Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Interview with Robert Brockway and Giveaway of The Unnoticeables - July 28, 2015

Please welcome Robert Brockway to The Qwillery. The Unnoticeables was published on July 7th by Tor Books.

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. Are you a plotter, panster or hybrid? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Robert:  I’m a plotter. Things change along the way, so I constantly have to revise my outlines, but I need them. The idea of just winging it and hoping I come up with something good by the end terrifies me. I feel like that’s how we wound up with the last season of Lost. There but for the grace of God, go I.

The most challenging thing for me right now is trying to get my weirder ideas down in a way that’s understandable to the reader without breaking the story. I have a compulsive aversion to exposition. It’s something I think I need to get over. Sometimes it’s just necessary.

TQYou are a Senior Editor and columnist for How does this affect your novel writing?

Robert:  It’s given me a lot of practice writing in different styles, and taught me how to research. But it has affected this book in particular in that I used some of my old columns to lay the groundwork for this story. I would practice my world-building in the columns, then string them together into a crude sort of story bible. I wasn’t sure anything would ever come of it, but when I finally pinned down the characters I knew I could finally start.

TQ:  Describe The Unnoticeables in 140 characters or less

Robert:  The universe is a problem. The angels have the solution. The only ones who can stop them are wildly incompetent. We are all truly screwed.

TQTell us something about The Unnoticeables that is not found in the book description.

Robert:  It’s a punk rock urban fantasy/sci-fi/horror mash-up, like it says in the description. But it’s also a sort of metaphysical treatise on what life really means in terms of the universe, and why that matters. I don’t propose to answer those questions, of course — I don’t know the meaning of life. But maybe there are some good questions in here.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Unnoticeables? What appealed to you about writing horror-tinged Urban Fantasy?

Robert:  I was inspired by the basic premise — that everything in the universe could be defined mathematically, and there might exist creatures who could manipulate those numbers. I couldn’t write the story until I found my characters, but I always start with the idea.

I didn’t actually know this was urban fantasy at the time — I just called it ‘sci-fi horror.’ I thought urban fantasy was exclusively about magic in the modern times before I finished the book and was informed it was, in fact, UF. I’m still not entirely sure what separates UF from SF, but I’ve always loved horror. I’ve seen every horror flick on Netflix, even (especially) the bad ones. When it came time to write, I just couldn’t separate out that obsession.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Unnoticeables?

Robert:  I had to do a lot of research for the setting. I wasn’t alive for New York in the ‘70s, so every little thing had to be researched, from streets and clubs to music, TV and food. I once spent a few hours researching whether or not they had microwave burritos in the ‘70s and, if so, which ones were the cheapest.

TQIs there a recommended music playlist for The Unnoticeables?

Robert:  Absolutely! Mostly NYC ‘70s punk - The Ramones, The Dictators, Richard Hell, etc. For the modern sections, try Ted Leo, Future of the Left, and Chance the Rapper.

TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Robert:  The easiest was Wash, the young punk who behaves like a genius, but is actually moronic. That was easy, because I based him heavily on myself when I was younger. The hardest was Kaitlyn. I’m not a woman, and writing one in the first person was difficult at times. I relied heavily on my female friends and my wife to correct my many, many misconceptions about how women think. Which they did, often with extreme prejudice.

TQWhich question about The Unnoticeables do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Question: What was the Pabst Blue Ribbon of New York City in the late ‘70s?

Answer: Schlitz!

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Unnoticeables.

Robert:  The first lines: “I met my guardian angel today. She shot me in the face.”

TQWhat's next?

Robert:  Next up is book three. This was conceived and sold as a trilogy — book two is already with the publisher and three is underway. I’ll still be with this story for years to come yet!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Robert:  Thanks for having me!

The Unnoticeables
Tor Books, July 7, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

From Robert Brockway, Sr. Editor and Columnist of comes The Unnoticeables, a funny and frightening urban fantasy.

There are angels, and they are not beneficent or loving. But they do watch over us. They watch our lives unfold, analyzing us for repeating patterns and redundancies. When they find them, the angels simplify those patterns and remove the redundancies, and the problem that is "you" gets solved.
Carey doesn't much like that idea. As a punk living in New York City, 1977, Carey is sick and tired of watching strange kids with unnoticeable faces abduct his friends. He doesn't care about the rumors of tar-monsters in the sewers or unkillable psychopaths invading the punk scene--all he wants is to drink cheap beer and dispense ass-kickings.

Kaitlyn isn't sure what she's doing with her life. She came to Hollywood in 2013 to be a stunt woman, but last night a former teen heartthrob tried to eat her, her best friend has just gone missing, and there's an angel outside her apartment. Whatever she plans on doing with her life, it should probably happen in the few remaining minutes she has left.

There are angels. There are demons. They are the same thing. It's up to Carey and Kaitlyn to stop them. The survival of the human race is in their hands.

We are, all of us, well and truly screwed.

About Robert

ROBERT BROCKWAY is a Senior Editor and columnist for He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Meagan and their two dogs, Detectives Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. He has been known, on occasion, to have a beard.


Twitter @Brockway_LLC




The Giveaway

What:  Three entrants will win a copy of The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway from Tor Books. US / CANADA ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below. Note that comments are moderated.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on August 7, 2015. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Interesting cover. It looks like a clown, no, like two head looking away from each other, no...Do you do your own covers? Looks like a great read.

    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. "A punk rock urban fantasy/sci-fi/horror mash-up" makes me think this is going to be an extremely fun novel to read.

  3. Thanks for this intriguing and unique novel which interests me greatly. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. Sounds intriguing. I'd like to read this.

  5. Loved Rx, this sounds even better!