Hour of Trial by Lena Robins
Pandemic: A word we can all relate to! And that is what Hour of Trial is about; a mysterious virus called Kopevine causes a world-wide epidemic.
Before we interview the author, let’s read the synopsis for Hour of Trial:
A killer virus, a snarky hot scientist, and a sweet but damaged best friend. A suspenseful thriller told through the eyes of those who lived it. Rebecca worked her entire life to get to this point, hesitating only on the day she found Alex barely alive. Now, humanity is facing its greatest threat and Alex has somehow found herself trapped in the middle. The world’s population could soon be wiped out and humankind is counting on Rebecca to find a solution as she leads the race to find a cure. Will she be able to do it in time to save Alex?
J.C. - Hello Lena! Before we jump in, can you introduce yourself?
L.R. - Absolutely. I am called Lena Robin, which is my pen name. My every day last name is full of vowels and much more difficult to spell so I go by Robin instead. I am a crazy-cat-lady to the core. While I have a zoo at home, my 3 lovely kitties are my darlings…oh, and my daughters, of course. I am married with two teenage daughters. I write what I can relate to so of course my main characters are modeled after my teenagers. I’ve been a yoga teacher for over a dozen years but rarely teach anymore. Sarcasm is my love language and I adore a good battle of wits, make sure you come well equipped. I say that in contradiction to my intense dislike of a bully. Don’t worry if you are unprepared, I will take it easy on you as long you are a good soul.
J.C. - I had to stop reading this book several times to glance at the copyright date, which is 2018. What made you come up with the idea for a viral thriller novel?
L.R. - I spent my life a person born with the desire to fix everything and always thought I saw the way to do it. Later in life, I realized I wasn’t ambitious enough to fix the world even though I wished I could. I knew if I would ever do anything to make the world a better place, I had think small and focus on what directly affected me. I’m also a daydreamer and a pacifist. The idea sprang into my head a little over a decade ago, after I had children. I got very frustrated about every little wrong I saw because I knew there was nothing I could do about it. Settling into anger is not my way so I had creative thoughts about how to rid the world of “bad guys”. It started out as a science fiction yet as I researched genetic engineering, I found the story worked better as a science thriller.
J.C. - Fast-forward a little over two years and we are living in a very similar situation to the one you wrote about. How does that make you feel?
L.R. - When Covid hit the news, many of my friends were freaking out but I tried to brush it off as if it was nothing. It wasn’t nothing because it gave me the biggest case of writers block. Unfortunately, Covid strikes the physically weakened indiscriminately. Kopvein, the virus in my novels, left children and elderly alone (acceptance extreme cases). Don’t you want to know what those extreme cases are? Tee hee hee
J.C. - I personally think you may be a little psychic! Do you, in fact, have any psychic abilities?
L.R. - Certainly, I knew you were going to ask that question. Lol I am slightly intuitive and my brain never shuts off. Put those two traits together and people will perceive you as psychic or crazy. I’ve been called both. What I thought I knew beyond any doubt is now hazy. When I look around at the world, I see hints of hope in a sea of negativity. I hope that in our evolution as a species we can foresee our mistakes so we can change them before they happen. As life and history demonstrates its cyclical nature, I find that writing has helped me express some of these thoughts about what comes next.
J.C. - The saying is 'chicken soup feeds the soul' but I really think writing does.
J.C. - Alex had a traumatic experience as a child, yet it didn’t define her. She is kind, nurturing and has made it her mission in life to help others. Was that an important character trait for you to include?
L.R. - When I first developed the character of Alex, I knew I wanted her to be kind and nurturing. When the concept was originally bouncing around in my brain Alex was the scientist and Kopvein merely escaped the lab. The scientist needed to do battle with anger in her heart, which is why I introduced Rebecca. She couldn’t be a guilt ridden scientist and grow the way I wanted her to in that part. The tragedy that befell Alex was in very important aspect of the story. She and Rebecca each addressed their personal tragedies in opposite ways. It also gave them a connection point. Rebecca is about five years older than Alex and they ran in different circles completely. The tragedy not only gave them both a starting point in their friendship, it gave me a way to show how adversity does not have to define you. Alex still has a multitude of issues to work through in the story but she does so from a different vantage point than Rebecca.
J.C. - Rebecca is the definition of self-assured. She is the polar opposite of Alex in every way, which causes the two of them to fight like siblings. Yet, they are not related. Have you ever squabbled with a friend like they do?
L.R. - Ha, Ha, funny question. Yes, I have and do squabble with some of my friends as if they were siblings. I think close friends often can and do. My main requirement in choosing a friend is that they have a good heart and are genuine. That being said, I am attracted to friendships with women who possess strong opinions and a good sense of humor. I also enjoy a variety of unconventional personality types. Yes, we sometimes annoy or offend each other, but eventually we get over it. I enjoy some more harmonious relationships also, but I like to feel as if people are my friends because they want to be not because they have to be.
J.C. - Who has been your biggest support system while on this writing adventure?
L.R. - Hmmm, that is a tough question. Writing can be very emotional experience. I prefer my emotion like my water, bottled. Anyone else wish they could be a robot?
1. My husband has financially been supportive while my writing career takes off. He also says all the right things to help me when I’m feeling sorry for myself.
2. My sister and several friends ran out, bought the book, and read it without hesitation, which made me feel amazing and loved.
3. My editor Natalie DeYoung is a blessing. I wish I’d had her with book 1. We went back and did a re-edit but she changed everything for me.
4. My Instagram buddies seem to know exactly what I’m going through as a writer. They have dragged me out of holes (without even knowing it) and made me feel human.
J.C. - Finish the sentence. In 10 years, I’d like to…
L.R. - Make a living writing fiction? The reason I ended with “?” is because I’m not naïve enough anymore to believe that this career choice is self-sustaining without a ton of work. When I started writing, I dreamed, “Write it and they will come.” If I had thought any other way, I would have talked myself out of it. It is too heartbreaking, beautiful, frustrating, and fulfilling to give up now that I’ve experienced it. So, I am okay with viewing it more realistically now.
J.C. - It certainly is not an easy career path but I am so glad you chose it.
J.C. - The ending of the book 1, Hour of Trial leaves you with a cliffhanger. Book 2, Unknown Hours is available now. Will there be a third?
L.R. - Yes, in fact the third, Final Hours is already in revision. Draft 1 was finished by November 2019. I was flailing a bit because that year had been so arduous for my family and me. I thought Final Hours would be finished by March 2020. When Covid hit the news, I froze. I did absolutely nothing. I would sit down to write, get a couple hundred words in and stare off into space. Back in January, I got serious about writing again. Final Hours is well on its way through revision and I look forward to publishing it by this summer.
J.C. - Lastly, where can readers find you and your work?
You can also find Lina on Instagram. Thank you so much for reading about Hour of Trial.