Tuesday, September 6, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with '23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.' Robert J. Dornan



Robert J Dornan is someone who wishes to leave a better world to his children. He realizes that the odds are slim but he will do whatever he can to increase the probability of success.  He is always open to discuss new and innovative ideas and hopes someday to see the building of a functional solar city as well as a fair and community-driven compensation system.

Robert’s latest book is the historical fiction, 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.

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About the Book:

In the early morning of her sister's wedding day, Mila Kharmalov stared in stunned silence at the coloured sparks streaming from Reactor Four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.  At that very moment, her life and the lives of everyone she knew changed forever.

Years later and on another continent, Adam Byrd was writing biographies for everyday people looking to leave their legacy in book form. When the woman he loved phoned from Kiev offering him the chance to write the story of a lifetime, he jumped at the opportunity not realizing that his voyage would be a bumpy ride through a nations dark underbelly. With the help of his friend's quirky cousin, Adam is nudged into a fascinating adventure of love, greed, power and psychotic revenge, culminating with a shocking finale.

23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is a work of fiction based on factual events from Chernobyl and villages throughout Ukraine.

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  • 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is available at Amazon..
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

Hello everyone.  I did a substantial amount of research; well over four hundred hours by my estimate. 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is a historical fiction therefore taking any literary liberties would be akin to running into a burning house.   I consider myself an environmentalist so I found Chernobyl fascinating on so many levels.  Researching was never a chore and in fact, whenever I found something I believed to be unique, I treated it as a win.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I opted for self-pub because I have no idea how to pursue traditional publishers nor do I wish to wait six months to learn yea or nay.   I understand and fully accept that I am not a prime candidate for most publishing houses so self-publishing has been a godsend.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the eBook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like? 

I hired someone to do it for me and she was a delight to work with. I liken an author formatting his or her own E-book to a major league baseball player carving his own bats.  It doesn’t happen except in Robert Redford movies so why do it for my books? She was a total pro and when it came time to upload my e-book, I had zero errors.  Zero!

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

I followed Amazon’s recommendations.  I want readers to enjoy my book and in order to do so I have to dangle a carrot, which in this case is a lower price but not a ridiculously low price. 


Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

Oh…sore spot.  April 26, 2016 was the thirtieth anniversary of the Chernobyl accident and I missed it.  I was dependent on a book cover artist who wasn’t in as much as a hurry as I was.  After that, I just decided to take a deep breath and simply ensure that the book cover and formatting were fit for publishing.

How did you choose your cover?

I love this question.  An amusement park was slated to open in Pripyat on the May 1st long weekend.  The accident happened on the 26th and the town was evacuated thirty-six hours later so most articles and books state that the rides were never used.  On the other hand, there are articles that the park rides were open for a few hours in order to appease or distract the worried citizens. The empty Ferris wheel is a symbol of missed opportunities and hopelessness.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went? 

For the most part, I revised as I went but during the final edits I added and deleted based on further research.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book? 

No.  In all honesty I am uncomfortable with this form of book marketing. 

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

I don’t mind giving away copies of the E-book.  Readers can be critics and also positive reviewers. 

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

1.      Edit until it hurts
2.      Most of us have heard the expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? It may have some relevance, but like it or not, a good book cover gets you in the front door and into the hands of readers. Find something intriguing before you hand it over to a qualified cover artist.
3.      Book PUYB two months ahead of your release and get as many positive reviews as you can.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?
1.      Don’t panic if the book hasn’t sold a thousand copies on day one or year one. Enjoy the experience.  If your book holds any weight, it will eventually be noticed.
2.      Answer reader emails
3.   Don’t let your family read your book or Christmas dinner could get weird.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

The beauty of self-publishing is that you can do anything at any time.  I can revise and re-publish and I can remove the book if I so please.  The same applies to promoting.  My book projects will be ongoing and I suspect that I’ll get around to alternative marketing schemes before the year end.  23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is historical fiction with an equaling interesting present day story so I’m not worried about it becoming passé.

Do you have a long term plan with your book? 

I’m an environmentalist so the nuclear accident theme plays into my wheelhouse. I would like to leverage this book into speaking engagements at high schools to inform young minds on alternative energies as well as vertical farms.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book? 

The obvious response is thanks for reading; it is very much appreciated.

23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. may be a work of fiction but it touches upon the real and horrific after effects of a nuclear disaster.  Families and lives are forever changed or destroyed.  Years after an accident, radioactivity claims victims of all species.  I truly believe that this is a story that will educate but it is also a story that you will never forget.

23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. also speaks to the lives of Ukrainian villagers in the USSR era. Oppression breeds depression which in turn, breeds hard and desperate people. Although this has been taken to an extreme with the Valeri Markov character, the acrid smell of hopelessness and despair is valid.

Folks, there is absolutely no need for nuclear power plants.  None.  

Be good my friends.  I can be reached at jackcityguy@gmail.com.  See ya




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