Let's get to know R.B.R Verhagen, or Robbie as his close friends and lovers know him. Contributing Author to the upcoming first ever Up & Up Media book: MIXTAPE ONE (Short Story Compilation), Robbie has very recently released his first historical fiction novella "Murder At The Mountain Rush", and has contributed a short story to "MIXTAPE ONE" entitled "Gypcian".
What is your favourite comfort food? Mushroom Penne. I eat it until I feel uncomfortable.
What's your all time favourite short story, and why? Thought Full. Paul Jennings. Only story he ever told in second-person. Sharp and muddy. The two things Jennings does best.
Do you brush your teeth in the shower? NO
Who are the three authors who have inspired you the most? J.R.R. Tolkien. Henry Lawson. Tom Stoppard.
Have you released any writing before? Tell us about it, and where can we read it. My debut novella came out this year, Murder at the Mountain Rush. It is an historical fiction story based on true events from Victoria's gold rush past. It is available from Elthambookshop and other local stores throughout the Yarra Ranges, Murrindindi, and Nillumbik. Full list of retailers and online store at rbrverhagen.com.
What does your writing space look like? Lots of papers and a glass of red wine. Sometimes a laptop. Sometimes a typewriter.
You're about to sit and write for the day - but first, you need to get a drink. What's your beverage of choice? Red wine is the ultimate of writing juices. So it is red wine when I'm starting and at the very end, single malt scotch to finish off.
Tell us about your home city. Melbourne is where I'm from. Capital city of the arts (provided the government doesn't kill literature). I am constantly torn between the country, where I grew up, and the city where I study.
What do you love about writing? The same thing I love about history, connecting will people past and future. Exploring what it is to be human. Leaving something behind on this brief mortal page. Also chicks dig it.
Usually a brand has a kind of personality about it, and you know what you're messing with when you associate with that brand. Up & Up is interesting, because it is brand new and doesn't really have an established personality yet. How do you feel about it? What do you make of all this? I think that anonymity can be a bonus. It gives us the chance to shape this thing, for better or for worse. My immediate feeling on "Up & Up" is 'niche' and 'ultimately creative'. It may always remind me of short fiction, because of the first compilation book. But as for what I make of it all, I think it is a fantastic initiative. More young writers need more published authors, self- or otherwise, lending a hand. That is what the industry is all about, and that is what Up & Up is.
Our motto at Up & Up is "The indie punk label of publishing for the garage bands of writing." What do you make of that? Very noughtie! (Pun). I had never heard that kind of take before. But I dig it. Thought I grew up in the noughties, I was never into much indie-rock or punk, but it reminds me of a less trashy version of pulps. I was always a crazy little brain when I was younger, churning out whacky stories and tapping into that childhood imagination that was never self-conscious. I think that this could be the start of something very positive for local writing, and art. The indie-viduals need an outlet, and though the isolation is what fertilises the art, there is something magic when writers come together. So although writers flourish on their own, lonely enterprise is dead enterprise. That's where the community comes in. When we need the attention, when we need the support. That is why I am behind Up & Up.
What are your hobbies? I play a bit of guitar. If research is a hobby, then sure, I research.
What are your long-term writing plans? I am currently undertaking a novella-project, looking to publish 5 or 6 stories based on local history and narrative as a means of drawing attention to country communities. That will take some time, but I have a store of novel-length ideas. I only aspire to be mainstream 'published' as far as nurturing page numbers and nutting out distribution is concerned. I will never be loyal to a single "brand" because I believe a writer's variety and flexibility is their greatest asset. So I suppose my long term goal is to write for a living, and write constantly. Whether I am publishing myself, publishing others, or being published by labels, large or small, that is all fruit to the vine.
What question do you wish I'd asked you? What story of your own do you love the most. To which I would answer, a story I played around with in high school. It never had a title, but it was about a character called Caedmon. It started as fantasy, but as I tempered my naïve ideas about the genre, it became less of genre fiction and more medieval fiction (if I can separate that from fantasy). When I publish that story, because it is so close to my heart, that is when I know I will have made it.