Hello there, friends, my name is Robert Hookey, but you can call me The Hook, everyone else does. I’m here today to give you a peek behind the curtain of my life as a writer.
If this was an episode of Friends it’d be titled, “The One Where The Hook Talks About His Process”.
So now that you know why you’re here, let’s get to it, shall we?
The Hook is the author of one million critically-acclaimed novels – in his head.
Into The Dark: Book, One of the Infinite Crossover Crisis, is his first attempt at committing one to the paper/computerized medium.
He hopes you enjoy it. (But if you don’t… please keep it to yourself.)
The Hook lives in the bustling metropolis known as Niagara Falls, Canada, with his wife, daughter, and houseful of pets and ghosts.
Now for something a little less impersonal. I was a Niagara Falls bellman for over twenty years before Covid-19 decimated the hospitality industry and my role became obsolete. (Hopefully, this will change someday, but who knows?) Rather than wait for me to drive her into a murderous rage, my lovely bride of twenty-six years suggested I use my time at home to write another book. The Bellman Chronicles, my first tome, was a non-fictional account of my adventures in a fifty-story luxury hotel. It was… not something I can be proud of.
I was a neophyte author and it showed. So this time around I decided to indulge my inner nerd (which is my outer nerd, really) and overcome my fear of crafting a fictional world. The result is a genre-busting adventure set in my Infinite Crossover Crisis universe. Into The Dark is all about what happens when a group of unconventional superheroes bands together to take down the puppet masters of an all-too-familiar world. As a father, I’ve faced a lot of difficult questions in the last sixteen months and they’ve left me wanting to create a world where hope isn’t a foreign concept.
Maybe that’s naïve, but that’s the goal I’ve set out for myself with my writing. Additionally, I’ve discovered that, like blogging, writing is therapy even an unemployed bellman can afford. I lost one of my fellow bellmen and best friends to suicide in 2017 and the weight of that loss is something I carry every day. But I’m beginning to feel lighter now that I’m crafting an all-new narrative from some of the darkest moments in my life.
So that’s me, a fifty-one-year-old white-as-Brooke-Shields bellman/author/nerd who’s discovering the self-promotion aspect of being an indie author is far more difficult than the writing itself, which is why I’m so grateful to be a part of The Writers Lift. Now on to my process. Here are some rules I vowed to follow before I began writing my first work of fiction.
ONE) Have fun! By its very nature, writing is a solitary pursuit, so an author has to love their subject matter – unless they’re writing about serial killers or erectile dysfunction – in order to infuse their work with a passion that will translate to the reader. I make it a point to take a break if I begin to feel overwhelmed. If I’m having fun, so will my audience.
TWO) Know where you’re going… to a point. I have two spiral notebooks filled with chapter outlines for Into The Dark. These outlines contain some snippets of actual dialogue that made their way into the finished product, but ultimately they just served to keep me from scratching my (almost) bald head raw trying to figure out where I was going as a writer.
THREE) Expect the unexpected – and learn to love it. One of my main character’s goals is to lead his team of ragtag heroes in the liberation of three hundred “patients” from the Dusk Institute, a medical clinic/prison/fulfillment center run by minions of The Dark, the Big Bads of the Infinite Crossover Crisis. (It makes sense if you read the book, trust me.) In the outline, this scene took place in a single chapter.
It ended up taking ten chapters to do this sequence justice.
That was the first time I truly understood what a writer means when they say, “I gave myself over to the process.” Books can be written organically – if you’re lucky. I have a friend, a fellow author named Frank T. Croisdale (Niagara Falls Into Darkness) who uses index cards to record his outlines and he sticks to the information contained on those cards faithfully. But everyone’s process is unique.
FOUR) Stay true to your voice. I’m a pretty snarky, edgy guy in “real life” (though those that know me best say I’ve lost my edge, especially with guests, over the years) and I wanted to keep that quality alive on the page/screen. Fortunately, my unconventional style is very evident to readers of Into The Dark, and they seem to like it. Which brings me to my next rule…
FIVE) Write for yourself. Period. If you try to tailor your book to a specific group chances are you’ll end up sacrificing any chance you have of creating something truly worthwhile. Unless you’ve been commissioned to write a specific piece for a specific audience you need to follow your writing heart’s desire, my friends. Fame and fortune are great, or so I imagine, but ultimately, you want to produce work that fulfills you as a person as opposed to work that’s going to make you into the next Stephen King or Veronica Roth.
SIX) Dare to be different. (Your career may depend on it.) Let’s face it, there are millions of singers, writers, actors, and creative types of all stripes out there, all fighting to carve out a piece of the pie for themselves. Most of us will be lucky if we ever get a crumb, never mind a piece. So I decided early on to exploit, I mean, utilize public domain characters such as Black Terror, Miss Fury, and original Blue Beetle Dan Garret. Fun Fact: Dan Garrett has two “t’s” is owned by DC Comics but the singular “t” version is open for anyone to use – but, you can’t call him Blue Beetle.
If you’re experiencing a mild headache right now… welcome to my world.
Black Terror and my all-new version of Dan Garret, the Blue Atom, will be featured more prominently in my new two books, Into The Grey and Into The Light. For now, they’re merely hinted at in Into The Dark; I wanted to let my original creations have a chance to make an impression on my readers. So far all ten of them approve.
If I’ve done my job effectively and you want to learn more about The Hook you can follow these links. (Yes, this is a “Jimmy holds grudges, Kramer!” situation.)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my unique brand of literary brilliance. Feel free to drop any questions you have in the comment box thingie below.
See you in the blogosphere and the virtual bookstores, my friends…
Check out my Blog: https://youvebeenhooked.wordpress.com/
Amazon Buy link: amazon.com/dp/B08XN1FQBJ