Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Robin Barone to Chat About Books 🙂
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
The idea for my series first came from my travel blog. I was blessed with the opportunity to have time off to travel around the world and documented the experience for my family and friends. I wanted to show that people are the same wherever you go respective of differences in culture, religion, and government. My business school professor, the late Patrick Turner, encouraged me to develop a bigger perspective of my idea and suddenly a series was born.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
The central character Robin is based on myself. I am an naturally curious person and constantly asking “What if” and imagining scenarios that are possible. In this series we travel and connect to local experiences- history, culture, the outdoors. I believe that we all have different interests; whatever they are be curious and learn more about them!
How do you pick your characters names?
The central character was based off of my name and the blog. Fortunately, my name translates well to an animal character that is cute and fun loving!
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
My writing process is multi-disciplinary. I have structured time that I allocate to write; however, the stories never leave me. I could be eating dinner and suddenly a line that I was stuck on comes to me! The overall writing process is a challenge. Initially it was scary putting my stories out there in the world. They are like my children. I want to nurture and protect them. But at some point they have to grow up and live. At the heart of every book is a structure storyline. Deciding the flow and content is the most consuming part of the process, but it is important to creating a book that is timeless, fun, and not too long. Once those decisions are in place, the fun begins as I decide the action scenes and find ways to capture a moment in 4 to 6 lines.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
I am a bit of a non fiction geek and love reading the paper. My prior background is in finance and I look forward to the reading the columns posted in the NY Times from Friedman, Brooks, Bruni, as well as other commentaries from people like Byron Wein and Steve Marks. As for authors of books, my favorites are Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss! I love their use of imagination and play on words. They are timeless.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes! I love to read! My pediatrician had an amazing room of books in his waiting room. I used to love to go there. It was like a personal library. I am fortunate that my mom read to me nightly, and we would visit the library for story times during the summer.
When did you start to write?
My interest began as a child when I would write stories. I asked Santa Claus for a Smith Corona typewriter to begin my career. I couldn’t wait. I remember opening the book, typing my name, and then stopping. I did not have a story to tell. I joined the high school newspaper from an initial interest in becoming a journalist. Over time that evolved from current events to stories that shape s.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I am not sure there is one book that I would re-write but a group of books. I found that books were like the movies always creating happy endings. The heroine always wins. But that’s not life and in order to win there is often a lot more grit and resilience required that is never addressed. For a dreamer like me, I felt lot many stories that I read as a child set me up to fail. When I imagine my series, I wanted to maintain a reader’s sense of dreams and find a way to introduce them to the concepts of being resilient, persistent, and relentless, and trusting your inner self. Too often, particularly towards girls, they are sent contrary messages.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
The biography of Abraham Lincoln – I would have loved the opportunity to interview a complex and interesting man. He lived and lead by principles which in an environment with noise is extremely hard to stay on course. He achieved so much in his short life.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Living a curious life.
I have lived a life with a lot of privilege all do to hard work and following my inner curiosities. Listening to my voice has taken me down different paths, and the choices that I am grateful for have all come from following my curiosity with persistence and being relentless. At times it has been uncomfortable – but growth and amazing things come from taking risks and moving forward as opposed to remaining in the same place.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I would love to have coffee with the character Ally McBeal, the lawyer from the television series awhile back. She was an intelligent and ambitious women who wanted a full life with love and a family. She did not believe that she would have to sacrifice one for the other, but yet she was surrounded by people who sent her different messages. I loved how they showed her inner voice and true desires. Her character was real and honest.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am editing a book on Philadelphia which goes to print in May and working with an illustrator on developing the sketches for the books coming out in 2019!
Tell us about your last release?
Our last release is Where is Robin? Los Angeles which came out February 1st! It is our first city book which takes our central character on an epic trip around Los Angeles. Los Angeles is an amazing place to explore with culture and adventure for all ages!
Do you have a new release due?
This April we are releasing a book called Where is Robin? Washington, DC which is a trip around the capital of the United States. I am thrilled with the final product of both and grateful to all of the hard work of the talented illustrators!
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
To celebrate I am hosting a family event at a location from the book. For our book on Los Angeles, I am having an event at the Getty Villa with lunch. For our book on Washington, DC we are having a private tour of the Smithsonian.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
The best way to stay in touch is to sign up for our newsletter. We send out activities at least once a month and bring joy to our readers through art! Go to http://www.whereisrobin.org
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
The series that I authored, Where is Robin, is designed to use travel to teach curiosity! Curiosity is an important life skill which leads to increased respect, compassion, and engagement with the world. Curious people are open minded and more often happier. I nurtured my curiosity through travel, and I hope that my stories inspire people to be more curious about the world and people around them!
Many thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Robin 🙂
Take flight with the adventurous Robin. Robin is ready to see the USA, and she wants you to join her. Follow her to the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Rockies. Fly over towering skyscrapers and across gigantic bridges and historic landmarks. Have fun exploring and discovering all the wonderful cultures and traditions this land has to offer. She promises you a memorable journey full of learning, laughter, and love. Don’t let her fly alone, spread your wings and come along!