Douglas Cobb is a man on a mission. I noticed from the start of the interview that he was easy going and self assured. I knew that this would be a great interview and it would be fine to stray away from his books and into his life. A happy family man at heart, this interview with Doug was one of the most entertaining I have undertaken so far.
Recently, Douglas finished his first western. The book entitled Crossing the Dead Line is now on general release and Douglas is now doing a series of interviews about this great new western novel. The book, based on a true story, is about a black Marshall. I thought the book would have a feel of “True Grit” about it. I was wrong. It’s better. This is a tough, action packed novel about a man who, although not given equal treatment, risks his life for his country. Bass Reeves gives up his dream life on his own farm to catch hardened criminals. Crossing The Dead Line Ebook NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!!
Now, Douglas is the kind of guy who wakes up and goes to work to feed his family. He knows that although his books are doing well he feels the need to keep working as he is the man in his house and believes in the true American spirit. He is a native of Illinois, but now lives in Arkansas with his family. His readers have already enjoyed his previous efforts and he has received endless praise for his Y/A books The Case Files of Lily and PAWS and is currently working on the Christmas addition to the series. Lily is not your usual terrier. In fact, she’s not a terrier at all. She’s a pterodactyl who has the power (among others) of clouding peoples’ minds. Join Lily, her “owner” thirteen-year-old Celeste, and the other members of PAWS (Private Army of Warrior Sleuths), Fuzzy Wally MacGee (a Chinese Crested/rhino), Lucy Marmoset Higgins (a Great Dane/orangutan), and Prince Alphonse Saed (a miniature Dachshund/mountain lion) as they fight crime wherever they encounter it. Read their humorous and exciting adventures as they battle against the criminal organization, the Scarlet SNURFLES, headed by the scarlet Macaw, Frankie Sinister. And, when they also have to face the Scarlet Mafia (lead by the scarlet Macaw, Benny the Beak), the aliens known as the Greys, the red Egyptian fox and leader of the Guild of Assassins, and the red panda, General Yao Xing, can even Lily, Celeste, and PAWS hope to succeed? Disney will indeed be knocking on the Cobb family door for the rights to this series! The Lily Series Available NOW ON AMAZON!
We started the interview in true author fashion. Douglas was hard at work whilst I waited for him to become available.
Q) Hi Douglas– This is a pleasure for me as I love your work. When can I tear you away for an interview?
Next week–just kidding. *Laughs*
Q) Your daughter seems to be a big influence on your writing. I bet she is proud that her dad is a writer. Tell me– are you the same as any other dad back home with the family?
A) Though I always have loved to write, and I majored in English in college, I hadn’t really tried to sell any of my short stories, poems, or novels. I got wrapped up in starting up a family, getting a job, they usual sorts of things most people do with their lives. But, my daughter did get me back interested in writing, when she requested that I write a book about her dog, Lily. I ran with that idea, and made her into a talking pterodactyl, and the crime-fighting head of an organization of her friends, also mutant animals, called PAWS (Private Army of Warrior Sleuths). It’s become a series, beginning with Lily, Unleashed, the first book she inspired. After that, there’s Lily and Paws: The Ghosts of Summer and Lily Solves Them All, in which Lily must solve 7 crimes using the methods of 7 of the world’s most famous detectives of literature and the Silver Screen. Included are Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple. Then, I wrote My Brother The Zombie: (The Zombie Revolution: Book One). My son’s photo is on the cover of that one. He’s also been an influence on my writing, especially with that book. And, my last book is Crossing The Dead Line, though I’m working on a Lily and PAWS Christmas novella currently. You and your girlfriend are in it, you know. (Nick laughs- “really?”) Yes, you two are werewolves–nice ones, so don’t worry–LOL.
Q) Thanks Douglas! Lori and I appreciate it! Did you see my latest interview? I gave a huge shutout to you, buddy! Hope you heard it in Arkansas!
A) Yes, I did–it was one that everyone who loves great literature should read, so that they can learn more about you and your book. I’m sure that it will be a hit, when it is published. Thanks for the shout-out! (Douglas paused for a moment and looked straight at me, a smile broke out on his face.) A brief answer for once, LOL…if I get too long-winded, just hit me upside my head once or twice…
Q) It was my pleasure! So tell me about Douglas the man– what do you like? What do you do to relax?
A) Tax accountancy work, going over files like Bartleby the Scrivener from Melvile’s tale. No, not really, of course…mostly, of late, I haven’t had much free time, as I am either at work, online tweeting about my books, or writing. But, I like to spend as much time with my family as possible and I love to read and write book reviews. I have stacks of books that are rapidly taking over the house, demanding to be read–though, I want to get the as-yet-unwritten books inside of me out into the world, as well. Oh, and I like to play with Lily, of course, take her to the local Pterodactyl Park, lift weights, and do yoga…somewhat…though I find the more pretzel-like moves very daunting.
Q) Sounds like you have a few bestsellers to come yet! Tell me about your writing? Do you listen to music when you write? Talk to the wife? Total silence? What does Douglas Cobb dig for writing?
A) When I was younger, I liked to listen to Rock whenever I either studied or wrote, like the Beatles, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, The Police, etc.–New Wave and Punk also,,,I still love to listen to this music, but as my family are asleep by the time I generally do my writing (between 10:00-2:00a.m.) I try to keep the noise down and maybe have CNN on in the background.
It’s difficult to keep inspired for a long period of time, unless I have dreamt up certain dialogue/scenes during the day for a chapter I’m working on, so I usually only write maybe 1,000-2,000 words per night. Sometimes I’ve hit over 3,000, but sometimes just 700 or 800 words a night.
Q) So, I imagine like the rest of us you struggled through the recession– how did it change your life?
A) The recession didn’t strike me, personally, as hard as it did many American, though I definitely feel the pain at the grocery store and the petrol (gas here) station–the “pain at the pump”. Somehow, unforeseen by me, I wound up working on the fringes of the automotive industry. The company I work for did have a slow-down, and a hiring freeze, and some people were laid off, though not me–we are still recovering, but business has picked up. One good thing is that, though Cloyes Gears sells timing components to the Big Four car companies here, we also deal with the various used parts companies like Napa and Auto Zone. We don’t sell used parts, but Cloyes Gears distributes parts to these sites across the nation so that has helped keep the company going even during the worst of the recession.
Q) Did you ever feel as though the misery would never end?
A) I wouldn’t call the average person’s life in America, including mine, necessarily “misery” during the recession, except, of course, for the many hard-working people whose factories closed and who lost their jobs. I’ve often thought of writing a modern-day version of Hugo’s Les Miserables, but, the truth is, I and most Americans have not really experienced the very worst that life can deal us. Of course, many people in America have been affected to a far greater degree than myself, and I’m sure that they have experienced pretty low levels of misery. Things like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy have added to the misery of thousand of people. But, for the most part, all I and my family have felt, as far as misery goes, is having to pay higher bills for food and gas.
Q) So Doug– how do you feel about Obama and the way he handles the country?
A) That’s a tough question in a way, in that I like many of Obama’s policies, though not all. I think of him and any president based on how well he does his job as the president, rather than surface things, like skin color. I like to think that most Americans are either past, or are getting past, any antiquated ideas about judging people based on ethnicity, religious preference and sexual preference, and the color of their skin. Obama is not perfect, but no man is–I did vote for him both times he ran, as I thought, and still think, he was/is the best man to be the president based on the available choices.
Q) Did Barack influence your book about Bass Reeves (a black Marshall) or have you always had an interest in that tale?
A) No, Nick; not really, though with a president who is black in office, it is a perhaps fortuitous time for me to have written Crossing The Dead Line. My teenage daughter, Kaitlin, actually suggested that I write a Western, and she gave me a very simple request: “Make it as good as Lonesome Dove and True Grit.” Well, I had never written a Western before, had no idea how to, and no one in mind to write one about. I had dimly heard mention of Bass Reeves, though, and I knew he was a native of Arkansas, where Rooster Cogburn, of True Grit, also lived. So, I was intrigued and started doing research on his life, and I became more and more interested in this fascinating man and his life.
Q) It has been said that our recession had a lot of similarities with “Grapes of Wrath”? As an author how would you stand with that statement?
That’s difficult to truly express, as America is a relatively large country, and people in different states and different circumstances have all had, of course, different experiences riding out the recession. In the worst cases here, say where autoworkers lost their jobs, or other companies closed up and never re-opened, and people got kicked out of their houses because they couldn’t pay their mortgages I suppose the situation was somewhat like that Steinbeck writes about in “The Grapes of Wrath.” But, as with any country, many people were barely affected at all; everything is relative.
Q) So you feel that America could have gone through a much harder experience of “recession”?
A) Yes, it could have been much worse, in my opinion. For instance, if the auto companies and banks had been “allowed” to fail it would have been much more difficult to try to rebound from that, if we ever could have done so. And, from what I’ve heard, countries like Greece have suffered much worse.
Q) So tell me, how do you publicize your work and what was your most disheartening moment?
A) I utilize House Elves, mostly. I am jonesing so much for J.K. (Rowling) to write more Hogwarts novels, whether with Harry or the offspring of the original characters. Am I evading the question nicely?
I mostly Tweet to my voluminous Followers (@DouglasRCobb), though I also have a blog, What’s New In Book Reviews http://douglascobb.wordpress.com that I use to get the word out, and my Amazon Author page. Amazon’s KDP Select promo days to let my readers get FREE downloads. The two e-books I have at the bargain low price of just 99 cents and at a low price also there in the UK are My Brother, The Zombie (The Zombie Revolution; Book One) and my latest, Crossing The Dead Line. I have to rely on my legions of fans to buy these books. My latest in the Lily and PAWS series, Lily and PAWS: Christmas Capers, will be at Amazon very soon, just in time for Christmas, and it will be 99 cents! I just saw the cover today, and it looks great!
My most disheartening moment, well, no author ever likes to receive rejection slips, but that is generally speaking a part of the game of publishing, so I guess the times in the past when I received those, hoping that I would instead by getting a check in the mail, were pretty disheartening. However, I know that what I am writing is good–it’s just that agents and publishers get so deluged with manuscripts every day and week that many good to excellent stories and novels get overlooked in the mix. If you can tell yourself that’s just the way the business operates, it can seem a tad less devastating to get the rejection notices; but, I can’t honestly say it’s ever fun.
Q) Have you considered your books as films?
Only every single day, Nick! I think that my series The Case Files of Lily and PAWS could be successful hits as either live movies or animated ones, possibly for a studio like Disney, Pixar, or Nickelodeon. My Brother, The Zombie, I believe, would make a great movie combining horror and science fiction, and Crossing The Dead Line cries out to be made into a Western flick.
Q) Do you consider interviews like this crucial to sales?
Oh, yes! Interviews and book reviews are other fantastic ways for authors to get the word out about their books. The best book ever written might lie unnoticed somewhere not because it’s a piece of crap, but because it hasn’t been noticed by enough people to make it into a commercial success. So, I and all authors definitely owe our fellow authors who are bloggers, like yourself, a word of thanks for agreeing to interview us and sometimes write reviews of our books.
Q) Where can people send fan mail?
Save your postage fees and write me at my email bibliophile1 (at) att.net If you would like to mail me a letter, though, that’s always welcome, too–especially ones with cash included in them! *laughs* My address if you’d like to snail mail me is:
Douglas R. Cobb
1112 M Terrace
Q) What three items would you take to a desert island?
Well, everyone needs food, but assuming that the island is chock-full of food, my three items would be a pocket knife, writing supplies (okay, so I’m cheating with this, as it conceivably can refer to paper, pencils, pens, a typewriter, a computer–if the island has electricity, etc., anyway–so sue me!), and a Kindle Fire stocked with hundreds of books and movies and tunes–if the place has electricity. If not, besides the knife and writing supplies–arrgh!–even with them, to be honest, thinking about it, toilet paper is one convenience that I would not like to be without.
I’ll cheat, and make one of my three items a boat (not one with leaks) so I could reach a proper town that has electricity!
Q) Where do you see yourself in ten years?
That depends on how much gas I have in my car, LOL! If I only had an electrical one, I could really go places! But, honestly, I hope that all of my books will be commercially successful, though they are really labors of love, and I’d keep on writing (probably) if I didn’t sell a single copy! Don’t let that stop anyone from actually buying them, though. I am unanimous in my recommendation of them! I don’t ask for much, in terms of success–if I’m at the head of my own multi-media empire and worth millions, that’s good enough for me. I will, of course, strive to remain humble, in the midst of the accolades I will undoubtedly receive by the lorry load.
Q) Final question, with all your success– why do you keep working?
A) Ah, success is, as Einstein said about some Space/Time Theorem Thingy, relative. Poppa needs a Maserati, or at least a Saab or Camaro. Groceries must be bought, and then there’s my immense staff of servants that need to keep the wolves away from their doors…am I wringing any hearts, yet? I hope so. You can also purchase most of my books in paperback via Amazon–please do–they make great gifts for friends, relatives, yourself, and look fantastic under the Yule tree!
Nick, it’s been a sheer pleasure answering your questions, and I feel proud that I barely flinched when you drove those wooden spikes under my fingernails to get the answers from me, despite my initial insistence on only giving you my name, rank, and serial number!
Douglas R. Cobb,