Speaker Spotlight: Robert K. Elder


We’re gearing up for this year’s Chicago Writers Conference by catching up with some of our past speakers. First up is Robert K.  Elder, author of It Was Love When: Tales from the Beginning of  Love, It Was Over When: Tales of Romantic Dead Ends, The Film That Changed My Life and Last Words of the Executed. Robert is also a  journalist, film columnist and the founder of Internet company Odd Hours Media, LLC. His work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Los Angeles TimesThe Boston Globe, and many other publications.

At last year’s conference, Robert was part of the panel “Chicago Authors on Publishing” and he gave a talk titled “Blackmail Yourself into Success.”

CWC: What exciting new projects are you currently working on?

Robert: My last four books have been about pop culture, so I’m looking to return to a weighty topic, much like I did with Last Words of the Executed. That said, I’m looking into sex research and social trends. It’s only natural that after you write about sex that death should be the next topic. Or maybe I have it backward.

CWC: What makes Chicago’s writing community great?

Robert: A complete lack of snootiness. I feel like we have a community that’s accessible and supportive and rich in talent.

CWC: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Robert: “Finish” — Neil Gaiman told me that years ago, that it’s OK to fail, but you must finish a project to learn from it. Thanks, Neil.

CWC: What is the number one trick you use to motivate yourself to write?

Robert:  I look at my wife and kids, then my mortgage. That’s all the inspiration I need.

The 2013 Chicago Writers Conference will be held September 27-29. Registration will open in May.