Thursday, June 1, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: DR. BOB RICH




ABOUT THE BOOK

1850, a small town in Australia: Glindi, an Aboriginal woman, gives birth to a daughter, the result of a rape by a white man. She names her Maraglindi, meaning "Glindi's sorrow," but the girl is a joy to all those around her. She has the gift of love.

During her short life, she encounters everything intolerant, cruel Victorian society can throw at people it considers to be animals. She surmounts the savagery of the white invader by conquering hate with love. Even beyond death, she spreads compassion, then she returns a second time, with an ending that will touch your heart.

Maraglindi: child of the land, fruit of an evil deed, and instrument of love.

This meticulously researched book of historical fiction is very relevant to our modern times, when hate and discrimination are becoming the norm once again.


WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:

“I loved the story, didn’t want to stop reading it.” -Writer of Australian historical fiction Margaret Tanner

“Dr. Bob Rich’s powerful work, while set in the past, is deeply relevant today, as we witness hatred and prejudice spread by persons in powerful places, through the power of modern media. We need you, Maraglindi! Come, Guardian Angel!” -Florence Weinberg, author of exciting, true-to period historical crime mysteries

Guardian Angel is a book I would not hesitate to recommend, not just as a story that describes the racial discord of earlier times, but also as one that holds out a hope that things can be different. We live in times where hate is rearing its ugly head once more, so we need stories like this to remind us that hate can be overcome, not by violence and more hatred, but by love and acceptance.” -Max Overton, award-winning writer in multiple genres including historical fiction


LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH BOB RICH


A few of your favorite things:
 
Grandchildren. I have a few in my family, and great-grandchildren too, but I also have hundreds of grandchildren I’ll never meet. This is because they send to me, or publicly post, cries for help like “I want to kill everyone in my school except for 2 people,” or “Why does everyone hate me?” or “Give me one reason I shouldn’t kill myself!” I get adult cries for help, too, but sadly, so many are from youngsters. I reply, and often my words make a difference, and we become email friends. You can see many q&a examples in my monthly newsletter Bobbing Around.
Things you need to throw out: 
Greed that’s wrecking our world; hate, discrimination, fear of the Other; all the cruelties and idiocies of our global culture. I want to replace this with a global culture that brings the best out in human nature: compassion, empathy, cooperation, decency.


Things you need in order to write:
 
1. My laptop computer, which seems to be grown to me. You see, I can’t read my own handwriting, and can type about as fast as I can speak, and nearly as fast as I can listen.
2. I also need being busy at many other things to give my inner creativity time to do my writing for me. You can read about how I cheat on being a writer here. Instead of doing it myself, I subcontract the job to Little Bob, who lives inside my head.
Things that hamper your writing: 
1. Being busy at many other things. They say you get busier when you retire. Well, I’ve retired 5 times from 5 different occupations, and the busyness multiplies rather than adds. 
2. Marketing. I actually know how to do it, but . . . as a teenager, I tried out being a salesman. I lasted one day, with no sales made. At the moment, more of my time than I like is consumed by telling the world about my just-published book, Guardian Angel because so far everyone who reviewed it has loved the story.
I have entered Guardian Angel in Amazon UK’s Storytelling contest. The first round is judged on sales, ratings, and reviews, so I’ve priced it at the minimum Amazon allows: 75 cents . . .  for now. So, I’d really appreciate a purchase, a quick read, and a review, especially at Amazon UK.

Things you love about writing:
1. This is like asking “things I love about breathing.” It keeps me alive. When I get stuck in my writing, or when the sticks and stones of the world get in the way so I don’t have the opportunity to write, I get grumpy and impossible to live with. Of course, when I am caught in a creative frenzy, I get grumpy and impossible to live with.
2. My characters. I invent them in the first place, but then they take charge. They come up with things I’d never dream of. For example, one 19-year-old fellow said to the supreme ruler of his people, “Life is too short for the seriousness it deserves.” I would never have thought of that! In my about-to-be-published story “Hit and Run” my 14-year-old multiple murderer is explaining to his little brother about deciding to do things differently: “Our way is, if there’s a wall in the way, we knock it down. But usually there’s a door, and it’s easier to walk through that, like.”
Things you hate about writing:

It means I need to have a computer because I can’t read my own writing. It requires me to be busy at many things to give my creativity a chance, and these get in the way of writing. It means I need to promote my books, and because now 16 are published, I really need to run in 16 different directions at once. I wish I was an artist so I could draw myself running in 16 different directions.

Things you love about where you live:
I share it with my ex-girlfriend. When I was a young fella I was very shy and depressed, a lost puppy looking for a home, and she took me in. We’ve just had our 50th wedding anniversary, and the silly woman still likes me and laughs at least at some of my jokes. For the rest, I do my best to practice Buddhist equanimity, which means that you can be content regardless of what’s around you. Muslims have the same concept with Insha’Allah. Acceptance of God’s will is also central to Christianity. So, I could be happy in a cave in the desert – as long as it had internet connection and room service (and my wife of course). But, in fact, I live in a beautiful part of the world, except that industrial civilization is doing its worst to wreck it with things like clearfell logging, and the cancerous growth of suburbs, and invasion by multinational corporations that starve local small businesses.
Things that make you want to move:
Absolutely nothing. As Pip, the narrator and hero of my novel, Ascending Spiral said, “As long as you take it with you, you can enjoy being miserable anywhere.” It’s the inside that counts, not where you put it.

Words that describe you:
1. People accuse me of being a square peg in a round hole. This is false: I am a fractal-shaped peg that makes its own hole. Sorry if you have to look up “fractal.” I’ve never been able to follow other people’s instructions or directions, but do things my way.
2. I am a citizen of the universe. As far as humans go, there is only one race: the human race. Every living being is precious to me, with the possible exception of mosquitoes.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:
I am a human on planet earth. Next time around, I want to be in a very different kind of body. If you want to understand what I mean by this, you’ll need to read Ascending Spiral but here is a spoiler: there I describe two of my previous lives. In one, I was a space flower: a planet-sized, long-lived being whose pleasure is creating beauty. My most recent previous life has been as a walking, intelligent plant on an entirely different planet. Both of these have hugely superior bodies when compared to humans.

Something you’re really good at:
If someone else can do it, I can learn it. I got this insight at 21 years of age, and it was the start of my healing from severe trauma during infancy and childhood.

Something you’re really bad at:
Doing things right the first time. Part of that trauma was my stepfather’s opinion of me: “If there is a wrong way of doing it, or even if there isn’t, that boy will do it that way.” What made it worse was that he was correct. I still stuff up the first time at anything I try. But by the fifth time, I am good enough to teach other people how to do it. Several of my very successful books are “how to” instructions, including Woodworking for Idiots Like Me. All this is described in my award-winning biography, Anikรณ: The stranger who loved me.

Something you wish you could do:
I’d love to be able to play a musical instrument well, and to draw and paint. I’ve tried all of these, and got so far that I could play a few nice melodies on the piano, but such things are not easy for me. I draw with words.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do:
There ain’t no such animal. All knowledge is useful, even if you never use it. All skills are necessary even if you never practice them. Learning is growing, and inherently valuable. One result of this attitude is that I am good at trivial pursuit.

People you consider as heroes:
I am not a Catholic, or even a Christian, but I love Pope Francis. I am not a Hindu, but I love Gandhi, not an African but I love Mandela and Tutu. I am a different kind of Buddhist from the Dalai Lama, but I love him.
There are lots of others as well, of course. I have a category of “people who inspire” in my monthly newsletter, Bobbing Around.

People with a big L on their foreheads:
Trump, Putin, Assad, Filipino president Duterte, North Korea’s little boy Kim – all the leaders of hate, suppression, destruction are high on my list. I don’t hate them, but surely hate what they are doing.
Same for Muslim terrorists – and all those who discriminate against Muslims because of the actions of a tiny minority.
The self-described “Christians” who go against the words of Jesus and preach hate.
And if this is too political for you, it’s my opinion, not yours.


Things you’d walk a mile for:
I used to run more than a mile for no reason at all, as a form of meditation, and as an antidepressant. For years, I ran 100 miles a week, training 3 hours a day. When you burst through the pain barrier, you reach a space with no time, no thought, a zone of flow. Of course, there is a price to pay. I am now seriously considering a second hip replacement, though I am determined not to have a third one.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room:
Opera. I hate shrieking and bellowing, which spoils the beautiful melodies. If they could only sing without all the artificial put-on vibratos and stuff, at a reasonable volume, something like folk singers or Joan Baez!

Things you always put in your books:
Writing.

Things you never put in your books:
In paper books, I never dogear a corner to mark the space, because my mother was a bookbinder by trade, and she trained me to look after books. But then, I do my best to read everything electronically, because in our crazy world they murder trees to make paper. Why not use annual plants like bamboo or hemp, and agricultural waste like straw?

Favorite books (or genre):
By the time I was 17, I’d read every book in the school library and the local public library. I haven’t stopped since. So, there are too many to mention. Dick Francis is probably my favorite author. I wish he was still alive to write a new book a year. I’ve read everything Isaac Asimov wrote, including his science textbooks and enjoy occasionally re-reading The Belgariad by David Eddings and the four books by Tolkien.
From time to time, I also enjoy re-reading the books I’ve written. This is dangerous, because I always want to make revisions.

Books you would ban:
Every piece of writing has hidden messages: the unvoiced, perhaps unthought, philosophy guiding the writer’s life. I refuse to read books the extol accumulating possessions; cruelty; putting down a person because of race, religion, sex or trivial physical characteristics like pimples or body shape or whatever. I expand on this here.

Things that make you happy:
Happiness is not a concept I value, because it is transient, and depends on things out of my control. Anything better than my current average is happy, what is worse is unhappy. So, instead, I aim for contentment. It is possible to be content in the worst hell, even while struggling to get out of it, or merely to stay alive.
I get contentment from daily meditation, from looking at the beauty of nature and the creations of the best in humanity. Watching young children gives me joy, and I love to play with them and make them laugh. I get a kick out of setting myself a goal and exceeding it (does happen sometimes). But the best is when I can do something that makes someone else’s life better, especially if I can keep it a secret. This is the Jewish concept of a Mitzvah.

Things that drive you crazy:
Well, nowadays that’s too strong a description, but making mistakes used to be a surefire trigger for depression, and as I’ve said, I’m really good at making mistakes whenever I try anything new. Nowadays, when I make a mistake, I exhibit a 5-second explosion, then laugh at myself. Then I think about how I should have done it, and if possible have another go.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Bob Rich is an Australian storyteller with 16.5 published books, 5 of them award-winners. Retired from 5 occupations, he is now mainly a professional grandfather who wants a future for all the kids of our world, and a future worth surviving in.

Connect with Bob:
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Amazon Australia  |  Amazon UK



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