An interview with Robin Tidwell

RTidwellRobin’s writing career began at the age of eight, when her grandmother insisted she read Gone with the Wind before taking her to see the movie. Inspired by Margaret Mitchell, she began scribbling little booklets of stories, and was the editor of her elementary school newspaper and a columnist in high school. She submitted a short story to Seventeen magazine and was promptly rejected, but still keeps a copy of the manuscript in her desk.
Robin has worked as a snack bar cook, a salad prepper, a camp counselor, a waitress, a receptionist, a housekeeper, a freelancer, an editor, and an employment consultant and manager. She’s also been in car sales, skin care sales, cookware sales, advertising sales, and MLM. She’s owned and operated an entrepreneurial conglomerate, a cleaning service, an old-time photography studio, a bookstore, and a publishing house.

Six years ago, Robin and her husband Dennis moved back to St. Louis, after many years in Columbia, Sedalia, Colorado Springs, Durango, and Granbury and Tolar, Texas. They live with their youngest son, a dog, a cat, and a new puppy.

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Twitter:  @RobinTidwell



PJ: How long have you been writing?

Robin: Oh, on and off since I was about three or four years old. I used to make little paper books with squares of notebook paper and Scotch tape. I was editor of my school paper in elementary school, and wrote for my high school paper, and wrote the requisite teenage gloom-and-doom poetry. Professionally, I’ve been writing since 2007.


PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

Robin: Actually, when I published my first book. And then I realized there was so much more, so many more challenges, and that success was relative to one’s own goals.


PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

Robin: Oh, yes. Almost exactly what I expected. Including the pay grade . . .


PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

Robin: Hmm, speaking of that pay grade . . .  I didn’t have any expectations, really; I had hopes. I’m still hoping!


PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

Robin: Not so much. As a publisher myself, I know that I have the vehicle to get my books in print, but even before that, I knew the odds of getting an agent and being picked up by a major house were somewhere between slim and none. My focus has remained the same, to write quality books that I like.


PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

Robin: Well, I spent a day sending off agent queries, and then waited around for, oh, a few weeks. I got a couple “not interested” emails, and decided I was already tired of waiting to hear more. I’m not very patient . . . but I also knew I didn’t want to play that game. I even turned down an offer from a small press. So I self-published.


PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

Robin: I don’t think so. I might query a few more agents, I might have waited a bit longer, but I like where I’m at now, and what I do.Reduced cover


PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

Robin: Finding writing time is the most difficult. I tend to start and finish and ignore everything in between for a few weeks or so. And to be honest, I don’t do a lot of rewrites. I do, however, spend an hour every day, six days a week, doing promotion. Every morning, without fail, no excuses. It’s a habit now.


PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Robin: Well, my books are good. And timely. And during my days as a bookseller, and now as a publisher, I see a lot of garbage—books that should never be published, or need a lot more work before publication. I think the good ones will stick around, the bad ones will eventually sink to the bottom.


Reused coverPJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Robin: No one thing comes to mind, but I do blog twice a week on RobinWrites on things of interest to writers at all stages.


PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

Robin: Well, you are!


PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Robin: Cold calls. Getting the motivation to go see someone about my books and set up an event. No one will believe this, but as a child, I’d walk around with my head down all the time—I’m surprised my chin didn’t fuse to my chest. Sometimes, it’s still hard to talk to people one-on-one, in spite of all the sales jobs I’ve held. It’s much easier to talk about someone else’s book!


PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Robin: Oh yes—The Book House. Michelle is a great friend of local and indie authors.


PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:Recycled cover

Reduced 2012

Reused 2012

Recycled 2013

Repeat 2015


PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Robin: RECYCLED is the third book in the REDUCED Series. Abby has survived and fought back against the government for nearly 20 years, and is ready to simply escape it all. But Alison and Brad convince her to carry on for one last mission, to Chicago, the heart of Co-OpComm, and bring an end to the tyranny.


PJ: Where can we buy it?

Robin: The REDUCED Series is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book House, STLBooks, and via Ingram.


PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

Robin: Not telling. Oh, wait, I’m an open book. Ha.

3 thoughts on “An interview with Robin Tidwell

  1. From Radine.

    Very interesting description of your books. I love the titles. And–the times have sure changed. Our family home had almost no adult books, though my mother made up stories to tell me and I still have the three children’s books I was given back then. Otherwise, my avid reading (and book purchases with an allowance) didn’t begin until I was ready for Nancy Drew.

    Interesting about your reading of Gone With the Wind at age 8. In our home my Saturday job when I was 8 and older was dusting the what-not shelf in the living room, and at the bottom was one of our family’s few books, GWTW! I was not to read it–not appropriate for anyone but adults. BUT, each Saturday, when Mom was about household chores elsewhere I read a few pages while I was supposed to be dusting. Took me over a year to finish, but I did read it. And yes, I found some of the parts rather “memorable.” The birth of Melanie’s baby, parts of the relationship between Scarle and Rhett, the profession of Belle Watling, and so on. However, don’t believe I was harmed! 🙂

    • So sorry I missed your comment! How nice to meet someone else who read GWTW at such a young age – I was sure no one believed that story, but yes, it’s true… I think there were probably some parts I glossed over – I certainly never asked my mom about them!

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