08 October 2012

Peevish Penman Interviews Rob Hines: Writer, Superhero

PPM: Today we are featuring an interview with PeevishPenman blog contributor Rob Hines who has two blog sites, nothingofvalue.wordpress.com and robhineswriter.net. We'll get started right away so as to make sure your coffees, teas, hot toddies, cups of warm water stay warm. Rob, this interview aims to let our readers get to know you; so loosen your tie, go ahead and do a couple jumping jacks, we'll be right here.... and come back to tell us a bit about yourself. 

1) PPM: What are your hobbies other than writing? 

Rob: First of all, consider my tie not only loosened, but swiftly removed and thrown out the window! Ahh, that feels good. Being a writer trapped in a corporate bubble can be tough, so I think my hobbies are as much about escaping the mundane day job as much as anything else.  I'm an entertainment junkie and a techfanatic so I'm usually either watching movies, playing video games or wading through social media. My wife and I also really enjoy traveling, but considering that I became a father last year, my time has been pretty consumed with watching my son grow up, which is quickly becoming my favorite way to forget about the rest of the world.

2) PPM: Are you familiar with "Vanity Fair" Magazine's "Proust Questionnaire" at the end of each issue wherein they ask about 30 questions of a noteworthy person? No matter... even if you're not, I'll go ahead and throw several PQ-type questions your way and then some more PPM-ish questions, how's that? 

Rob: I question the word "noteworthy" being used with me, yet feel it's entirely appropriate.  Hmm, internal conflict abounds!  Fire away!

3) PPM: What would you consider your favorite attribute(s) in other people? 

Rob: I think authenticity is huge. I find it soooooo much easier to talk to someone when they provide real reactions and emotions.  Selflessness is important too.  I don't mean that in terms of financial or material generosity.  I just mean that if we're having a conversation, you're as interested in what I'm saying as you are in what you're saying.  I think that plays into the other attribute I admire, which is confidence.  You don't have to think of yourself as the greatest thing since sliced bread, but you should at least feel good enough about yourself to be able to learn from others, admit your own faults, and even laugh at yourself once in a while.

4) PPM: What would you consider your least favorite attribute(s) in yourself? 

Rob: I am an emotional sponge.  I seem to pick up and feel the emotions of the people around me.  If you’re happy, I’m happy, which is great. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.  If I’m around people who are cranky, or nervous, or just generally unpleasant, I’m right there with them.  It can be extremely irritating, and it’s a big reason why I’d be better off writing than staying in the corporate world.

5) PPM: Ok, that was exhausting. Enough with the philosophising. We're just suggesting, for the sake of entertainment, that you're not a superhero. If you were, though, what would be your superpower and what would be your mission? You can't be Batman; you have to be your own "guy."

Rob: Now we’re in my strike zone. I'm a big superhero geek so this is something that I like to think about once in a while. I think my power would have to be a way to read and alter people’s emotions to create better understanding between people.  I guess that goes in line with the whole writer thing, huh?  Granted, it’s not as cool as all of the supergadgets Batman uses, but I'm not rich enough to be Batman anyway. 

6) PPM: Would you wear a cape? How about a mask? Who would be your chief foe? 

Rob: No cape, but I’d have a really cool mask with a hypnotizing spiral.  Is hypnotizing really a good thing though? 

My arch enemy would be the wicked Chaos who wants nothing more than to watch the human race destroy itself from within!  Bwah ha ha ha ha!  Sorry, I got a little too excited there.  I hope I’m not drifting to the dark side.

7) PPM: Are you a hot cocoa man? Coffee man? How do you drink coffee? With creamer or an added flavor or straight-up black -- as we would imagine a close-cropped, yet hirsute avenger superhero? 

Rob: Can’t do coffee.  I’m a product of the soda wars so my only serious caffeine fix comes in an aluminum can.

8) PPM: I understand you're a freelance writer. In that arena, what type of writing do you enjoy most? 

Rob: I’m definitely a fiction guy.  I’ve completed a few short stories and I’m starting to work on a couple of novels.  I also like to dabble in scripts because I’m really big on dialogue, but I’m torn about scriptwriting because of the limitations in turning that into a reasonable career.

9) PPM: If you were independently and fabulously wealthy (for the sake of argument, like the superhero question, we're supposing you're not), what would you do with your free time? 

Rob: Yes, IF I were incredibly wealthy, I would likely be doing a combination of reading, writing, and traveling.  I regret that I don’t have the chance to travel more because I always find myself being inspired by the few trips I am able to take.  I think having the freedom to see and experience other people and places would make me a much more prolific writer.

10) PPM:  What about desserts, Rob? Many readers simply don't care, but your interviewer does. So, what is it? Ice cream or sherbet? Hand-dipped or soft serve? Sugar cone or cake cup? Or straight-up cup and spoon? Sprinkles? Banana splits? Where do you draw the line pertaining to an ice cream dish no longer being just ice cream? 

Rob: I dig my share of toppings and mixins, but I can still get down with some good old fashioned soft-serve vanilla on top of a cake cup.  I think that comes from my rediscovery of my childhood thanks to my son.  He thinks an ice cream cone is the greatest thing in the world and being able to share that with him is pretty amazing.  See, you got me all sappy now.

I have to say that when you start putting truffle and gold flakes on ice cream, I’m not buying it.  I don’t care how it tastes.  Once an ice cream sundae costs more than a weekend in Vegas, I’m out.

11) PPM: How do you feel about these questions? 

Rob: They’re great!  I’m just gettin’ warmed up!

12) PPM: What is your fondest memory, of say, since starting this interview? Just kidding! Your fondest memory of childhood? 

Rob: I’ve always been a comedy nerd, and I think a lot of that comes from my youth.  I was about 11 or 12 when stand-up comedy became a huge deal and I remember spending hours watching all of the comedy shows on TV.  I especially remember watching reruns of David Letterman (we’re talking the old NBC Late Night with David Letterman) that would air during the day (I think on A&E Network).  It influenced me so much that I used to write Top Ten Lists in high school and would eventually study Media along with Creative Writing in college, with the intention of becoming a comedy writer when I grow up.

13) PPM: What are some movies that you enjoy re-watching? 

Rob: There are three groups of movies that will glue me to the TV, even if they’re on commercial networks (you know, with all of the bad words edited out): Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and the first three Star Wars movies.  In particular, I love Pulp Fiction, Clerks, and Empire Strikes Back, but anything from that selection will do.

14) PPM: Tell us a smidge about your personal life. Are you married? Do you have kids? Do you live in a city? What's a perfect day for Rob Hines? 

Rob: I am married to my wife Nicole and we’ve been together for over ten years (married for 6).  We have an 18 month old son, Dominic, and he is the only person who can make me happy to get up at 5:00 in the morning.  I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We’re not as large as Indianapolis, but we’re still a fairly large city.  We’ve got two malls, so, you know, there’s that.

My perfect day starts with a nice big breakfast (my favorite meal of the day), then a trip to the zoo with my family.  Like I said, I’m reliving my youth through my son and I love watching him discover things right now.  At some point in my day I want to consume some kind of fiction, like reading a novel, watching a movie, or maybe catching some good TV.  I also like to cook so I would want to make a nice dinner for the family.  I’m definitely a night owl and I tend to be most creative at night so I might read or watch some more to help stir ideas in my head.

15) When PeevishPenman readers walk away --well click away actually-- from this interview, what would you like them to know about you that we haven't covered here? 

Rob: I want readers to know that I’m just starting my road to becoming a writer and if they’re in the same place or haven’t even started yet, I invite them to join my journey and hopefully we can inspire each other as we move forward.

Oh, and I really like “Weird Al” Yankovic.

16) PPM: Thanks, Rob for your time! We're all geared up for a wonderful adventure! We look forward to hearing more from you! 

Rob: No, thank you for the opportunity!  I’m just as excited to share everything that’s going on inside this crazy writer’s mind!


  1. Can't do coffee? Can't or won't Rob?

    1. It's okay, Carrie. I still love coffee.

    2. Phew! I was starting to worry I was falling in with the wrong crowd.

  2. Rob, have you considered doing comic scripting? I love it because I get all my dialogue love out, and I'm also a comic book nerd, but it's also great if you're wanting to script and have an option to do something with it that isn't hoping someone doesn't dump coffee on it before they can read it.

    You've got good movie taste. I'm a huge Tarantino and Smith fan myself, which probably explains our love of dialogue.

  3. Carrie, I promise to give coffee a shot, but I blame you for all repurcussions. :)

    Gayle, I have actually written a comic book for the day job. It's a local credit union and I can't believe I conned them into letting me do it. I had a ton of fun writing it (we outsourced the art) and I would love to do some "real" comics someday.

    I totally agree that Kevin and Quentin have influenced my writing style. I guess that means the dream is to write a comic book that it turned into a Smith or Tarantino flick, huh?