• November 7, 2016
  • Author Interviews
  • Comments Off on Interview with Robert J. Dornan, author of ’23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.’

Interview with Robert J. Dornan, author of ’23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.’


Robert J Dornan is someone who wishes to leave a better world to his children. He realizes that the odds are slim but he will do whatever he can to increase the probability of success.  He is always open to discuss new and innovative ideas and hopes someday to see the building of a functional solar city as well as a fair and community-driven compensation system.

Robert’s latest book is the historical fiction, 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.

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About the Book:


Title: 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.
Author: Robert J. Dornan
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 550
Genre: Historical Fiction

In the early morning of her sister’s wedding day, Mila Kharmalov stared in stunned silence at the coloured sparks streaming from Reactor Four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.  At that very moment, her life and the lives of everyone she knew changed forever.

Years later and on another continent, Adam Byrd was writing biographies for everyday people looking to leave their legacy in book form. When the woman he loved phoned from Kiev offering him the chance to write the story of a lifetime, he jumped at the opportunity not realizing that his voyage would be a bumpy ride through a nations dark underbelly. With the help of his friend’s quirky cousin, Adam is nudged into a fascinating adventure of love, greed, power and psychotic revenge, culminating with a shocking finale.

23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is a work of fiction based on factual events from Chernobyl and villages throughout Ukraine.

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  • 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is available at Amazon..
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Robert!  Can you tell us where you are from?

I am living in a small suburban city east of Toronto.  I was born and raised in Montreal.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

On April 26th, 1986 at one-twenty three A.M., reactor four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant exploded.  The title of the book is the time of the explosion.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover.  Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

The cover is a photo of the Ferris wheel in the city of Pripyat.  Most of the nuclear plant employees lived in the fairly new Pripyat apartment buildings one kilometer from Chernobyl.  The Ferris wheel was part of an amusement park that was destined to open on May 1st, one week later but never saw one ticket sold.  There are articles that claim otherwise; that the park was open for a few hours to appease worried citizens.  I chose this image because it is a reflection of the emptiness and hopelessness that exist and continues to exist around Chernobyl and the nation of Ukraine.

The cover was created by Melissa Tovar and completed by Cheryl Perez.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

Well, I’ve hidden a golden lottery ticket inside one of the books and if it’s the one you bought…

23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is a historical fiction with over four hundred hours of research packed into five-hundred and fifty pages of fast moving, intellectual and psychological action.  Initial reaction has been very, very positive and my best review thus far is that the novel was stunning and will never be forgotten.

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

Yes, of course.  The first message is that nothing good – absolutely nothing good – comes from building nuclear power plants.  We hear of huge accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima but we never hear of the smaller ones, or the leaks that pollute the Columbia River (example).  The world has made tremendous advances with alternative energy so nuclear should never be an option.

Secondly, oppression makes ordinary people hard and angry. They become unforgiving and desperate.  This is what happened in the USSR and especially Ukraine.  Many villages in Ukraine were hubs for criminal activity because of harsh conditions caused by political oppression.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

My favorite chapter includes Tania and Mila’s letter to the Samizdat.  It was the beginning of their fight against oppression and the dictatorial nature of the USSR.  This chapter began Mila’s journey to becoming an icon and it also includes the line:  Chernobyl was not an accident; it was a disaster with a timeline.  I have received a lot of feedback about that specific line.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

It’s befuddling and also disturbing that an ongoing tragedy such as Chernobyl is so unknown.  There should be high school or university classes devoted to the pain that Chernobyl has caused and continues to cause.  It’s almost sickening that so many of us know the name of three Kardashians but a miniscule amount of us know the names of the three Chernobyl divers that saved Europe.

Q:  Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

I’m originally from the planet Niburu and have come to your world to investigate the difference between potatoes and yams.  It’s dangerous work but I’m careful.

I have no deep, dark secrets but I do have a mole on my chest that looks like Meg Ryan.  Does that count?

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I’ve always been fascinated with the Philippines.  Here’s a country that was ruled by Spain for three hundred plus years and then sporadically by the U.S. for fifty.  The nation was decimated by the Japanese in WWII and since then has been ruled by crooks and the Catholic Church yet…they are the most congenial people I have ever met.  I want to learn why.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Mid-afternoon, around four p.m. when work ends.  I wake up early so I guess I’m a morning person.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

I have a four- year old nephew who writes on walls but other than him, I’d say my sister.  She has written some bios and local documentaries.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Yes and nothing has changed.  I still dribble on white shirts too.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish.  What would that be?

Give me back my hair!!!

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Yes, thanks for reading.  Please feel comfortable to write me at jackcityguy@gmail.com.  I’m always open to discuss my books, alternative energies, vertical farms and societal reform/equality.  Say no to nuclear power plants!

p.s. Laugh every day.  It’s good for your face.

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