Rob, as you prepared for the release of “The Counterfeit,” you set up a fun, real-life game for your readers. Can you share the details of that with us, and how did it turn out?
Two months before the book came out, we started a viral marketing campaign on the internet, based primarily on two websites.
The first, Trial of the Century , was a fictional collaborative blog, “written” by Eric, Rebekah, and Eric’s roommates, Baxter and Davis. The blog covered what the four of them were up to in the time between the two books—they talked about the legal issues that they were left with after the events of “Wake Me When It’s Over,” and clues were dropped about what was about to happen in “The Counterfeit.” The blog ended with Eric getting stabbed by an unidentified assailant, and Eric and Rebekah disappearing— “The Counterfeit” begins with them being taken into the Witness Protection Program.
One of the great things about this blog is that we actually cast all the parts with actors/models and took photos of them in various situations—so now you can put faces with the characters in the book. I think it turned out phenomenally.
The second website was The Unknown Patriot . It appeared to be a regular old conspiracy-theorist’s website, full of crazy ideas and unfounded conclusions. But soon the site owner got contacted by a member of a secret society—a Deep Throat kind of character—who was trying to defect from his organization and stop some kind of disaster.
Every week a new clue would be posted as to where this Deep Throat guy had hidden evidence. Sometimes it was on the internet and other times it was in the real world (along the Wasatch Front).
The Trial of the Century was a big marketing success, though The Unknown Patriot didn’t ever get a huge following. It was the first time I’d tried it, and I think the clues were a little too hard. Still, the people involved seemed to enjoy themselves.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a couple of different projects, though a couple of them are secrets! Sorry…
The one I will tell you about is my next novel. It’s a modern-day archeology adventure about Atlantis. For a long time I’ve been interested in the legends of Atlantis because they’re so similar to the Book of Mormon civilizations (i.e. a small group leaves the larger civilizations of the Mediterranean, creates a great empire, prospers and grows, then gets prideful and wicked and is destroyed by the gods). I’ve often wondered if the Atlanteans might not have been some of the lost tribes, or at the very least, some of the “other sheep which are not of this fold.”
My book follows the story of an LDS archaeologist who believes this, but because of her belief she isn’t given any credibility in the anthroplogy community—as she graduates with her Master’s degree, her publications on the subject actually bar her from acceptance to any doctoral program. She gets stuck in a dead-end teaching job at a tiny community college.
But when another archaeologist finds some strange evidence of Atlantis in Mesoamerica, he comes to her for help. And that’s all I’ll tell you.
Wow – I’m definitely going to have to read that one.
Thanks for joining us, Rob. It’s been a real pleasure to learn more about what makes you tick and the man behind the really, really cool books.
Be sure to check out Rob’s website, and don’t miss all three of his novels.