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Featured Cool Sci-Fi's 10 Questions With... James Fink, Author of Robot Soul

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Kevin, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Welcome to Cool SciFi's 10 Questions With...! In the days ahead we will be sitting down and talking with people from the sci-fi & fantasy genres to bring exclusively to you, our community members, some insight into the people behind the works that we all enjoy. If you have suggestion for future articles then let us know!

    For our first edition we are very happy to sit down with James Fink, author of the new novel Robot Soul.

    James is a Finance Manager who originally wanted to apply his sense of humor to television comedy but, thankfully for literary fans, he decided to take a different journey by writing a science fiction novel instead. James' writing started during his travel time on the commuter train as part of his daily transit. Motivated by the idea that someday he might be sitting on that same train next to a person reading a James Fink he was determined to put down on paper his ideas.


    Cool SciFi's 10 Questions With... James Fink, author of Robot Soul
    Kevin Wilkinson
    February, 2005


    Q 1. James, thank you for joining Cool SciFi today. The title Robot Soul sounds intriguing; what is it about?

    A. It is the year 2015, and household robots are as common as electrical appliances. The town will be shaken by an unforeseen incident, where one of the household robots commits a murderous act.


    Q 2. Where did the world portrayed in Robot Soul come from?

    A. The idea came after my daughter had bronchitis. The doctor was hesitating between a virus or just plain asthma. So he gave her a couple of pumps to help her breath properly. I guess it was bronchitis since she never used the pumps again. Then 1 week later my son couldn’t breathe properly to the point where he was hospitalized for 1 week. Again, the doctors were not sure (and never really knew) if it was an asthma attack or a virus. His pumps are also collecting dust in the medicine cabinet. Then people started to tell me their stories about their kids having asthma. It seemed that every kid in the neighborhood had a pump. I began to think about our future society. You see a lot of post nuclear stories in the scifi world but I thought that our society was slowly polluting itself into that kind of world rather than having just one bomb do the work.


    Q 3. What can you tell us about the world in which your characters live?

    A. I thought about the big cities being so over polluted that everyone was moving into the suburbs including the industrial world. I thought about this small and beautiful city full of life in the outskirts of Chicago being rundown by the former residents of the big city. My wife said it would be ironic if you called the city, with barely any sunshine nor vegetation, Greenview. I wrote about 200 pages on this society.


    Q 4. James, this is your first novel and you come from an accounting background. How did a first time writer with no experience get his first novel published?

    A. After I finished the 200 pages, I wasn’t sure what to do. I had a few friends read it and obviously they loved it. I started searching the Internet and found this website (www.guru.com). On this site, I could post my project to see the response I could get by the writing industry. The response was amazing. I got around 30 quotes in an hour. That’s where my publisher the Empty canoe was chosen (www.emptycanoe.com).


    Q 5. The shock & excitement of finding a publisher must have been incredible. How did you go from having a 200 page rough draft to a finished proof?

    A. Since it was my first attempt at a novel, I thought I would need a ghostwriter to complete the project (which The Empty Canoe could do) but instead I found a great teacher. Mike Canu , the publisher, reviewed my first draft, provided a detailed critique and advised me that I should write the novel on my own, rather than have it ghostwritten. With the publisher's guidance and suggestions, my draft doubled to the existing novel.


    Q 6. Where did the inspiration come from to writing your first novel?

    A. I found my inspiration on the commuter train. My ride from my house to work is about 30-35 minutes. I would show up twenty minutes before the train left and start writing on my laptop. My goal was about 3 pages a day and I could easily do that on the train. I watched the people around me and they became the physical traits of my characters. For the emotional state, I would imagine how the people around would interact if we lived in Greenview.


    Q 7. Obviously you're a fan of the genre. Who has inspired you?

    A. The creator of the X-files (Chris Carter) and other authors such as, John Irving and Stephen King.


    Q 8. Where can we find Robot Soul?

    A. It has just been released recently on the internet (Amazon and Barnes & Noble). You can take a glimpse of it on www.robotsoulthebook.com.


    Q 9. What advice do you give for other aspiring writers?

    A. My advice is, if you have a good idea, start by writing from the beginning to end, and if you are not finished writing, don't go back to the beginning because you will never finish. If you have a dream, go for it!


    Q 10. Going back to the origins of Robot Soul, how are your kids doing?

    A. My daughter is fine today but, after his sickness, my son started to show signs of autism. I’m not sure if the sickness was responsible but I’m sure the environment had something to do with it.


    James, thank you for time and spending a few minutes with us today. We wish you the best of luck with Robot Soul and look forward to your future works.



    James is an avid fan of the genre and, we are happy to say, is a member of the Cool SciFi community as well. Please be sure to check out Robot Soul and let James know what you think! ​


    You may contact James at his web site (http://www.RobotSoulTheBook.com), on Cool SciFi (jamfink), or by email (james.fink@amdocs.com ).
     
  2. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    Enjoyable reading-Its the first thing I read. I wasnt sure if it would be appropriate to reply on it.
    I hope you continue to explore this interview Idea.
    I would like to see some interviews with some phsyciatrists about the affects of SciFi and the Traits of those who enjoy it- It would be interesting to see how we're classed.
    Perhaps some interviews with publishing on the trending of SciFi and Fantasy as well
    Author interviews will be the best tho...And you already proved it. See why I like CoolSciFi so much!
     
  3. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Swkirlinator,

    Please feel free to respond to this article and all future ones. Feedback is important for future Q&A sessions so that way I don't go down one path when people are interested in a different one.

    Plus I think the Q&A guests wouldn't mind hearing feedback as well. In this case we're fortunate to have James as Cool SciFi community member so people have a chance to interact directly with a published author, a situation that doesn't occur often.

    I like your phsyciatrist idea. I'd be worried though if I ever subjected myself to a complete mental exam! :P
     
  4. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    Me 2 all three of me LOL
     
  5. Tim

    Tim Creative Writer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    England
    a neuropsychologist (over my physical sports related brain injury) made me go to a psychiatrist before, they didn't say to me why, just said "your problems are out of my depth, i know someone more highly trained that can help you deal with your problems"

    when i turned up and sat down, the psychiatrist observed me coming in and greeting her, then straight out said "that doctor sent you here believing you are suffering from a mental disease"

    well! nice ice breaker :) between the symptoms from my brain injury and some problems experienced in life, PTSD (from some incidents in the forces) and also the usual range of problems everyone experiences at some point (you experience, but dealing with them correctly is the crucial matter) she had a 45 minute conversation with me and then sent me away saying "you are suffering psychotic episodes from a physical brain injury, you are definitely sane, you have just lived more than virtually all people have, hence why the neuropsychologist thought you were insane. you are just you!"

    well, armed with my CT scans of my head and the letter with the psychiatrists stamp of approval on it "MrD is sane, signed some psychiatrist" i stepped forth once more into the world feuled up to take no more nonsense. anyone questions my sanity, i pull the letter out and say "prove you are sane, matey! bet you can't"

    i've studied the personal writings of many scifi authors and obviosuly without going to live with a varied choice of them in the same home, i can't be absolutely certain, but i firmly believe that scifi writers are not "normal" people. in our changing world i think more and more of them will find it hard outside the published and knowledgeable circles to interact with normal people. it must be a relief then for an aspiring writer to finally publish so he has the foundations of reasoning to defend himself when people don't understand him or his ways
     
  6. jamfink

    jamfink Scout

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Destructo,

    The reaction I got was more "I didn't know you had this in you". People don't realise how sick Scifi writers are before they actually read their work...
     
  7. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    That's pretty funny. :D
     
  8. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    Yeah, Its funny!!!LoL
     
  9. Tim

    Tim Creative Writer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    England
    So James, your friends and acquantences actually thought you were normal upto the point you showed them your creation?

    you hid that well :)
     
  10. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    That's funny too LOL!!!
     
  11. ICeMaN

    ICeMaN Scout

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Central NY
    Sounds like a good read, when is it ( or is it already) going to be in wide-spread release?
     
  12. jamfink

    jamfink Scout

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Not for a few months. You can get it on Amazon right now but the publisher is holding off on the full release until he is completely ready which I don't mind since I don't believe this is the best time of the year to release a book.
     

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