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Interview With A. Robert Allen
Welcome! Ready to ride?
GR: Tell us about your latest release...
My novel, Failed Moments, poses the question…what if the only way to survive your life is to go back in history and right the wrongs of two other men’s lives? The main character, Patrick Walsh, finds himself in this precarious position as he goes back in time to the French Caribbean in 1790, just before the slave revolt, which created Haiti, and 1863 NYC during the Draft Riots. Tackling race relations from a unique perspective, Failed Moments is a thought-provoking adventure through four centuries that questions the measure of a man not by his decision to do no harm, but his willingness to act on what is right.
GR: What inspired you to start your writing journey?
The writing journey responsible for this book began a few years ago I embarked on a very detailed study of my family history. I was able to track my family tree back hundreds of years and uncovered roots that were white, black, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish, and the seed of a story began to grow. Failed Moments is a fictional account of the exploits of my ancestors during racially charged periods in the past.
GR: Who have been some authors that have inspired you along the way?
For light reads, I’m a sucker for a John Grisham legal thriller. I was deeply moved by Khaled Hosseini’s, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and The Kite Runner. In my own genre of historical fiction, I started out reading just about everything written by James Michener, and now enjoy many of Edward Rutherford’s works.
GR: What is one piece of marketing advice you can give to new authors?
Take the marketing as seriously as you take the writing. Find people and organizations with knowledge and experience to help you along the way.
GR: If we went on the ride of our life, where is one place you'd like to be sure to stop along the way?
The ride of my life would be a cross-country adventure and I would love spend some time in Texas. I here so much about it, and I’ve never had a reason to head that way. I’m particularly interested in seeing Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.
GR: Would you be afraid to ride on the back of my bike?
No. As long as you wouldn’t be afraid to have me as a passenger! I’m a pretty big guy.
GR: What can we expect from you in the future? Any new projects?
Well before I begin my next novel, I plan to continue focusing on spreading the word about Failed Moments. I’m very pleased that I was able to reach the #1 spot for Historical Fiction during my recent KDP promotion. I’m doing all that I can right now to get the book out in the public eye, and I’m hoping your readers will give it a look.
Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I wish you the best of success and to always leave your hair blowing in the wind!
Book Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: March 8, 2015
Buy Link(s): http://www.amazon.com/Failed-Moments-Allen-ebook/dp/B00TOXIZ10/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424911634&sr=8-1&keywords=Failed+moments
What if the only way to survive your life is to go back in history and right the wrongs of two other men’s lives?
1790, French Caribbean: biracial plantation owner Patrice Beaumont is known as a “kinder” slave master, but his trusted friend reminds him that is no cause for pride. He claims to be committed to ending slavery, but his actions don’t back-up his words. Is being the “best of the worst” all he’s capable of?
1863, New York City: Giant Irish street fighter Patrick Allen is days away from battling it out with a similarly oversized Black fighter, when the Draft Riots ignite dangerous racial conflicts around the city. Never one to take sides outside the ring or join a fight he can’t win, he steers clear of the angry mobs. So when he stumbles on a lynching in progress, who can expect him to do anything more than look away?
Modern day, New York City: Patrick Walsh, a day trader by occupation and a daydreamer by disposition, sits alone on his terrace trading his portfolio, and staring out at the city skyline. Alone feels right…always has, and he’s fairly certain, always will.
Besides having a similar name and a proclivity to make tragic mistakes, what mystery ties these men together?
“NO PICTURE. NO name. No background,” he whispered to himself as he realized none of this missing information mattered. In his experience, first impressions made all the difference. Details offered nothing more than preparation for yet another first date. This time, however, roles would be reversed. She would need to find him. Patrick Walsh chuckled as he settled back into the snug couch inside the lobby of the elegant Boigen Hotel on the West Side of Manhattan.
The Boigen had to be new, Patrick thought, as he flipped through a small corporate brochure. The hotel, which was south of his old Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood and in the vicinity of a few favorite hangouts, boasted ”Classic Swedish Charm in the Heart of the West Side.” What an excellent tagline, he thought.
A beautiful chandelier in the center of the lobby, situated directly above a multi-colored table, demanded Patrick’s attention. The light passing through the table’s colored shelves reflected off the marble floor and mesmerized him. A large bouquet of white tulips occupied the small, purplish tabletop. Perhaps amethyst, Patrick thought. Below that were three shelves: The first level, ruby, the second, emerald, and the third, sapphire. Noticing the colored flecks of light on the floor again, he looked up. Where have I seen this fabulous chandelier? In a magazine? A catering hall? Or somewhere else?
Patrick’s mind turned back to his social life as he contemplated the newness of a first date and the anticipation of a second, both acting as a lovely build-up to the third date–the highlight of most of Patrick’s relationships, when the increasing ease that came from being somewhat acquainted was roughly equal to the remaining sense of the unknown. Third dates provided Patrick with a brief and welcome opportunity to smile. Fourth dates, however, brought on the inevitable question: “Where is this going?” or the new phrasing he’d heard twice this past year, “What is your end game?” Whatever the form of the question, it always marked the beginning of the end for Patrick, although he preferred to think of it as the need for yet another new beginning. She’s late. Where is she?
Patrick continued to survey his surroundings and tried to relax. The one modern aspect of the hotel, a full-length glass wall, featured three oversized doors with pearl handles, which provided access to Tenth Avenue. The Limerick Liar, one of Patrick’s favorite Irish bars, became visible in the distance as a large delivery truck pulled away from the front of The Boigen. How could I have missed this hotel?
Two distinct groups of people assembled in the lobby. The larger group clustered around the ornate table with the white tulips. Tourists, Patrick guessed as he detected a sense of anticipation when a big luxury charter bus pulled up to the Tenth Avenue entrance. The second group in the lobby lacked the excitement of the first and displayed more control, as they sat in a collection of chairs about ten feet away from the doorway that led to 20th Street. Patrick didn’t know what this group was waiting for and realized he had no theories. That was unusual. This game of analyzing the behavior and motivations of strangers relaxed him when he got anxious, which was often. Patrick’s blood pressure eased as he continued to watch.
The tourists left the lobby and headed toward the charter bus on Tenth Avenue and the more sedate group departed onto 20th Street. Patrick found it peculiar–actually rude–that each of the tourists peeled a single petal off a tulip as they passed the bouquet and left for the bus. He was tempted to say something to them, but realized as much as it bothered him, he would not want to be seen in any kind of a confrontation when his date arrived. First impressions dictate the outcome, Patrick reminded himself. A young hotel employee quickly replaced the ravaged bouquet as if it were a standard duty. Patrick smiled. Good service standards, well executed. It was a tightly run ship.
The Boigen lobby was almost empty and all of the energy that had filled the room a few minutes earlier exited with the two groups. His date was late. As Patrick glanced again at his watch, he felt a tap on his shoulder and then a brief, searing pain just below his right ear. The extreme discomfort forced him to hunch over while pressing his hands against either side of his head. After a few moments, he straightened up and tried to regain his composure. He was unsuccessful. So much for first impressions – Patrick turned to meet his date.
“Good evening, Patrick, it’s been a while,” she said. He didn’t know how to respond. “Patrick. This must be upsetting to you, but we need to talk.” His heart was pounding and beads of sweat started to gather on his brow.
Patrick loosened his tie and took several long, deep breaths. Finally, he stam- mered, “I don’t understand. The last time...the last time I saw you...” His words failed him.
She smiled gently. “I understand your confusion, but before I answer your questions, I have one for you.” She paused. “Do you remember the last time we were together?”
“Yes.” “I thought you would. So when was it?” Patrick cleared his throat and muttered, “April 11, 2008,” as he examined his surprise visitor who hadn’t changed at all in the past five years. How could this be? Patrick asked himself. April 11, 2008, was the day she died.
A. Robert Allen is a longtime New York City college administrator with a lifelong passion for writing. When he traced his family tree back hundreds of years and uncovered roots that were white, black, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish, the seed of a story began to grow. Failed Moments is a fictional account of the exploits of his ancestors during racially charged periods in the past.
Find out more about the author and his works at his website: http://arobertallen.com/.
Author Links -
Website &Blog: arobertallen.com