|Curt at home with a photo of Hiram Robinett|
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Curt J. Robinette, Author & Historian
An Interview with Author Curt Robinette
Originally from Nelsonville, Ohio, now residing in Louisiana, Curt Robinette stays active spending time with his family, writing, and other fun things that motivates his creativity. He is the author of Chauncey’s Blood, a historical novel based on true life. Curt is also behind The New Nelsonville Tribune, a historical memoir and current update of Nelsonville, Ohio, a gem in the foothills of Appalachia.
The Elks Lodge, Nelsonville, will host a book signing event on Nelsonville Final Fridays, June 29, 2018, 6 PM. Curt will be signing copies of Chancery’s Blood as well as premiering the first publication of The New Nelsonville Tribune, Volume I. Monday Creek Publishing is the publisher of the 2nd Edition of Chauncey’s Blood, as well as The New Nelsonville Tribune, Volume I. Both books are currently available online in paperback and eBook.
GM: What is the premise for Chauncey's Blood?
CR: Five school friends of mine were killed in Viet Nam, several others, including my cousin, were wounded and/or maimed for life. Others came home with PTSD and other serious issues. It seemed that my small hometown paid a high price to defend our country and do what was “right”. As I researched for telling Hiram’s story, I discovered that the impact was very high in support of the Union in the Civil War as well. Five Robinett young men from Chauncey, Ohio died and several never returned to a fully functional life after the fighting had ended. The impact to the communities, the families left behind, was obvious. The price was blood.
GM: What prompted you to combine fiction with historical facts to create a novel of your family and the Civil War?
CR: My research was originally for our family history. When I found Hiram and discovered how closely related we are (my grandfather’s half-brother), I wanted to find as much about him as was available. From the historical documents at the National Archives, his story became more remarkable with each new discovery. When a West Virginian Historian and Author shared a picture of Hiram and it matched a picture that my Aunt and Uncle possessed, I was hooked. To discover that Hiram served three separate times demonstrated to me that he was not just doing his duty, he was following his calling to serve his country.
The documents discovered contained enough information to develop an accurate time table of Hiram’s life from 1861 through his death in March 1868. Likewise, his lifetime friend and compatriot Robert H. Edwards, was easily detailed almost from start to finish.
The challenge was to utilize the historical documents and determine where the gaps existed and what logically or historically was going on at that time. If I could find historical evidence that seemed to indicate where the boys were, such as a campaign or battle, it was easy. If not, then I had to use my imagination to create a plausible connection from fact A to fact B, etc.
GM: Describe your writing style; how do you maintain thoughts, ideas, and creative endeavors?
CR: Not being an experienced author, I will call my approach “conversational”. I attempt to give the reader a feeling that I am talking to them, telling them the story. I hope for them to feel that they are right there, standing, in the story, experiencing things as they occur.
CR: First, I would say that Robert H. Edwards likely had a personality like my own. He had goals, was not a total flake, but didn’t take day-to-day issues as seriously as others, especially Hiram. He admired Hiram, looked up to him, and would only fleetingly wish that he could be that way, because he was satisfied with who he was. I think that he knew that you were responsible for yourself and that no one could be expected to take care of you, although he did appreciate it when Hiram was there to help him out. Facts that I found out about Robert that I didn’t know while writing the story enhanced my respect for him greatly. Robert graduated in June 1868 from Georgetown University School of Medicine. Being discharged in January 1865, he enrolled in school, married, and spent three intense years as a medical student, preparing for his career, which he never had.
Melinda Booth was equally a favorite, the only difference is that she is a figment of my imagination, brought to the story as the strong, stable and ultimately wonderful figure that Robert needed in his life. In the story, Hiram was not into hugging and Robert needed someone to help him get through the tumultuous times and events occurring around him. As Melinda’s character developed in the story, and I have no idea how that happened, it became obvious to me that Robert would not have accomplished all that he did if she had not been in his life. She was his salvation and his reason for living.
GM: What do you suppose Hiram would have to say about your book and memorializing his name?
CR: I think that he would be impressed that I knew so many facts about his career, like the address where he lived in Washington town in 1867. I’m not at all certain that he would feel that I portrayed him accurately, but I believe I have. Hiram would have been impressed and happy that his friends and co-workers in Washington cared enough to purchase his tombstone and eulogize him in the way they did.
GM: It seems most writers have a teacher or mentor who inspired their writing career. What/who is your inspiration? What motivates you to put pen to paper (or hands to keyboard)?
CR: Telling Hiram’s story was quite easy because of my enthusiasm to get him out to the world. If and when people read about his life, they will be impressed both with his maturity, and his plan for his career. I would suppose that Zane Grey has always been my favorite author and I admired the manner in which he delivered his characters to the story. Lewis Wetzel, one of Zane’s main characters and a real person, was made larger than life and that is how I came to feel about Hiram. While Wetzel was in actuality a cold-blooded Indian killer, Zane Grey turned him into a frontier hero. I didn’t face those same challenges with Hiram, as he was a good guy in reality.
GM: What are you currently writing?
CR: Ezekiel, where the hell are you?
GM: What are you currently reading?
CR: Anything and everything concerning 9-11 Conspiracy. I just finished thoroughly examining the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy.
GM: Who is your favorite author?
CR: Greg Isles. I have read a half dozen of his novels and continue to be amazed with his creativity and incredible imagination. How he is able to create the situations and the characters he comes up with is simply mind-blowing for someone like myself with a very limited imagination.
GM: Do you have advice for novice writers?
CR: Take up golf instead. At a minimum, have fun. Try different approaches to telling your story and don’t settle on one until you “feel” this is your story.