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Interview with Best-Selling Author Jeremy Robinson

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Jeremy Robinson is fast making his mark in the action/adventure genre. Since achieving the almost unheard-of feat of having a bestselling self-published book with The Didymus Contingency, Robinson has continued his success with Raising the Past.

His newest novel, Antarktos Rising, is set for an August 1 release. A podcast and viral video campaign are just two of the ways Robinson is promoting his new release. Jeremy was kind enough to grant this brief interview.

Raising the Past is very different in plot from Didymus. Was the writing experience much different for you?

Raising the Past and The Didymus Contingency are about as different as two novels can get. Didymus has a Christian theme. Raising the Past embraces evolution and proposes a different concept for original sin. Didymus took place in the desert (Israel and Arizona). Raising the Past is an Arctic thriller. The list goes on and on.

But the biggest difference is the plots. With Didymus, I wanted to create something really original. With Raising the Past I wanted to create a non-stop thrill ride — what would be called, in movie terms, a popcorn movie. I think I achieved both goals with both books. With Didymus being based on Biblical events, taking place in ancient Israel and involving time travel, the novel required a lot of research. With Raising the Past, most of the elements, other than the arctic, are pure speculation. So research wasn’t as necessary. I was creating a world and the creatures in it, from scratch. It was very liberating and very fun.

This freedom created the biggest difference between the two novels, for me personally. Didymus took four months to write (which is pretty quick for a novel). But Raising the Past was written in a single month. As I approached the climax of the novel I was writing twenty-five  pages in a day (from 9am to 11pm). It had me hooked like I hope it hooks readers.

They do have one thing in common, and several fans of both books have noticed. Tom and David, our heroes from Didymus, are mentioned in Raising the Past. How’s that for a bit of trivia?

How is the re-release of The Didymus Contingency doing? The new cover is sharp! Any changes to the book itself?

The new release is doing fantastic. Sales of the first version had slowed and the new release really revitalized the book. I think the new look of the snazzier cover is attracting a whole new crowd. But the release of Raising the Past (which is selling even faster than Didymus) helped pick up sales and now, with promotion for Antarktos Rising starting, sales have received a boost once again. The only real changes to the book, other than some tighter edits, are the cover and a reformat of the interior, which reduced the page count. Otherwise it’s the exact same book.

More and more I'm reading that authors love working with a smaller publishing house because they don't get lost in the layers of bureaucracy , and they get more individual attention. How has your experience been with a newer, smaller publisher?

I really love small press. There is a ton of freedom. I don’t have to say, “Hey, I have this marketing idea. Do you mind if I try it?” The red tape doesn’t exist. And tighter relationships are allowed to form with editors and such. As corny as it sounds, it’s more of a family atmosphere than of big business. That said, I very much look forward to the day when I move on to a larger publisher. Small press is great, but I’ll never be able to compete with Rollins, Crichton, or Alten until I move on up. I know it’s not very noble of me… but I have kids to feed!

You've written a book on marketing, and even done promotional videos. Have you considered podcasting a portion of your books? Why or why not?

I have indeed considered podcasting. In fact I just released a podcast preview of Antarktos Rising that I recorded myself. It features the first six chapters of the book, which should hook just about anyone. Podcasting is fun, and a great way to attract new fans, but it takes a serious amount of time. I would like to finish recording Antarktos Rising, but I’m sure the time to do so will not exist until after the book’s actual release. You can listen to the podcast preview online.

Tell us about the new book, Antarktos Rising.

The new book, in some ways, is a combination of the first two. It has the great Biblical speculation of Didymus combined with the non-stop action and creatures of Raising the Past. The main difference between them is the scope. The plot of Antarktos affects the whole world and pulls no punches in doing so. How many novels have you read where the 2.5 billion people die… right off the bat? The closest I ever read was Deep Fathom by James Rollins, but it had one of those “everything goes back to normal” endings where all the bad stuff never happened. That doesn’t happen in Antarktos Rising. Things go bad right at the beginning and then get worse.

The story line, boiled down to its basics, is this: a global event, known as crustal displacement, strikes the earth, shifting the outer crust so that America is placed over the north pole and is frozen over. Russia becomes a waste land. Island nations around the world cease to exist. In short, 2.5 billion people are dead inside of an hour. Another billion are on death’s doorstep. But the survivors are overcrowded on what little is left of the habitable world. But hope is found on Antarctic, which has thawed. More than that, it has bloomed. The nations of the world race to claim Antarctica (Antarktos) as their own, but when they arrive, they find the continent already populated. First by ancient creatures reborn through anhydrobiosis, and second by an race of creatures referred to in the Bible as the Nephilim—the second group of refugees that survived Noah’s flood.

Check out the flood account in Genesis. I’m not making this stuff up! For more information on the book visit my website.

Is there an official release date for Antarktos?

The book is due out on August 1, 2007. Pick up a copy on August 1 and help it become and Amazon.com bestseller! I’ve started an Amazon.com bestseller campaign, which is being promoted through the podcast preview, my website and a 10-episode viral video campaign. Having a small press book be an Amazon.com bestseller is a great way to get noticed, but it also shows the big corporate publishers that the little guy knows how to get things done — without spending a dime!

What were your favorite books as a child/teen?

Honestly, I can’t say I read a whole lot as a child. I was forced to read a lot of books that I still consider boring. School did a really good job of turning me off to books. In high school I mainly consumed comic books. I’ve still got my high school comic collection, 3000 strong. A lot of the regulars: X-men, Spider-Man, Batman. Though there were two books I read in high school that stand out as being the first novels I read and enjoyed (though they scared the crap out of me): This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti. I suppose you could say his early influence is still seen in my books as I tend to incorporate a lot of biblical speculation in my books.

Do you read within the genre now? What contemporary writers do you enjoy?

I read non-stop in the genre now. I just finished The Reckoning by Jeff Long. I just started The Swarm by Frank Schatzing. And it looks like I’ll soon be getting my hands on an ARC (advance reader copy) of James Rollins’ next book The Judas Strain. In general I read Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Steve Alten, Jack DuBrul, Michael Crichton, James Rollins, Jeff Long, Stel Pavlou, Scott Sigler, Matthew Reilly and Clive Cussler — a veritable who’s who of action-adventure/science thrillers.

My favorite book that I’ve read in the past year has to be The Descent by Jeff Long. I read the book long after writing Antarktos Rising, but after reading The Descent I knew I made the right choice in creating a world changed forever on a massive scale. Long did this in The Descent and it totally pulled me into his dark and twisted world. I still think about it and it’s been at least six months since I read it.

What’s especially nice about the list of authors above is that all of them I’ve had contact with are really nice guys. Rollins and I have been e-mailing regularly since I first sent him Didymus five years ago. And on top of his blurb for Antarktos Rising, Stel Pavlou, Steve Alten and Scott Sigler are also providing blurbs. It’s by far my most well reviewed book thus far.

Any parting comments?

Absolutely. Buy the book on August 1, 2007 from Amazon.com! Help this small press book show the big guns how well indie books can do. Also, check out the history making ten-part viral video ad campaign, the podcast preview and more information about Antarktos Rising and the Amazon.com bestseller campaign at my website.

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