When did you start writing?
I learned to read and write at an early age before I attended school. I wrote stories about
butterflies and birds when I was five.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written. I would write stories, poetry, plays, and film scripts. All ended up in
storage box until I retired and I started writing in earnest. Somewhere in my adult life, someone
asked me about my hobbies and I said I was a writer. It was more of a surprise answer to me
than to the person.
Why did you start writing?
Because, it feels as much a part of me as eating or sleeping.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Approximately 12 months.
What genre do you write?
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I grew up on the Hardy Boys, Boxcar Children, Happy Hollisters, and any other mystery book I
could find. Later, as a teenager, I spent summers reading my way through the mystery section in
the local library.
What inspires you to write?
Anything. Something funny someone says, a person with distinctive features, a social injustice,
or just an idea that comes to me.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Write every chance I get. Early morning and late night seem to be the best times for me though.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I carry on conversations with my characters.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Until recently, I would have said, “no.” However, I am currently working on book #3 in a
murder mystery series and ideas came to a halt about three months. It feels like a sheer rock
bluff that I could not crawl over or go around. Ideas are just now flooding back in.
How do books get published?
Complicated answer and I’m not sure I understand though I have one published and one
scheduled for publication in November.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Google. Ideas come from everywhere. I listen and when I hear someone say something
significant, I write it down to include in a book. Example: Recently I was in a convenience
store and two women were talking. One says to the other, “When my son turned 21, he found a
bottle of tequila and a bitch to go with it and I ain’t seen him since.” I went home and typed that
line into my next book as quickly as I could.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I hate outlining and only do it sketchily when I’m nearing the end of a book and need to organize
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I still have a book I wrote in the second grade. The teacher typed the story, I illustrated it, and
she helped my put material over cardboard and secure it with refrigerator tape.
What do you like the most about writing?
It’s an extension of me and who I am.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Visit my sons, walk, work in my yard.
What does your family think of your writing?
They’re still not sure what to think.
What do your friends think of your writing?
Same as above.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I have imaginary friends that talk to me.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written four books, one published and one scheduled for publication in November 2015. I
wrote two books with a friend of mine and the first one, an adventure/mystery, is my favorite.
Those books are still in search of a publisher.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
2. Study books about writing and study about creativity.
3. Sit down. Write. In the words of that famous running shoe, “Just Do It.”
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, I do. They say funny things like “you kept me up all night,” and “I had a lot to get done and
I accomplished nothing because I spent all day reading your book.” In addition, I hear
compliments about my characters. People talk about how real they seem.
Do you like to create books for adults?
I just like to create books.
What do you think makes a good story?
Characters that draw you into their lives.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Second baseman for the New York Yankees. I was going to step in when Bobby Richardson
What does your protagonist think about you? Would he or she want to hang out with you,
the author, his or her creator?
He and I get along great. He’s intelligent and we talk things through a lot.
Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for
you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?
To develop a character that really works, the character must take the author to unexpected
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee, complicated
Coffee, black. I have a couple of cream and sugar kind of characters. Also, I have a character
that is emerging in the third book, she only drinks hot tea.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best
It’s hard to answer the question about criticism because I appreciate criticism so much. I’m not
going to get better unless my readers and the people who critique my books are brutal. I guess
the toughest criticism for me to take is something my publisher changed and I didn’t catch the
error. It’s an error only people knowledgeable about birds would know, and it was embarrassing.
Best compliment: I had a reader write to me that she had to keep reminding herself that my book
was a work of fiction and the characters were not real people. Second best compliment, and I’m
giving you the exact quote: “I’m 89 years old and been an avid reader all my life. This book is
the best book I’ve ever read.” Sure that’s probably hyperbole, but it made me feel good.
Is anything in your work based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Do you plan on making a career out of writing?
This is my second career and I’m having a blast.
What was the first book you’ve read that has stuck?
Tip. It was the first book I read. (Dick and Jane series. See Tip run.)
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or
as an adult?
To Kill a Mockingbird
Pride and Prejudice
What is your favorite type of book to read?
I like to read all kinds of books. Non-fiction: history, politics, about writing, about gardening,
and about nature. Fiction: mystery, romance, spy. Also, read poetry every day.
What was the last book you’ve read?
Salt by Mark Kurlansky
Who is your favorite Author?
Hard to pinpoint one favorite author though I love the way Lynn York develops characters.
Also, I like James Lee Burke’s books, especially what he does with setting. In addition, I like
the way Robert Parker writes tight dialogue. Tony Hillerman is certainly in the list of favorite
As an additional comment, it was Lynn York that taught me the most about writing. I learned
from her about understanding characters and how to let characters take over the telling of the
story. I tell her often that she was my Mentor Unawares.
What is currently on your to read list?
Go Set a Watchman
What do you listen to when you write?
KCSM, a public radio jazz station in San Mateo CA
What is your favorite music?
What is the most embarrassing song that you still like?
Firework by Katy Perry
What are your favorite movies/shows?
Movies: Casablanca and original The Day the Earth Stood Still (the 1951 version)
Among more recent movies, I loved Finding Forrester
Currently on television, I watch Castle and Big Bang Theory
Who is your favorite actor/actress?
Lauren Ambrose, who just signed for the new X Files series
What actor/actress would play you in a movie?
I don’t have an answer for this one.
What is your favorite quote?
“It was when I found I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.” ~ Ornette
What is your favorite candy?
What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Farm raised eggs, farm butter, locally grown vegetables, Amber Ale made by Fairhope Brewery,
assorted jars of pickles (several locally made on farms) and olives, spicy mustard
What superpower would suit you best?
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or
dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?
I can’t come up with an answer for this one.
Have you ever played patty cake?
Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and
when realizing it, just said screw it?
I walk my dog every morning just at daylight. Shirt’s often backwards or inside out or both
Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
Don’t see the point, but I do it anyway.
Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide?
Roaches, I kill. All others, I shoo out of the house. I don’t screech.
What is the weirdest thing your hands have unknowingly typed?
What is the first thing you notice about a significant other?
Eyes and face
Does that feature come out when you’re writing?
What is the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?
Too many to name
Is there anything unique about you that you’d like for us to know?
President Obama and I have a mutual friend.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you. I work alone and in obscurity and you actually like my work. Thank you. And, the
next book comes out November 7th. Please buy it.
I appear in a two part video series on Southern Bound Book Shop Facebook page. Go to their
Facebook page and click on videos. There I am, Bob Zeanah, Part 1 and Bob Zeanah, Part 2.
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