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An Interview with Robert Jacobs

Robert Jacobs released his book " and Then You Were Gone: A Novel " on March 13, 2019. He has practiced as a psychologist since 2003. He maintains a private practice in Nashville, focusing on a wide variety of clinical concerns. After completing a post-doctoral residency at Vanderbilt, he has taught Abnormal Psychology, presented at numerous conferences, and routinely performs PTSD evaluations for veterans.

Robert is a completely professional person and a truly passionate writer which you can see in his book which is focused on some serious topics.

Synopsis of the Novel by Robert Jacobs:

After years of learning how to manage her bipolar disorder, Emily Firestone finally has it under control. Even better, her life is coming together: she’s got a great job, her own place, and a boyfriend, Paolo, who adores her. So when Paolo suggests a weekend sailing trip, Emily agrees—wine, water, and the man she loves? What could be better? But when Emily wakes the morning after they set sail, the boat is still adrift…and Paolo is gone.

A strong swimmer, there’s no way Paolo drowned, but Emily is at a loss for any other explanation. Where else could he have gone? And why? As the hours and days pass by, each moment marking Paolo’s disappearance, Emily’s hard-won stability begins to slip.

But when Emily uncovers evidence suggesting Paolo was murdered, the investigation throws her mania into overdrive, even as she becomes a person of interest in her own personal tragedy. To clear her name, Emily must find the truth—but can she hold onto her own sanity in the process?

The Interview:

Tell us a little bit about your novel.

My novel focuses on Emily, a child psychologist who struggles with bipolar disorder. She has managed to keep her symptoms controlled—but when her boyfriend disappears, she is drawn into searching for him and her manic tendencies resurface. I loved the idea of a main character to struggled with something that might normally be considered a disability, but that becomes a tremendous advantage as the story unfolds.

Are there any specific authors that you draw inspiration from ?

Definitely. I’m a huge admirer of Ruth Ware and Sarah Pinbororugh. When I’ve read literary fiction, I’ve been drawn to Don Delillo and Cormac McCarthy.

Does the novel hold a mirror to the society or was it purely imaginary?

I wanted the characters in the novel to be as realistic as possible. The main character, Emily, suffers from bipolar disorder, which I wanted to illustrate accurately and respectfully. I wanted to show her internal experience as well as the frustrations of the people around her as she managed her depression and impulsivity. Mental health issues can create difficulty in relationships. I wanted that complexity to feel true in my novel.

Do you believe in writer's block or do you think that it's just a made up concept ?

Writer’s block is definitely real. I think one key to being a successful writer is knowing how to work effectively even when creativity isn’t easily accessible. Writing can be hard at times—for me, it is often hard. Sometimes it can be helpful to slow my pace or to read a bit from a book that inspires me. Soon enough, ideas begin to return and the creative flow restarts.

Where there times when you felt like giving up? What kept you motivated.

Did I feel like giving up? Of course. That’s a stage. It’s a part of the process writers have to push through. A big part of managing the desire to give up is knowing how difficulty the journey will be before it starts. I was lucky—I was told by much better writers than me that rejection and indifference were part of what I could expect.

Looking back, is there something you could have done differently with the book ?

There are plenty of things I would do differently with the book, if I had it to do over again, but I can’t. Setting a book down and saying, ‘now I’m done’ is very challenging because you sense that there is always more that you could do. There are always some imperfections, but you hope that they become a part of the book’s beauty in the end.

I'm sure a lot of people are curious to know. So tell is if your novel would have any sequel.

There is no sequel planned for the book at this time. My next novel, Somewhere in the Dark, will be published in about a year. Right now, the work on it is my main focus and passion.

Who is a successful author according to you ?

Any author who is enjoying writing is a successful author in my mind. There’s no one right way to do it. I think success depends on each individual’s goals.

Please share some tips for aspiring writers to keep their creativity alive, 

I think the best way to keep creativity alive is to have meaningful experiences and to continue to read literature that excites you.

Your best moment with the book so far ?

The best moment with the book was when I realized it was listed in the public library in the town where I grew up. I loved the image of anyone in my hometown being able to pick up and read a story I’d created. That was special.

Books R&B appreciates Jacobs efforts and wishes him all the success with his book. You can learn more about him here:

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