Today we travel to Denver, Colorado to chat with Rob Samborn about how Venice, the Doge’s Palace, Cloud Atlas, playing the guitar, selling leather jackets, skydiving, lying about his age, and living on Mars come together as part of Rob’s past and present life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a native New Yorker, I’ve lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, and now live in Denver with my wife, daughter and dog. In addition to being a novelist, I’m a screenwriter, entrepreneur and avid traveler. I’ve been to forty countries, lived in five of them (including Italy) and studied nine languages. I’m a restless spirit and can’t remember the last time I was bored. I am on a quest to explore the intricacies of our world and try my hand at a multitude of crafts. I’m also an accomplished artist and musician, as well as a budding furniture maker.
In which genre do you write?
I write across genres since that’s the toughest to sell! In all seriousness, it’s what I love, I naturally gravitate toward cross-genre books, TV shows and movies, and I write what I’d like to read.
Tell us about your most recent book, and where we can purchase the book.
My most recent book, THE PRISONER OF PARADISE, is a commercial thriller blended with historical fiction and magical realism. It’s about a man on the brink of insanity who traverses present-day and Renaissance Venice to save his soul mate from a most unusual purgatory. It’s available at all major booksellers, including Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09F8RYG2M
What outdoor activity haven’t you tried, but would like to try?
Skydiving, without question. My wife and I had booked a skydiving experience outside of San Diego, California, but unfortunately it rained that day (one of the few rainy days they get), so it was canceled. Since then, we had a child so I’m reluctant to try a life-risking activity. But I plan on doing it one day!
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
I’ve been to Venice three times and I’ve found inspiration for different story ideas around every corner. It’s such a unique place – beautiful and mysterious. I was inspired to write The Prisoner of Paradise on my second trip to Venice, after seeing other paintings by Jacopo Tintoretto, located in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.
His paintings are so lifelike and imbue so much emotion, I couldn’t help but wonder who the models were. As the idea for a book about souls trapped in a painting germinated, I researched Tintoretto’s work and discovered his masterpiece, Il Paradiso, located in the Doge’s Palace.
In a glance, I knew it was the perfect painting. As I researched the room it was located in, along with the building and the history of the complex and the painting, the idea unfolded before my eyes. I visited the Doge’s Palace and Paradise on my third trip to Venice.
What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?
Cloud Atlas. I find this movie to be remarkable in every sense possible and hugely inspirational and influential. Strangely, it’s very polarizing, as is the book, by David Mitchell. People either love it or detest it. I am very much in the “it’s one of the greatest movies ever made” camp.
Can you play a musical instrument?
Yes. I can play guitar and a little bass. I also sing. In fact, I was in a band one summer in Florence, Italy. It was me and two friends. I played guitar and sang, one friend played bongos, and one friend played clarinet. We were a folksy alternative rock/comedy act. By day, we sold leather jackets in the market and passed out flyers for our show. By night, we played in a few bars where we had set gigs. It was the best summer of my life. My first trip to Venice was that summer.
Can you share an interesting story from your childhood.
When I was six, my parents sent me to sleepaway camp for a month. I have a six-year-old now and the idea of sending her away for even a week is unfathomable. But, I had an amazing time and even had to lie about my age to make sure I didn’t get sent home. One day, a counselor was looking through some papers and asked me what year I was born. I had to do some quick math!
If mars or another planet was livable, would you accept a one way ticket there? why or why not?
Yes. It would be immensely difficult to leave my friends and family forever, but being that type of pioneer, the first in human history, is too great an opportunity to pass up. Not to mention, I’d have quite a bit of time to write!
It was great learning more about you Rob, and a pleasure to have be a part of MTA. Wishing you much success with future writings and all of your endeavors. – Camilla
The world’s largest oil painting. A 400-year-old murder. A disembodied whisper: “Amore mio.” My love.
Nick and Julia O’Connor’s dream trip to Venice collapses when a haunting voice reaches out to Nick from Tintoretto’s Paradise, a monumental depiction of Heaven. Convinced his delusions are the result of a concussion, Julia insists her husband see a doctor, though Nick is adamant the voice was real.
Blacking out in the museum, Nick flashes back to a life as a 16th century Venetian peasant swordsman. He recalls precisely who the voice belongs to: Isabella Scalfini, a married aristocrat he was tasked to seduce but with whom he instead found true love. A love stolen from them hundreds of years prior.
She implores Nick to liberate her from a powerful order of religious vigilantes who judge and sentence souls to the canvas for eternity. Releasing Isabella also means unleashing thousands of other imprisoned souls, all of which the order claims are evil.
As infatuation with a possible hallucination clouds his commitment to a present-day wife, Nick’s past self takes over. Wracked with guilt, he can no longer allow Isabella to remain tormented, despite the consequences. He must right an age-old wrong – destroy the painting and free his soul mate. But the order will eradicate anyone who threatens their ethereal prison and their control over Venice.
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