Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Robert Kroese?
I relate strongly to a character in my Mercury books, Ederatz. Ederatz is an angel who has been assigned by the Heavenly bureaucracy to observe and report on human civilization. That’s me: an oddball from another plane of existence doing my best to make sense of humanity.
Your new novel, The Big Sheep, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in June. It looks rather interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?
I describe The Big Sheep as “Sherlock meets Blade Runner.” The book is near future scifi mystery that centers on a brilliant but unconventional detective’s search for a genetically altered sheep that’s on the loose in Los Angeles. And yes, it’s (hopefully) as bizarre and unpredictable as it sounds.
What inspired you to write the novel? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
I’m a huge fan of the movie Blade Runner and the book it was based on, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and I also really enjoy noir crime fiction and movies like The Big Sleep. I’d been toying with doing a near-future noirish mystery novel for a while, and when the title The Big Sheep popped into my head, I knew I had to write this book.
How were you introduced to genre fiction?
Star Wars came out when I was seven, and that had a huge impact on me. I wrote my first science fiction story in second grade. When I was nine, my dad gave me a copy of Robert Heinlein’s Red Planet, and I was immediately hooked on scifi. Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy made me want to be a writer, and Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series made me think I could do it.
How do you like being a writer and working within the publishing industry?
Well, it’s not easy, but there’s a definite satisfaction in doing what you feel like you were put on Earth to do. Keeping up with the changes in the publishing industry can be a challenge, but the flip side of that is that authors now have more options than ever.
Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?
Read a lot. Write a lot. Repeat.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?
I think I jumped the gun by answering this one a few questions ago. And yes, I still have fond memories of my story about Captain Bill and his spaceship Thee Eagle (I thought “thee” was a more formal way of saying “the”).
What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?
I’m not even sure what genre I fit into, and that’s part of the problem. My work spans science fiction, fantasy, humor and mystery, and it’s definitely a challenge trying to market my books to new readers. That said, I’ve got a core group of fans who seem to love my books no matter what genre conventions I flout, so I keep at it.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline, and what are you working on at the moment?
I just finished the fifth and final book in my Mercury series, Mercury Shrugs. Right now I’m working on the sequel to The Big Sheep, called The Last Iota.
What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?
I can’t really read and write at the same time, and right now I’m on a writing binge. I’ve got a couple dozen novels on my Kindle that I’m really hoping to get to in the next few weeks, mostly science fiction. I’m also hoping to do some research on past lives, other dimensions, and various other wacky topics.
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
People seem to be surprised to learn that I’m a politically conservative/libertarian Christian. And by “surprised,” I mean “appalled.”
What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?
Having time to read!
Robert Kroese’s The Big Sheep is due to be published by St. Martin’s Press, on June 28th, 2016. He is also the author of the Land of Dis series (Disenchanted, Distopia, Disillusioned — published by 47 North), and the Mercury Series (Mercury Begins, Mercury Falls, Mercury Swings, Mercury Rises, Mercury Rests, Mercury Revolts, and the upcoming Mercury Shrugs), and Starship Grifters.