Justin Robinson was born and raised in Los Angeles. He splits his time between editing comic books, writing prose, and wondering what that disgusting smell is. Degrees in Anthropology and History prepared him for unemployment, but an obsession with horror fiction and a laundry list of phobias provided a more attractive option.
Justin and his wife Lauri Veverka recently started Captain Supermarket Press to publish his book Coldheart, the first book in the League of Magi series.Lauri sometimes designs stuff and likes to read Justin’s books. Sometimes she designs stuff for his books. She also updates this website.
They reside in Los Angeles with their 1.5 cats and extensive book and DVD collection.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is Justin Robinson, and I’m a native of Los Angeles. I’ve written nine books, I’ve been with my wife for sixteen years, and I have a cat named Galactus and six fish all named Nigel.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Those are all fantastic terms. They mean slightly different things to me, which probably isn’t unusual considering how subjective genre terms are. Some, like Horror, focus more on mood, while others, like Steampunk are more about trappings. Using my own work as an example, I would classify my novels The Doll Maker and Everyman as Horror, since the primary purpose is mood: fear, dread, getting under the reader’s skin and staying there. Weird Fiction, at least to me, is more about something pulpy and not easily classifiable. My noir comedies Mr Blank and City of Devils would fit there. Dark Fiction strikes me as a warning to the reader: this book does not have a happy ending. My zombie noir Undead on Arrival , which isn’t really properly Horror, probably fits well into Dark Fiction.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Stephen King is up there, George R.R. Martin, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Bill Willingham.
What are you reading now?
Carrie, by Stephen King. Can you believe I never got around to reading it? I feel like the last one at the party.
Which book do you wish you had written?
Go Mutants! by Larry Doyle. His command of language is humbling, and his subject matter -- an alternate history in which America is altered by the presence of b-grade Sci-Fi villains is right up my alley.
If you could use any other author’s creation in your own work, who or what would you use?
King’s It. I always wondered how it got to earth, and what it would do if it realized that literally right down the road was the crashed Tommyknocker spacecraft.
Describe typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I post every Friday on a group blog over at satelliteshow.wordpress.com with a collection of other Los Angeles-area writers (we have screenwriters, a playwright, and a webcomic writer). My mornings are devoted to getting my post ready. After lunch I move onto whatever novel is in progress at the time, and if the weather is nice, I write out on the patio.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
Probably City of Devils my upcoming release from Candlemark & Gleam. I think I came closest to what’s going on in my mind and it’s probably the clearest example of the genre mashup -- in this case classic ‘40s-‘50s noir and creature features of the same era -- that I’ve managed. It’ll be out in late August.
What is the hardest lesson you have learned with regards to your writing?
Marketing is a big and necessary part of being a writer. I’m still getting used to that.
What do you like to do to relax?
I read, of course, but probably my primary form of relaxation are video games. I’m a big Mass Effect and Alan Wake fan. Bio-Shock is the one game I hold up as art, but Alan Wake comes very, very close.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last book would be Coldheart , which just came out earlier this month. I’m thrilled partly because the initial idea came to me back when I was around thirteen years old. Over the years, the idea has been refined and changed, though at its core, it’s more or less the same. I’m trying to do something with it that you can only do in prose. It has a shifting cast, which wouldn’t be possible in a TV show, a sprawling cast and world which wouldn’t be possible in a movie, and I have no idea how you’d even make it a video game.
San Francisco is on the edge of a blizzard, the first in a hundred years. A cannibal killer stalks the streets. A rash of abductions targets people seemingly at random. A city falling into chaos.