Interview with children’s author Robert A. Hastings

Today, I’d like to welcome children’s author Robert A. Hastings to Reviews and Interviews.

Robert describes himself as a country boy/lost sailor who is living in the burbs of SoCal. Robert grew up in rural Pennsylvania where he developed a strong appreciation for the land, nature and our responsibility to protect. Most of this came from his grandfather and his mother. He was a 28 year career navy man who experienced the best and worst of man and has tried to inject some of those experiences into his work. Robert is a graduate of the University of La Verne with a degree in Health Services Management.

Robert is a newly published children’s author, The Blue Kangaroo (It’s Nice to be Different) and The Spirit Wolf (Life is a Never Ending Lesson). Both books are available through createspace and amazon. He is also a published poet. Robert is a wildlife artist who works primarily in watercolor and ink, he did all of the illustrations for his children’s books.

Robert is quick to tell you that he is passionate about his wife, children, grandchildren, extended family, our country and life! He writes because it provides another avenue for artist expression and the opportunity to inject his paintings into the stories and to share his books and art with a wider audience. Robert hopes through his children’s books to encourage children to read and broaden their horizons and to look beyond today.

Welcome, Robert, please tell us about your current release.
The Blue Kangaroo was originally written for my granddaughters when they were young. I rewrote the book last year placing my grandsons and daughter in the book changing the story slightly. The book is written for a younger audience and a book that parents can share with their children and explain that are always differences. I think the one important lesson is that we are each different and that is what makes us unique and special. The strength of love and family help each of us cope and find our way.

What inspired you to write this book?
Initially my granddaughters and then my grandsons inspired me. Their differences and individual strengths and weaknesses provided a map and The Blue Kangaroo came to me maybe ten or twelve years ago. I believed I could tell the story through words and pictures. I am pretty good a visualizing how the individual pictures can lend themselves to the story.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have completed and published The Spirit Wolf (Life is a Never Ending Lesson) which is designed to be a series. This is a story of a wolf pack before man and machines and the place Sar, a white wolf, has in the pack as a teacher.

I have also completed the follow-on to this book.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m not sure that I consider myself a writer, I’ll leave that to you and others to decide. I have always written poetry. I wrote seven fictional short stories about Navy Corpsmen in the Viet Nam War which I never had published. I wrote those stories for me. I knew over the last thirty years that I could link stories to my paintings, I have always been able to the finished product before I start.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
For the last year, I’ve written most of the time or am getting ready to write. I will write in my head as I complete a painting or as I write I will see a painting that should be inserted at a certain place in the story.

I get up early in the morning, have my tea, glance at the paper, or listen to the news and then I go upstairs to my office, check my e-mail, and then bring up the current book I’m working on. I will do a reread and maybe change the format, check the flow, and then continue on. When I am writing, it will consume my day unless I’m pulled away.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I play solitaire on the computer and maybe mahjong for a game or two.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A pilot or a doctor. I became a Navy Independent Duty Corpsman, we were assigned where there were no doctors.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I have found that I love to write and I will have two or three books going on in my head at the same time, but I have learned my art lends itself to my stories and my stories to my art.

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