Monday, June 6, 2011

Introducing John Robinson!

Today, AC is thrilled to introduce our new partner in crime: mystery author John Robinson. We’re excited about having John on board and look forward to seeing the further evolution of the blog thanks to his contributions. We’ll let him introduce himself in his own words. But, first, we’re excited to announce Angela Ackerman is the winner of our Second Anniversary drawing. Angela has won copies of John’s thriller Heading Home, Linda’s romantic comedy Give the Lady a Ride, Lynnette’s historical romance Rocky Mountain Oasis, and Katie’s CD Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration. Enjoy, Angela—and our thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate AC’s second year! And, now, we present John Robinson:

I’ve been married for thirty-eight years to my lovely wife Barb. We have two grown sons (one of them married, with a family of his own), and a little daughter waiting for us in heaven. Presently I’m director of business development with a company that does contracting work with the military and the federal government.

I’d always liked to write, even from my early teen years, and when I was in college I was student affairs editor for the school paper. Years passed though, and that love seemed to fade. But a little over a decade ago it came roaring back, and in an unexpected way. It was New Years Day, 1999, and I was watching one of the bowl games on TV, when, suddenly, I started seeing something different on the screen. Don’t laugh, but it was almost like watching a movie. When I roused myself I found only a few minutes had passed, but amazingly I had the entire plot of Heading Home lined up in my head; it was then just a matter of writing it down and editing it. That process took about a year. Finding a house that would take such a controversial novel proved to be a challenge, though, and it wasn’t until 2008 that it was finally sold. During those intervening years I wrote and sold the Joe Box novels, and began the Mac Ryan series.

Because of its theme and unconventional main character, the first Joe Box novel, Until the Last Dog Dies was a booger to get published. My agent shopped it tirelessly, but kept coming to me back with stuff like “they love your writing, John, but the character of Joe scares them to death; they’re afraid women won’t buy it.” To which I responded, “Jeeze Louise, it’s not written for women!” Months passed, and my agent finally said they’ve done all they could, but couldn’t place it with anybody. That was in December of 2002. Flash forward to July of 2003. The Christian Book Association trade show was in Orlando that that year, and my agent was attending. As the story was told to me, the head buyer of one of the largest Christian bookstore chains was speaking with one of the marketing directors for Cook Communications, which owns RiverOak Publishing. They were talking about this and that, and the buyer said in an off-hand way, “I heard you’ve bought a novel featuring a Christian private investigator.” The Cook guy said no, he’d heard wrong, they took a pass on it. To which the buyer replied, “That’s funny; we could probably move a lot of units of that.” The Cook guy took that info to his people, and they told him, “See if it’s still available.” The Cook guy found my agent and asked if Until the Last Dog Dies was still on the table. Stunned, my agent said yes, and they proceeded to verbally cut the deal on the floor of the CBA. True story!

Somebody once asked me what would be my advice to someone just trying to break into publishing in this day; in reply, I’d tell them a story I once heard about Winston Churchill. The time was either the late fifties or early sixties, and by then Churchill was quite elderly when he was asked to give the commencement address for a large university.

The day came, and the auditorium was packed with students and alumni wanting to hear strong words of wisdom from the man who’d basically saved Britain during the darkest days the country had ever known. Slowly Sir Winston took the platform. Standing behind the podium, he gazed out at the sea of faces.

Then setting his famous bulldog jaw, he ground out these words: “Never give up. Never, never, never, never give up.” He fixed them with a gaze of iron. “Never.

And then he sat down.

And the place erupted in praise.

That’s what I’d tell people: “never give up.”

Just that.
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  1. Hi everyone! I'm so glad I was asked to be a part of this great group!

  2. Great advice from WC and great post from you, John.

  3. We're all thrilled to have you on board, John!

  4. Woo-hoo! So glad to see you join the gang, John! Always love to read what you have to say. Be blessed!

  5. Thanks, Lorna. Churchill is one of my favorite people: tough, unyielding in the face of horrifying adversty, and a well-honed sense of honor and duty. We'd all do well to take a page from his life story!

  6. Wow, thank you so very much! I am very excited to read all these great books and delve into the CD. I feel very fortunate this Monday morning, not just for this prize, but to also have this place as a writing resource. Thanks everyone for all you do, and the knowledge you share! :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  7. John, your sage advice and industry wisdom is going to be a great addition here. So glad you gave in to our begging and pleading! ;>)

  8. I hope you enjoy Heading Home, Angie!

    And Lynnette, for an old hambone like me, you didn't have to do too much begging and pleading! *G*

  9. I guess the pertinent question in publishing today is... what constitutes giving up? Maybe it's different for everyone.

  10. Good question, Lydia. I think you're correct: every one of us has a built-in "tipping point," something that internally tells us, "this far, and no farther."

  11. John--sorry to be late welcoming you in, but Welcome to AC! So glad you joined us. You're going to be a great addition!

  12. Linda, just to let you know I got your book today. I see it was postmarked early June but our postal service here in Canada went on strike for a few weeks and so we're just starting to get our mail moving again. Thanks so much--it looks awesome! :)