David L. Robbins (Virginia writer)
|David L. Robbins|
David L. Robbins
|Alma mater||The College of William & Mary|
|Subjects||World War II|
David L. Robbins (born 1954) is an American author of several historical fiction novels, and founder of the James River Writers and the Richmond-based Podium Foundation.
The son of World War II veterans, David Lea Robbins was born on March 10, 1954, in Richmond, VA. He received his B.A. in Theater and Speech from the College of William and Mary in 1976, then his Juris Doctorate from the same school four years later.
He spent one year practicing environmental law in South Carolina to keep an agreement made with his father regarding the money spent on law school. When that time was up, he turned to freelance writing. He did not devote his time to writing fiction until 1990. After the sweeping success of War of the Rats and his subsequent novels, Robbins was able to become a full-time novelist.
In 2007, Robbins returned to his alma mater, this time as the Writer in Residence. He was so popular among the students that they petitioned for him to return an extra semester before passing the torch to Tom De Haven, author of Funny Papers and It's Superman!.
Robbins co-founded along with several other writers the James River Writers in 2002 to encourage creative expression in the Richmond area. Since its founding, the nonprofit organization holds literary and art contests, newsletters, and a yearly conference, as well as exposing readers to contemporary authors who come to speak.
After the success of the James River Writers, Robbins was appalled by the lack of creative encouragement given to lower-class students in the Richmond area. In 2008, he started the Podium Foundation, creating a literary magazine and public voice to these students who aspire to rise above societal expectations. Currently, Podium has published its second volume of student submissions and reaching out to middle and high schools beyond Richmond. The organization has also branched out to include several more programs, including a writing academy for city high school teachers and a monthly article written by city high school students published in the Richmond Times Dispatch.
In addition to writing novels, Robbins is an avid sailor and sportsman. He studies classical guitar. When not traveling to research his novels, he lives in his hometown of Richmond, VA. He is currently at work on his tenth novel, an adventure tale of Somali pirates and international intrigue, influenced by Mary Shelley, to be called The Devil's Waters.
Robbin’s first book, Souls to Keep (pub. 1998 by Harper Collins), attracted little attention. His breakthrough came in 1999 with the publication of War of the Rats, a thrilling recounting of the Russian and German sniper duels over the city of Stalingrad. Adding meticulously researched details and vibrant human depth to the historical records of World War II, the novel won Robbins recognition and praise.
Robbins followed up War of the Rats with The End of War, another World War II-era tale of the approach of the Allied forces and the fall of Berlin, this time adding civilian perspectives to his narrative. His fourth novel, Scorched Earth, addressed contemporary racism in the American South. Robbins returned to World War II with Last Citadel, bringing Cossack traditions and partisan warfare to life for the tank battle of Kursk in August 1943. Liberation Road deals with the experience of black and Jewish minorities in the U.S. Army during the war.
Branching from historical fiction into alternate history, The Assassin’s Gallery features the assassination of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is the first of Robbins’ novels to have a direct sequel, The Betrayal Game, in which an American teacher visiting Havana is embroiled in a conspiracy to assassinate Fidel Castro before the Bay of Pigs invasion.
His most recent novel, Broken Jewel, was released on November 10, 2009 by Simon and Schuster. In this novel, Robbins explores the Pacific Theater and the atrocities committed upon the so-called “comfort women” enslaved by the Japanese military.
World War II novels
- War of the Rats (Bantam, 2000)
- The End of War (Bantam, 2000)
- Last Citadel (Bantam, 2003)
- Liberation Road (Bantam 2005)
- Broken Jewel (Simon & Schuster, scheduled for 2009)
- The Assassin’s Gallery (Bantam, 2006)
- The Betrayal Game (Bantam, 2008)
- Souls to Keep (HarperCollins, 1998)
- Scorched Earth (Bantam, 2002)