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Behind the Bestseller: Robert Buettner

Ever wondered what it feels like to hear that hordes of people will buy your new book just because your name is on the cover?  Well, who hasn’t?  With a lot of hard work and perseverance, it can happen — and here’s the man to tell you about it.

Joining us on You Can Write A Novel is Robert Buettner, author of the bestselling Jason Wander series, as he kicks off a brand new series with his latest book, Overkill.  I met Robert Buettner a few years back when he came to my bookstore to sign some autographs.  But I had to break the bad news to him: we’d completely sold out of his debut novel.  I ordered more, and promptly sold out of those, too.  And I wasn’t alone.  His first book, Orphanage, was so insanely popular from the moment it was released that it went into its second printing in a mere 17 days.

Now, the unstoppable Robert Buettner gives us a glimpse behind the scenes, talking about starting a whole new book series from scratch, how ebooks are changing the landscape and what it’s like to read your own reviews.

Laurence MacNaughton:
For those who haven’t heard of Overkill yet, how would you describe it?

Robert Buettner: 
Overkill is a new, stand alone novel somewhere between Military Science Fiction and New Space Opera.

There’s this guy, and this girl, and this gigundous alien monster. And cool stuff happens. Seriously, the cover blurb’s about as descriptive as I dare to be, without spoiling things for some readers. Plot surprises, at least I hope they’re surprises, come early and often.

Though Overkill stands alone, it incorporates something old (it continues the “future history” that follows the decades-long mankind-vs-the-Slugs War. Jason Wander fought that one, rising from private to general, over the five books that began with the best selling-Quill Award nominee, Orphanage), something new (new worlds, new characters) something borrowed (from two 1940s A.E. Van Vogt short stories) and nothing blue.

Overkill begins a new series, with the second book, Undercurrents, to be released July 5, 2011. The new series is less rigorously “military science fiction” than the Jason Wander series was.

LM:  So the new series is military science fiction, too?

RB:  I would call it “Military Science Romantic Fantasy.”

LM:  Mili-what?

RB:  The Czech SF magazine Pevnost did a profile of me and the Jason Wander books in an all-military SF issue that also focused on [James Cameron’s movie] Avatar. Pevnost pronounced Avatar a new sub-genre, “Military Science Romantic Fantasy.”

LM:  Catchy.  So what are the elements of “MSRF?”

RB:  Ex-military/paramilitary protagonist, preferably a smart ass; military hardware and panache; strong, independent female characters; a prominent love story, and alien worlds and creatures; all unstifled by NASA-level rigor.

LM:  My personal favorite kind of book!  Come back next week for more with the inimitable Robert Buettner, who answers a few of your burning questions about what it’s like to write a bestselling book! 

Robert Buettner’s best-selling debut novel, Orphanage, 2004 Quill Award nominee for Best SF/Fantasy/Horror novel, was called the Post-9/11 generation’s Starship Troopers and has been adapted for film by Olatunde Osunsanmi (The Fourth Kind) for Davis Entertainment (Predator, I Robot, Eragon). Orphanage and other books in Robert’s Jason Wander series have been translated into Chinese, Czech, French, Russian, and Spanish.

In March, 2011 Baen books released Overkill, his sixth novel, and in July, 2011 his seventh, Undercurrents.  Find out more here:

Robert Buettner’s ‘blog:

Robert Buettner’s website:

Baen’s webscription page for Overkill:

Amazon’s Overkill page:

Amazon’s Undercurrents page:

Amazon’s Orphanage page:

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