This week I pick up the featured author and we transport to a Florida beach. It’s evening at the waterfront restaurant. I’m having seafood, of course and we’re both enjoying the food, the sea, and the sand. Content. Happy. Peaceful. He waits patiently until I remember I have an interview to do.
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
My name is Robert Uttaro. I love music, basketball, teaching, and I was fortunate enough to write To the Survivors. I am not the most fascinating person in Boston, but one thing that makes me unique, I guess, is that I am a rape crisis counselor.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
I used to play guitar in a heavy metal band when I was in high school.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rocket scientist?
I did not consider myself a writer and never once tried to write a book until one experience changed my life. This experience was a dream I had. I woke up from this dream and said, “I have to write a book”. I interpreted this dream as a vision from God. I sat down at my computer that morning to write and that is how the book To the Survivors began. God inspired me to pursue a career in writing.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I would like to eat dinner with Marilyn Manson because he is a very intelligent human being with fascinating ideas. I would like to listen to him talk about his life and is current thoughts on the world and religion.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
To the Survivors will be great company because it will give you deep connections to other people, hope and faith.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
To the Survivors is non-fiction and includes interviews, written stories, and poetry of men and women who have been raped and sexually assaulted. This book does not have character development, but the people in the book and their stories are quite moving. For me, I write when I can, especially when something inspires me. I can go months without writing a word, and then write a lot in a couple of days. This can be at any time during the day and night. In terms of editing and revising, my editor and I revised again and again and again. We both edited the whole book at least ten times.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
Write, write, and write some more. Don’t worry about where or how to begin. In fact, don’t worry at all. It’s imperative to not be nervous, to not fear anything, and to fight through whatever blockage one may have. Write from your heart. Believe in yourself and your abilities, and don’t stop writing if you have the desire to write.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
Our time on this earth is less than a blink of an eye in terms of eternity. I believe in God, and I believe God loves us more than we can even fathom, even if we do not believe God exists. As Jesus says, “Seek and you will find.”
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I am currently writing a second book, but most of my focus right now is on teaching, working, and spreading To the Survivors to as many people, schools, libraries, rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, and religious/secular organizations as possible.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
People can go to my website at http://www.robertuttaro.com/ or email me at email@example.com. If interested in To the Survivors, you can check it out at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and other online retailers.