Interview Time! Robert L. Slater

I love interviewing other authors and find out the thought process that goes into each books. Some are eerily similar to mines while others are completely different, which goes to show you there isn’t only on way to write a book. Just do it!

Today, i’m interviewing Rob Slater, author of All Is Silence the first book in the Deserted Lands Series, after reading this interview be sure to check it out.

How would you describe All is Silence to those who haven’t read it yet? Edgy, painful, realistic apocalypse told from the point of view of a young woman who wonders why death left her behind.

 How did the idea for All is Silence come about? I wrote a short story about 17 years before that had similar elements. It was an immediate, visceral response to reading Lord of the Flies for the first time at age 28. Since then, I taught high school first as a substitute teacher and then at two small alternative high schools. The characters of Lizzie, Zach and Nev are conglomerates of my students from those years. I wanted to write a book for girls who don’t read books, to give them a central character they could identify with. Lizzie has issues, a lot of them. She’s a tomboy who doesn’t look like one, a kid who has had a rotating cast of poor male father figures, a girl who has cut herself in the past in order to feel, and a someone who has told her family, “I hope you all die.”

 Any plans for a sequel? I’m about 40,000 words into the first draft of Straight Into Darkness, which begins about a month after All Is Silence ends. There will be at least one more book about Lizzie and her friends and I have novel ideas for at least 6 more in the series. I’ve released an eBook of short stories, Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry that has another Deserted Lands story and I’m submitting another Deserted Lands story to magazines, online and print. I hope to continue to write short stories to help people through the year in between novels.

[A whole year! Waaah!]

When did you first realize that writing was something you wanted to do? Maybe early elementary school. I wrote stories, song lyrics and poetry. At age 12, my best friend Rick Moyer and I wrote an audioplay sequel to Star Wars called Star Base ][. Funny, Rick produces SF songs and does audio voice work and I’m writing science fiction novels. I’ve written lyrics for 80+ songs with music for most, though many of them the music has been graciously forgotten. Then in college I wrote plays and had several produced. About 1991 I started my first novel and finished it in about 2-3 years. Then I wrote and submitted short fiction to science fiction and fantasy magazines for many years collecting a dozen or so sales and 600 rejections. My focus one writing has had to share my creative energy with music and theatre, kids and work, so there have been long dry patches. I still can’t believe I had the audacity to write All Is Silence for NANOWRIMO and plan to release it as a novel within a year. The final draft of the All Is Silence was in my hands 14 months after I wrote the first words!

Who are some of your writerly crushes? Robert Heinlein, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Spider Robinson, Andre Norton, Steven R. Donaldson.

What’s you’re usual writer’s schedule like? Are you an Outliner, or do you let the characters lead you where they may? My writer’s schedule is anything but. One of my goals for 2014 is to write at least 500 words every day. So far, it has only happened about 20% of the time. I used to let the characters lead, but found that if I didn’t have an idea of how it ended, the story wouldn’t get finished. With All Is Silence and Straight Into Darkness, I started out with short paragraphs describing 30-40 scenes. Finding the ending was still challenging, as the one I had in my head didn’t work out, but having that loose framework enabled me to keep writing.


[Wow! We’re pretty similar. I go for 1000 words a day and i write about 12 sort sentences describing a scene.]

Movie time! Who would you want cast for All is Silence movie? Wow. I don’t know. My students might do better with this. Lizzie is of Irish and Mexican descent so Seychelle Gabriel, who has been in a bunch of science fiction roles, would be my first choice. I really can’t think of an actor for Zach, who is a solid red-headed young man. I suppose Josh Hutcherson, who played Peeta Mellark in Hunger Games, maybe. For the father figure, Mannie, I’d go with Bodie Almos, though he’s a little young, or maybe Ricardo Antonio Chavira.





All Is Silence by Robert L. Slater



The Plot

In All is Silence by Robert L. Slater, seventeen year-old Washington native Lizzie has just lost her mother, little brother and step father to a deadly pandemic that swept through the world one of the remaining 1% that is immune to the deadly virus, she thinks she’s all alone at first until she encounters two friends, Zach and Nev. As the weeks go by and other survivors join their group Lizzie soon discovers that her father, who she hadn’t seen since she was three, is still alive. But as he is way down in Texas and she’s in Washington, they agree to meet in Utah but this post-apocalyptic road trip is fraught with various pitfalls and rednecks with guns.

A fast paced, adrenaline soaked novel All is Silence by Robert L. Slater is the first book in the Deserted Lands series and is a perfect book for any reluctant reader.

The Thinky Bits

I really enjoyed All is Silence by Robert L. Slater. Lizzie, or Crazy Lizzie to her friends, makes for a rather dark character, a former cutter who has occasional suicide tendencies she nonetheless manages to be very compelling. In fact all the characters manage to be interesting and as the book progresses Zach and Lizzie’s father sometimes pop in with their own point of view (each POV is separated by the cursive first letter of their name — another reason why learning cursive writing is good). Robert L. Slater is a very talented writer and he slowly ramps up the action and suspense until you’re flipping the pages almost too fast to read the words.

With its cliffhanger ending, I’ll definitely be waiting (impatiently) for the sequel.


Reviewed by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers’ Favorite