Interview with Robin Sutton
Ambrosia, Weapons Underworld
The Robin’s Nest Books (2009)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/10)
Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is pleased to interview Robin Sutton, who is here to talk about her new book “Ambrosia, Weapons Underworld.”
Robin Sutton grew up in the military, moving from place to place throughout the U.S. Today, she lives in Forth Worth, Texas. Growing up, she wanted to be an actress and would write scripts, but that changed when she met Walt (Big Walt) Anderson of Milk and Honey Publishing. Her first book, “The Princess and The Rose,” was published in 2001. In 2004 she self-published her second book “My Heart Forever.” In 2009, she published her first science fiction novel “Ambrosia, Weapons Underworld.” She is currently working on another science fiction series. In 2003, she started The Robin’s Nest Books, a place where small or self-published authors can sell their books. In 2011, she plans to publish “Pirate Princess.”
Tyler: Welcome, Robin. I’m excited to talk to you today. First of all, I understand “Ambrosia, Weapons Underworld” is about Atlantis? What made you interested in writing about the famous lost continent?
Robin: I’m excited to speak with you as well about my new book. I’ve always been fascinated by Atlantis and I believe it did exist. Some think it’s just a made up story by Plato; I don’t. Every culture has stories that have been passed down and probably changed a little over time, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. When I see how advanced the Romans, the Egyptians and Mayans were, I’m amazed. They have so much in common with their advances that it makes me think they were influenced by their ancestors. We know it took Europe a couple of hundred years to start to advance, so where did these ideas come from? I also think Atlantis was lost when the ice melted and flooded the planet, hiding a great many places we only know now in stories. I could go on and on but that would be a book in itself.
Tyler: Will you explain to us what the title refers to?
Robin: “Ambrosia” is the main underwater city that is talked about. I had heard the name somewhere and thought it fit. It sounds beautiful and mysterious. “Weapons Underworld” gives a clue as to what the book is about and sets it apart from any of the future ones I write in this series.
Tyler: Tell us about the main character, Helena. What about her do you think will make her appealing to readers?
Robin: I hope people do find her appealing. I like to write about strong women but also show they are vulnerable to their emotions. I also think many readers will relate to the conflict Helena has with wanting to hate and get away from Matthew, and then how Helena finds herself falling in love with Matthew and not caring what he is doing. She has to decide what is more important and what she can control.
Tyler: And what about Matthew? Did you have any difficulty creating a villain?
Robin: No, villains aren’t hard. The hard part is how far you want to take them. Matthew likes to be in control, but he also likes a challenge, which is why he falls in love with Helena. He also shows her a part of herself she didn’t know was there. I’ve had to do some re-writes on the advice of a few and changed up Matthew’s character a bit. The reader might start to wonder who the villain really is.
Tyler: Why has Ambrosia been kept a secret from the rest of the world all this time, and why does Matthew want to reveal its existence?
Robin: Just imagine if it were exposed; how would we react if there really were a city hiding under the water? How would we treat the people of Ambrosia? We can’t treat each other nicely so why would the people of Ambrosia think we would treat them any differently? Matthew doesn’t feel there is a problem interacting with the “land dwellers.” The two worlds would be changed forever and Ambrosia would lose much of the technology. It would be flooded with people wanting to see and know everything about it. The citizens would be harassed about their swimming. Neither Ambrosia nor the “land dwellers” are ready for that.
Tyler: Will you tell us a little about that special technology Ambrosia has? Does it make the Ambrosians considerably more advanced than the rest of the world?
Robin: Their weapons use a special laser wave. They are able to use it anywhere, including underwater. Their vehicles are another special technology; they don’t use wheels; they seem to hover and fly. They also have transports that can move under water like a sub as well as above water like a boat.
Tyler: What came first to you, the idea of writing about Atlantis or the Bermuda Triangle, and did you have an “Aha!” moment when you decided you could tie the two together?
Robin: Atlantis. The theory I have that Atlantis was part of the Caribbean islands came later. The research I’ve done and from other things I’ve seen I believe it was in that area. The reason I put Ambrosia there is the way things disappear in the Bermuda Triangle. I thought if a city underwater wanted to hide, that would be the best place.
Tyler: Will you tell us about Kevin and what his role is in the novel?
Robin: Kevin brings two things, one is that some “land dwellers” can be trusted; two that “land dwellers” tend to assume they know what is best for someone else, especially those who are different. Helena finds Kevin fascinating but also knows she can’t trust him. Kevin wants to protect Helena but would love to take some of her world and use it in his. It also shows how Helena was taught how they could be used by the “land dwellers” and she finds herself using Kevin. It shows what hypocrites we can be.
Tyler: How do Kevin and Helena meet?
Robin: When Kevin is injured from the sub attack, Helena happens to be in the area and saves him as well as a few others. They get to know each other while he is in Ambrosia getting treated for his injuries.
Tyler: Once Kevin travels to Ambrosia, how is he able to function as a human underwater, and for that matter, how do Helena and the others in Ambrosia function—are they still human or have they really evolved into mermaids, or is that just a misunderstanding by the people dwelling on land?
Robin: They live in an air bubble just as we live on land. Just as animals and humans have evolved over time to adjust to their surroundings so have the people of Ambrosia. You could say they are part human and part fish. Over time they have adapted to their surroundings so they are able to swim in the water or walk on land. I tried to take the world of fantasy, imagination, and ask whether they could possibly be real.
Tyler: What do you find most difficult about creating a fantasy world?
Robin: When creating a fantasy world, you don’t want to make it too “corny or stupid.” If you do, who will take you seriously?
Tyler: What do you most enjoy about creating a fantasy world?
Robin: What I enjoy the most is you are only limited by your imagination. You put whatever box people talk about away in the closet and let the universe be your think box.
Tyler: What reactions have you received from your readers about “Ambrosia, Weapons Underground” so far?
Robin: They like the idea of a lost city of Atlantis hiding under the water. They also like that the people can swim under water as well as walk.
Tyler: Why do you think fantasy appeals to your readers beyond stories of real life?
Robin: Many people read to get away from real life. They want to be taken somewhere else. Movies do the same thing but you are watching someone else’s interpretation. With a book you interpret the story and how it looks.
Tyler: Robin, will you tell us about some of your previous novels?
Robin: I’ve published two of them, “The Princess and The Rose” and “My Heart Forever.” They are both fairy tale type romance novels. These novels are different in that they keep you guessing until the end as to what will happen. I also push the limits and break some rules. What I mean by this is I put a little real life in it. It makes the reader ask, could this have happened? I think people get tired of the same old, same old style and story lines; I know I have. I don’t want the reader to know the end of the story half way through it. Then you pick up that writer’s next book; same story just different people. It’s no fun if you know the ending before you start reading.
Tyler: What made you decide to turn to writing science fiction with “Ambrosia, Weapons Underworld” and do you prefer fantasy or science fiction?
Robin: Just like all my books an idea comes to me and I write about it. That’s what I love about self-publishing—I can write what I want. I’ve been working on another series of science fiction about a family in another galaxy. The family is torn apart by war and their ancestry only to come together later and bring the glory of their family back. I’ve also got ideas for other non-fiction books that are not science fiction as well.
Tyler: Beyond self-publishing your own books, you’ve created your own company The Robin’s Nest to help other writers get their work noticed. Will you tell us a little about your company and how it works?
Robin: When I started out there wasn’t much of anything out there to help someone who wasn’t with a big publisher. I went to a romance writers meeting once and found it informative. The writers were snobs, told me the rules of writing romance, (I had broken two of the three rules in my first book) and they were told pretty much what to write. I want to give people who want to be in control of their writing advice I didn’t have.
Tyler: Robin, I mentioned when I first introduced you that you’re working on your next book, “Pirate Princess.” Will you tell us a little about what it will be about and when in 2011 we can expect it to be published?
Robin: I’m working on that and still hope to have something released next year. The title has changed to “The Gypsy Queen.” I’ve decided to change it up a bit from the first version I started. It’s the story of pirate and a gypsy who come together and then are torn apart. I want to have some fun with this one.
Tyler: Thank you for the opportunity to interview you today, Robin. Before we go, will you tell us about your website and what additional information can be found there about “Ambrosia, Weapons Underworld”?
Robin: My site, The Robins Nest Books, has my previous novels along with books by other self-published authors. I will also be adding information and resources for others who want to self-publish. You can find reviews and where to buy “Ambrosia, Weapons Underworld” there as well.
Tyler: Thank you again, Robin, for the interview. I wish you much luck and fun in continuing to create your fictional worlds.