Interview: September 7, 2007
September 7, 2007
Robert Goddard's NEVER GO BACK is the third book in his mystery series featuring unlikely hero Harry Barnett. In this interview with Bookreporter.com's Roz Shea, Goddard discusses the Victorian influence in his writing, the effect of unexpected success on his career and the possibility of future installments in this series.
Bookreporter.com: Your plot structure has often been compared to Victorian novels --- a maze of plot twists and turns seething with dark secrets. How do you strategize your character’s development?
Robert Goddard: I choose as a central character someone with a big stake in the story who generally has to discover just as much as the reader about the truth of what's happening. I then throw the problems raised by the plot at them and see how they react, giving them as much independence from me as I can impart. In this way the story evolves naturally, I hope, and fulfillingly for the reader.
BRC: Your books are based on historical events or times, but often take place in the present. Do you have a favorite historical era?
RG: I don't really have a favourite historical era. Any period could supply the kind of mystery I'm always looking out for. History is, as I hope my books demonstrate, replete with material for the sort of stories I'm drawn to.
BRC: If you were to find yourself in a situation similar to Barnett, which of the 14 RAF servicemen would you choose as company and why?
RG: Dangerfield, I expect, which wouldn't turn out to be too smart a choice. Of course, the fact is that Barnett (like me) naturally gravitates to Chipchase. He is the flip side of Harry's persona.
BRC: You were a history major and Cambridge graduate who was working as an educational administrator when your first book, PAST CARING, became an instant bestseller in the UK. How has this success changed your projected career path?
RG: Goodness knows I never had a career path as such before I became a writer. I was just working to pay the rent and waiting, though I didn't realize it, for the moment to come when I acknowledged that writing was the only career I was cut out for. I'm just glad it's turned out well enough for me to go on with it, because it's clearly what I'm designed to do.
BRC: There are currently three books in the Harry Barnett series: INTO THE BLUE, OUT OF THE SUN and now NEVER GO BACK. Can we expect to see more of Harry in the near future?
RG: Harry is getting a little long in the tooth for further adventures, but I wouldn't rule anything out. Ideas come from a place where I'm very much not in charge, so who knows? It's hard to believe my readers and I have seen the last of Harry (not to mention Barry).