Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: Spotlight on Michael Robertson's Regret (writing as Dan Dawkins)

Oh what a tangled web we weave...this is a good way to describe Michael Robertson's novel Regret. What initially attracted me (besides the fact that it was nicely formatted and easy to read) was the use of language throughout the novel. He does a great job of turning a phrase. I also enjoyed many of the chapter endings and thought he did a good job of creating a hook that makes the reader want to keep reading. Here's an example of that:

"It was only a few hours after this that I awakened naked in Jenna's hotel, her body pressed against mine, under the sheets of the bed, and had then been propelled into the unbelievable and despair-filled horror that would become the rest of my life."

A lot of books these days are predictable, but not this one. There were twists and turns that I didn't see coming, and I can usually guess what's going to happen next, so I really enjoyed the suprise that came with not knowing what to expect.

The novel is well written and well thought out, and I highly recommend it. And you can get it for .99 right now on the KINDLE and the NOOK.


1. Tell me about yourself, how you became to be a writer, and why you are a writer.

Before you can even begin to write, you have to read—A lot! I was fortunate enough to have a mother who loved to read and did her best to pass the fascination with books onto me. She didn’t have to try very hard. From since I can remember I’ve always had a book by my side. I wrote a few stories when I was young, and enjoyed it, but didn’t really start and try my hand at seriously writing fiction until I was about 20. I’ve written two novels since then, but only published the second one, Regret.

2. Tell me about your book – what inspired it?

Regret is about a young author named Dan Dawkins who, just as all the pieces of his life begin to fit together, experiences a great tragedy, for which he blames nobody but himself…at first. As he tries to outrun his past he begins to become less and less stable, eventually adopting the persona of a character he’d written about. A character that isn’t so nice. The new Dan begins to think of revenge instead of guilt, and the outcome is pretty shocking. The story itself is a first-hand account told by Dan, detailing everything that happened, and offering up and explanation. This is why I published the book under Dan’s name, since it really is his story.

As far as inspiration, it’s hard to say. Regret is a classic case of the characters doing things that the writer didn’t expect. When I started writing the book the plot was a good bit different than the final product. Somewhere around the first 100 pages the story completely changed (for the better) and I never looked back.

3. What’s your favorite chapter in your book, and why?

A few of my favorites I can’t talk about because I don’t want to give anything away. But, I really enjoy the chapter where Dan spends his first night at The Sanderson Homestead. It’s where he meets Ralph, who some of my readers tell me is their favorite character in the book, and it was a lot of fun to write, bringing Ralph to life in that chapter.

4. How did you choose the title of the book?

I wrote the entire book without a title. Then I did all my edits without a title. The title is literally the last thing that I figured out with this book and ultimately settled on Regret because in the end regret is just about all Dan Dawkins had left.

5. How long does it take you to write a book, and what’s your daily writing schedule?

Regret took me a little over a year from first day of writing to final draft. Since I work my full-time job and at the end of the day just don’t always have the motivation to sit back down at the keyboard, to say that I have a writing “schedule” would be a lie. I simply wrote when time would allow and I felt that I was focused enough to do so. Sometimes this would mean starting to write at 9PM and go till midnight, sometimes it meant getting up at 5am and writing till it was time to go to work. Sometimes it meant actually writing at work (Shhh, don’t tell my boss). The most important thing, though, is that I wrote it. And that’s what matters.

6. What made you choose your particular genre?

They say that writers tend to write what they know, and what they themselves enjoy reading. Horror, suspense, and thrillers are my favorite genres, and really all I can ever imagine myself writing. I’ve written a couple short stories that don’t really fall into these categories, but they were simply ideas that wouldn’t go away.

7. Are you working on another book now – if so, what would you like to tell the readers about it?

Well, I have a collection of short stories and one novelette coming out in May called The Teachers’ Lounge, also being published as Dan Dawkins (readers of Regret will understand), and after that I’m going to start focusing on my newest novel. I don’t have a title yet (of course) but it will be a more supernatural tale compared to Regret, full of mystery and tension. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

8. Where can you be found on the internet?




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