Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Interview with R. J. Sullivan.

Full Name:
Robert John Sullivan, writing as R.J. Sullivan.

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
R.J., Bob or Copybob in business circles.

Subic Naval Base, Philippine Islands. Father was active duty Navy, stationed here for two year duty at the time. Born on what is considered American soil so native born American.

Current hometown:
Camby, Indiana, near Mooresville, 10 miles south of downtown Indianapolis.

Favorite city and why?
Los Angeles (to visit). I'm a movie buff, and have visited twice. Never before seen 24 hour retail stores, and went shopping in a records store with shoulder-to-shoulder crowds at 2 am. Wild!
I could see how Los Angeles might be a bit of a culture shock to someone from Indianapolis.
Well, it's not the sticks that it's reputed to be, but even the most happening places slow down after midnight and most are closed by two. I mean...that's what people tell me.

Birthday / Age:
July 6, 1968 / 45

How would you describe yourself physically?
Tall, brown hair. Built for comfort, not speed, lol. I'm inactive, complicated by a foot injury that has led to challenges, so I've got a well-inflated spare tire.

How would someone else describe you physically?
Tall, large, maybe a bit intimidating until they get to know me (I hope).

The first thing people notice about you is…
If I'm standing, my height.
That’s three questions in a row you mentioned your height. How tall are you?
6'4".  And the best thing about getting older is no one asks me anymore if I play basketball. Ugh.
So, you don’t play basketball?

Hair Color / Eye Color / Race?
Brown, blue, Caucasian.

Sexual orientation?
Women / married with children, mostly harmless.

Religion, if any?
Christian, with, I hope, a practical approach.
What is a practical approach to Christianity?
Pro science, not judging or taking on a condemning attitude the way our Savior commanded us, doing enough research and study to know that Bible scriptures in context may not mean what some people who like to quote it think it means, making sure my children are raised knowing the potential dangers and joys of the world and not sheltering them from important facts. Not going ballistic during the holidays when someone offers me a well meaning and generally pleasant sentiment. And tipping well.
To apply your question to my craft, it's about not letting fear of judgment or condemnation from members of my faith keep me from using my stories to examine humankind as it is or how I see it really is, warts and all. If I get something wrong, it's because I haven't lived enough to get it right, not because I censored the message out of some guilt that our faith by definition is supposed to free us from but which many of its practitioners cling to anyway. Christianity might be the world's most ironic religion in that sense.
You lost me at “our Savior” but I’m glad it gives you solace. Sincerely I am.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
My superstitions are focused on the positive. If something is working, I keep doing it. Like Bull Durham "you have to respect the streak." If I write the most words in a day after kissing a stuffed crow, then I'll kiss that crow every day, lol.

Do you smoke/drink?   If so, what?   Any bad habits?
Social drinker. I tend only to indulge at conventions / around other writers. I'm a bit of a junk food junkie, a lifetime habit I've had to curb and am not always successful at that.

Current occupation / Dream job:
I write day and night. I am a business writer as well as a novelist. ( If I could keep doing what I'm doing, maybe with more pay, it would be the dream situation. But then does anyone think they have enough money?

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Expose my kids to genre fiction in all its forms, the three nerds-in-the-making. Currently I'm reading them Harry Potter.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
We'd be screwed.
We probably would. I just know that I daydream about the arrival of the inevitable zombie apocalypse and I figure other like-minded people probably do too, so it’s a decent question to ask, if for no other reason, than to pick up pointers if someone’s plan is better than mine.
I guess I don't give it a lot of thought because I haven't gone for the whole "zombie thing." I'm a Val Lewton fanatic, so one of my favorite films is I Walk With a Zombie, but that's not really the same sort of thing. I also enjoy Night of the Living Dead, but that's about it. I'm more of a vampire person, lol.
Did you know that Night of the Living Dead was a loose adaption of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend designed to avoid having to option the rights?
No, but these days we have plenty of adaptations of that to go around.

Weapon of choice:
I handled a crossbow on a target range only once and bullseyed the target both times I shot with it. If I can do that, it's a pretty easy and deadly weapon to master.

Do you have any special skills?
My business writing involves marketing and advertising, which has been quite handy on the fiction promotion side of things.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
Yes, I received a BA in Creative Writing from IU.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
I went to school on the Mom and Pop Scholarship.

Any pets? If so, what are they and what are their names?
Mrs. R.J. is allergic, so no.

What is your favorite animal?
I love cats but I love my wife more.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Misuse of the word "literally."
I literally want to murder people who use literally when they mean figuratively.
My pastor once talked about how he "got a literal tongue lashing from the old ladies" after a sermon. There's not enough "eww"s.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
You can't go wrong with Italian food and chocolate. Hate the aroma of steamed broccoli, which ironically is my oldest daughter's favorite food.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
After my wedding and the birth of my three kids, probably meeting my hero Cyndi Lauper.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
A foot injury almost a decade ago has continued to cause problems to this day.
What is this mysterious foot injury? Is there a story worth telling?
I developed neuropathy in the early 90s. Gradually I went numb from the ankles down. It was caused by undiagnosed circumstances that was not diabetes. At least not at that time. Eventually it led to stepping on something I didn't feel and I was blissfully unaware of. Then Mrs. RJ said "You're trailing blood on the carpet." Not understanding the extreme danger of that sort of thing, I slapped on some disinfectant and a band aid. Two days later the entire leg was swollen and red. That's when I was told that when a body feels no pain, it doesn’t know to send out proper defenses to fight infection, and that can lead to very bad things. Shortly after, babying the one cut caused a matching cut on the other foot.  To summarize a five year history, many infections and surgeries ensued, truly more than I remember. Here's a fun fact, I have caught and fought off, several times now, a specific infection science had no antibiotic for until 2001. I try not to dwell on that fact too much. Eventually I lost my toes, which oddly enough stabilized the situation and the wound sites closed. I am still in danger of reoccurrences, though so far those have been very minor since then. For the past three years I take life a bit slower. I can't walk long distances, so I pick and choose my conventions or make other arrangements to prevent problems. At FandomFest last year I challenged some friendships and they came through like troopers because the convention center was three blocks from the hotel and John F Allen and Eric Garrison (please link their websites to and pushed me back and forth in a wheelchair through outside sidewalk construction and oblivious crowds (and a path we swear was uphill both ways) all weekend to spare me from walking it.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Yes and yes, but no I won't tell it.

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Yes and probably, but no I won't tell that one, either.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
That novel coming in 2016. It's going to be a doozy. Spoilers.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Unfortunately, that novel in 2015 is coming first.

What do you do?
I am a self-employed business writer in an area made up of two small towns and several more even tinier towns. I write for a local magazine and offer marketing services to area businesses.

How did you get started doing what you do?
I was forced out of full time advertising following a series of business buyouts and after a few years of underemployment and the injury which sort of set up the opportunity or drove me to going into business for myself, depending on how you look at it.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Moonlight as long as you can and build up a client base before you take the plunge full-time.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past? Give us a little history if you will.

I have a trilogy of paranormal thrillers: Haunting Blue, Haunting Obsession, and Virtual Blue. The first and third are direct sequels, book two is also loosely connected. Virtual Blue is my latest release, Haunting Blue will be temporarily out of print soon, and then re-released. At that point all three titles will be out under Seventh Star Press. I have had several short stories published; highlights include a story in Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books, and Robot Vampire, a story in VAMPIRES DON'T SPARKLE edited by Michael West. My current project is a series of science fiction spaceship e-book novelettes called the Red Lotus series, telling the misadventures of a crew of space miners struggling to keep their dilapidated vessel together just a bit longer.

What projects are you working on now?
The Red Lotus stories. Link to.

What are you watching?

I watch a lot of genre TV and movies. My favorite shows at the moment are Black Orchid and Avatar the Legend or Korra.

What are you listening to?
I like the new Paramore release quite a bit.

What are you reading?
Peer author Eric Garrison's Four 'Til Late.

Favorite author / book?
Isaac Asimov, the Foundation Trilogy.

Favorite band / song?
All-time The Beatles and I can't pick one, contemporary to me, Journey Open Arms, today, not attached to one, I like Paramore, Florence and the Machine and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, I am also well-known for my Cyndi Lauper fixation. Don't judge.

I told the whole Cyndi Lauper story here, it's quite a story.

Least favorite band / song?
I never ever understood the whole Nirvana thing.
It was a time and place thing. I recently downloaded and revisited the Nirvana catalogue and I couldn’t remember what I used to see, or, in this case, hear, in them.

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.
FB Author page:
FB Fan group:
Twitter: @rjsullivanauthr
For more:

About the Interviewee:
R. J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press released Haunting Obsession a Rebecca Burton Novella in 2012 and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale, in 2013. Seventh Star will release a new edition of Haunting Blue in early 2014. R. J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don't Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes for readers of all ages. R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre has probably read everything you've read and can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces Electronic Music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
Check his author profile at:
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his videos at:
Check out his IMDB profile here:
Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here:
Check out his Etsy here:
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at:
E-mail him at:

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