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Author Ralph Robb, a former avid reader of Marvel Comics, discusses some of the influences in his life that inspired him to write books.

One question that people often ask is ‘what experiences influenced you to begin writing novels?’

I didn’t wake up one morning and think ‘I know I’ll write a book’ – It was more of a gradual progression that led to putting pen to paper.

As a kid, I never really read books but was an avid reader of Marvel comics (never DC) – so much so I had a massive collection that I kept in an untidy heap under my bed, in all the corners and every other flat surface I could find. Mom became angered from her constant request for me to clean my bedroom so one day she did so for me and burnt the lot.

As a youth I was always around cousins and friends that had larger than life personalities. Then later when I started karate at the YMCA I was exposed to an even wider range of characters and the antics which went hand in hand with them. Sometimes these so called antics fell on the wrong side of the law. These all influenced my writing in some way. I remember reading my first book – ‘My family and other animals’ and the stories and sceneries it painted in my head about Corfu.

As a day dreamer I constantly had stories going on inside my head. Later I would turn these into short funny stories, giving them to a good friend of mine who now lives in Ireland, Don Blaney. It was he who pushed me into making notes of my ideas that would later lead to books.

Although it was the last book published, Memoirs of a Karate Fighter was the first I had made notes on. At the time it was to be called ‘Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting’ but because it was so difficult to write due to it being so personal it was put on the back burner.

I try to have something constantly on the go. Always taking notes, mentally if not physically. No matter how crazy the situation or the person speaking – notes, notes, and more notes. Incidentally some of my best ideas come to me while half asleep at night. I tried keeping a mini recorder on the bedside table to tape these great ideas but in the morning when fully conscious the words spoken that night sounded like those of a demonic possession. Therefore I’ve yet to reap the rewords of those fanatic ideas that come to me at night.

I work closely with Blaney in Ireland regarding the direction I should take on my books, editing, rewriting etc. Constantly bouncing ideas off each other, not always smooth running but essential to help influence my writing.

Ralph Robb is author of Memoirs of a Karate Fighter. For more information click here

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