Hill Engineering Blog

HE Hobby Spotlight: Robby – Fiction Author

Over the past few months, we’ve highlighted a handful of employees and the hobbies they’ve either had for a while or ones they’ve picked up recently – when they aren’t solving all of the world’s residual stress related challenges. Our latest spotlight shines on Hill Engineering’s resident author, RD Pires (or Robby, as he’s come to be known by in the office), and his almost life-long passion of writing. I got the chance to interview Robby virtually where we talked about his latest novel, A Vast, Untethered Ocean, his inspiration, and his experience with self-publishing.

Robby has been putting pen to paper for quite some time and remembers the first story he started was when he was nine years old. It wasn’t until high school that his desire to publish took form and even more recently still that he learned there was another route to a printed page in the form of self-publishing.

When asked who his biggest inspiration is, he says, “David Mitchell. I’ve read every David Mitchell book, and his level of craft and story detail is something I strive for in my own writing. I admire that he seems to appreciate multiple storytelling genres and always challenges himself to blend those genres. His novel, Cloud Atlas, is my favorite novel.”

Having no idea what the story writing and publishing process is like, I asked Robby about his newest novel, A Vast, Untethered Ocean, and what the experience was like for him. The idea initially came from a short story he wrote for a fiction writing class while studying at UC Davis in 2014. When deciding to do a novel adaptation, he kept the main concept of a lingering ghost and a trip across the US and wrote his first draft in 2017, which took about 8 months. It didn’t stop there, though, as there were years of revisions and rewrites until he was happy with it.

When first looking into self-publishing, Robby read entire books full of advice on the subject and, after going through the process himself, has some of his own for people looking to self-publish: “Don’t rush the process. Hire a good editor. Hire a cover design artist. Things like that will matter to readers.”

Future goals for Robby include publishing again but says he might not self-publish for a while. Currently, he’s trying to pursue traditional publishing for two other manuscripts.

Congratulations on your novel, Robby! We can’t wait to see what your future works will be.