The Interview: Bookbag Talks To C E Robinson
|The Interview: Bookbag Talks To C E Robinson|
|Summary: Ani was impressed by the world building in Lilith: Eden's Planetary Princess and knew that there was an exciting series to come. She had quite a few questions for author C E Robinson when he popped into Bookbag Towers.|
|Date: 24 February 2016|
|Interviewer: Ani Johnson|
Ani was impressed by the world building in Lilith: Eden's Planetary Princess and knew that there was an exciting series to come. She had quite a few questions for author C E Robinson when he popped into Bookbag Towers.
- Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?
C E Robinson: Every time I close my eyes, I see my characters, and the situations they are in. Writing has been a process of watching an internal video, over which I seem to have little control. It is as though The Michael Archives are preexistent and I am just a scribe writing out the character’s stories.
I see my readers experiencing curiosity and self-examination. The premise is that everyone now on Earth was present during those days on planet Eden when Lilith came to power. I close my eyes and envision the readers wondering who they personally are. Are they Angels, Gods, Goddesses, Nephilim, or Demigods? I see my readers wondering how they personally fit into this ancient cosmic battle that has spanned millions of years.
- BB: Lilith: Eden's Planetary Princess, the first in your Michael Archives series, is now out. Would you like to tell us something about it?
CER: Rulership over planet Eden had been contested for two hundred and sixty thousand years, ever since Eve realized she had been duped by a Demigod named Ishmael. The unprecedented event that takes place in Book One is Ishmael’s own father denouncing him, and bringing Lilith to power, making her Eden’s Planetary Princess. The story of Lilith begins within the Celestial Realm, following two specialists, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Haiguns and Technical Sergeant Janene Windsor as they track down Harvesters, creatures who sacrifice Angels and use the vibratory nature of the Angel’s Personality to create an army of Nephilim. The Angels are caught in a Spiritual Trap. Being creatures of compassion, they wish to bring comfort to the inhabitants of the war-torn Eden, but risk capture, and complete annihilation at the hands of the Harvesters. We are soon introduced to the main character, Nazz Madame General Kuko Kiena, a bodyguard, advisor, and best friend to Lord Indra, the God of War. Opposed to Kuko Kiena is a Valkarie Goddess, Colonel Josephine P. Doulmahel. In the story of Lilith, Josephine doesn’t see herself as Kuko Kiena’s antagonist, but rather an influence character, wanting to pull Kuko away from the behavior of the Harvesters and in alignment with King Joshua, the King of the Angels. But as is the truth in all wars, everyday life complicates matters. Kuko’s world is turned on end when Ishmael (called Rahu in the story) and his father arrive on Eden, being transported by Kuko’s old, secret lover, Valkarie Lieutenant Colonel Pasiel Pegasus. At the same time, Josephine’s life is complicated by Collin Striker (aka Doctor Yummy), Oceania’s official boy toy. The complication? While on Oceania, a vacation spot for Eden’s Angels, Josephine is always informal, wearing casual clothes, never talking business. She just assumed everyone knew she was ‘Goddess’ Josephine, and didn’t bother to tell the hapless Collin that she was his boss.
- BB: How many books are there in the series and what sort of timeline do they span?
CER: The Michael Archives are divided into volumes, with five books planned per volume. Volume One, ‘Eden’s Planetary Princess’, begins 35,000 years ago and tells the stories of who Lilith was before she became Lilith, the circumstances of her rise to power, and then, how she inevitably, over the next four books brought about Eden’s ultimate demise. Volume Two is entitled ‘God of Light, Prince of Darkness’, and follows the same group of Angels and Demigods as they escape Eden and bring their conflicts here, to Urantia (Earth). The books of God of Light, Prince of Darkness describe the events surrounding the raising of Lord Smigyl’s mysterious Tower of Light, and how that brought about the Greek Golden Age. Volume Three is yet unnamed, but will describe the fall of the Tower of Light, leading to the mess we now see on our planet Urantia. As we reach the final books of the series, the names of the characters will become more familiar — Ramses, Moses, The Buddha, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. — until we reach the here and now of Urantia’s current state of confusion and conflict.
- BB: You've gathered a complex web of characters backed up by a very informative website. Did you come across any disadvantages in having such a broad cast and, if there were, how did you get around the problems?
CER: Indeed, that has been the biggest problem of all. Book One of Volume One was the most complex, as it had to lay down the basis for the entire series. And as one of my editors said, it is difficult to follow several simultaneous threads in a storyline. How well I have done will be up to my readers to judge. But this is the reality of the planetary situation. Just look at modern day Urantia. Who are the most powerful planetary Gods now incarnated into the Material Realm of this Earth? Who are their real allies and who are their real enemies? The list can be all but endless. I hope my readers will avail themselves to the maps, organization charts, and character lists in the beginning and end of the book as well as on the website.
- BB: Which character or characters did you most enjoy writing and why?
CER: Josephine and Collin walking on the beach, after he realizes who she really is. I consider that scene the heart of the book. Regardless of peace, war, feast, and famine, we fall in love. In my mind, the entire series is one long love story.
- BB: As a writer You've included aspects of other faiths and philosophies; why did you do this rather than write about one faith's/culture's celestial conflict, be it Roman, Judeo/Christian, Hindi etc?
CER: I continue to struggle with that very problem. But I believe all of our myths and religions are describing the same set of characters, caught up in the same cosmic events. We give these characters and events different titles and names because the scribes stood within different points of view. My intention is to weave the myths and religions together, so that we can look upon our past and present as one single story line.
- BB: You're a scientist and engineer by training – two disciplines that aren’t normally associated with creative writing. In which ways have your previous day jobs helped with the story or the writing process?
CER: Maybe the better word is hindered the writing process. I had no intention to write a fantasy series. It had not been some life-long dream. It was simply the case, after reaching a lull in my scientific career, one day a doorway opened in my mind and the stories of The Michael Archives came spilling out. I’m serious when I say, What a relief it is when my characters shut up long enough for me to get some sleep. If you talk to my early editors they will confirm that my English can be atrocious. It certainly didn’t help that the writing style of scientific manuscripts is compressed, cryptic, and filled with jargon. My only saving grace was the fact that my mother is British, so at least I knew how to speak in complete sentences. The primary thing science and engineering provided was logical thinking. My arena of science was developing analytical techniques to measure the cellular stress response, as applied to environmental toxicology. It is simply the truth, your results won’t mean crap if you do not hold to logic throughout the process of assay development. The result was, in my mythology, everything had to be scientifically plausible. There is no time travel. No one pops up with inexplicable abilities. There will be no trick endings. The solutions to complicated problems will never be the pat answer — “It all happened because that’s the way God wanted it”. All of the technologies are consistent with scientific theory. Even the powers the characters display are consistent within a particular scientific model.
- BB: Is there anything you've done or come across during your writing/self-publishing journey that you'd definitely do again?
CER: My wife, Robin saved me on that one. She had in mind a particular style for my cover art and website design, and continued to plug away at it until it was finished. I liked picking out the company who printed the manuscript. So I recommend working with an artist who is as passionate about the project as you are.
- BB: Conversely, is there anything you'd avoid the next time?
CER: We assumed that converting MS Word documents into the various ebook formats was a well-established technology. We assumed the process of posting the work on Amazon would be straightforward. Wow! Was I unimpressed with the ‘state-of-the-art’? Yikes! Talk about a pain in the ass!! So, in the future, after finishing the MS Word document, I would definitely hire someone who already knows all the little tricks.
- BB: What's next for Charles Robinson?
CER: Promoting and marketing LILITH is at the top of my list. I love chatting with folks about the philosophy behind the story and hearing their take. I’m working on Book Two of Eden’s Planetary Princess — ‘Zohar’. Most of the storyline and dialogue has already played out in my head. Now, it’s just a matter of moving it from my head and into my computer. I am also learning a word processing program called Scrivener. It should make it easier to arrange the sequence of events in a story line. I have also been learning the basics of ‘Dramatica Story Expert’. This is a very impressive program and is already helping me analyze and organize the story of Zohar.
- BB: That's fascinating, Charles. Thanks for taking the time away from your characters to chat to us.
You can read more about C E Robinson here.
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