Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Author Interview - Robert Pielke

Describe your book in five words or less.
*Time-travel, alternate-history, aliens

How did the ideas for your books come to you?
•Ever since I was a kid, I would always tell myself stories to put myself
asleep. This hasn’t changed. I still do. Sometimes the stories are inspired by
a movie or TV show I’ve seen and sometimes from just a comment or idea
someone came up with in passing. But no matter what the source of the
impetus, there’s a story to be constructed.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?
•There’s no “hard part” of writing…there’s always a difficulty of finding
the time to do it, and I need a block of hours to devote to it. I can’t write
in “snippets” of time.

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future

•My current project is to finish the trilogy. A New Birth of Freedom: The
Visitor is the first book. I’m already working on the third ANBOF: The
Translator. The third will be ANBOF: The Historian, and I already know how
the trilogy ends. Alternate Dimensions Press is publishing it.
I’m also finishing up a revised update of my non-fiction book, Rock Music
in American Culture: You Say You Want a Revolution? I originally did in the
mid-80’s and there was pressure from “the masses” to bring it up to date.
McFarland & Co. is publishing it.

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?
•It’s more the case that the “genre” chose me! Ever since I was that kid I
referred to above, I’ve always imagined myself in the films and shows and
books that I was watching or reading. And when I was “there” I sort of had
to “do” something interesting – hence a story arose. And since I read a lot
of history, liked historical films and shows, my stories were pretty much
the very essence of “alternate history.” Plus, I liked some kinds of science
fiction a lot – especially stories about time-travel and contact with aliens.
So, if you add this all together, what do you get? A sort of “mish-mash” of
genres the found me a willing victim.

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?
• I’m always astounded that anybody likes anything I’ve written. It always
seems like they’re talking about somebody else. (I sound like this happens
daily! Hahahaha….hardly)

What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
•Q: “What do you read when you’re writing?”
A: “Absolutely nothing of any significance! I can’t read a novel if I’m
writing a novel and I can’t read anything that has any bearing on what I’m
writing. For example, with A New Birth of Freedom, which has to do with
Gettysburg, Lincoln and the Civil War, that ruled out even Doris Kearns
Goodwin’s Team of Rivals. When I try to read what others have written, I
get so involved in their writings that I’m afraid I’ll be influenced by their
style, or – more often – I’ll wind up editing their writing, imagining how
they could have said it better.

What was your road to publications like?
•It began when I was in elementary school, when I wrote my first novel.
I called it “White Cloud.” It was the story of an American Indian boy who
grows up to be a chief who unifies all the Indian nations into a formidable
force that checks the Europeans from co-opting the hemisphere. It was
alternate history! And it was three pages long, one single-spaced paragraph
and I knew I wanted people to read it. That was the beginning.

ROBERT PIELKE, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, now lives in Claremont, California. He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland, an M. Div. in Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and a Ph. D. in Social Ethics from the Claremont Graduate School.

He taught on ground and online for countless years at George Mason University in Virginia, El Camino College in California and online for the University of Phoenix. Now happily retired from “the job,” he is doing what he always wanted to do since he wrote his first novel at ten in elementary school. It was one paragraph, three pages long and, although he didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history. Since then, in addition to his academic writings in ethics, logic, and popular culture, he has published short stories, feature articles, film reviews, a non-fiction
analysis of rock music, You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture, a boring academic treatise, Critiquing Moral Arguments, a savagely satirical novel on America and its foibles, proclivities and propensities, Hitler the Cat Goes West, and an alternate history,science fiction novel, The Mission.

Most recently, he has updated and revised his book on rock music and it is being republished by McFarland & Co. Alternate Dimensions Press has published A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor, the first book of an alternate history/time-travel/first-contact science-fiction trilogy. The second of the three, The Translator, is already underway.


  1. Sue - what a great interview with Bob! For those interested in following the blog tour for "A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor" please visit

  2. ...and if there are any questions....?? the back that your hand up or do you need to go to the potty??

    Bob Pielke


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