Kendall Roberts lives in California. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, biking, and board games. Gunslingers is his first novel.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
When the idea of a Western first occurred to me and I opened a file to start writing, Gunslingers just seemed like an apt name to call the file. As the story began to take shape and evolve, the title just stuck and seemed to make sense. The same is true for my second novel, Janie, due to release soon. The name on the file for the third book I am currently writing is long and unwieldy and will definitely need to be pared down.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
The three designs I was first presented with were wonderful, but I did ask for a couple of edits of the one I liked best. When I opened up the file and saw the image, it took my breath away. The image perfectly captured the two principal characters that had been floating in my mind.
Truthfully, when I received the proof copy of my novel, my first thought was, “I didn’t order anything from Amazon.” When the book fell out into my hands, I couldn’t believe it was a “real” book. It felt like the end of a long journey even though it was really just the start.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
I’ve always told stories in my head. When I was young, I told stories to myself while I was trying to fall asleep. Some of those stories made it onto paper, but most remained only partially formed. Even now, when I go to bed, I will run over certain scenes in my mind, trying to see the story’s way forward. It does not always work, but sometimes, by the morning, I can see the path lying open before me, and as often as not, I am surprised by the direction.
My favorite authors are Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Timothy Zahn, Neil Gaiman, and Sarah Kuhn.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
By daylight, I am a pediatrician. No, Gunslingers is definitely not a children’s book.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
Hearing back from people who have read Gunslingers and truly enjoyed it and want to know what comes next.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
It would probably include songs by Bon Jovi, Weezer, and the Foo Fighters, because that’s the kind of music that was playing in the background a fair amount of time when I wrote Gunslingers, and it would be awesome to think those artists thought enough of my work to write a song for the soundtrack. Out of left field, I’d love to hear what kind of song “Weird Al” Yankovic would write for the soundtrack too.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
My perfect reader would be someone who is looking for an exciting adventure story, be it a Western or another genre. I hope, though, that Gunslingers makes my readers think about the way we have both treated and depicted different groups of people and examine some of the American myths about our independence versus interconnectedness with those around us, and the purity of the West and Manifest Destiny.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
A follow-up book to Gunslingers, entitled Janie, is in the final editing process. I am working on the third story revolving around the same characters which as yet remains untitled.
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
Working with Atmosphere Press has been incredibly rewarding and easy. Everyone I worked with was professional and responsive, and they are clearly experts in the art of publishing. They have all given me valuable insights along the way which have made me a better author and brought Gunslingers to fruition in a way that I could not have hoped for.
If you want to publish, do it. I knew that for me, working a full-time job and having a family, neither traditional publishing nor self-publishing were optimal. Atmosphere’s collaborative model of working with authors to hone and shepherd their writing to market was a perfect balance for me of support and independence.