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William P. Robertson graduated from Mansfield University in 1972 with a BS in English. Since then, he has worked in factories, taught high school English, and run a successful house painting business. He began freelancing short stories, poetry, and articles in 1978 and has been published in over 500 magazines in the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Romania, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia. He has also published eleven poetry collections, two audio books of horror verse, five volumes of short stories, ten Bucktail novels, two French and Indian War novels, and a Viking novel. In his spare time, Bill enjoys photography, trout fishing, and Civil War reenacting. He belongs to Company I of the 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Western Pennsylvania? I’ve made it my lifetime goal to preserve the history and folklore of our rural region, that’s rich in both. Being an outdoorsman and an independent thinker were ingrained in me by the hardy people who live here. Also, my work ethic comes from our region’s blue collar heritage.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? As a boy, I was very shy. I found it difficult to talk about my pent-up emotions, so I wrote about them instead. Then, I was exposed to the lyrics of the Doors that expanded my literary horizons and invoked a burning desire to write poetry.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I was a member of the Bradford Area High School newspaper, THE COURANT, and saw my work in print for the first time there. In college I had several of my poems published in the Mansfield University newspaper and literary magazine. After college I became a freelance writer but had no success until I learned how to target the correct markets for my work.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? My dad was a big reader and pointed me to the works of C.S. Forester, Kenneth Roberts, H. P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allan Poe, which I devoured. Historical fiction and horror later became the genres I explored as a writer.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? The title comes first when I write poetry. Novels are so complex, though, that I change the title many times as the book evolves.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre. As a Gemini, I’m torn between writing horror and historical fiction. The horror influence comes from Grandma Bernadine, who was a Swedish immigrant and highly superstitious. Her stories of trolls and haunted swamps fueled my imagination when I was a boy. The historical fiction element comes from my early reading and my overall love of history. I would have become a high school history teacher if I could have gotten a job. Unfortunately, you had to be a coach to get hired in that field in the 1970’s, so I majored in English instead.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? When I started writing novels, I got lost in a hurry. This prompted me to team up with fellow English teacher, David Rimer. I was always brimming with creative ideas, which David helped me shape into a logical, well-written story. David is an excellent technical writer, so I learned a great deal about the nuts and bolts of the writing process from him. He is also a hard taskmaster, which drives me to be a better writer, too!
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so, please explain how it could have been avoided. When I began freelance writing, it took me five frustrating years before I had my first acceptance. It wasn’t that my poems and articles were poorly written, it was due to the fact that I wasn’t studying the markets well enough. When I began targeting my work to the right publications, my stuff immediately found its way into print. Another thing that kept me going was when my father told me, “You might just as well quit because you aren’t a good enough writer to make it.” I gritted my teeth and set out to prove Dad wrong. Soon after, I won first prize in a prestigious poetry contest that opened many doors for me and was my first big break.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Being asked to deliver the commencement speech at the December 2012 Graduation Ceremony at Mansfield University was my most rewarding experience. Not only was it the 40th anniversary of my own graduation, but it showed that my writing was now being recognized by my peers. I also got a huge amount of publicity that helped open up a whole new audience for my work.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Be sure to edit your work thoroughly. It took David Rimer and me thirty-two edits to polish Ambush in the Alleghenies to a marketable form. It was the LAST edit that turned the book into a best seller!
Who is your favorite author? Jim Morrison is my favorite author. He was known as “the Word Man,” and the lyrics he wrote for the Doors opened my mind to the power of language. His imagery and use of poetic devices had an immediate impact on my own work and turned my verse from doggerel to actual poetry!
Set against the backdrop of the French and Indian War, Ambush in the Alleghenies pits a resourceful frontier lad against the vicious Ottawa chief who murdered his father. Set against the backdrop of the French and Indian War, Ambush in the Alleghenies pits a resourceful frontier lad against the vicious Ottawa chief who murdered his father. Set against the backdrop of the French and Indian War, Ambush in the Alleghenies pits a resourceful frontier lad against the vicious Ottawa chief who murdered his father.
Gasp! (Robyl Press, 1999)
Until Death Do Impart (Robyl Press, 2002)
Bucktail Tales (Robyl Press, 2013)
Short Story Collections:
Lurking in Pennsylvania (Infinity Publishing, 2004)
Dark Haunted Day (Infinity Publishing, 2006)
Terror Time (Infinity Publishing, 2009)
The Dead Of Winter (Infinity Publishing, 2010)
Terror Time 2nd Edition (Infinity Publishing, 2013)
Season Of Doom (Infinity Publishing, 2013)
Stories from the Olden Days (Infinity Publishing, 2015)
Hayfoot, Strawfoot: The Bucktail Recruits (White Mane Publishing, 2002)
The Bucktails’ Shenandoah March (White Mane Publishing, 2002)
The Bucktails: Perils On The Peninsula (Infinity Publishing, 2006)
The Bucktails’ Antietam Trials (White Mane Publishing, 2006)
The Battling Bucktails at Fredericksburg (White Mane Publishing, 2006)
The Bucktails At The Devil’s Den (Infinity Publishing, 2007)
The Bucktails’ Last Call (Infinity Publishing, 2007)
Ambush In The Alleghenies (Infinity Publishing, 2008)
Attack In The Alleghenies (Infinity Publishing, 2010)
This Enchanted Land: The Saga of Dane Wulfdin (Infinity Publishing, 2010)
The Bucktail Brothers Of The Fighting 149th (Infinity Publishing, 2011)
The Bucktail Brothers: Brave Men’s Blood (Infinity Publishing, 2012)
The 190th Bucktails: Catchin’ Bobby Lee (Infinity Publishing, 2014)
Burial Grounds (Triton Press, 1977)
Gardez Au Froid (Triton Press, 1979)
Animal Comforts (Vega Press, 1981)
Life After Sex Life (Four Winds Press, 1983)
Waters Boil Bloody (Robyl Press, 1990)
1066 (Robyl Press, 1992)
Hearse Verse (Robyl Press, 1994)
The Illustrated Book of Ancient, Medieval & Fantasy Battle Verse (Robyl Press, 1996)
Desolate Landscapes (Robyl Press, 1997)
Bone Marrow Drive (Chuck’s Electronic Press, 1997)
Ghosts of a Broken Heart (Infinity Publishing, 2005)
http://bucktailsandbroomsticks.com/ (Acts as my author site and showcases my historical fiction work. Received its millionth hit in November of 2013)
http://www.thehorrorhaven.com/ (Showcases my horror writing)
http://www.viking-sagas.com/ (Was created to publicize the Viking novel I co-wrote with Fiona Ingram and David Cox)
Infinity Publishers Purchase Link: http://www.buybooksontheweb.com/
William P. Robertson Author Page at Amazon.com unless otherwise noted. http://www.amazon.com/William-P.-Robertson/e/B001K8M806/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1