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New Member
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Registered: ‎02-11-2010

Re: Weekly Author Q&A: Get to know RLB Hartmann

No question. I also wondered about why you wrote stories set in Mexico but I see you have answered that.

Much luck!
New Member
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Re: Weekly Author Q&A: Get to know RLB Hartmann

So your short story turned into nine books?!

Are these books all about the same character? Do they all take place in 1910? I thought they were older.
Author
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Registered: ‎02-11-2010

Re: Weekly Author Q&A: Get to know RLB Hartmann

Thanks for dropping in, Patsy!

PDM - The short story came first, as a result of hearing a visiting professor mention that "forty grains of black powder" was the proper load for a .45 handgun in the 19th century. By the next summer, the whole first novel by that name was well on its way.

Once I settled what I thought were all the plot threads in that one, I began wondering what happened to Trouble after he got back to his chosen bit of Sonora. I was as surprised as he was to find a girl living in his little house at the edge of the desert.

Every time I thought I had wrapped up the saga, new characters appeared and told me their stories, so I kept writing them down until four generations of Corderos had confided in me. After the reall-life death of a major Revolutionary figure, and my characters' stories had come to a peaceful conclusion, I ended the 9th book in a good place.

But every now and then, I hear whispers of voices and have visions of scenery that I might visit again one day, if only for my own pleasure.

Thanks for asking, and letting me run on. : )
Reader
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-11-2010

Re: Weekly Author Q&A: Get to know RLB Hartmann

RLB,

You seem to prefer male protagonists, even though one of your books is subtitled a romance. Do you feel men lead more interesting lives than women, or is there another reason?

Catherine M.
Author
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Registered: ‎02-11-2010

Re: Weekly Author Q&A: Get to know RLB Hartmann

There are several reasons most of my protagonists are male. One main reason is that men were dominant in the times and places that my stories are set. And since I like to read about strong, handsome men, I like to think that other women do, too.

However, that said, most of my fiction actually features a number of strong female characters. The only one I can think of that doesn't is one of the few contemporary novels I've written, STRONG COFFEE. The main character is an almost-13 year old boy. When someone asked me why I wrote about him, my answer was that sometimes I feel that I AM a 12 year old boy--inside. Please don't analyze that one too closely!

The single script that I've written that was NOT a novel first is called THE BRACKETTVILLE HORSES, and while there is a strong handsome male, the actual protagonist in that one is a young pioneer woman.

Thanks for the question! It makes me think about what I write and why--always a good thing for a writer.
New Member
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Registered: ‎02-11-2010

Re: Weekly Author Q&A: Get to know RLB Hartmann

Hey,

J. Walt Layne here, I think I got my copy of Cullen Baker, after reading about your having publinshed it.

My question, of course is both simple and complicated:

Why Westerns? In this day where everyone seems to be writing with trends or just trying to write work for hire, we few we happy few, stand apart writing the story that comes to mind.

Do you have an interest in the romance of the west, the not so romantic as supposed wild west, or the truly not so wild west that the legends sprang from\?

I read that your life's work was to be that of a spoof, and I get that art, imitating art, must equal reality no matter how bizarre. Which surely has to explain my having written a legal thriller set in Mississippi, never having actually been there. But, you must have surely been subjected to a lot of western subject material to have such a deep interest... Which I find fantastic.

What is your process like and how to you take yourself to the place of focus for writing a western?

Okay, it was more than one question, sue me.
Author
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎02-11-2010

Re: Weekly Author Q&A: Get to know RLB Hartmann

Simple question, maybe a complicated answer. I blame my maternal grandmother, Mawie, for sparking my interest in Westerns when I was small enough to sit under the ironing board while she made up stories involving my family and her favorite movie cowboys.

I also went through a long period of watching tv westerns when a different one came on every night, and another later long period of reading Louis L'Amour after discovering his work.

However, barring my very first true western (which has such a twist that I've been advised NOT to make it into a script), I don't consider any of my other works "westerns" in the usually accepted meaning of the term.

There is real romance in the chivalric sense of that word, both in our West, and in the historical novels that I write, so that is one reason I like that genre. The spoof you mention never got past the table of contents except for an opening scene or two, but it did show me my comic side, which comes out in my Southern humor titles featuring Floyd.

As for process, I do what my daddy called "watch the little movies" in my head. I usually have only a vague idea where the story should go (and it always surprises me when it veers into intriguing avenues), and the closest I've ever come to making an outline is to jot down a string of events I know will happen. They don't always happen in that order!

I try to write people and plotlines that are true-to-life AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN in the time the characters live. And while I'm writing, I always experience the emotions they must have felt, given their circumstances. One of the high moments of my writing life occurred when, thick in the Mexican Revolution, a young friend asked my main character where he wished he could be (they were on a quest for two lost children, one of them the m.c.'s son, standing in rain in mountains far from home)...before my character could reply, the friend said he would like to be back in their home town, "when everyone was happy." That brought tears to my eyes. The only time I've ever been that immersed in my own story. Although I have been known to laugh out loud at Floyd. : )
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Re: Weekly Author Q&A: Get to know RLB Hartmann

Hi RLB,

Scriptwriting seems so different from a scene in a novel - having to write the breaks and blocking and things that are narrative or even implied in a novel. How do you set yourself up for this way of thinking when preparing to develop a script?

And --

To me, your Tales of a Southern Vampire is such a departure from your other works. Where did this inspiration come from?

Thanks for sharing and it is a pleasure to speak with you.

Sherry
Author
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎02-11-2010

Re: Weekly Author Q&A: Get to know RLB Hartmann

Hi, Sherry! Thanks for dropping by.

While I feel confident that I CAN write a "shooting script" because my visions for my stories are vivid to me, the Powers that Be (i.e. studios, agents, producers, contests) want to read "spec" scripts. This means that a screenwriter really is a scriptwriter until the work finds its way to the screen.

So writing a spec script is hard for me only in the sense that I can't be a novelist and get by with that! Only the BARE BONES of the story appear on a spec script--the fewer words, heavily active and concrete, the better. There are scriptwriting programs available, but I use a simple free-from-the-Net template that worked with my antiquated Lotus Word Pro word processor. It also miraculously works with Open Office, which I tried out recently and like very much (if only I can now figure out how to put page numbers on my novel manuscripts!).

Tales IS a departure...but all my writing seems to be a departure from the rest in one way or another. From deeply researched historicals to the humor in the Floyd stories is a wide step, taking in my contemporary "road story" Strong Coffee. All are very much different from each other. Tales of a Southern Vampire began as an experiment in memory, and a desire to try my hand at two popular genres : supernatural romance, with a vampire base. And, like Floyd, it gives me a chance to work in snippets of my own past (HUGEly disguised in many ways) that otherwise would find no literary home.
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Re: Weekly Author Q&A: Get to know RLB Hartmann

You said you don't really work from an outline, and you sort of follow the story as it comes. Do you start with the characters, then? Are they fully formed before you begin writing? Or do they evolve and change as you write? When you've finished writing, are the characters still the way you imagined them in the beginning, or do they sometimes end up being totally different?

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