Chatting and book review with Rox Burkey
Hi and welcome to a very special discussion with author Robert Fear!
Robert has a style of writing I enjoy. His writing relates his experiences during times I am familiar with, even if not all the places. Robert graciously agreed to answer a few fun questions and couple that with a review of Exclusive Pedigree. Thank you, Robert, for agreeing to visit on short notice. I am honored to have you here.
You have lived in many places. I learned about some of your travels when I read Summer of ’77.
Then I discovered you have a host of travel books out. Do you have one favorite spot you have visited that remains the most magical for you?
I think Nepal is the most magical country I have ever visited. That was back in 1981, and I include my travels there in my other memoir, ‘Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia’. This is an edited version of the handwritten diary I kept during the time I traveled in South East Asia (Hong Kong, Thailand, India, and Nepal).
Your writing journey is remarkable. Was there an event that helped motivate you to share your stories?
It was the launch of Kindle around 2008 and the possibility that gave me of self-publishing my diary. The first part that I published, ‘Time in Thailand’, covered an eventful period in my travels. I will not give away too much in case people want to read my diary, but the title might give a hint as to what happened!
Robert, I do like when authors are able to provide a bit of a teaser on the fly for readers. The launch of Kindle is one of the events that I believe opened the creative doors to authors worldwide.
When people visit your blog they will find featured authors. This is a wonderful way to gain some insight on an author in advance of trying one of their books. Why do you showcase authors on your blog?
I love helping other writers and authors promote their work, especially when this leads them to writing memoirs themselves. This venture started back in 2015 when I was working on the second edition of Fred’s Diary 1981. I published daily extracts of the revised copy to coincide with the time I had been in Asia 34 years before. To generate interest in my blog, I ran competitions for travel stories and highlights. I published the best of these in a compilation. This led to a series of ‘Travel Stories and Highlights’ books and more recently an anthology entitled ’40 Memorable Life Experiences’, with stories from 21 authors. This year I am hosting an Authors Showcase for ‘Inspirational True Stories’
You have some remarkable expertise as an author. Can you share some advice or wisdom with any up and coming author?
Be persistent and follow your dream. The important thing is to get your words and thoughts down on paper. You can then refine your work. After that, you will need help. My advice would be to pay whatever you can afford to get the best cover designer and editor. Your finished book needs to be as professionally finished as possible when you publish it.
If you were having an author party (maintaining proper social distancing of course) who is the one author you would like to see attend?
My late father, John Fear. This may sound strange, but I think you will understand as you have read (and kindly reviewed) his book, ‘Exclusive Pedigree: My life in and out of the Brethren’.
Is there a question you really want him to answer?
I would want to find out more about the first few years of my life as I remember very little of my time growing up in the Exclusive Brethren. Although we reconciled before John left us, there are still so many questions I have now that I am older than he was when he died.
Robert, thank you so much for speaking with me today. People will enjoy learning about you from this interview, but even more if they check out your books. I am glad you edited your father’s story and shared it with the world. Your quest for remarkable experiences is clearly genetic.
Author John L. Fear, with succinct editing by his son Robert Fear, provides an insightful memoir of John’s life, which was framed by his inclusion in the Exclusive Brethren. This secretive and restrictive Christian sect shaped John’s life. The religious doctrine, coupled with his childhood that was book ended between the 1929 Stock Market Crash and World War II.
Conflicting views between the Brethren and other religious viewpoints started when John attended school. I found it remarkable that young John had this insight at such a young age.
“I began to attend primary school at the age of five. The nearest one to our home was St. John the Baptist School. This was a Church of England school and it was here that I realised, for the first time, that conflicts would arise between those of us brought up in a strict Exclusive Brethren home and the world outside. It was quite a painful awakening and even at that young age I remember blaming my parents for neglecting to prepare me for these difficulties.
The problem arose immediately when I returned home after my first day at school. I told my parents that school began with a religious meeting. They appeared to know nothing about the daily act of worship known as Morning Assembly.”
The rich, vivid details of John’s life and times across each of the sections give the reader clear pictures of the people and times. Commitment to the Exclusive Brethren became questionable when leadership dictated that members maintain isolation from the rest of the world. The family was excommunicated and started down the road to religious recovery.
“James Taylor had been vitriolic in his condemnation of the Open Brethren because of their alleged compromise with the world and the ‘apostate church’ at large. I had been taught from my youth that the Open (or Christian) Brethren were, in Mr. Taylor’s words, “the dirtiest ditch in Christendom”. I passed this comment onto the Brethren representatives who visited me. They just smiled and said they did not mind what I thought of them as long as I knew that my fellowship would be valued if I cared to come to the meetings at any time.”
John’s life drastically altered. His world opened up to the possibilities when he joined the team of Billy Graham to serve God. The hindsight of retirement allowed John to reflect on his wrongs taking steps to atone where possible. I found the memoir compelling. I can recommend this to those who want to understand how entwined historical and religious events can make a difference. I enjoyed John’s story of his evolution.
I found the memoir compelling. I can recommend this to those who want to understand how entwined historical and religious events can make a difference. I enjoyed John’s story of his evolution.
About the Author:
Robert Fear has lived in
Eastbourne, on the south coast of the UK for half his life. He moved there to
be with Lynn, his future wife and is still there with her thirty years later.
As cat-lovers they have taken on several rescue cats over the years and are
owned by three at the moment – Hazell (tabby), Jet (black) and Sparky, a bouncy
For his day job Robert works as a self-employed software consultant. In his spare time he writes, edits and self-publishes books, and organises annual travel writing competitions.
Robert’s interest in travel goes back to his twenties when he spent most of his time abroad. His experiences included; a summer in Ibiza, hitch-hiking around Europe and touring the USA & Canada. His most eventful trip was in 1981 when he travelled around Asia.
Born into a religious sect known as the Exclusive Brethren, his father John took the brave step of leaving it with his young family when Robert was nine years old. Robert never saw his grandparents again but is thankful for being able to grow up outside this restrictive group. His life has been full of adventures that he would never have experienced otherwise.
Connect with Robert Fear
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