Thursday, July 5, 2012

Interview: Robert B. Lowe

Thanks for stopping by for my day on the Project Moses blog tour, hosted by VBTCafe!
Help me welcome the author, Robert B. Lowe!

Project Moses (Paperback Version)

From Goodreads:  "...a taut thriller...with an ideal fusion of wile and wit." - Kirkus Reviews
"I especially liked all of the supporting players...from the slick and twisted the sassy, gay police woman." S. Turtle Enzo Lee, 37, a burned out reporter, has forsaken investigative reporting on the East Coast to churn out feature fluff in San Francisco. He likes his North Beach apartment, steps away from his Chinatown roots. Running, tai chi, great food, women who are attracted to his exotic looks. Life is good. Then, Lee is ordered to cover the unexplained deaths of a local judge and prosecutor. Intrigued by the connection, and the judge’s attractive niece, Sarah Armstrong, Lee begins to uncover a bioterrorism scandal whose perpetrators - including government officials and Silicon Valley titans - will kill to conceal. When Lee and Sarah become targets, the question becomes whether the pair can evade their hunters and piece together the story before their time runs out. Project Moses is set in San Francisco, New York and Silicon Valley. By a Pulitzer Prize-winnng author.
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Publisher: Enzo Publications
Release Date: January 23, 2012

Robert B. LoweRobert B. Lowe is a Pulitzer-prize winning author whose fiction is based in San Francisco, his adopted home. His past experiences – a 12-year career in investigative journalism and a Harvard Law School degree – enable him to write gripping mystery thrillers in both the legal and journalistic fields. Lowe draws his inspiration from John Grisham, Dick Francis and Lee Childs and adds his own San Francisco twist. Readers will enjoy his references to the city’s landmarks such as Chinatown, North Beach and Pacific Heights and the Bay area’s foodie culture. When Lowe isn’t writing he enjoys a day at the golf course and spending time with his wife and daughters.

Purchase Link: amazon
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The main crime in Project Moses – aside from the murders of many possible witnesses – has to do with bioterrorism and the use of genetic engineering techniques to cause mischief.
I’ve long been interested in the technology and implications of various types of genetic engineering and simply understanding what genes do. When I was in law school, one of the requirements to graduate was to write an extensive paper – almost like a dissertation – about some topic with some significant legal issues. I tackled the implications of the genetic testing of people in terms of health insurance.
What happens when employers and insurers can tell through genetic tests whether you are a higher risk for heart attacks or cancer? One answer, of course, is that they might figure the smart business decision is to not hire you or give you insurance. But, the idea of everyone having their fates determined not based on merit or choices they’ve made but by the good or bad luck of their genetic makeup seems unfair in our culture.
Anyway, my interest in this realm was really the genesis of the main conspiracy in the book. I just started thinking about what might happen if some bad characters could use the technology of genetic engineering. Early in the book, I wanted to have a mysterious murder that would be one of the threads pursued in the beginning. I picked a plant as a key element and that sort of drove the plot toward a plant biology story.

There are the things that I strive to have: a) Compelling narrative which means both not boring and with energy or pacing to keep the story and the reader moving. b) A tight plot with enough at stake to make it interesting but credible and without loose ends. c) Believable characters that people will react to in the way intended – particularly find your heroes likeable and believe it when romance occurs. d) New information about a profession, industry or science as an added “content bonus.”

I was a newspaper reporter for 12 years out of college so that career choice showed my interest in writing and, of course, those years helped my writing. Having written for a living in that format gave me confidence that I could write a book. Also, I worked in newsrooms where there was always someone working on a book and some were very successful. So, it seemed more doable that it would for someone without that background.

A decent day of writing for me usually begins at 9 am. I’m out of pajamas, shaved, got a thermos of coffee and walk 120 feet to a room above my garage away from people and repair projects that
inevitably distract me. I work until lunch, with some breaks as I finish parts of what I’m writing. After lunch, I’ll work for one or two hours more depending on other commitments. So, 5 hours and, say, 1500 words is a good day for me. I’m almost always polishing and rewriting what I’ve done the last two days so a lot of editing is built in as well. I’ll cheat on that a bit – use the afternoon time to get exercise, etc. But, I also try to get a chunk of writing on the weekend, usually several hours on Saturday, which compensates somewhat. If things are going well, I can keep this schedule. If they aren’t, I start figuring out ways to cheat.

I’m hoping to have the next one ready to go in the Fall. I’m half way through the first draft although I’m polishing as I go. If Project Moses is any guide, the second half will take me half the time as the first half. The setup is harder for me and some reviewers have commented on that as well. Enzo Lee again is the star. But, I again have a secondary character – a new one - clamoring for attention. I was pleased that no one was overwhelmed by everything that went on in Project Moses – and there was quite a bit. In fact, readers seemed to like that. That’s good for me because my big challenge is keeping things manageable and not overloading with too many characters and subplots.
I continue to set the story mainly in the San Francisco area since that is where I live and have worked for the past 20 years. It’s a place that people love to visit and have almost a Disney view of it. The Golden Gate. Cable cars. Lombard Street. It is quite a beautiful city with an amazing mix of lifestyles and ethnic backgrounds. So, it’s a beautiful and interesting frame for a story.

Please visit the other stops on this tour!
June 26 - Introduction at VBT Cafe' Blog 
June 28 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
June 29 - Giveaway ($10 Amazon Gift Card + Rafflecopter) & Book Feature with Excerpt at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time 
June 30 - Interviewed at Hard Cover Feedback 
July 2 -    Interviewed at MK McClintock's Blog 
July 5 -    Interviewed at My World 
July 9 -    Review & Interview at A Book Lover's Library 
July 11 -  Review & Guest Blogging at Words I Write Crazy 
July 13 -  Review & Interview at The Writing World 
July 16 -  Review & Guest Blog at The Lucky Ladybug 
July 18 -  Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books

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