Today I am coming with a scoop! The interview of what I don’t hesitate to call the new star of young adult psychological thrillers: Robin Roe !
You may know Robin as the author of the fabulous “A List of Cages” but she is making her comeback with “Dark Room Etiquette”, a mind blowing thriller releasing at the end of October!
At the time of this interview, I had not read Dark Room Etiquette yet so I had no idea that it would blow my mind and leave me a total mess!
But you’ll know all about it in October when I’ll publish my review! Believe me when I tell you you don’t want to miss that book!
In the meantime, let’s get to this interview!
First let me thank you for reaching out to me and offering not only an ARC of your newt book “Dark Room Etiquette” but also to answer my questions!
When I read “A List of Cages” back in 2019, I concluded my review with “I hope Mrs Roe will write another story because I am ready to read anything she’ll write. She just won one more fan with her sensitive and bright writing.”
As you can see, I was smitten and that’s why I am overjoyed to get the chance to read your new book and ask you all my questions!
At the time of this interview, I haven’t read “Dark Room Etiquette” yet (I’ll read it in just a few days) but that’s fine as we don’t want to reveal some spoilers but rather have people know you, your past work and want (read “need”) to read “Dark Room Etiquette.”
Now time for you readers of future readers to know more about you and your work.
I’m so happy to be doing this interview with you, Sophie! I’m a fan of your blog and Insta account.
- I always like to begin my interviews with questions about the author’s childhood and who they are… Could you tell us who was Robin Roe as a child? Were you the silent or buoyant type?
For the most part, I was a shy child, and I found it much easier to express myself through writing than saying things out loud.
- And now, what five words would your friends use to describe adult Robin Roe?
I asked my best friend, and she said: “Brilliant, kind, empathetic, quick-witted, and wise”
- Why did you decide to write “A List of Cages”? Was it something you had always wanted, to write a book? Or did something trigger that need?
I started writing when I was seven-years-old, and becoming a professional author was something I dreamed about, but it always felt like a fantasy rather than something I could actually do in real life. I spent most of my life being too afraid to share my work with anyone, but eventually the pain of not pursuing this dream overpowered the fear.
Before I began A List of Cages I wrote a memoir, and it helped me reconnect with all the emotions and struggles I had as a teenager. A List of Cages arose from that.
- Could you explain what has been your “process” to write “A List of Cages”? Was it the characters or the plot that emerged first? And did the final copy look like what you had in mind from the very beginning?
A List of Cages came to me very suddenly, and right away, I had a sense of how the book would end. I wrote the last line very early on in the writing process. The characters and story sprung up in my mind together, and I wrote three hundred pages in about a month. I don’t write chronologically, so they were out-of-order fragments that would’ve only made sense to me. I spent a year assembling and editing and polishing the book before I sent it out to agents.
- When I read “A List of Cages” I said that it was a “character driven story” and also “It was the first time that when reading about book characters I could imagine the author drawing them first to make them alive and ready to spring from the pages.
Julian looked like an anime character. Small, thin with huge eyes and mop of curly hair.”
That is incredibly insightful! I love to draw, and I actually did sketch Julian while I was writing A List of Cages.
(I’ve attached two drawing that you’re welcome to use in the article)
- How do you build your characters? Do you draw them like I imagined 😉 Do you talk to them or writing talk to you? Are writing inspired by people you know or have met? Was Writing inspired by someone you met? Or Writing?
For me, it’s always felt like Adam and Julian already existed—as if I was eavesdropping on the thoughts and memories of real people and just doing my best to get them written down.
- Getting to “Dark Room Etiquette”, this is now your second book published. Was it different from writing and publishing “A List of Cages” and how? Easier? More difficult?
Dark Room Etiquette was more challenging than anything else I’ve ever written. In part, this was because in the past, my writing was just for me. I didn’t realize how freeing that was until things changed. Knowing that this time around, people were actually going to read what I was working on was inhibiting, but eventually, I was able to get passed it.
- Where did you get your idea for that second book?
A List of Cages explores the psychology of the victim, but in Dark Room Etiquette, I wanted to delve deeper into the psychology of the offender. I’ve always been a fan of psychological thrillers, so I think this book was working itself out in my brain for a long time.
- Do you cry when you write some scenes? I am asking that question as I definitely cried when reading “A List of Cages” so maybe you are crying too writing these scenes (why do we do that to us, hu? 😉).
I do cry sometimes when I write. I tend to feel whatever I’m working on very deeply, and it can be emotional, but it’s also cathartic!
- How would you describe Sayers, your new main character?
When Dark Room Etiquette begins, we meet a spoiled and privileged Sayers Wayte, but the worst of his behavior comes more from obliviousness than anything else. Dark Room Etiquette explores what it takes to really change a person, and it asks the question: Do the bad things that happen to use makes us better or make us worse?
- Could you pitch “Dark Room Etiquette”? Convince other (not me as I am already convinced 😉 ) that they need to read that book because…
Robin let me choose a review from the publicity document and I chose the one closer to my thoughts after reading Dark Room Etiquette!
“I burned through the pages of Dark Room Etiquette—riveted, transfixed, and deeply moved by Sayers’ journey and Roe’s stunning prose. This book is important and necessary and filled with love and hope. I ached when I finished. The best sort of ache. The kind that haunts you. Dear readers everywhere: read this now.” – Jennifer Niven, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places
SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD SAYERS WAYTE HAS EVERYTHING.
Popularity, good looks, perfect grades—there’s nothing Sayers’ family money can’t buy.
Until he’s kidnapped by a man who tells him the privileged life he’s been living is based on a lie.
Trapped in a windowless room, without knowing why he’s been taken or how long the man plans to
keep him shut away, Sayers faces a terrifying new reality. To survive, he must forget the world he
once knew, and play the part his abductor has created for him.
But as time passes, the line between fact and fiction starts to blur, and Sayers begins to wonder if he
can escape . . . before he loses himself.
About the author
Robin Roe has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s from Harvard. Her debut novel, A List of Cages, was named one of the Best Books of the Year by Goodreads, EpicReads, The Texas Library Association, and Buzzfeed. Robin Roe counseled adolescents in Boston before moving to Dallas to run a mentoring program for at-risk teens. She is now a full-time author.
Thank you so much to Robin Roe for that interview AND for having been my buddy reader, reachable when I read Dark Room Etiquette and needed to talk to someone about it because…. OH MY GOD!
Awesome interview! I hope I get the chance to read it
Did you message her on Instagram Tammy?
It’s exciting to see a new book from Roe! Sounds emotionally harrowing. Great review, Sophie!
Thank you Sam!
Fab questions Sophie! Love this and glad you habe loved both books xx
Thank you Caro!