Robin Mayhall is the author of Twisted Journeys #16: The Quest for Dragon Mountain, the new adventure for Fall 2010 (along with Twisted Journeys #15, Agent Mongoose and the Attack of the Giant Insects). In The Quest for Dragon Mountain, illustrated by Alitha Martinez, the reader gets to be the dragon and decide what to do about pesky peasants, knights spoiling for a fight, and the promise of adventure and hoards of gold on a perilous quest outside the deep, dark dragon lair. Robin is currently writing a book for our exciting new YA graphic novel series that will debut in Spring 2011.
Robin graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and lives in Louisiana.
Q. What was the first thing you were paid to write?
That depends on whether I answer for fiction or nonfiction. I’ve been writing in some form or fashion since I was a kid—I always wanted to write, and I always knew I would write in some way. I went to college in another state, about 500 miles away from home, but I came home for the first two summers and tried to get part-time jobs to make a few bucks. The first journalistic articles I was paid to write were for a local sports magazine called Tiger Rag. I wrote an article about the Louisiana State University cheer leading squad, which had just won a national championship. During my interview with the coach, I met the young man who had just been selected to dress in costume and play the LSU tiger mascot at the next fall’s football games. He was a wonderful, charming person, and he was tragically killed just a couple of weeks later in a car accident, before he ever got to play Mike the Tiger. It was terribly sad and made a big impression on me.
The first item of fiction that I was paid for was a poem published in an online zine of speculative poetry and fiction called Strange Horizons. That poem ended up being nominated for an international poetry award given by the Science Fiction Poetry Association—a huge thrill for me!
Q. What’s your favorite genre to write in? What type of writing do like best—long, short, fiction, nonfiction?
Right now I am really into writing poetry, particularly science fiction or “speculative” poetry. It’s hard to describe exactly what that means, but my poetry tends to have a lot of astronomy themes, focusing on stars, comets, constellations and other stellar objects, as well as on fantasy elements such as vampires, mermaids, faeries and the like. I really like the fact that I can express a thought, a vision or a succinct emotion in a poem very quickly without having to develop more of a plot and characterization. Although I also write short stories and longer fiction, there are times when I just have an idea or a play on words that I want to “let out”—without a lengthy process.
Q. Do you write full time?
I do write full time—sometimes it seems like I write almost 24/7!
My day job is in corporate communications at a large insurance company, where I write a huge variety of business publications all day long—brochures, ads, speeches, letters, scripts, poster copy, letters to the editor—you name it. When I’m not at my regular job, I do a lot of volunteer PR work for a couple of charities that I support, including the Arthritis Association of Louisiana and the Capital Area Animal Welfare Society. I write educational articles for a site called Suite101.com that bring a little extra money each month, and I pick up some freelance writing and editing work from a couple of local magazines. Then there is my writing for pleasure—my poetry and science fiction stories—and, oh yes, the writing for Graphic Universe! It never stops!
But I do truly love it. As I mentioned earlier, I have been writing as long as I could clutch a crayon in my stubby little fist. I started reading and writing very young, and it seems like from early childhood on, I devoured books and I wanted to express myself that way, in words. I feel blessed that Lerner and Graphic Universe have provided me with an opportunity to do that and to work with talented artists, too.