A Day in the Life of Horror and Supernatural Author, Robert Bellam

Terrie Leigh Relf: What types and forms of writing do you focus on?

Robert Bellam: I write Fiction mostly dark, Vampires Werewolves, Serial Killers, Psychological thriller’s, and Children’s books

Terrie Leigh Relf: What are your areas of expertise? 

Robert Bellam: My degree is in sociology of law, with double major in Psychology and some masters level work in psychology. I was a huge fan of Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, and for detail, Michener. I cut my milk teeth on them, and like the twists and turns and the ability to create a fanciful world peopled by creatures of the night, real and imagined.

Terrie Leigh Relf: How do you balance your creative and work time? 

Robert Bellam: That can be difficult at times. I love to play, and I love to write. I play when I need it, and write about every day. My characters tell me when to stop for a breather when they sit back and refuse to tell me where they want to go.

Terrie Leigh Relf: Do you have any tips for writers and editors? 

Robert Bellam: Play with your imagination. Put your ideas down no matter how bad or good they are, and then winnow them out as you need. Don’t overwork your WIPS and send them out. Don’t sit on them. The public might like what you’ve done, but can’t judge your work if you don’t put it out there.

I like editors, and think their role is to help the author cut through the chaff in their work. Editors enable it to be better than the author had originally placed on paper.

Terrie Leigh Relf: What are your thoughts on the creative process and yours in particular? 

Robert Bellam: My mind is overrun with ideas every day. That’s why I have notebooks all over the house. You must allow the creative process to flourish by reading the works of others and being mindful of the world around you. How can you twist it, bend it, and make all of it yours? Just put it on paper. You have no idea where all this energy will go.

Terrie Leigh Relf: Where do your ideas come from? 

Robert Bellam: I’ll have a thought, a line that pops into my head and work from there. I love short stories, because that’s where I fall in- love with my characters. They become me, and I become them in the process. I imagine the sets I create, the conversations, and the plots. Then, as they progress, I begin to see that many of them have value and might make a good book. That’s when I move towards expansion, and a novel begins.

Terrie Leigh Relf: Where have you been published? Upcoming publications? Awards and other accolades?        

Robert Bellam: My vampire novel set in 1644 Cuba, A Dead Heart Breaks, has returned from proofing by a copywriter. I will send it out this year. My novel, The Mirror Man, is about a paranoid-schizophrenic serial killer, is being published with Newman Springs Publishing and should be out this year. I’ve also been published in the How I Met My Other, anthology (Orange Blossom Press), The Drabbler (Alban Lake Publishing), Suspense Magazine, and other publications.

Terrie Leigh Relf: What challenges have you faced as a writer and/or with a particular project? How did you meet them? What did you learn from these challenges and how did they make you a better writer and/or editor?

Robert Bellam: I’ve always wanted to write fiction, but I held back because I thought I couldn’t. I never liked writing in pen and ink on paper and loathed the computer. The challenges I’ve met were mostly self-induced, as I thought no one would like to read what I’d write. I was a grant writer and I thought I couldn’t make the transition. I thought writing was an alien art and didn’t know how to start.

I looked for a writers’ group when I retired, located one, but the facilitator had left. They asked if I wanted to lead them, I said no I didn’t know how to. I went home and looked up the “Six Foot Ferret’ writers’ group and saw how they worked. I thought I can do that! I’ve led lots of meetings on a variety of subjects, so I’ll give it a try. I learned from them that I could write, and I was passably good at it.

Terrie Leigh Relf: Are you a plotter and planner or a discovery writer?

Robert Bellam: I am a discovery writer hooked on the free flow of thoughts and ideas. I don’t like the time it takes to plot and map out my WIP’s and feel time spent on this, though helpful for others, wasn’t good for me.

Terrie Leigh Relf: Are you currently a writing mentor? If so, what are your thoughts on mentoring?

Robert Bellam: Yes. I’m currently working with two playwrights to develop and write their work. Mentoring helps by encouraging those who are beginning on the path of self-discovery. We pass what we know to them. Those of us who’ve gone through the process can help soften the battle scars of rejection they would otherwise have to absorb alone. As mentors, we help by congratulating them on their victories and offer a shoulder when they need it.

Terrie Leigh Relf: Since you’re a fiction writer, who are your favorite characters? How did they come into being, and what do you love – or loathe – about them?

Robert Bellam: I love my characters they are parts of me. My vampire, Phillip, is arrogant and naïve. My Henry, the serial killer, is a lost soul, unloved and abused. I can’t help but like him. The women in my books are strong, and I enjoy working with them. Do they have bad character traits? Of course! But you gotta love them in the end. My Henry is a product of a short story, as is my Phillip. I couldn’t let them pass into dust without giving them more life in my books.

Terrie Leigh Relf: Thank you for creating time for this interview! 



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