An Interview with Robert Hammond – author of “The Light”

May 9, 2013

Robert, you’ve written a book entitled “The Light – A Novel.” Tell my readers a bit about your book. 

“The Light” is a mystical odyssey about a brilliant, but troubled young misfit seeking love and enlightenment while struggling with addiction, strange facebook_profilerelationships, and variety of religious experiences. The main character is named Abel Adams, the son of an affluent African American couple living in a small, predominately white, suburban town amid the post 1960’s counterculture. As a result of Abel trying to fit in, he falls in with the wrong crowd and experiments with drugs, the occult, and other things that lead him on a perilous spiritual adventure.

The title draws the reader in and I sense there is a story behind it.  Please share.

The title comes from the Light that is within and all around each of us at every moment. The Light is truth and love and grace. But most of us are usually busy looking outside of ourselves to various substances like money or food or alcohol or drugs, relationships, man-made organizations, self-appointed leaders, and other experiences to satisfy us and give us answers. That is why so many people are unsatisfied, confused, addicted and deluded; because they fail to discover the inner Light that has always been in the one place where they were afraid to look.

What was your motivation in writing this book?

The Light is based on many of my own personal experiences, so writing the book was a process of self-revelation and catharsis. I wanted to share a message of hope and inspiration with the millions of people who are struggling with addiction or lost to some kind of deception or self-destructive lifestyle. I also wanted to shine a light on the relationship between drugs and the occult as well as to explore the process of spiritual recovery and enlightenment.

Your background is film…yet this book seems to move to the arena of self-help or metaphysical.  Where did this book come from? 

I actually began writing self-help books over twenty years ago in the area of personal finance with such titles as “Credit Secrets,” “Life After Debt,” and “Identity Theft.” I later moved into screenwriting and filmmaking and wrote the novel, “C.B. DeMille: The Man Who Invented Hollywood” which is the basis for the forthcoming biopic. But “The Light” is the most personal of all my books. I love exploring controversial topics such as religion, philosophy, and spirituality, but I also have personal experience with drug addiction, crime, and incarceration that most people don’t know about. “The Light” is my way of telling some deep truths through fiction. The metaphysical aspect of the book is the way that the story looks at the nature of reality and some of the ultimate questions of life.

The book is well written and evidences that you’ve done your homework. What drew you to “The Light”?

My so-called “homework” was my personal experience. Most of the stories and adventures in “The Light” are based around situations that I personally witnessed or lived through. The original version of the book actually began as a memoir. But after years of revision and rewriting, I decided to totally fictionalize the characters, put it in third person, and add in some dramatic twists to allow more freedom in telling certain aspects of what was otherwise a true story. Having recently retired from my day job with the government and receiving a governor’s pardon for my previous misadventures, I’m no longer worried about what other people may think about my past. So I am ready to release “The Light” and hope it will be well-received.

What do you hope the reader will gain from your book?

From what readers are telling me so far, they really relate to the main character, Abel Adams, even though his life and adventures are so bizarre and unlike anything most people have experienced. So I hope that by relating to this sympathetic, multi-layered character, they can follow his spiritual journey and learn along the way without having to make some of the same mistakes. Most of all, I hope that readers will come away inspired with the hope and belief that everyone is capable of changing their lives for the better. If someone like Abel Adams can turn his life around, maybe there is hope for that loved one you know who is still struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or other self-destructive behavior. There are many kinds of prisons that people can be trapped in. “The Light” offers a way out.

How, by the way, did you go about selecting the ideas included in your book?

When telling a story, especially a coming-of-age story like this one, it is important to find dramatic or cinematic moments that have an emotional impact on the character’s life decisions and tie together in a unifying theme. In this story, everything ultimately connects to the main character’s unconscious pursuit of the Light, which is a metaphor for love and truth and, ultimately, the grace of God. As we all know, life is complicated. Therefore, the story portrayed in “The Light,” has numerous layers and complications and surprise twists and turns. You never really know what is going to happen next, even after the story comes to an apparent end.

A number of my readers are in the media, so as we conclude this interview – what two things would you want them to know about the uniqueness of your book? 

The Light is a literary adventure novel that combines true crime, inspirational fiction, and mystical fantasy to offer a unique message of hope and recovery without resorting to overused platitudes or simplistic solutions. The story contains some surprise twists which will definitely have people talking and asking questions long after they finish the book. I’m currently in talks with a production company about the possibility of adapting “The Light” into a film or possible television series, so look for more about “The Light” to come.