Robert J Dornan is someone who wishes to leave a better world to his children. He realizes that the odds are slim but he will do whatever he can to increase the probability of success. He is always open to discuss new and innovative ideas and hopes someday to see the building of a functional solar city as well as a fair and community-driven compensation system.
Robert’s latest book is the historical fiction, 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.
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It’s a pleasure to have you here today, Robert. Can you tell us what your new book is about?
First of all, thank-you for the opportunity to discuss 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. with your readers. I welcome all feedback and can be reached via email to discuss my books as well as a variety of environmental subjects.
During the early hours of April 26, 1986, Reactor Four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant exploded, 23 Minutes is a fictional account of how the lives of two sisters were forever changed by this horrific accident.
Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
Mila and Tania Kharmalov are sisters in their early twenties who were born in Moscow and later moved to the nuclear city of Pripyat. Mila is strong headed, and at times, bold while Tania has a soft personality and timid of confrontation.
Valeri Markov, the primary villain, is the most complex character I have ever written and a complete enigma to the other characters in the novel. He appears vain and overly extroverted yet as the story unfolds we learn that he is totally dependent on the person that most would consider as Markov’s sidekick.
Aaron Byrd is the friend of Mila’s daughter and is “interviewing” Tania, hoping to write the story of a lifetime. He is often flabbergasted and confused by East European customs or mannerisms but even more flabbergasted by Mila’s daughter, whom he loves dearly.
Your book is set in both Pripyat and Kiev. Can you tell us why you chose these cities in particular?
Pripyat was situated a kilometer and a half from Chernobyl’s Reactor Four. The city, the most modern in all of Ukraine, was considered the jewel of all Soviet nuclear cities. Although tiny in comparison to Moscow, Pripyat had every imaginable luxury including a marina, coffee shops and high-end restaurants. When Pripyat was evacuated, a good percentage of its citizens found refuge in Kiev and most remained there for the rest of their lives.
Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
The Kharmalov family is eating dinner the evening before Tania is to be married. Her future husband, Yuri, is joining the family and has been discussing his boss as well as the surprise inspection intended for the nuclear plant that evening. The discussion turns to Yuri’s best friend Alex and Alex’s mother who will also be attending the next day’s ceremony. When Mr. Kharmalov jokes about Alex’s mother he is admonished by his wife but he manages to crack one more silly comment to his son. Mila laughs, not realizing that this would be the last dinner they would all spend together.
What has been the most pivotal point of your writing life?
The first time a stranger told me she liked one of my books was pivotal for me. It was exhilarating and in turn, inspired me to continue learning the craft. Aside from that, in the past decade I’ve become more involved in topics that will affect the lives of my children and these issues have inspired me and are thus central in most of my stories.
What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?
The very first subject I’d discuss is research. If you haven’t exhausted your research lines then you haven’t done enough. Also, and take the following with a grain of salt, but write what you wish to write. The second that you worry what your family and friends will think of your creation, the story is dead.