Frequently Asked Questions
My given names are Robert Allan Ross; Allan was my paternal grandfather’s name and Ross was my father’s name. Since the Clouston family has its roots in the Orkney Islands, an archipelago off the northern tip of Scotland, which today is part of the United Kingdom, my parents decided to name me following the practice that is common in the U.K. of giving children two middle names. I am a fan of the author J.R.R. Tolkien and when I began writing I decided to follow his example.
As a side note, it is very uncommon to have two middle names in the US and I can rarely use them on such things as my social security card, driver’s license or credit cards; a fact of which my eldest son―to whom my wife and I gave two middle initials―has discovered much to his annoyance.
It varies. I got the idea for my first book, Where Freedom Reigns, after the tragic shooting at Columbine High School. Sadly, its theme of gun control is still painfully relevant today. The impetus for The Tempest’s Roar came from a long-standing interest in whales and dolphins. When I was a college student, I worked one summer at a salmon cannery in northern British Columbia during which I spent many days out on the ocean watching Orcas breach beside my boat. Later, after I got married, my wife and I loved to spend our summer vacations on Long Beach Island, New Jersey where I would often see pods of Bottlenose dolphins swimming up and down the beach. The idea for The Covenant Within came after a trip to the land of my Viking ancestry on the Orkney Archipelago off the northern tip of Scotland. No Greater Evil resulted from a blending of my experience as a president and CEO and my fascination with national politics. As I mention in my biography, both these two books delve into the workings of the human mind and the thin line that separates imagination and insanity. Finally, Cry Savage Tears, is the product of my deep fascination with the savage innocence of the Siberian tiger, and the cruelty of the poachers that are driving these big cats toward extinction.
Yes. All of my books, with the possible exception of Where Freedom Reigns, have story lines that lend themselves to such a possibility. Since Cry Savage Tears is freshest in my mind, and its subject matter―saving this magnificent species―is one that I am most passionate about, it is the one that will likely have a sequel in the near future.
Before I retired, I would get up at 4 in the morning and write until it was time to go to work. Now that I am retired I am disciplined about writing every morning until noon or 1 o’clock, every day, often including the weekends.
It is as simple to say as it is hard to do: you must read, and read, and read some more. You cannot be an author if you are not fascinated with the work of other successful authors.
You have self-published all your books. Is that because you could not get a traditional publisher to be interested?
When I wrote my first novel, I went through the agonizing process of being turned down by more publishers than I can remember. The stack of rejection letters covered my desk and spilled onto the floor. Like many authors, I was caught up in the catch 22, whereby you had to be a published author to get a publisher. However, I kept writing because I loved to do it. When print on demand technology and self-publishing companies came along, I jumped at the opportunity. The dilemma faced by me and thousands of other budding authors gave rise to indieBRAG, LLC, a company whose mission is to discover talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves. I encourage budding authors to visit the company website at https://www.bragmedallion.com