Robert Dugoni is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and #1 internationally bestselling author of more than twenty books, including My Sister’s Grave, Her Final Breath and The Conviction. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages and sold in ninety-five countries. Having left a former legal career to pursue writing, Robert has won an array of awards for his work, including the Washington Posts’ Best Book of the Year award. He has sold more than 8 million books worldwide. Robert Dugoni majored in creative writing and communications/journalism at Stanford University while at the same time working as a reporter for Stanford Daily. Please enjoy our interview with Robert Dugoni…
What are you reading at the moment?
Currently, I am reading The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles.
Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Seventh Grade. I wrote a story about a slave on a slave auction block.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
In seventh grade when I read my story to my class. That was it for me.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be and why?
I’d probably gift myself The Green Mile by Stephen King. It’s a book I go back to every time I start a new novel.
Can you remember sitting down to start writing your first book? What did that feel like?
I was scared. I’d walked away from a legal career to pursue writing, with no guarantees I would succeed.
Does your reading have a routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
I’m so busy. Reading is often on planes, on vacations and at night before bed.
Can you talk us through your writing process, from the first spark of an idea, to having your first completed draft?
I don’t outline. I get an idea and I let it percolate until the characters feel comfortable telling me the story. I try to stay out of the way, to be invisible and let the characters take center stage.
The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. Suddenly story structure made complete sense. I could write. I just didn’t know how to write a novel.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring writer?
Learn the craft first and foremost. Writing novels is a craft. Second, put your butt in the chair. There’s only one way to write 400 pages and keep track of every character and everything that is going on and that is hard work. Put in the time.
Do you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?
My mother, once an English teacher, got me hooked on all the classics. They will always be special for that reason.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
Baymine by Rocky Hatley. I pray it gets published so others can enjoy it and its characters as much as I have.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life? What impact did it have?
Probably The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, which was given to me by my mother and got me thinking that I wanted to write novels with my life.
Without giving too much away, what are you working on at the moment?
Tracy Crosswhite novels #10 and #11. A new legal series starting with Her Deadly Game.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
Anything with a good story!
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?