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Robert Stava

answers the Usual Questions

photograph, Robert Stava, courtesy of the author; 220x251

Robert Stava

Of himself, Robert Stava says, "I'm an ex Madman - Y&R, JWT and also worked as a Creative Director for Arup, a U.K.-based design company. I'm also a musician who had his own band on the NYC circuit many, many years and late nights. Recently I discovered I was on the Honor Roll in 6th Grade. Does that count?"

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Not especially, except for the occasional one with that fanatical gleam that says 'I'm your #1 Fan...' Then it's time to check that the police are on speed dial and avoid driving long stretches of empty roads for a while.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

I tend to have an inordinate number of spooky things happen to me while writing books which often has me guessing. The one that affected me most emotionally though was while finishing up my first book (Combat Recon) which all about my great uncle who vanished long before I was born. He was a Combat Recon photographer in the SW Pacific during WWII and it took ten years to put his story together. But against the deadline I was struggling with how to end it and whether to get into his issues and unhappy end in life and kept asking for his guidance (in my half skeptical way). A couple days later I received an unexpected package from one of his fellow vets and in it was a letter he'd kept from my late uncle dated January 1st 1946. It was about surviving the whole mess and getting a new start on life and the only document I have of his revealing his personal thoughts. That was the perfect way to wrap it up -- in his own words and handwriting! How's that for an answer?

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Ian Fleming and John Dickson Carr - the latter especially when he delved into supernatural/historical mysteries. Washington Irving is obviously a major influence and I've read all his works. I visit his house (and grave site) on occasion which is just down the road...just to check in and see what he's up to. But that special place of honor on my bookshelf? A 1927 Scribner's edition of Treasure Island - the one with all those cool N.C. Wyeth color plates. It belonged to my father and it was the first story I recall him reading to me and after all these years the timeless combination of story and imagery still resonates.

book cover Feast of St Anne by Robert Stava; 180x262

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Aside from my wife? Joseph Campbell. The man's grasp of myth and magic and understanding life was staggering. He had that rare quality of connecting all the dots in a way that not only made complete sense but got you just as in awe about it as he was. I love his simple formula for a good story: Trouble-Trouble-Trouble. If he wasn't available I'd take George Carlin. Seriously though, my wife is the most fun to travel with. She'd be #1.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Jeffrey Dahmer. I'm pretty sure that would be an extremely uncomfortable trip.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

Laptop, a guitar, plenty of Single Malt Scotch, all my John Dickson Carr mysteries and my entire music collection except for The Blue Danube. I wouldn't want to be brooding about the ships computer going all homicidal and trying to figure out how to send me tumbling off into space.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

The opportunity to keep writing stories for a long, long time. I've got a ton of them.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

The rush of diving into a story (while writing) and discovering how it will unfold. It's a real thrill, especially when the story starts writing itself and you can't get it down fast enough. It's a little scary too. As in 'Ahh, where is this stuff REALLY coming from?' I really have no idea.

submitted by Robert Stava

27 July 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Cleveland, Ohio. 1963.
Resides: Somewhere in the Hudson River Valley.

Web site:


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