Author Interview with Robert Krenzel
One thing I have noticed from conducting my author interviews is that self-published authors come from many backgrounds and write for different reasons. While the title of writer is earned with hard work and talent, it is not exclusive to those who work in the industry or educated in the writing field. Writing is a universal talent, and while some may be more popular and talented than others, each writer's perspectives and styles are unique and worth telling.
Robert Krenzel is an author who has incorporated his own life's experiences into characters and situations that differ from his own. He writes kid-friendly fiction that he can read to his children loosely inspired by his time in the army. This merging of the two different aspects of his life has birthed a story of its own. Krenzel's book exhibits what can come from someone taking a stab at writing and producing a well-received book that they can be proud of.
1. How many books have you written and where can you buy them?
I have written one book: “This Glorious Cause.” It is available from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/This-Glorious-Cause-Gideon-Hawke/dp/1511465190
2. What famous books can you compare to your own?
I suppose the closest matches would be the “Richard Sharpe” series by Bernard Cornwell and the “Eagle” books by Simon Scarrow. Those both contain much more “mature” subject matter, their intended audiences being from an older demographic. Richard Sharpe and Cato are definitely a lot rougher around the edges than Gideon Hawke.
3. Why do you write for this particular age group?
I have tried to stay as involved as I can in my kids’ activities, and that has often put me in the position of coaching or teaching young people, which is really a lot of fun. I especially enjoy talking about history or world events with young adults and seeing them get engaged. Young adults can really absorb a time period and appreciate what life was like, and that good versus evil was not necessarily as black and white as we often make it out to be. Not to mention, I really did not want to write a book I couldn’t let my son or daughter read.
4. How autobiographical are your books?
Not very. I have been asked if I see myself as Gideon, which I definitely do not. That said, we are all products of our own experiences, I suspect my twenty-plus years in the Army has shaped my interpretation of how people behave in certain situations. A prime example: my protagonist, Gideon Hawke, and some of my other characters exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); having been to combat a few times and knowing some true American heroes who have suffered badly from PTSD, I would have been remiss to not have worked that theme into the Gideon Hawke series. I will also admit that every now and then I slip in something that I or a friend have experienced; in my next book I plan to include a few lines of dialogue that are borrowed from soldiers with whom I served. When you work with troops you can find yourself in some crazy situations, and from the profound to the ridiculous, you never know what they are going to say.
5. What’s the best compliment that you’ve ever received about your writing?
I have been told by a few readers that they couldn’t put down “This Glorious Cause.” To me, that is the highest praise possible.
6. What has been your greatest moment as a writer so far?
Getting my first review on Amazon. It was five stars, and said I “knocked it out of the park.” The best part was that I had no idea who wrote it, but I am certain it was NOT a family member!
7. Where do you get your covers?
I have done one, which I produced myself. For “This Glorious Cause” I had a vision in my head of a tomahawk on top of a Grand Union flag. I wanted an authentic look, so instead of buying a screen-printed flag, I asked my Mom if she knew anyone who could sew one. A friend of hers, Elaine Weimer, took up the challenge, and together they produced a beautiful flag to match one described in the book. I acquired the tomahawk and replica hawk feather (it is against Federal law to own a raptor feather, it turns out), and took the photo in my garage. I inserted it into one of CreateSpace’s cover templates, and was very pleased with the result. I received feedback from one reader that he bought the book on impulse because he liked the cover, so it worked on at least one occasion. I am considering options for the next cover—there are some amazing cover designers out there, so I may give one of them a try.
8. What is a subject/character/setting you would like to tackle?
Perhaps a novel set in World War One or Two, much like “This Glorious Cause” but with tanks. Or perhaps the American Civil War. My weirdest idea is a “what if” horror novel that brings Bram Stoker’s Dracula into the Twenty-First Century…in the Middle East. That might be a lot of fun!
9. What is next for you?
I am hard at work on the sequel to “This Glorious Cause.” Entitled “Times that Try Men’s Souls” it picks up with Gideon and crew on Long Island in July 1776, takes them through the hard times of the autumn of ’76, and concludes with the Trenton-Princeton Campaign.
10. End with a quote (from one of your books, a favorite quote by someone else, or one that has been on your mind recently).
This one is etched on the monument to the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier in Philadelphia, and is from George Washington, during his Farewell Address in September, 1796. In the wake of Memorial Day it reminds me of the importance of telling the story of the American Revolution: "The Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts-of common dangers, sufferings and success."