Name: My name is Robert Wayne Orr. I go by my middle name, Wayne.
Age: I am pretty old but still having fun.
Where are you from? I was born in Amarillo, Texas, but I have lived lots of places in America.
I will elaborate a bit on this in the next paragraph.
A little about yourself, i.e., your education family life etc.
I am the third of eight children. I was born twelve miles northeast of Amarillo, Texas in a little house on my maternal grandfather’s farm. When I was twelve years old, my dad bought a small farm in southeastern Oklahoma, and the family moved there. I spent my evenings, weekends and summers taking care of the cows and pigs, working in the fields, cutting firewood and hauling hay. My parents sold the farm when I was a senior in high school. As soon as I graduated, we left Oklahoma for the oilfields of West Texas. I worked there for a while and decided that the work was too hard and dirty. I went to Austin and enrolled in the University of Texas to study for a Bachelor of Journalism degree. While I was a student, I met and married Esther Mata which was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. After I received my journalism degree, I went to work for the federal government writing manuals and regulations, first in San Antonio, then in Dayton, Ohio and finally in the Washington, DC area including the Pentagon. I am retired from the government and now spend much of my time writing and traveling. In addition to The Silver Unicorn, have written three other books, Lonely Texas Road, Dust and Empty Dreams and The Awakening (The Gay Preacher). I had them self-published on Createspace.com. Lonely Texas Road is no longer listed.
Summary of The Silver Unicorn:
Johnny is a young petroleum engineer living in Flat Sands, Texas. Two criminals think he is aware of their smuggling activity, so they try to murder him by crashing their truck into his pickup and injecting a deadly drug into his body. The drug doesn’t kill him, but it affects his thinking ability and his memory. He can no longer perform his highly technical job.
Glinda South is a young woman who has been told all her life that she possesses paranormal powers. When she is very young, she is attacked by a madman who thinks his mother was a witch. He injects her with a witch’s potion which seems to enhance her witching capabilities. As a result of that attack, she never wants to have a man in her life.
Johnny and Glinda meet a concert where an obnoxious jerk is harassing Glinda. Johnny “rescues” her by knocking the fellow down and taking away his gun and giving it to a security guard. There is an immediate attraction between them, and they spend the rest of the evening together. Their attraction is understated and never allowed to rise to the surface because of Johnny’s condition and Glinda’s fear and distrust of men. Johnny is coaxed into using LSD and marijuana, and Glinda follows suit. Soon they are riding a talking unicorn named Julio through a time/space portal to the planet of Quantinia. The portal is also used by criminals as a world-wide smuggling highway. It was the occupants of one of the smuggling trucks that wrecked Johnny’s pickup and tried to kill him. Julio asks Johnny and Glinda to contact the proper authorities to get the portal destroyed.
The young people have all kinds of adventures. For example, Johnny battles a raging mob of cruel, nasty demons from “The Pit of Cleansing Fire” with no weapon but a ceremonial sword. Then he faces a seven-foot human giant named Grito who is intent on cutting him into pieces and throwing the pieces into the Pit.
They also have fun. One night they sneak into a performance by Professor Dante the Dazzling and steal the show.
Eventually Johnny recovers from his injuries, and he and Glinda fall in love. The Silver Unicorn is an exciting story full of danger and fun that sometimes makes you bite your nails and sometimes makes you smile.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I think that my wife and I are two very fortunate people. We are retired and happy and doing exactly what we want to do with our lives. We own a large townhouse in Alexandria, Virginia right at the end of the Yellow Line of the Washington D.C. Metro System. We have five beautiful children. Three of them live near us in the Washington Area. One lives in Lago Vista, Texas near Austin close to a beautiful lake, and the other lives in Vernon, Connecticut near Hartford. We travel quite a bit, and we have lots of visitors at our house when we choose to stay home. Sometimes our townhouse is like a big hotel, and that’s the way we like it. We are just a few metro stops from Washington Reagan National Airport, so many of our visitors fly in there and ride a Metro train. It lets them off just a few minutes from our front door. Some drive here and park their automobiles and use the Metro train to visit the museums, monuments and other attractions.
We had a big dinner and get-together this past Thanksgiving. When people wondered if we were going to have enough room we told them, “When we run out of beds, we will sleep on the couches. When we run out of couches, we will sleep on the chairs. And don’t worry. We don’t think we’ll ever run out of floor space.” LOL we keep busy and have fun.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As I said earlier, I spent my entire career writing policy and procedural manuals and instructions. Fiction writing just sort of followed naturally. After I was retired for a while, I thought it may be nice to do some writing just for fun. I wrote and self-published my novels and also wrote some poems and short fiction pieces which were published in the Rusty Nail Literary Magazine and the Flash Fiction World website.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s an interesting question. When I walked away from the oil fields in West Texas I made up my mind on my journey to the university that I would become a writer. When I got my job doing technical writing for the federal government I felt that I had found my profession. Of course I was not a fiction writer or a poetry writer, but none-the-less, writing was what I hoped I would be doing from then on.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
There was no inspiration, per se. I was retired and had plenty of time on hand to do whatever I chose to do. I had always wanted to write a novel, but at the same time I wondered if I could actually shift from technical writing to fiction writing. So I figured I may as well try. So that’s what I did.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not even sure if I have a style, or if so what it is. I just like to sit down and try to put my sentences and paragraphs together so that they are interesting and make sense. So far I am pretty happy with how they read. I just hope the readers feel that way, too, and buy a lot of copies of my book.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Coming up with the title was quite easy. What worried me more was whether it would be too clichéd. There are “Silver Unicorn” names or brands popping up all over the place. But finally I decided what the heck. Julio, my feisty, little silver unicorn, was one of the more interesting characters in the story. So I thought The Silver Unicorn would be a perfect name.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No, not really. I wanted to write something that would give the readers a few hours of enjoyment. Of course I believe that any story that is well written will almost automatically convey some kind of a message. The exact nature of the message will vary based on the nature and experiences of the individual reader. But I did not consciously include a message. I hope it makes the reader nod his head and say, “I like that. It makes sense to me.”
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Well, first of all it is a fantasy book. Further, it is the first fantasy novel I have attempted. I think that when the reader sits down to read a novel, she is ready to push the real world aside for a period and see if she can “get into” the book. She knows it is not real and not intended to be. So I am not trying to write something that is “realistic” in that sense of the word. But the reader does have certain expectations. The story should make sense within certain constrains. And I have tried to make it realistic within those constraints. I hope I have succeeded.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The story, of course, could not actually have happened. But, yes, some of the characters in the story were based on people I have known and know now. I think that is how they would have reacted had they been in the position of the people in the book.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Wow! That is difficult to say. When I was a kid growing up I could not see much encircling me but a small horizon. I didn’t really understand what was beyond that limit of my vision. Any book that showed me that there was a bigger world out there made me want to see what it was.
This is not a specific answer to your question, but I cannot think of any specific book or books that were big influences. I always mention two books that were as likely as any to fall into that category. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I liked the old timers. I will reach into the hat and see whose name I draw. Aww, Sinclair Lewis. That’ll work. There are lots of other names I left in that hat that would have worked just as well but none a bit better.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Since I’ve been published by 5 Prince, I would like to explore the work of some of my fellow authors there. I’m particularly interested in Hannelore Moore, who likes to set her novels in the UK. I’m not a big fan of romances, but her historical romance The Ice Goddess, looks like it might be interesting. Still trying to do something with The Silver Unicorn.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I don’t know if you consider him new, but I really like Nick Hornby, the English author who wrote High Fidelity. He can write humor in such an understated way. I’m looking forward to reading his new novel Funny Girl. I also like David Nicholls, who reminds me a lot of Hornby. When it comes to fantasy, I would like to read more of Patrick Rothfuss, a young author who’s really making a name for himself.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Right now I am working on a novel named Adventures of a Young Man. I am not sure how far I am going to try to take it. First I want to see how well The Silver Unicorn works.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I did not involve anyone outside the family. This was a project that I just felt like working on by myself and talking to my daughter about. She also writes and has a full time job. It is a fun thing to talk about sometimes.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
LOL, writing was my career. The writing I am doing now is more of a hobby or one of the many things I do to keep me occupied. I love it, but it is not my whole life.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Probably, but none of it is critical. I am pretty happy with the way it is right now.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Not anything specific. I have been an avid reader since I was a little kid. I always felt that it would be good to write a book to tell a story exactly the way I always thought it ought to be told. When I began making my living writing, I decided this could really be fun if I was writing fiction instead of technical stuff. So I thought I may as well give it a go someday. Well, here I am.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here is an excerpt that explains how Johnny was injured:
But sometimes things don’t work out as you expect them to. Sometimes Old Lady Fortune has a way of coming out and interfering with your plans in ways you could never have imagined, just when you least expect it. That’s exactly what she did to Johnny that afternoon.
Everything happened too doggoned fast. All his life Johnny had been sitting on top of the world. Or at least that’s the way it seemed to him. Then with no warning at all, boom! His whole world changed.
George Strait was singing Give it Away on the radio; that was one of Johnny’s favorite George Strait songs. He wasn’t necessarily Johnny’s favorite performer, but none the less, that was one of his favorite country songs. He was paying so much attention to the music that he hardly paid any attention to the vehicle that was passing his. He glanced into his mirror and saw it coming around him at about 70 or 75 miles per hour.
That was when he noticed that it was the same vehicle that he had seen earlier back at the construction site. At the moment he realized that, it cut sharply into his lane. He turned his steering wheel to the right and applied the brakes hoping that the truck would miss him, but that maneuver did him no good. The right side of the truck hit his left fender and sent him spinning off of the road and down the graveled shoulder. The pickup turned over when it got to the bottom of the incline, and Johnny was dangling upside down by his seatbelt.
While he was struggling to get untangled, the door on the driver’s side opened and he heard people talking in low, mumbling voices. Then someone hit his head with a thick, wooden club. It hurt so bad that he was sure that his skull had been crushed. He was expecting another blow, but fortunately for him it didn’t come. Instead, one of his attackers grabbed him roughly by the arm and inserted a needle through his shirt and deep into his shoulder. Then they scampered away, their feet stirring the gravel on the concrete embankment. He tried again to undo his seatbelt but he couldn’t move his arms and realized that he was drifting toward unconsciousness.
He felt someone lift him from the cab of his vehicle and put him on a stretcher where he lay, unable to move or talk. He couldn’t even wonder what was going on. They strapped him securely onto the stretcher and in a few moments he was in an ambulance. He felt the vehicle bouncing from the side of the road onto the shoulder and then onto the freeway. He wondered vaguely where he was and what was going to happen to his pickup. Then he just had the sensation of riding down the freeway. He decided he was having a silly dream and tried to get back to sleep. When he woke up he had no idea where he was.
Here is where Glinda may have gotten her paranormal powers. Or maybe not. Check it out:
An ugly looking fellow of about 30 raised his hand. Glinda had never seen him before, but that was no surprise. “Can I say something?” he asked Agrona. “My name is Andy Broom. Now here’s what I want to know. Are you a real witch? You don’t look like my mother did. She was a true witch. I still have potions that she left in her medicine cabinet when she passed away. She could take those potions and walk through walls. She could even fly. Mainly though she could hide in the back room and project her image into the front room. It could walk and talk and move around just like it was real, but it wasn’t. When you went up to it you could walk right through it, because it wasn’t really her. In fact it wasn’t really nothing.”
“That’s exactly what I mean,” Agrona said.
“Well here’s what I think. I think you should let your little girl be a witch if that’s what she wants to do. There are good witches and bad witches, and it would be just as easy for her to be a good one as a bad one.”
“You have a point, Andy. But things are changing. Someday there won’t be hardly any more witches left. And when that time comes, the ones that are left will be persecuted just like they were in the old days. You have a good point, but I don’t think it would be a wise decision. Not in this day and age.”
“Maybe so. I’ve got to think about that. It’s time for me to go home anyway.” He stood up and told the room good night and left. That must have been a signal that it was time for the meeting to break up because shortly after that people started gradually drifting away.
Glinda stayed up for a while watching TV, but she couldn’t get interested in the program. She wondered if maybe she really could be a witch if she wanted to. That would really be cool. She could fly through the air like Superman. And that’s exactly how she would fly. She wouldn’t put on a dumb pointed hat and fly around like a witch. She would get a really neat suit and fly around like Superman or at least like Spider-Man or Batman. But probably it would be more fun to be Wonder Woman. Women were just as cool as men were. Maybe even cooler. So if she was a witch she would be Wonder Woman, or at least look like her and dress like her.
After a while she began to get sleepy and decided she would go to bed. Anyway there wasn’t anything worth watching on TV. Agrona was busy talking on the telephone, and Glinda didn’t want to bother her. Her mom would be in later to tell her goodnight. That was one good thing about her mom. She always came into her room to tell her goodnight.
She walked into her room still thinking about the things her mom had said about her witching powers. She planned to close her eyes really tight and think about being a witch as hard as she could before going to sleep. Maybe with a little luck she could have a real neat dream about it. She closed her eyes and did what she imagined to be a little witch-walk across the room. She had seen old movie clips of Michael Jackson doing his Moon Walk, and she imagined that was probably the way a very talented witch might walk if she was in a happy mood.
The moment she was fully inside the room she heard a scuffing sound behind her. It startled her, and she tried to turn around to see what it was. Her heart was already pounding. Before she could move someone grabbed her, and she felt a damp pungent-smelling cloth being held tightly over her face. She tried to struggle but was being too tightly held. She tried to scream but could make no sound. She was so weak from the fumes going into her lungs that she could not stand or even resist. She fell onto the bed and felt her attacker plunge a needle into her arm.
Agrona heard some scuffling sounds from Glinda’s room and wondered what the girl was up to now. Then she heard the sound of something falling onto the mattress. Glinda was probably diving through the air testing out her witch’s flying powers. Then her mother’s intuition took over her mind. What if some of her crazy guests had not left the house? What if someone was drunk or high and in Glinda’s room. She was not totally alarmed, but she was concerned enough to have all kinds of unpleasant visions flowing through her mind. Within the timespan of a few split seconds, her heart and mind were at full emergency alert status.
Daniel, her former husband, had given her a gun when he walked away. She didn’t want it. But he had insisted until she had agreed just to shut him up. He also convinced her to take lessons on how to use it. Those thoughts flashed through her mind in milliseconds. The fully loaded gun was lying in a drawer that was well out of view under the sink. She opened the drawer once a month and went to a gun club for practice. No one but her had ever touched it since it was placed in the drawer. No one but her was even aware of its existence.
She took it from the drawer and rushed into Glinda’s room having no idea what to expect. She hoped that her imagination was just running wild. But it was not her imagination that she saw. Glinda was lying unmoving on the bed. Andy Broom was holding a syringe and gazing at her with blank eyes. Then he turned his face toward Agrona. She stood there trembling, not knowing what to do now. She didn’t have to decide. She heard faraway gunshots and felt the gun bucking in her hand. Blotches of blood splattered the wall behind him and flowed down it in scarlet streams. He collapsed to the floor in a formless heap. Agrona heard the gun strike the floor; its clatter made her realize that it had fallen from her hand.
She fell onto the bed and held her baby in her arms. She had to be all right. “Glinda,” she pleaded. “Glinda. My little girl.” Then she called Dr. Golitsyn. He would know what to do.
It turned out that Glinda was fine. Dr. Golitsyn said not to worry. Andy Broom’s body would never be found. Golitsyn had friends who would dispose of it in the Pit of Cleansing Fire, and Broom’s name would never be heard again. She had no idea what the doctor was talking about, but that didn’t matter. As long as the dirty little man was gone forever, that was good enough for Agrona.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I think that all writing is challenging. I believe that all of us tend to think that our particular project presents a challenge that is somehow unique. But I would guess that each one of us who sits down to write faces essentially the same challenges.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I will stay away from some of the old masters and mention one of the more current writers that I really like. I am mentioning only him, but there are so many more. This is Cormac McCarthy. (All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing as well as many others.) He is still alive. I have heard him compared to William Faulkner. I can’t make comparisons like that because when writers approach perfection like both of them did, who am I to be smart enough to judge?
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Nope, no traveling required. I may do some traveling to promote this book. I will just have to see how sales work out.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
5Prince Publishing Company
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
This may sound facetious, but it is true. Just forcing myself to sit down and do it. Self-discipline.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Murphy’s law is alive and well. E.g., everything is more difficult than you think it will be. Everything takes longer than you think it will.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I am not smart enough for that. Just the same advice as for anyone. Just keep plugging away. Don’t give up.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
LOL yes. Buy my book! Make me happy!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember Mom used to have old books with their covers missing or half-missing before I was even in school. Unfortunately I can’t remember their titles. But when I was a kid on the farm we used to read westerns by authors such as Zane Grey, Max Brand and Luke Short.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A good book can do both.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I really think it would be a mistake. I am afraid that I would be disappointed and find out that he or she was not what I expected. Plus I am sort of introverted and my tongue would probably freeze up.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Gonna leave that up to my wife or kids. I will be dead and my time to make decisions will be over.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies.
Only travelling and having people in to visit. When I get a bit more organized about this book, I will go back to reading again.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Not into either.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Foods, colors: I am easy to please. Music: Old Broadway musicals.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I don’t know. I walked away from the oil fields. I would probably still working there getting my boots soaked with oil. I think life just kinda sneaks up on many of us and we better be happy with what it gives us.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have a blog but I have not used it much.