Rob Hart On his novel The Warehouse, writing, and inspirations. | More2Read
 

Rob Hart On his novel The Warehouse, writing, and inspirations.



Rob Hart is the author of the Ash McKenna series, published by Polis Books, which wrapped up in July 2018 with Potter’s Field. Other entries include: New Yorked, which was nominated for an Anthony Award for Best First Novel, as well as City of Rose, South Village, and The Woman from PragueHe also co-wrote Scott Free with James Patterson.

In January 2019 his first short story collection, Take-Out, was released by Polis Books. And in August 2019, his first standalone novel, The Warehouse, will be released by Crown at Random House. The Warehouse has sold in 21 countries and has been optioned for film by Ron Howard.

By day Rob is the publisher at MysteriousPress.com and the class director at LitReactor. Previously, he has been a political reporter, the communications director for a politician, and a commissioner for the city of New York.

Rob’s short stories have appeared in publications like Shotgun Honey, Crime Factory, All Due Respect, Thuglit, Needle, Helix Literary Magazine, Mystery Tribune, and Joyland. He’s received a Derringer Award nomination for best flash fiction story, and his short story “Take-Out” will appear in Best American Mystery Stories 2018. He also received honorable mention in both Best American Mystery Stories 2015 and 2017.

Non-fiction articles have been featured at sites like LitReactor, Salon, The Daily Beast, Criminal Element, The Literary Hub, Birth.Movies.Death, and Electric Literature.

He lives in Staten Island, N.Y., with his wife and daughter.

You can find Rob on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram



Interview with Rob Hart


Lou Pendergrast

Welcome and thanks for talking about your new novel The Warehouse.

What is this seed and inspiration behind this story?

 

Rob Hart

There are a lot of examples I could point to: warehouse fulfillment workers not allowed to take sick time, chicken farm employees wearing diapers because they don’t get bathroom breaks, the way the gig economy is stripping away worker protections. But it really comes down to Maria Fernandes, a woman from New Jersey who worked part-time at three Dunkin’ Donuts. She would sleep in her car between shifts and in 2014, accidentally suffocated on gas fumes. She was struggling to pay the rent on her basement apartment in Newark. That same year, the CEO of Dunkin’ Brands reportedly earned $10 million. That’s not right.


Lou Pendergrast

What do you hope to evoke within the reader with this novel?

 

Rob Hart

A feeling of empathy. Specifically for the human cost of the retail system we’ve built and bought into.


LP

How was the road crafting this? What sort of time length, and getting it published how was it?

 

Rob Hart

I had the idea way back in 2012, and tried to start it a dozen times, but could never find the entry point. When I finally did, I put together the first 16,000 words, which was the first section. Then my agent left me, and I found myself without rep. Another agent reached out when he heard I was free, and we agreed to get together. I sent him that section, and gave him the pitch for the book, and he loved it. From there I finished the whole thing in about six months. I work well with deadlines, even if it’s just an artificial one, where someone is waiting for me to deliver. From there it was crazy–the book was out on submission for less than a week, we nearly went to auction, and then Crown made a pre-empt offer. And that offer came from an editor I really wanted to work with: Julian Pavia, who also did The Martian and Ready Player One. So, it was pretty much a whirlwind.


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LP

What hobbies do you enjoy pursuing when not writing, some authors are keen runners, other collect stamps, or keep chickens.

 

Rob Hart

I try to keep active physically–I do a lot of weight lifting and fight training, specifically Krav Maga and a little Muay Thai.


LP

Why do you write?

 

Rob Hart

Because I can’t conceive of a life where I wasn’t writing.


LP

Writing, when, where, and with what?

 

Rob Hart

Because I have a four-year-old, I write whenever I have the free time. Lately during the day while she’s in school, up in my office in the attic. I do my note-taking in Google Docs and drafting in Word. I like to keep it simple. I do like to write when I’m traveling too, specifically on planes. I pretty much finished The Warehouse while flying to Singapore last year, which was something like 17 hours of uninterrupted editing time.


LP

Any key writing advice worked for you, that you think could work for others?

 

Rob Hart

The thing about writing advice is: just because it works for me doesn’t mean it’ll work for someone else. And writing advice is sometimes presented in a binary, that you either do something (write every day) or you’re doing it wrong. Rather, I think you have to pick through writing advice to find what best works for you, and leave aside what doesn’t. Which is the best advice I can give.


LP

Which authors and their books you revisit and stay in your conscious? 

 

Rob Hart

I don’t re-read many books—there are too many books I haven’t gotten to yet. But every now and again I revisit Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, a formative book for me, and the work of Tom Spanbauer, because I think he’s one of our great living writers.



LP

Love Bradbury’s works and particularly Fahrenheit 451.

Any books you recommend to be under readers radar?

 

Rob Hart

The best book I read recently was American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson. And Kristen Lepionka has a new Roxane Weary book, The Stories You Tell, coming out soon, which is super exciting.



LP

Thanks for this peak into your writing.

 

Rob Hart

Thank you!



 

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 26 April 2019