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Thursday 1 March 2018

ℚ♫ The Fix - Robert Downs

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Fix (, Black Opal Books, 168 pages), a Noir novella.

...a short but powerful book with the force of a right hook or a squeezed-off bullet." -- Foreword Clarion Reviews

"Original and enthralling. A journey of a gamblers problems and how he tries to 'fix' them." -- Lisa Garrett, NetGalley Reviewer

"THE FIX by Robert Downs is short read that really plays out like a fly’s eye view of the downfall of one more victim of a total lack of control in a world of vultures just looking for that lame, baby bird who wants to play with the big boys’ league. Probably a good thing he is confident he can take a punch or fifty…" ~ Goodreads reviewer

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

Hello Robert, and welcome back to BooksChatter!

To start, we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in The Fix, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"Like you, I love music. I set my playlist to random when I create my first drafts, as I have found the background noise helps the creative process. I don’t remember the specific songs I listened to at the time I wrote THE FIX, but here are a few songs that fit with the tone of the novella."
Just over two years ago you spoke to us about LaCour’s Destiny. We now have to pleasure of meeting you again for The Fix.

What was the spark for this novella which features gambling and dog races?

"I was approached to write a novella, and the publisher that originally approached me specialized in noir. I said yes, even though I had never written a novella or noir before. Once I was fully committed, the idea came soon after.

Gambling leads folks down some fairly dark paths, and this fits right in with noir. Gambling is such a horrible disease that can destroy entire families, and it doesn’t often get the attention it deserves. Once you head down this path, it’s really difficult to come back from it. It leads to a series of bad decisions, often each one even worse than the one before it. I wanted to explore this, because it is so personal to me, and a noir novella was the perfect opportunity for me to do so."
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book?
"Writing a novella is actually quite a bit of fun.

This is the first novella I wrote, but it isn’t my last. In fact, I handed my publisher two more novellas, and they kindly handed me two more contracts in return. I also have ideas for a few more that are in various stages of development."
Can you share with us a favourite scene from The Fix?
"I honestly don’t have one. I enjoyed all the scenes within the novella. I’m sure my readers might feel differently, though, and I’m actually more curious to hear what they have to say.

I did enjoy exploring how one wrong decision can lead to a series of wrong decisions, and these decisions quickly spiral out of your control."
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer thus far?
"That’s easy. Marketing. There is some skill involved, but it’s all about luck and timing and trial and error. What works for one book doesn’t work for another.

The best advice I’ve heard on marketing is find something you like to do, and you just have to stick with it. It’s also about connections. Connecting with other writers and certainly readers."
Left Coast Crime, February 2016
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? 
"How specific should I get? Kirkus said this about THE FIX:
“A hard-boiled crime drama that lacks well-defined characters or a comprehensible plot.”
I don’t think it gets much worse than that. So, naturally, I made sure Kirkus posted it to their website, and I also quoted this review on THE FIX’s Amazon book page."
Ouch! Yes, I had seen that review from Kirkus - it did seem pretty harsh. But then again, it makes me want to check out The Fix for myself ;-)
What has been the best compliment?
"So much good has come from my writing, I don’t think I can name just one thing. I’ve met plenty of writers more talented than me, and I’ve gotten my family involved in the cover design process. When I send my publisher a completed manuscript, and they like it enough to send me back a contract…well, life doesn’t get much better than that."
Which do you think you have the most of: talent, intelligence, education, or persistence? How has it helped you in your life?
"Persistence. Definitely persistence. How hasn’t it helped me? I wouldn’t have achieved anything that I’ve accomplished in my life without persistence. If you want something bad enough, persistence will ensure you get there.

I’m living proof of that. God blessed me with many gifts, but certainly the best gift he granted me was a healthy dose of persistence.

When I begin to have my doubts, as everyone does, my family gives me just enough encouragement to help me leap over the next hurdle.

The Downs Boys

The combination of persistence and encouragement has served me well."
Do you have any special sayings or expressions?
"I love inspirational quotes, and I feel like I am always finding more, which makes me happy. This one is the first that comes to mind:
“Not all who wander are lost.”
I rather like the idea of wandering with a purpose."
Do you feel differently about yourself now from how you felt when you were younger? How? What do you think has stayed the same about you throughout life? What do you think has changed?
"Not really. I’ve always been confident, but I’ve certainly gotten more confident with experience and wisdom. I’ve always been ahead of my time, but life is finally catching up with me.

I’ve learned to do a better job of speaking up for myself, and I’ve also learned to use my humor, quirks, and oddities to my advantage.

I’ve learned that being unique and different is something that should be celebrated not shunned. Writing is one of the first times in my life where I feel like we embrace the weird, and that makes me happy."

What comes next?

"My next book, another novella, tentatively titled THE BRIDAL CHASE will come out in April according to my publisher Black Opal Books. In it, I explored nonlinear storytelling, which was a lot of fun for me.

It all started because of a writing prompt in either Writer’s Digest or The Writer. The prompt was something like pick two things that don’t normally go together and see where the idea takes you. Immediately, I had this image of a bride in a white wedding dress driving a pickup truck. I liked the image, and it begged a whole series of questions that allowed me to write the book."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you? Last time you shared with us your fedora. What do you have for us on this occasion?
"I have a wooden box that sits on my desk with a pen inside it. My brother gave it to me as a gift for being his best man.

Even though he’s all the way across the country from me, I feel like he’s with me when I write. He always had interesting stories for me when we were younger, and I feel like it’s my turn to return the favor. I just hope I can do as good a job as he did."
That's lovely :-) Thank you for sharing this with us!

The Fix
Available NOW!

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1 comment:

CMash said...

I always like learning more about the author of books I have read and this interview was informative. I agree with the author, gambling is a disease and can have dire consequences.