Hi Robin! Tell us a little about yourself and your most recent novel!
Hi! I’m Robin Reul and I write YA contemporary fiction. My first novel, MY KIND OF CRAZY, debuted in 2016 and my new novel, WHERE THE ROAD LEADS US, released in April 2021. It’s about two teens at respective personal crossroads whose lives intersect when fate puts them in the same rideshare and it kicks off a hilarious and heartfelt journey that leads them to find their true authentic selves….and maybe each other. More than being a traditional rom-com, it’s a book about human connection, hope, and discovering our true authentic selves.
That sounds amazing! What inspired you to write your most recent novel?
WHERE THE ROAD LEADS US is my second novel. At the time I started writing it, there were lots of huge life changes happening around me. My father passed away, and the grief affected all of us in my family profoundly, but also differently. My son was graduating college, very much following in my father’s footsteps, and with his passing, began to question if this was what he wanted to do and how much of it was about connecting with his grandfather. My daughter was gearing up to apply to college, and was feeling all the pressure that comes with having your whole life figured out by eighteen in what feels like such a permanent choice. I myself was wrestling with redefining my normal and writing this book became a place to sort out all those feelings and emotions and revelations. I have had so many readers reach out about connecting with Hallie and Jack’s stories and how they have highlighted passages and quotes that resonated with them deeply. Knowing that this book has helped someone else when they needed it most is the greatest gift I can receive as an author.
This is probably my favorite question—I love hearing about other author’s routines!
Robin, what’s your writing routine?
When I am working on a project, I generally start writing around 7:30 or 8a.m. and I keep going until around 5 p.m. I switch the coffee from hot to iced around 2. ;)
If I find that I am not getting very far and the words aren’t flowing, I don’t force it and I cut it short. I am a pantser, so I generally do not write from an outline. I try my best to finish a writing day by having some sense of where I want to pick up the next day but that’s really all I’m going on most of the time.
What are your top 3 favorite books?
How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathan Tropper
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
What writers inspire you?
I tend to be drawn to writing that is clever with witty banter and quirky characters who make me laugh out loud and think and feel deeply. I am inspired by Jonathan Tropper, Tom Perrotta, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Jennifer Niven and John Green to name a few.
You clearly have great book taste, so what are you currently reading?
I am just about to start John Green’s THE ANTHROPOCENE REVIEWED, which I am really looking forward to. I just finished reading THE GOOD SISTER by Sally Hapworth and absolutely loved it.
Do you use any life experiences to inspire your writing?
Always! I think that we can write best what we know and have experienced first-hand, and although the experience doesn’t have to play out identically on the page, the authenticity of the emotions involved can make a piece all the richer. For everything else, there’s research!
So how did you get into writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I have wanted to be a writer ever since I was three years old. I was raised with an appreciation for books and a love of reading, and always loved the idea of writing my own stories. In my childhood room, I always had a table with a huge stack of paper on it and pens and markers and would spend hours every day just writing stories. That led to getting a typewriter when I was nine, when I started to write full-length novels. I had my first meeting with a publisher at thirteen. I put the dream on hold for many years to go to college, pursue a career in film/tv and raise two children, but ultimately, I returned to my life-long passion and started writing full-time.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. It will only set you up to feel like you aren’t where you should be, and that’s only going to rob you of your joy in writing and your creative freedom. Everyone has a different path and timeline in publishing. Some people write fast, some people write books that get lots of attention while other equally good books seem to go unnoticed, some people seem to have overnight success stories while others query for years before they get that yes. If you want to be a writer, keep writing. Write the stories you want to tell, and ignore the trends because they change constantly, and what no one wants to buy today, they may be clamoring for in a year’s time. Keep your eyes on your own paper. Keep positive. Ignore the social media highlight reel that is being curated for all to see. Believe in yourself and your dream. As my grandmother always used to say: The delay is never the denial.
Such an important thing to remember!
How did you market your book? And do you have any tips for other authors?
Marketing a book is really tough, especially during a global pandemic. Unless your novel is a lead title, chances are the publisher will do very little to promote it, leaving the bulk of that to the author. That can be very challenging if you do not have a wide reach on social media, a relationship with key influencers and booktubers, possess skills to make fun Booktok videos or have the ability to afford a publicist.
Since I lacked all of the above, I took more of a grassroots approach. I spent hours researching and reached out to several hundred bookstagrammers, librarians, booksellers and bloggers personally via email and direct messaging. I told them about my book and provided them with a download link from Net Galley to read it in the hopes that they would consider reviewing it and spreading the word. I knew my book would be relying heavily on word-of-mouth, and so this was really the only opportunity I would have to put my book on their radar. I hosted a couple of giveaways on my social media pages that were shared. I set up a virtual book launch at Vromans, where I launched my debut, in conversation with a more established writer friend. Were we not in a pandemic, having in-store signings, connecting with other writers about events and panels and having that facetime opportunity to meet potential readers is really helpful.
That’s all really great advice! Marketing can be tricky even in the best of times.
What’s next for you? Do you have any other books in the works right now?
I am in the early stages of a new project that I’m not quite prepared to discuss yet!
Ooh, that sounds intriguing!
Thank you, Robin, for sharing your story and tips with us! And congratulations on your second book! Can’t wait to read what’s next!
The author of MY KIND OF CRAZY and WHERE THE ROAD LEADS US, Robin Reul has been writing since she was in early elementary school, when she used to make her own book club flyers for her classmates and then pen them original stories. Though she grew up on movie sets and worked for many years in the film and television industry both as an actress and in motion picture development, she ultimately decided to focus her attention on writing young adult novels. She loves to write stories that straddle the line between humor and heartbreak, filled with quirky, memorable characters who stay with the reader long after the story ends. When she’s not writing, Robin can be found drinking copious amounts of iced coffee and listening to way too much 80s music. She lives in Los Angeles suburbia.
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