Friday, May 20, 2011

I Need Friends Friday: Robison Wells

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's INFF guest is Robison Wells, author of the upcoming Young Adult novel, Variant, touted as "a modern-day Lord of the Flies." Personally, I like to think of Rob as "a modern day Lord of the Dance"--he can Dougie with the best of them.
Rob (it would feel weird to call him Robison, even though that's his name and the name he writes under and, way back in the day the first time I emailed him but hadn't met him yet, I addressed the email to "Mr. Wells" and the next one to "Robison." But I digress.) is a talented writer, one of my seven favorite members of my critique group and a generally great person. Variant has received fantastic press, including a great review from Kirkus. It is available for pre-order on Amazon.
And (wow, this is the longest intro EVER): He is currently running an amazing contest on his blog--he's giving away (5) $25 Amazon gift cards and a Kindle, preloaded with his fav 5 YA books. Entering is easy! Go check it out. Need the link again? Here you go: Click Here for the Robison Wells Amazing Contest
Find him on the web at and on twitter at: @robisonwells and over at The Appendix Podcast (yup, my Appendix Podcast: I let him share some of the glory).

SME: Welcome to INFF.

Robison Wells: Bueno!

SME: Hola. (We're being bilingual, right?)

Robison Wells: Taco! Crepe! I'm out.

SME: Frankfurter

Robison Wells: I have no response to that. Which will be the #1 response to most of your questions.

SME: Fantastic. Barbara Walters makes people cry. I leave them speechless.

Robison Wells: I don't like that I can't see if you're typing or not. It makes me wonder if I should be performing, or if I'm waiting for you.

SME: The pressure's on, punk. Keep the zingers comin.

Robison Wells: If there's ever a long pause from me, assume I'm playing video games.

SME: Any video game in particular?

Robison Wells: Are you kidding? I don't play video games! I write books! And I work hard!
But either Call of Duty, Blood Bowl, or Battlefield 2: Bad Company.

SME: This is a glimpse into your "research" that, frankly, kind of frightens me. I do my research at this place called a library.

Robison Wells: I write YA. I have to do what the teens do. I also hang out at the mall, and write angsty poetry, and ask my mom for money.

SME: I need to write about rich people, then I can do all the things rich people do.

Robison Wells: You write regencies. I assume you go to a lot of balls?

SME: And go for carriage rides. And contract communicable diseases for which there is not yet a vaccine.

Robison Wells: They don't get communicable diseases. They die of bad news.
Seriously: Austen, ****ens, Brontes: whenever someone gets bad news, they get sick and die.

*Note: The content filter on my chat box inserts 4 asterisks when it detects a word that might be objectionable.*

Robison Wells: HA! Charles ****ens
****ens ****ens ****ens
That's fantastic.

SME: heeheehee

Robison Wells: This interview has taken a turn for the blue. Maybe this kind of **** is fine in a regency, but I write for kids.

SME: Wow. This is the best interview. EVER.

Robison Wells: I have to agree. Best ****** interview ever.
Oops. Only typed in six asterisks. I wonder what word that is.
Let's think of all the bad words we know.

SME: I know quite a few Regency-era bad words, but I doubt the filter would recognize them.
Now that we have established your propensity for using semi-questionable language, what other deep-seeded character flaws are you hiding from the world?

Robison Wells: Laziness. My editor emailed this morning to kick me in the butt and ask where the next book is. I think she's getting antsy about my slothfulness.

SME: You mean you didn't mention that in your original query letter?

Robison Wells: My original query letter has been unfairly maligned. Everyone (even my agent) remembers it just being "Hi, my brother is Dan Wells. Can you be my agent, too?"
But it was better than that. Well, longer than that. Not much better.

SME: My query letter goes something like this, "Hi. I know Dan Wells' brother. Can you be my agent, too?"

Robison Wells: Is this interview about me or about that hack, Dan Wells??? I hate him.

SME: So if I asked you who your favorite brother is, what would your answer be?

Robison Wells: Brother Bear, from Hollywood's Brother Bear. Followed by Brother Brigham (and his gold)

SME: Perhaps Big Brother?

Robison Wells: Yes, but the dictator, not the TV show. I mean, you have to draw the line.

SME: Absolutely. Now that we've put Dan in his place, let's put someone else in their place. Tell me honestly. Who's your favorite co-host of The Appendix?

Robison Wells: Well, of the three of us, I'm obviously the best.

SME: And second place goes to....???

Robison Wells: Our guests

SME: Dang. Third place?

Robison Wells: The microphone

SME: ********

Robison Wells: Followed by, I guess, you. Marion's in last place.

SME: Take that, Marion Jensen!!

Robison Wells: (But last of all the game!) Also: it's opposite day.
Maybe I should write for a younger groups of kids than teens.

SME: Yah. Opposite Day was really popular when I was like 5.

Robison Wells: By which you mean it wasn't popular when you were five? I hate your logic puzzles!

SME: If you did actual research, logic puzzles would be so much easier.

Robison Wells: I do actual research. For example, for this book I totally Googled some things. I don't remember what.

SME: *sigh* You make me sad.

Robison Wells: I watched YouTube videos about paintball

SME: It's a good thing I'm around to make our profession respectable.

Robison Wells: And, after the book was accepted and being revised, we discovered that a crucial paintball-related plot element was physically impossible and I had to make big changes.
So: Research. After the fact.

SME: But research, nonetheless. I am inexplicably proud of you in this moment.

Robison Wells: I didn't go to a library, though. I think it was watching a video of a guy in his backyard shooting paintballs at a broken ping-pong table.
So, yeah, pretty respectable.
(The plot point, by the way: contrary to popular opinion, it's impossible to freeze paintballs and turn them into makeshift bullets.)

SME: There goes my plans for the weekend.

Robison Wells: So, now the book gives step-by-step instructions about how to make pepper spray out of household materials. A recipe I also got from YouTube, come to think of it. Gosh, research is great.

SME: Niiice. When does this book come out, because I know I have readers who need this information!

Robison Wells: October 18. Or you could Google it. But buying my book is better.

SME: "Buy my book." --Robison Wells
I'm going to quote you on that.

Robison Wells: How about "Buy my book, *******."

SME: Even better.

Robison Wells: What was really lacking from that pepper spray video is characterization.

SME: And I bet it was just horribly info-dumpy.

Robison Wells: Oh, yeah. It was all tell, tell, tell.

SME: Probably too heavy on dialogue.
I have a very important question for you.

Robison Wells: Hit me.

SME: What's your favorite continent?

Robison Wells: Oooh, good question.
I mean, Europe's great and all, because that's where almost all of my foreign rights have sold. We're in 8 languages now, baby!
Like how I got the plug in during an unrelated question? That's SALESMANSHIP.

SME: So continents can buy your love, is that what you're saying?

Robison Wells: Africa's fine, I guess.
South America: meh.

SME: Harsh.

Robison Wells: And don't even get me started about Antartica! Sheesh
I'm going to have to go with the lost continent of Atlantis. It's pretty terrific.
Australia, Asia, North America: talk to me when you're lost, sunken and mysterious.

SME: You are the very first interviewee to choose Atlantis. I don't know if that makes you really cool or really lame.

Robison Wells: Really cool.

SME: I think we'll leave that for the readers to decide in the comments.
Let's see... we've plugged your book, insulted your brother, mentioned the podcast. What else is there to cover?

Robison Wells: My charm and good looks? Both: pretty terrific.

SME: And we've made a trip into the world of Rob's ego. Also important.

Robison Wells: Covering all the bases.

SME: I am nothing if not a very thorough interviewer.

Robison Wells: "I interviewed with Sarah Eden, and I covered all the bases." --Rob Wells

SME: Another quote? Not sure I'm going to use that one.

Robison Wells: That's censorship.

SME: Deal with it.

Robison Wells: Dealt.

SME: While we're on the subject of horrible things: Why am I not mentioned first in the acknowledgments of Variant?

Robison Wells: Were you in the writing group when we read it? I honestly don't remember. You could tell me you were an important beta reader and I'd believe you and get you added.

SME: Oh I did absolutely nothing to earn a shout out, but I want one anyway.

"I interviewed with Sarah Eden, and she exploited my largesse." --Rob Wells

SME: Also not using that quote.

Robison Wells: I want you to know that I'm laughing myself silly over here.

SME: "I interviewed Rob Wells and he laughed himself silly." --Sarah Eden

Robison Wells: It doesn't have the same ring.

SME: No. No it doesn't.
Perhaps we should just move right to the "Sarah reveals her portrait of Rob" part of the interview

Robison Wells: I'm excited.

*draws a portrait so amazing that Rob, frankly, doesn't deserve *

SME: I think you look like a redheaded hobo. Or the young Santa Clause in that claymation Christmas special that Mickey Rooney did.

Robison Wells: I think I look like I'm naked and only wearing shoes.

SME: Did you notice they are running shoes? Not because I think you ever wear them, but because the kids on your book cover are wearing them.

Robison: Also: I look inebriated.
What kind of interview is this?

SME: What kind of interview? Did you not notice all the ****** in it?

Robison Wells: So, here's a question:
In that picture I have no hands, just stumps. Is that also the case with my feet? If so, how do the shoes stay on? Are they only on because I'm standing inside them (ie, they'd fall off if I tried to walk)?
I guess the question is: did I lose my hands in an accident? Or do I not have appendages at all? Because, either way, horror show.

SME: It's meant to be artsy, Rob. No one ever complained to Picasso about their portraits.

Robison Wells: Picasso never painted MY portrait.

SME: Lucky him.

Robison Wells: He would have heard complaining to put his ear back on his head.

SME: That's Van Gogh, you oaf.

Robison Wells: Same person!

SME: Dude.

Robison Wells: Picasso Van Gogh. He's very famous. Surprised you haven't heard of him.

SME: I think I read about him on Wikipedia.

Robison Wells: Maybe your lack of art history knowledge is why your portraits are so "artsy".

SME: Since you obviously have no taste for fine art, we'd best just move on.

Robison Wells: Fine then.

SME: Final question of the interview: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Robison Wells: #1 Because there was more swearing in this one.
#2 Because I'm sitting in my pajamas eating mini-donuts while I'm being interviewed.
#3 Because I've never been asked about my favorite continent before. Honestly, what are those other interviewers even THINKING! Am I not a man?
#4 Because I'm glad the hierarchy of importance in Appendix hosts has been officially put on the public record. About time.
#5 Because you should go buy my book. (What do you mean that's not a reason? Want to fight?)

SME: "Buy my book." --Robison Wells. I said I would use that as your quote.

Robison Wells: Perfect

SME: The Appendix always ends with a listener challenge. We'll end this interview with a reader question: Is Rob really cool or really lame?
Well, thanks for being on I Need Friends Friday.

Robison Wells: I hope this interview worked. I was much more flippant than usual.

SME: Really? I didn't notice.

Robison Wells: Oh, stop.
I could go back and re-answer being more professional.

SME: There is nothing about this interview that is supposed to be professional.

Robison Wells: "Oh, I think that literacy is important for the youth of America and blah blah blah."

SME: We'll end on that quote (not that I think it'll fool anyone).

Robison Wells: Deal. Thanks! I'm excited to see how stupid I look.

SME: You'll probably look really stupid.

Robison Wells: Perfect

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!


Krista said...

Thanks for the morning laugh! Out loud. By myself. The portrait part was the best. And the largesse.

Awesome. Rob is cool. Sarah, you earned chocolate.

Robison said...

Thanks, Sarah! This was, by the far, the most ******* ******* interview I've ever ******* given. (***** ** ***!)

Ben said...

Sarah! Best interview ever, I agree that that was the best **** interview ever.

Carrie Dair said...


Lesli Muir Lytle said...

Asterisks and Atlanta were my favs. And now I have a hankering for new pajamas and little donuts.

I so need help with my Rob-Envy.

Someone, please, be more amazing than Rob. Hurry!

Stephanie Black said...

Totally. Awesome. Interview.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

That was quite possibly the funniest interview I've ever read. Great job, Sarah! :)

T.J. said...

Best ******* interview ever. Even better than mine (which was hard to top.)

Answer: Really lame largesse. (Oh, largesse doesn't mean what I'm thinking it means here, does it?)

Melanie Jacobson said...

Not to be rude, but I think there's probably something very wrong with both of you.

Annette Lyon said...

I'll never look at asterisks the same again. Or my copy of David Copperfield.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I like Rob's stubble in the picture.

Christy said...

I'm doing a belly laugh here. Why are you two so funny? And why am I suddenly craving chocolate donuts?

Robin Weeks said...

Laughing so hard.

Shanda said...

Hubby and I just laughed our ***** off. Great, now our Friday night is ruined. Nothing could possibly entertain us tonight as much as this interview. :)

Also, I have this overwhelming urge to buy his book.

Jewel said...

I say really lame, but that's just because Rob sounds like he has an overabundance of self-esteem and needs to be taken down a notch or two. :)

Terry W. Ervin II said...

Atlantis is a cool choice. I think it sank because they were too busy playing video games instead of researching earthquakes and tsunamis at the library. :)

Cluttered Brain said...

Best ****** interview Ever.
Robison (hee-hee) is hilarious.
So for the interview did you just email each other back and forth?
Love it!
and the DAn Wells hack jokes were funny. Not true but funny just the same.
(Do is sense a bit of jealousy cuz Rob can't write good horror?)


Sarah M Eden said...

Good question, Cluttered Brain. The interview is done in a chatbox, so everything is in real time and completely off the cuff. Extremely fun!

Angie said...

LOL. I'm going to go with really cool.

Jennifer said...

No portrait of Rob is complete without a grass skirt.

Don said...

Very awesome interview. And it's pretty clear Rob already has a nemesis that he's feuding with. That they share the same last name should make the barbs even more newsworthy.

Dan said...

Whether or not you think you're interesting, you'll make a fantastic stick figure. LMAO!!!!!!!!!

Susan said...

Bahahahaha. Awesome.

Bryce said...

Somehow I missed this gem of an interview. I'm thoroughly disappointed that I didn't get to tweet about it until today!


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