Hi there Robert Stanek, please tell me a bit about yourself.
Thanks for hosting me, Ashley! I've been a writer in my heart since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I wrote novels for about 10 years before I ever tried to get one published. When I started sending out my manuscripts, I also sent out an idea for a work of non-fiction. The idea was well received and soon after became my first published book: a book about publishing, just not the kind of publishing you might be imagining. The book was about web publishing.
While writing non-fiction, I started writing stories for my children. Over a period of 20 years, I wrote hundreds of picture books and stories for my children and they enjoyed them so much they urged me to get the books and stories published for others to enjoy. My first children’s picture book was published in 2007 and I’ve been working to release the others ever since while also writing new stories.
I grew up in Wisconsin, saying we were poor is like saying dairy cows make milk. School was a place where I not only got to eat, but also got to learn--and I love learning. The old schoolhouse at Jane’s elementary school, my first school, was built in 1917 and was the school my grandfather attended as a young man.
My grandfather taught me so much about life and instilled in me the principals and values I carry to this day. It was thanks to my grandfather that I got to go to Timber Lee Bible Camp during the summers. Not only did I learn sailing, canoeing, swimming, and more at Timber Lee, I learned about caring for others, giving back to my community, and being true to one’s self. After high school, I joined the military to see the world—and really did. I lived in Japan, toured Asia. I lived in Germany, toured Europe. I saw what hell is like in the Gulf War. And the lessons and experiences from all of this spill over into my writing like water over Niagara Falls.
And what can you tell me about your latest books?
I’m most excited about my new picture books, and I have four new releases for December/January:
+ Pirates Stole My Booty (A Silly Pirates Picture Book)
+ Mamma Sea Turtle Lost Her Babies (A Silly Colors and Shapes Picture Book)
+ Twelve Dresses, One Star (A Silly Picture Book About Being Who You Are)
+ How Many Fish? (A Silly Counting Picture Book) (Silly Picture Books)
The books are available at Amazon and have been well received. I’m already hearing from happy readers and some are already asking for me to do more along the same themes. That’s really a great change from the past where I didn’t hear from readers so often.
Tell us more about your books.
I've written many books. In fantasy fiction, a few reader favorites are: Keeper Martin's Tale (Ruin Mist Chronicles, Book 1), Rise of the Fallen (Ruin Mist: Dawn of the Ages, Book 1), and Into the Stone Land (Magic Lands, Book 2). Readers have really enjoyed visiting these fantastic worlds.
I also write picture books for children. My Bugville Critters books tell the story of the critter friends: Buster, Lass, Sarah, Dag, Barry, and Cat.
What inspired you to write for all those years?
My life-long love of books is what led me to be a writer. As a child, the library was my sanctuary -- a place where I could leave the world behind and escape into magical places. After so many books, you'd think my passion would wane, but to the contrary, I have more ideas and stories to tell than time to write them all down.
Some say that a person's experiences define them. Well, that goes doubly-so for writers. As a writer, I draw on a deep well of experiences. I've lived; I've loved; I've laughed; I've cried--and so do my characters.
Having written books that my own children genuinely love is a source of inspiration as well. My son dressed up as Buster Bee for many a Halloween.
Any advice for writers?
Over the years many would-be writers have asked me for advice about breaking in, and I've helped more than a few people get their first books and professional papers published (Amy, Butch, Charlie, Dan, Mike, Tim, Paul, Lisa, ...) Lately, more and more people have asked me about going indie as a fiction writer. It would have been a lie for me to smile and say it was all good—great. It’s not. Being an independent can be a tough road. It can be a lonely road. It can make you feel like the proverbial falling tree in the forest or the cat in Schrödinger's box.
The trust is that few people support independents the way they would support a commercially published author of equivalent status, and even fewer organizations. As an indie pioneer in digital and an indie voice, I've been helping to lead the way since 2001. To say the road has been a tough one would be a colossal understatement. For you see, it's easy to break something small, and it's easy to bully your way up. It's much harder to show compassion, to lend a helping hand. I’ve been there lending a helping hand for many years, just keep hoping others will do the same eventually.
What are you reading currently?
I read every day. Today, I'm reading All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. I'm re-reading the Pern books right now, my way of saying goodbye to Anne who passed on recently.
What’s next for you?
Success, I hope ;-) That’s the dream, right?