Please tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is titled The Shelter and was released in May by Solstice Publishing. It is a timely
story about a virus, frozen in permafrost since the Ice Age, thawing out and wreaking havoc.
Near Nome, Alaska, an ancient hut is discovered made of mammoth bones. Inside, the
skeletons of six prehistoric hunters are found, but the site also contains the virus that killed
them. Once thawed, it enters the human population once again. The story has some really
strong characters, some romance, a few billion deaths and an ending that won’t make you feel
like crying for a week.
What can we expect from you in the future? I am finishing up on another virus related story,
this one set a thousand or more years after our modern world is destroyed by a weaponized
virus that also causes gigantism is some of the food chain enters and a mutation in children
born of mothers who survived. The story itself is set on the west coast of America in a world
where technology is shunned and where raiders, monster predators and tribes of mutant
humans all threaten a fortified city built on a hill just outside the ruins of San Francisco.
I am also working on a fictionalized auto-biography. I had a wild and interesting youth.
How do we find out about you and your books? You learn more about me at these links:
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RHoppensteadtauthor/
Buy my books here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07R3CFZC9
or here at Solstice: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=436
You can also follow me on Twitter @RHoppensteadt
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing? A lot, I draw on people I
knew, emotions I have experienced and places I have been to make certain my characters are as
authentic as I can make them.
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms? People
have told me I should write for a long time. About 20 years ago I took a year out of my career to
write a novel but it didn’t get very far. I had people to support so I went back to the corporate
world where I was pretty successful. I wrote a lot of poetry over those years, some of that
published. I was able to retire early and now I am writing full time.
Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow? I go with the flow, I am a
night owl though and I often find myself writing until two or three in the morning.
What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there
constant interruptions? My wife doesn’t interrupt me, my two cats have absolutely no sense of
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries? I live in a great historic and scenic area so
I walk, I read, I go to movies, we travel, I do yoga a few times a week. Living in the DC area
these days and there are a lot of very cool places to go, a lot of museums to see and most of
them are free.
Where do your ideas come from? I am not sure, sometimes I will see a story somewhere and run
with a tangent, sometimes they pop into my head and won’t go away.
Do you feel humor is important in books and why? If the story calls for it, some things aren’t
very funny but even then scenes can contain humor as a way to ease tension and give the reader
What kind of research do you do? For The Shelter I did a lot. Average temperatures, sunrise
and sunset, a lot of research on viruses, the CDC, the Alaska National Guard, Native Americans ,
Nome, local flora and fauna, everything necessary to be as true to the setting as I could be. I
didn’t travel there but I have lived in small remote towns. My HS graduating class was 9 people
in a town of 375 where the nearest place that could be called a city was almost to hundred miles
What do you think of critique groups in general? I have been in some good ones and some bad
ones. It really depends on the people you surround yourself with – do they do the work, are they
empathetic and pay attention to detail, and are they good enough themselves to give valuable
feedback if it is a writing group. I found it worked better for me in poetry where you could focus
on the project and workshop it, and some of the people I had in that group have gone on to be
fairly successful poets.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully alive and still enjoying life.
How many books have you written, how many have been published? I have written three books,
one self-published long ago, one published by Solstice and one I am just getting set to query.
After you;ve written your book and it;s been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it? I do
but not for at least a few months, the editing process requires reading so many times I really
don’t need to look at it. I do buy it just to see the finished product.
Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine? I don’t really have
enough out there to have a favorite, but in The Shelter I did grow attached to Matt and Molly.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
If you weren;t writing, what would you be doing? I have a lot of other interests I would be
pursuing, probably focusing more on my hobbies. I like to collect things.
What is your greatest desire? To live a happy and fulfilled life, to be of service to the people I
love and care about, to have no regrets about things I wanted to do but never got around to.
Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers? Sure – just keep trying. I
queried over one hundred agents and publishers before I found a home for The Shelter. There
are something like eighteen million books out on Amazon, and agents and publishers in these
days of electronic submissions can get dozens of queries a week. Do your best work, make sure
what you send as a completed product is professional in its presentation and that you have done
the absolute best you can with the story. Also, if you think writing is the hard part you will
probably be wrong unless you are also a marketing genius and extrovert.