About the Author
Author & Adventurer
Robert Ross was raised in Los Angeles and attended the University of Southern California. After earning degrees in both History and Business, he began an advertising career working at major agencies in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. Over the years he developed campaigns for clients across a broad spectrum of industries and in all phases of media. His foray into other creative endeavors has been an ongoing process. He has two books to his credit — Red Hand: American by Blood and Journey Within: A Tale of Astral Travel — as well as a short catalog of country tunes.
A Recent Q&A with Bob
∙∙Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life? Who were your earliest influences and why?
I grew up in Los Angeles and, like all of us, reading and writing was a big part of our education. I remember my first attempt at creative writing was in high school and, without an original thought at the time since it was a spontaneous exercise by the prof, I grabbed a plot line from a story we had all read some months before, and was promptly chastised by my classmates for doing such. My teacher said as much later, but did tell me I had put the words together well, so I was encouraged. My earliest influences, meaning to me who I enjoyed reading earliest and liked, were Hemingway, Salinger, Eugene Burdick, Kerouac.
∙∙Why do you write?
I write because I like to eat, at least eat reasonably. I’m basically talking about my advertising writing now, which I have done for the past 35+ years. I write books because I enjoy the experience: coming up with a storyline, then seeing where it takes me and sticking with it. It’s like running a marathon. It’s not going to go quickly, because there is a process. A writer must be committed for the duration. But at the finish, the reward is there.
∙∙Briefly discuss your new book Red Hand.
I was a history major in college so that is where my interests lie. As for a brief summary of the contents, I will now plagiarize from the back cover. Beginning in the 1870′s, Red Hand is a vivid and moving tale of a half white, half Sioux boy whose white father was killed when he was an infant. It is only after he becomes a young man that he resolves to go on a quest in search of his white heritage. His travels take him half way across the eastern U.S. — to a penitentiary in Florida, the Bowery in New York, the Ohio valley as well as spiritual journeys of introspection until his peace of mind is resolved, at last, a century later.
∙∙Who is Red Hand?
To expand a bit about who exactly Red Hand is, I would say he a seeker of knowledge, spiritual in nature, a person of great integrity, strength, empathy and forgiveness. Most of all, maybe, a survivor.
∙∙What makes Red Hand stand out from other historical fiction books that are on the bookshelves?
I think just the subject matter itself. Historical fiction is pretty broad. If someone likes that period of American history from the 1870’s to the 1970’s, involving Native Americans, sports, action, adventure and a bit of romance here and there, this just may be the book for them.
∙∙Did you do any research for Red Hand?
Whatever I write I do research along the way using encyclopedias that are chronological. For Red Hand, I also have a small collection of books on Native Americans and, from those, got a feel for their spirituality and respect for nature.
∙∙You are a multi-published author- What do you know now as an author that you did not know when you published your first novel?
Basically, the process doesn’t get any easier. A writer has to invest the time to accomplish what he/she set out to accomplish. However, as I mentioned before, the reward more than justifies the process.
∙∙If Hollywood called today and asked you to cast the film version of Red Hand, who would you cast and why?
That would be a pleasant dilemma. My first thought was Keanu Reeves. I think his looks do well to support the idea of a half white, half Native American main character. But since Hollywood is so good with make-up and CGI, Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, etc. etc. would work.
∙∙What do you hope to achieve with Red Hand?
I hope to have a decent amount of people get their hands on it. I think they’ll enjoy the read, then recommend it to their friends. If, as the previous question asks, Hollywood takes an interest, that would be cake.
∙∙What was the last book you read?
The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth.
∙∙What is next?
A promotional flyer for a hand sanitizer called SkinWear that kills germs for up to 8 hours. Remember? Food, my friend.
∙∙Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?
Golf, which teaches one self-discipline and patience. Riding a motorcycle, which keeps most of the cobwebs off the brain. Reading, which allows experiencing from time to time a phrase turned in a completely original manner.