Best selling author shares intimate evening in the Highlands 0
Highlands cottager Robert Rotenberg is the author of three best selling crime novels, with a fourth on the way. The writer visited Heritage House Cafe on Aug. 7 to read from his books and talk about his writing career. ANGELICA BLENICH/HALIBURTON COUNTY ECHO/QMI AGENCY
It felt like having Robert Rotenberg in your living room.
Just a few friends and the best selling author, chatting about books over lattes and fresh baked goods.
A Highlands cottager and criminal lawyer in Toronto, Rotenberg shared stories of his life and writing career to a packed crowd at Heritage House Café on Aug. 7.
The author of three published novels, with a fourth about to be released, Rotenberg read from his criminal thrillers and answered questions about his life and craft.
His first published book, Old City Hall, simultaneously takes place in Toronto and Haliburton County, where Rotenberg describes familiar places through descriptive narrative.
When asked if he’s actually visited the places mentioned in the novels, the writer said doing research for the book is one of his favourite elements of the entire process.
“I try to make everything as real as possible and then put my characters in those places. Most of my research is just walking around,” he said.
Featuring detailed characters with complex stories, such as detective Ari Greene and defense counsel Nancy Parish, people described in the book are not modeled after specific individuals, but amalgamations of people Rotenberg knows.
A champion of libraries and their importance to a community, Rotenberg’s books are stocked in all of Toronto’s public libraries and in the branches throughout Haliburton County.
Yet don’t count on getting your hands on a copy just yet, as was pointed out by Haliburton County librarian Bessie Sullivan.
With more than 200 holds on Rotenberg’s books at libraries throughout the city and holds in Haliburton, “you actually can’t get a copy,” said Sullivan.
Perhaps in an effort to entice the crowd, who were familiar with Rotenberg’s published novels, the author read excerpts from his yet to be released book.
Written primarily at Rotenberg’s Haliburton cottage, the story is currently typed up on loose-leaf paper within a three-ringed binder.
One of the most crucial elements to starting a new book is writing the lead, said Rotenberg, as well as creating a believable setting and rich characters.
“I think your job as a writer is to listen and observe.”
Also a part-time writing instructor, Rotenberg believes there is only so much that can be taught.
“There’s a lot you can learn but it always comes back to writing a great story,” he said.
Grateful for the career he’s had and the opportunities afforded to him, Rotenberg hopes to continue putting pen to paper and entertaining readers with his intricate stories.
“I’ve always dreamed of having a night like this [in Haliburton]. Let’s meet again in a year and talk about the new book.”