*Kindling Friendship* Robert Sollars

Oh, what a rainy week we’ve had! A deluge every day, and even thunder on Tuesday—a real treat for this Midwest-born gal whose favorite childhood memory is listening awe-struck to “angels bowling” during midnight summer thunderquakes. And despite this morning’s drizzle, there was real hope for a reprieve this afternoon when significant sunshine intermingled with a misty downpour.

Now, however, I am eager to usher my guest, Robert Sollars, out of another episode of rain and bluster, into the warm coziness of my home.

Me: Hello Robert, I’m so happy to meet you. Please come in–oh, let me take your wet things–and please make yourself at home.

Robert: Thanks for inviting me. I appreciate it!

Me: Would you like a cup of tea? Or coffee, perhaps? And something to nibble?

Robert: Coffee please, and I never turn down a cookie.

Me: And where would you feel most comfortable: here at my kitchen table? Or would you like a comfy chair in the livingroom?

Robert: Wherever I will make the least mess. Probably here at the table.

Me: Mmmm, I’ve got my pomegranate tea…now that we’re settled, tell me a little about yourself.What part of the country do you live in?

Robert: Well, I’ve lived in Missoura, North Dakota, and currently the Phoenix AZ. Area.

Me: Have you been there long?

Robert: 15 years as of this past May

Me: What do you like best and least about living there?

Robert: The heat in summer and how long it lasts. And least, probably the vastness of the valley. I grew up and lived in small towns my entire life until I moved down there, so the closeness you get with small towns is missing.

Me: Is your writing influenced in any way by where you live?

Robert: Nope,not at all. I probably get more information about my topics there, but I’m not really influenced by it. It is unfortunate, but my topic knows no boundries.

Me: Can you describe your writing process for me? For example, do you have a certain time of day you find most productive? Or a special place where you find inspiration?

Robert: I am usually at my computer by about 4:30AM and knock off around 4PM, after a break for the lunch news. I ain’t chained to the desk though, I am up and down all day unless something has really captured my attention and the words are flowing like the river. I usually find that first thing after sitting down at the computer until about 10AM and then again about 2PM I get into a groove and the words just gush out most of the time, not that they are all good, but…I also know when to stop. I also listen to music while I work and that helps the words…sometimes.

Me: Interesting. What got you started writing?

Robert: I started writing fiction for the fun of it more than 40 years ago in high school and now it helps me take a break from the death & destruction I normally write about with my books. While a lot of my fiction is dark and brooding, horror and dark sci fi, it livens my mood so I can write the really dark stuff about the real world.

Me: And what keeps you writing?

Robert: That is very simple, it’s all about saving lives and entertaining people with my fiction.

Me: Just for fun, if you don’t mind, here are a couple of offbeat questions so I can get a better glimpse of you as a person:

What kind of fruit or vegetable would you say best expresses your personality?

Robert: Why? That’s hard to say. Some days I’m a sweet red delicious apple and others brussel sprouts. It really depends on my moods and who is there to cheer me up…my wife, best friend, or my cat.

Me: Here’s a relevant one- What do you like to do on a rainy day?

Robert: Sit an cuddle with my wife, unless I’m working. Sometimes I just like to sit in the rain and enjoy it, with a cigar and something to drink, listening to music or watching Star Trek.

Me: Well sorry to disappoint, ha! And what’s your favorite part of going grocery shopping? What do you think that says about you?

Robert: Me go shopping (horrified look on my face). I usually only shop when I have too and never when I don’t have too. I don’t like crowds and never have, so I tend to stay at home, unless there is something special I need to get for someone.

Me: Would you rather vacation at the beach or in the mountains?

Robert: While my wife would say the beach I would be more of a mountain boy. I have always considered myself a hillbilly and just feel more comfortable in wide open spaces imagining themajesty of them at this point.

Me: What is your favorite punctuation mark?

Robert: It used to be an exclamation point but I realized I over used it so now it is either a comma, or a period.

Me: What role have children played in your life? How about in your writing?

Robert: As for my writing probably not at all. I have three kids of my own and I coached youth football,basketball, and bowling back in the day. I get along with kids and some of the stories I have written show that I can still think and act like one too, which is not a bad thing. When you can get inside the emotions of characters and animals, as I do, it is very freeing for the mind.

Me: Oh, I know you need to get back to your busy life, but before you leave, tell me a little more about your writing, won’t you? And where I might read your work?

Robert: I primarily write books and blogs on security topics but recently published a book on customer service. I feel an obligation to help protect people from workplace and school violence. I can’t lay a finger on it, but there is a driving need to protect people. You can read my blogs on those subjects on my website, http://www.robertdsollars.com and preview my latest 2 books on school violence prevention and customer service at http://www.dldbooks.com/robertdsollars/
Me: Thank you so much for visiting with me today. I hope you’ll come visit me again very soon.

Robert: Thanks for having me here, anytime you wish me to come by Joan, all you have to do is give me a shout and I’ll be here.

And with a friendly hug, Robert slips into his rain gear and steps back outside—back into the wind and rain and—what a guy…

I push the door shut tight against the storm, and sigh. Shabbot is coming. Shabbot, release from the weeks work and worries, sacred summons to focus on the present moment.

I find my trusty candlelighter, and arrange the candles with another grateful sigh.

Blessed are you Beloved One, who kindles this moment, who sparks my being, who is the Light amid this day’s darkness.

And let us say, Amen.

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