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31 Days of Creepy – Chatting with Author Thomas Robins

61rlT7c956L._UX250_It’s Halloween, horror fans! Scariest day of the year, so I’ve been chatting with a couple of author friends about what creeps them out.

First up: Thomas Robins, author of the popular SF novel Desperate to Escape and the new series The Dragons of Edgewick.

Book, movie, or TV show… what’s the one moment that absolutely scared the living bejeebers out of you?

Alice in Wonderland. In elementary school, our whole school went to an auditorium to watch this film. It terrified me, but I was in the middle of a couple of hundred kids so I couldn’t leave or bury my head in my parents’ arms. I just sat there, horrified for Alice and forced to keep watching. 

Tell the truth: would waking up to find a giant bug crawling on your face make you scream? Or would you attempt to make a pet out of it?

I’d scream like a madman, but probably not because it’s a spider. Things that suddenly wake me up send me into a weird yelling gibberish fit for a minute before I actually wake up. Happens if a fire alarm goes off or a loud clack of thunder comes by. I call it my personal blue screen (from when PCs crash).

For you, who’s the Master of Horror?

Stephen King by reputation. I don’t read or watch straight horror.

What’s the scariest scene you’ve ever written?

I’m in the middle of writing my scariest scene, which is likely to be over the top since I don’t read horror. It’s part of a piece I’m writing for The Shapeshifter Chronicles.

Zombie Apocalypse. What’s your weapon of choice?

A paper map. If I can get my family a few hundred miles to my in-laws’ farm, we’d be able to hole up in safety for years.

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Thomas Robins: The pull of family

Another guest post from the members of LOOW (the League of Extraordinary Woolwrights) – this time we’re visiting with Thomas Robins, the author of the popular SF novel Desperate to Escape – and someone who’s well educated on the subject of family!

20215748d8d60ad8986cef_L__V380644920_SX200_Carol Davis, friend and author extraordinaire, asked me to write a few words on the subject of family. I will do my best to contain myself, but I have written tens of thousands of words on the topic. I have two degrees in Family Studies
(bachelors and masters level degrees). I find the topic of family systems endlessly fascinating. When I talk about my area of study, I often hear this comment: “There’s no such thing as a functional family.” I beg to differ. There are a plethora of functional families, only none of them look the same.

5126maGf2SL__AA160_If I’m not careful, I’ll start regurgitating one of the lectures I used to give undergraduates in the intro class I taught years ago. Let me, instead, talk about how I conceptualize families in my writing. The thing I always try to keep in mind when I am developing characters is that we act in ways that sustain the system we are in, while desiring change as little as possible. Usually, a main character will undergo a transformation during the course of a novel, but those in his or her environment (including family) will work to regress the protagonist back to the norm so the friends and family can keep living the life they are used to (thereby avoiding change). The compelling story isn’t a main character who bests the bad guys, but the main character who can escape the pull of friends and family.