Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’m Bob Mayer and I’ve had over 75 books published across an array of genres, primarily thriller and science fiction. My web site is www.bobmayer.com.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
I grew up in New York City and my newest books feature the city in the 70s, which was certainly a wild and crazy time. I went to West Point, then served in the Infantry and Special Forces. My time in Special Operations certainly affects my stories with most of my male/female protagonists having some background in covert operations.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I’ve got stories in my head that have to get out. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s a few years ago and that explains why I’m so prolific and also write such varied stories across different genres. I write what I’m passionate about and what interests me, but that’s not necessarily the greatest career advice I’d give a writer. A lot of my stories, especially the science fiction, revolve around consciousness and the brain.
How do you deal with creative block?
Bum glue. I was told that a long time ago. I tend to ‘stream’ my books more now more than I used to. I just write and it comes. There are times when I start feeling really bad, and that’s when I’m hitting a block. I keep researching, do something physical, work on other stuff, but always keep pushing.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Boring the reader. We are in the entertainment business. It’s our job. Not only are we taking money from people but something more important that they can’t get back: time.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
It took me a while to learn title is critical. It must invite readers into the book. My newest titles are based on songs: New York Minute; Lawyers, Guns and Money; Walk on the Wild Side. These resonate and reflect the time and mood of the stories. My Area 51 books have sold well, a lot based on the title as people are interested in the subject.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
If they’re constructive I work on it. But most of the time, I can’t fill my head with negativity. I’m not sure reviews accurately reflect a solid cross-section of readers. They’re certainly important in Amazon algorithms, but it seems my readers on the ratio of sold to reviews is high sold, low reviews. A lot of my readers are like me: we rarely leave reviews. I do respond to any emails I get.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I trust my subconscious and instinct more. After so many books and teaching writing for 3 decades, I’ve certainly learned a lot. I focus on process more than ever. I trust what I put down, even if it makes absolutely no sense at the time, will serve a purpose. I try to get a draft done, with very little if any cutting, then go back and tighten it all down.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best? The creativity. Bringing a story alive.
Worst? It’s a long marathon, no matter how fast you write, from start to end. I like results and that takes a while when writing a novel.
Surprising: That I’ve made a living at it for three decades. That’s rare and I’m thankful to my readers for that.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
It’s all about the readers. When I start slipping into lecturing or “isn’t this neat” I’ve got to be careful. Readers might not care about what I think is neat. Am I presenting it in an entertaining way and does it serve a purpose in the story? If not? It gets cut after first draft.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
It’s emotionally draining to write. You are bleeding onto the page. I write more and more about personal things, fictionalized, and it can be a punch in the gut at times. But also, there are times when a character says something so funny, I can laugh as I write it.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
No tricks. I used to run a lot but have switched to biking. I put my phone in a holder on the handlebars and I find biking is different in that I can go for a 30 miles ride and spend most of it running a scene through my head and editing it that way. I record those thoughts on the phone (that’s mostly what I use my phone for—the recorder).
What are your plans for future books?
I’m finishing the third book in my Will Kane Green Beret series set in New York City in the 1970s. Then I’m pushing the Area 51 series forward with the 13th book, then back to Will Kane. I really like the character and the setting: a time before personal computers and cell phones and you literally had to drop a dime to call someone.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
The Asperger’s certainly affects me. I try to show that in the character Will Kane. He’s one step out of sync with others. That’s both good and bad. I’m the only male author on the Romance Writers of America Honor Roll having hit the NYT bestseller list in that genre. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about my books, even the science fiction ones, is that there is a lot more fact in them than people realize. They think I make all of it up, but I take little known facts and put a different reason behind them.
Thanks for the interview!