Collin Tobin: The Upload Tour

Upload by Collin TobinCollin, believe me, it’s a pleasure to have you with us today and congratulations on the publication of UPLOAD. Now, I could read your poetry all day, but then I wouldn’t have a chance to talk with you, so here goes.

I’m curious, Nabokov is one of your favorite authors. How has he influenced your work?

Ironically, he’s probably slowed my evolution as a writer down a great deal. I’ve had to work very hard to not attempt to write like him, because I adore his style so much. I remember David Foster Wallace said something like… wait let me look it up… Here it is. Wallace listed authors that had had made a great impression upon him as “patriarchs of his patricide”. And he actually lists Nabokov as one, along with Barth, Coover, Pynchon, etc. I think that’s a bit much. Send those poor old men out to pasture, sure. But is a staged execution really necessary? I have a lot I owe Nabokov, not the least of which is the urgent need to write in such a sparkling way as he was able to.

I am anxious to read UPLOAD published by Red Adept Publishing. Tell us about it.

Upload, I hope, is pure fun. There are of course very serious topics necessarily threaded throughout the story—stories of abuse, of violence, of the worst of our vices. Upload takes a unique look at the basest of our human behaviors and what we are to do with them. At its center is Jay Brooks, a teen who has tragically lost his mother and virtually lost his father in the follow-on grief. Jay stumbles upon a unique upload, whose trail he follows with the help of his friend Bennie, and expose an evil sort of rabbit hole they will spend the rest of the book attempting to climb out of.

“UPLOAD takes a unique look at the basest of our human behaviors and what we are to do with them.”

When did you first realize you had a gift for writing?

The question makes an assumption I can’t easily dodge. I don’t know if it’s a “gift”. I would say I’m a pensive, reflective person, and writing has become a nice outlet for sharing some thoughts and observations. If I do end up writing something “right”, that rings true, I hope it’s more than chance that has caused it.

Who influenced you the most? Who are some of your other favorite authors (novelists or poets)?

I was a big thriller/horror reader when I was younger, with a smattering of sci-fi and fantasy. So of course, my shelves were lined with Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Piers Anthony, Peter Straub, and the like. But then in college I was exposed to other writers, like John Updike, Raymond Carver, John Irving, T.C. Boyle. Each one of those in their own way struck a new cord of honesty I didn’t think was possible in fiction. One moment that will stick with me forever is Updike’s “Separating”. I can’t remember the passage exactly, but something about the father breaking down at dinner while eating lobster, and the taste of his tears with the lobster—still almost makes my own throat ache to remember it.

What are you reading now?

Nabokov’s “The Gift”, Edward Lorn’s “Dastardly Bastard”, Harbach’s “The Art of Fielding”. I’m a miserably slow reader.

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

I can put in 3-4 hours in one shot, but can’t continue further. My head gets to foggy and my brain seems to swell and get claustrophobic. I wish I wrote out on pad and paper—then I could write anywhere. But my penmanship is slow and atrocious and seems to become even less legible as time passes, like the last line is caught on the pen, and the rest just tightens together like a horrible snarl. I’m unfortunately bound to my computer for writing. But I have been enjoying a new program ported from the Mac to the PC called “Scrivener”. It allows for the most flexible sort of writing process—writing out of order, outlining as much as you want, cork boarding ideas, etc.

Interesting. But most of all, we want to hear about your work in progress.

Sure! I recently finished the first draft of a novel I call “dirt”, which is the story of two brothers with a Caine and Abel type of relationship. The black sheep, Thad, is unexpected invited back to his family home by his older brother Danny. Fresh out of jail and with nowhere to go, Thad accepts the invitation, even with the one crazy condition: that he help Danny dig a secret tunnel extending from their childhood basement to an undisclosed location.

Sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to read it! Thanks so much for your time, Collin!


Born, raised, and still lives in Massachusetts with his wife Gina, and two wonderful daughters, Abby and Rachel. Collin currently works in the software industry.

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