Interview: Rob Thurman

NRR: Can you share with us how you got started into writing?

I started writing when I was ten years old when my mom was writing Kirk/Spock fan fiction (yes, it's true.) I'd always been the second best artist in class (cough...very proud of that) and had drawn the stories in my head with my giant pack of 64 crayons. Unfortunately when these pictures involved people chained to walls in dungeons, monsters gnawing on their feet, and guys with swords this led to an awkward Parent-Teacher conference in the second grade. However, seeing my mother write opened up an entire new medium for my stories...which probably saved me foster-time and court ordered counseling for my parents. Teachers don't always 'get' hyper-imaginative kids.  

NRR: How were you inspired to write the Cal Leandros series?

BROMANCE, pure and simple. 
To elaborate: brothers. I grew up watching Simon and Simon (a TV show about detective brothers.) When I first learned to read, I read the Hardy Boys (brothers)...for about a month or two and then headed into adult fiction. We lived in a very rural area and our library had only donated books. There were few childrens books and no YA (except Madeline L'engle who I believe to be the best YA writer of all time), so I skipped from the Hardy Boys to adult fiction while I was still actually learning to read, but the Hardy Boys were the first series of books I did read. I watched reruns of Starsky and Hutch (again, rural, *rural* area...we didn't have cable) and while they weren't brothers, they were cops and partners, do or die for each other. Add to that that I was an only child. There were no neighborhood kids to play with as there were no neighborhoods where I lived. I wanted a brother (not a sister as I would've had to share my toys.) I knew from books and TV that brothers watched your backs, teased you, were always there for you. I really longed for that connection. In reality if I had had a brother, he probably would've set my Barbies on fire and tried to flush my head down the toilet. 

As an only child though, I could have the fantasy brother. The theme of loyalty to a sibling beyond loyalty to anyone else intrigued me. So, I wrote and wrote and about fifteen or seventeen years ago came up with the idea of Cal and Niko. But I went to college and obtained a degree and a *real* job, thinking writing was an impossible dream.  And after the real job sucked the will to live out of me, I remembered Cal and Niko. It was the second book I wrote (the first was a detective novel that didn't sell and quite deservedly didn't sell...it sucked.) Nightlife took a year to write, a year to be rejected by every agent in the country, another year to be rejected by every publisher in the country, another half year to be sent around again and accepted, and then a year and a half to go through the publishing process to end up on a shelf. What happened at the same exact time Nightlife hit the shelf? The television show Supernatural debuted. Then I get constant 'Do you write your series off SPN?' No. It was well over fifteen years in the making for the first book of my series (six books long now.) Sometimes it's just a matter of GMTA. And while at first I frigging lost my shit (or s***) over the similarities, in time I came to appreciate it. I love the show...because they are doing what I love. Brothers. Plus, I get quite a few SPN fans crossing over and reading the Cal series. So it's all good.     

NRR: What is your guilty pleasure?

Dressing up in spandex and doing cosplay at Conventions. I only go as villains (I love villains)...and unfortunately have the pictures to prove it on my website. I also delight in that most people think I'm a guy because I write guys and go by Rob instead of my full name. But when they eventually find out (by looking at my bio or meeting me in person) that I'm a woman they always say, I should've known a guy couldn't do emotion that well. <grin> Yeah, we chicks like our men hot but with emotion and angst and h/c.

NRR: Can you explain a day in the life of Rob Thurman?

Get up, feed the hundred pound dog, write, edit, write, social network (because you have to now...it's an obligation of writing), try to say something witty/filthy on twitter, write more. Think about changing out of pajamas but have three deadlines so I don't. Take a shower and change into fresh pajamas. Watch an incredibly funny or violent or both movie to get my creative juices flowing, write some more. Think about Seth Green and mourn that he married before he met and fell in love with me. Eat if I have food (the dog always has food, me...not so much.) Write some more.  Answer fanmail of someone saying they looked at my books in the bookstore, thought they looked interesting, but came home to ask me in which order should they read my books. Wonder why they don't look in the front of the book. Wonder why they don't look at the chronological publishing date. Wonder why they didn't ask someone who worked in the damn bookstore when they were there. Wonder if fans know I only make 50 cents per book and when they lend it to ten of their friends that means eleven people read my book and I only made 50 cents. Wonder what it would be like to afford healthcare. Then write some more.

NRR: Which actors do you see playing Cal and Niko?

There was an actor on the first season of Lost--the second I saw him I knew he'd be perfect for Cal if he'd grow his hair out. Black hair, pale blue eyes (which could've been pale gray with contacts.) Absolutely perfect. I had him firmly embedded in my mind. But then he went on another let it remain unnamed show and now can never play Cal as he's been branded by this other supernatural show in his credits. You probably know who I'm talking about. http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_kxow0t4R0A1qb4yfmo1_500.jpg (yes, this exactly who I would have picked for Cal minus the bad taste in jewelry.)
As for Niko...Paul Marron, the model, is who portrays him on the cover of Cal 2: Moonshine, is fantastic. The cover artist, Chris McGrath, uses real models for his covers. And models can be actors, right? To see the original photoshoots of the models for Cal (actually there are three models for Cal as the models keep moving out of NYC and away from my cover artist), Niko, and Delilah, go to www.robthurman.net and hit up the Leandros Lair...I even have a picture of the fan fave Goodfellow who is one hot, hot, hot puck.  

NRR: What is in your to be read pile?

I barely have time to write, much less read...which is a pity. I used to read a book a day. Not read every day, but an entire book a day. I miss it. But I'm, as always, a big fan of brothers or partners, so Robert Crais's Elvis Cole series (Elvis and Pike rock), Marjorie Liu (who lives about an hour from me...such a doll), Steven Brust's Jhereg series (love me some Loiosh), and I keep hoping Stephen King will return to his basic, down to earth horror roots. But basically I'm more about the content. Point me towards partners or brothers and bromance and that's where I'll be. And if you don't know what bromance is...it's not sexual...it's the love that guys have for their brothers or their partners or best friends that they can never say aloud, but only show. Yet as chicks, we looooooooooove that. Why we do...I don't know. But two friends/brothers bonded and kicking ass together is so hot and sexy, I can't live without it.   

NRR: Can you tell us a little bit about Blackout(of course no spoilers)?

Mmmmm. Let's just say this. There are some people who spit on literary/pop culture cliches. I say they wouldn't be cliches to begin with if we didn't love them. That's right--*amnesia*. So, what do you do when you're half monster/half human, all hot, and have amnesia? It's exactly *not* what you think Cal would do. Then there is his brother and best friend desperately searching for the lost Cal. It's about having a brand new start, a chance at redemption, and choosing what is right, not for you, but for your family. Oh, and the epilogue will knock your panties off. So DO NOT READ AHEAD! You'll ruin the entire book for yourself if you do.

NRR: What can fans expect to see from you next?

More Cal...I'm contracted for one more Cal book (so buy! If you buy, they may contract me for even more Cal books) Cal Book 7 (currently untitled.) And if fans buy more, then more Cal. There is Basilisk, the sequel to Chimera (another brothers book that had fans sending me emails saying they bawled like babies at the ending, but that was a good kind of cry. I've never had such an outpouring of love for a book before.) I'd like to do a mainstream thriller just to stretch my wings. Writers need to diversify to stay in business and to entertain their brain. I'm still debating any future Trickster novels (although Zeke and Griffin fans are wailing for more.) Three books a year is enough to keep me busy (and borderline schizophrenic.) :> 

PS There will be a contest before the last week of Feb. for Blackout's release (March 1st) and there will be some SPN prizes given away (that were donated by superfan Ariel who won them in a costume contest at an SPN convention) including Dean's necklace (we knew Sam fished it out of the garbage when Dean threw it away) and SPN shotglasses, and then many, many of my books, plus one amazing Con poster that has all of my bookcovers on it and the Japanese manga covers. It is a stunning poster. This will be done at my blog on my website...again, www.robthurman.net . Start looking for it one to two weeks before March 1st.

To learn more about Blackout visit http://robthurman.net/books/cal-leandros/

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