I met Robb Hoff at the Hydra Publications booth at Imaginarium 2019. He is enthusiastic about storytelling and Halloween seems like a great time to indulge in his horror and fantasy novels. I also caught him at a book signing in my town and it was great to hear the background to how he became interested in writing in the horror genre.
How did you decide to become an author?
I first felt empowered by creative writing as a 2nd grader at Westwood Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio. My teacher gave us short stories assignments, staring with a Halloween one. I was hooked right then, plus fell under the paranormal influence of the TV series Carl Kolchak: The Night Stalker about the same time.
I knew I would be a writer after that, but as far as a book author, that didn’t happen until 1994 when I wrote and self-published my first novel, Crackers For A Lycanthrope, which is a work of literary horror set primarily in the Red River Gorge region of Kentucky.
After Crackers, I actually jumped into journalism, working for newspaper/magazine groups for over a decade. I also worked on a few non-fiction book projects with other authors during that time. It wasn’t until 2016 that the urge to write another novel overtook me. I peeled of three books after I started Cosmic Egg Rapture in 2016. Hydra Publications published all three within the past year and a half.
How does your background help with your writing?
I graduated with a BA degree in English Literature from the University of Evansville, so I have a formal background in literature appreciation. Plus, I studied my freshman year at Harlaxton College, which is a campus in a reproduction manor castle owned by Evansville in Grantham, England. That experience abroad further enriched my writing background because I was able to study Shakespeare and visit Stratford-Upon-Avon to see Shakespeare performed in his birthplace. The same for the Lake District: it was such a powerful experience to be at the place that inspired such Romantic poets as Coleridge and Wordsworth.
Can you tell us more about why you wrote your latest books?
The most recent, Serpent Egg Rapture, was the result of NaNoWriMo 2017 and published this August. It is the second novel of my Eggsquisite Corpse Thriller Series that started with Cosmic Egg Rapture (published in March, 2018).
Serpent Egg Rapture starts where the two main characters – Sirena and Uriel – left off in Cosmic Egg Rapture, once they accepted their destiny as “Soulmates” with a mission. While both can be read as standalones, reading one certainly enhances the context of the other.
The genesis for the series is rooted in my decade-long friendship with alternative history author William R. Fix, whose vocation for religious studies in alternative history is a driving force behind much of the story, including the impact of the surreal artist Salvador Dali. Cosmic Egg Rapture in many ways is a tribute to Bill, who passed away in 2017 from Alzheimer’s complications.
The series is also rooted in the concept of Christian “Rapture” and tenets of Jungian psychology. I benefited greatly from two ladies, who provided both subject matter expertise and beta reading for Cosmic Egg Rapture.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write across the board, but write for publication, regardless of what type. It’s great to write for yourself because that certainly nurtures self-discovery and awareness, but writing for readers is the real litmus test for a writer.
What are some upcoming publishing projects you are working on?
I’m about to embark upon the second book of a different series: The Lycanthrope. This is the continuation of my occult horror novel, Contract With The Lycanthrope, which Hydra published earlier in 2019. The series is rooted in my first novel from 25 years ago, Crackers For A Lycanthrope, but it’s taken a historical life of its own that breathes new life into the words, “Madoc! Madoc! Madoc!“, which refers to the Welsh legend of a possible pre-Colombian explorer of America and contemporary of the actual King Arthur.
Anything else you’d like to share about your books?
Readers can keep tabs on me through my website www.robbhoffauthor.com, I offer signed copies for sale there (including specials), plus blog about my upcoming events and projects.