Interview: with Robert N. Stephenson

Robert is an author who challenges himself as well as the reader. He has sold 120 short stories, two novels, plus graphic and film work. He is a retired literary agent.

Hi Robert, please tell us a bit about yourself.

I have been writing for over 20 years with mixed success, I run Altair Australia Pty Ltd (Publishing and education). I worked as an agent for 10 years in the SF/F/H fields, published novels and collections from Jack McDevitt to David Brin and a host in between. With the focus now on my own writing I hope to see me in print more than those I used to represent. A hard road for sure.

Given the wide amount of fan fiction being published in countless places online, what are your thoughts on fan fiction in general?

It has its place but I have never been a fan of fan fiction, for me I am too busy getting lost in my own created worlds without worrying about someone else's.

Are there any horror/fantasy/sci-fi tropes or sub genres which you feel are played out? And vice versa, what tropes would you like to see more of?

I don't think anything has been played out, but more certain areas have seen an over concentration. Vampire stories can still be fantastic, provided we are able to move away from teen renditions.

At what age did you catch the writing bug?

I started writing poetry when I was 15. I wrote my first short story when I was 10. But I didn't get right into genre writing until 1996 when I devoured all of Asimov's writing and thought, damn it – I'll give this a shot. Done everything possible in the writing field, including script work, film and graphic novels.

What books are beside your bed right now?

James A Corey novels – damn brilliant, plus a host of non-fiction on the Hadron Collider, the nature of time and some books on Europa.

Do you have any particular writing rituals you are comfortable sharing?

I am a blank page writer – give me a blank page and I will find a story.

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