R: The message is simple - propaganda is still an effective tool and the story of snatching Lenin’s tomb and using it as a piece of propaganda is as relevant today as it was then: Information can easily be twisted to suit a wider personal or political agenda; just look at how Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has been exposed and what it was involved in. I suppose the other message is that in war, there’s no good or bad guys only that in a conflict as big and as brutal as WW2 - especially The Eastern Front in 1941, all the lines get blurred.
J: what is your intended audience?
R: I’m hoping for was wide an audience as possible. I think everyone loves a good conspiracy and wants a bit of escapism though the premise and the genre of Get Lenin might certainly point towards a ‘cult’ following. The Second World War is a period of time that still has a morbid hold on the imagination even though it had been over for about 21 years before I was born; and I felt when writing it that there was another way to approach the action-adventure book; drawn from films of that period like ‘Casablanca”. I loved Elsa’s charcter and Victor Lazlo, but wanted a female MC with a bit more ‘bite’- from there my MC Eva evolved. I hope she’s a sympathetic enough character for everyone to root for, I love her.
J: So, tell us more about yourself.
R: I’m married & we have a son and I work for a packaging company in Dublin. I live in a lovely little seaside town called Rush. I had a fairly peripathetic childhood; born in England, emigrated when I was 10 to Sydney Australia, that didn’t work out after 2 years and the family moved here to Ireland where I’ve lived ever since.
J: Any projects forthcoming?
R: I’m in the process of completeing the sequel; working title “Zinnman”. It picks up 6 months after Get Lenin and America has just entered the war against Germany, Italy and Japan and the lines blur even further as the global conflict progresses.
I’ve also pitched the musician novel to Tim Roux at Night Publishing, but this would be a labour of love as looking back it’s a bit meandering and woefully out-of-date in some respects.
J: Where can we get your book?
R: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=get+lenin&x=16&y=18 (paperback & kindle)
and on smashwords:
Get Lenin is also on facebook here:
J: Fantastic! Thank you so much for appearing on my blog today. It was wonderful to find out a little more about you and hear about your exciting book! Hopefully everyone checks it out!
R: Thank you for the interview, Jess.