Author Robert Gross of Golden Bell/Sunday Morning Comics
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The final interview from the Golden Bell crew, Robert Gross is a cofounder of Golden Bell and Chief Content Officer.
A lifelong fan and supporter of arts and entertainment, Robert wanted to tell stories since watching his first VHS copy of Star Wars. Whether it’s comics, books, animations or live action films he enjoys writing and editing stories in any medium. While always working towards realizing his dream, Robert began most of his work with Marc and Rachel during their tenure in University.
With a background in Film Production, Robert also helps manage the content bringing a keen business sense to mix with his creative passions. He currently develops all of the in house stories in collaboration with Marc and Rachel.
- Do you use a pen name? Why or why not?
I’ve actually thought about this a lot in regards with how I write my name. I’ve always gone by Rob naturally, so I’m not sure if I would ever use a pen name. I guess it would depend on the project. Maybe eventually I would write an epistolary novel completely in character someday! Although then I’d have to sit and brainstorm a clever sounding name like Lemony Snicket!
2. Describe your writing style in three words.
Clean. Fluid. Words.
3. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I learned how to write, like most people I’d imagine. I’ve been writing and telling stories down since early grade school when my teachers would give us writing exercises. Back then, I enjoyed telling wacky, Dav Pilkey-esque adventures that I would share with my friends just to make them laugh.
4. Which type of writing challenges inspire you the most?
I love motivating myself and my fellow co-writer and frequent collaborator Marc always encourages me to continue writing outside of the box. Be it poetry, prose-fiction, press releases, marketing blurbs, or screenplays I enjoy any and almost kinds of writing. The hardest challenge is being able to switch gears and stay efficient. Practice makes perfect.
5. Describe one way in which you could improve your writing.
Write everyday! It’s as simple as that. If you aren’t writing than you should be. Rewriting has also really benefited my personal growth so I can’t stress that enough. Writing is rewriting so I always try to take something positive out of any note.
Just work on it. Someone once told me to never stop writing until I was satisfied. I took it to heart. I’m my biggest critic. I believe that craft is one of the most important things and I want to continue honing it for as long as I’m able.
7. Who is your favorite author?
That’s a can of worms. There are honestly so many. For the classics I’ve always had soft spots for the likes of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, William Shakespeare, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Mary Shelley, Lewis Carroll, and so many more! Recently, I’m largely invested in Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Richard Yates, Chuck Palahniuk, and Gillian Flynn. There are so many more! Of course, I grew up reading Harry Potter and I’ve fallen in love with George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Those are just the novelists, but there are plenty of comic book writers and screenwriters that influence me just as much as the aforementioned authors. It’s hard to make time to read, but I still love reading a good book.
Oh, one more, I want to give a shout-out to Ezelle Van Der Heever. I’ve worked with her on her upcoming book, The Valiard Mansion. She’s a wonderful artist and a remarkable storyteller with a gift for writing eloquent prose. I know how it looks promoting a book that we ourselves are publishing, but I’ve read a lot and can’t wait to see what she writes next!
8. How do you make time to write?
It’s my job. If I don’t make time then I’m not cut out for it. The trick is not to lose what inspired all of the writing in the first place. You, being the proverbial you here, can still make time for new ideas and new stories that can always be put on the back burner. Even with a heavy workload, I get new ideas for stories constantly, some more enticing than others. It’s that hunger to go back to the drawing board and work on something that truly inspires me out of nowhere, that’s what being a storyteller is all about.
9. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working! I have other responsibilities with Golden Bell Entertainment so I don’t have a lot of free time. But I enjoy traveling to various comic cons and I still attempt to keep up with my long backlog of movies and television shows. Anything I read or watch keeps me inspired to keep writing. Entertainment and pop culture are a central part of my life, so it’s nice to go back to it even if it’s in smaller, bite-sized doses.
10. How do you discover the eBooks you read?
I actually don’t read eBooks! I still prefer print by far. But the way I discover the books read ranges from recommendations from friends, fellow writers or online blogs like these!
11. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I alluded to this before, but I wrote little comedies in my school notebooks. Sometimes I’d write outlines for Disney sequels I’d imagine in my head. Okay, that I’m a little ashamed of I’ll admit. But, ultimately, I enjoyed inventing universes and telling stories from a very young age. I’m only happy I can do this full time now with some of the most talented people I’ve ever known!
12. What are your five favorite books, and why?
Okay. This one’s actually easy. Sort of. I’ve mentioned a few of these writers previously so here goes, in no particular order: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, The Shining by Stephen King, Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. There are multiple reasons why, yet the main reason why my top five hasn’t changed much is because this sample illustrates the kind of stories I really gravitate towards more often than not. From fantasy and drama to the horrific and the Gothic, I love genre stories and firmly believe that writers can entertain in wildly different ways without having to talk down to their audience. I have memories associated with each of these books and, furthermore, continue to appreciate the influence they’ve had on me not only as a writer but as a person as well.
Aside from Harry Potter, my favorite book growing up was Jack London’s White Fang. The story of a wild wolf slowly domesticating itself over the course of the novel resonates with me today.
13. Describe your desk/writing space:
It varies from a complete and total mess to clean and tidy. I mainly use my laptop for everything, to keep my business partners in the loop, but I have many notebooks where I scribble ideas and notes down. Thankfully, I can always pluck one of my many books littered on the shelves above my desk if I ever get stumped or blocked.
14. Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Northeast Ohio. Youngstown used to be one of the largest steel producers in the United States. The city’s seen a lot of rough patches throughout the years since then. Growing up in the rust belt, I’ve seen things slowly decay over time. I like to think that’s helped me see the beauty and the life in things destined to die in horrible fashion. The contrast between good and bad, positive and negative is something, I think, influences my outlook on life and hopefully my writing.
15. When did you first start writing?
As a constant thing? I’ll never forget it. It’s a story I’ve told before. A few years back, Marc called me up and pitched me this horror idea. I was less than enthused initially. Nevertheless, the story kept gnawing away at my brain and Marc told me, “Why not give it a shot?” He was right. Marc, Rachel and I collaborated on the story together, while I wrote the screenplay shortly thereafter. I haven’t looked back since.
16. Do you prefer to write long stories, short, flash? What is easiest for you?
I have no preference. I like stories of all genres and lengths.
17. Share one writing goal you have yet to meet.
Admittedly, I haven’t finished my first book manuscript yet. At Polar Press we’re working on a lot of books, so I know I’ll write one very soon. There’s one project in particular that I’m excited about. I can’t talk about it yet, but I can’t wait to share it with everyone!
18. What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
All aspects bring me joy. Of course, I love writing dialogue and creating worlds from my imagination. Simply put, I enjoy writing and telling stories. I’m happy everyday I get to do it.
19. What do your fans mean to you?
Every fan we’ve met, be it online or in person, has helped us get through each and every project. I’m grateful for every single individual that’s supported our company’s endeavors in any way. It’s been a surreal experience and we work very hard to make sure that everything we do is of the highest quality so that the fans receive the best product.
20. What are you working on next?
There are far too many projects for me to just pick one! I’m excited about everything we’re working on. Personally, I can’t wait for Fatterpillars and The Valiard Mansion. We’re working on getting every issue of our first comics anthology, The Sunday Comics, out for the remainder of the year. The first issue will debut InsecTales, a personal passion project for the whole Golden Bell family. For more updates on everything Golden Bell Entertainments releasing in the upcoming months please visit: www.goldenbellstudios.com
Thank you for having us, Stephanie! These questions have been a blast. Keep writing everyone!
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