Score another victory for the scores of people who think, “I’d love to write a novel someday but don’t know how to do it.”
Robin Lehman was one of those people. Not anymore.
The Lawrence resident recently published “Perseverance,” her first novel. The title refers to a town in Alaska where the story is set, but it could just as easily be a reference to the process of writing the book.
“Probably, in a subconscious way,” Lehman says.
Lehman has spent her entire career in public relations, having worked for Kansas University’s research operations and Provost’s Office and operating her own corporate communication firm.
She quit that work three years ago to start her novel-writing career. The transition took more effort than she expected.
“When I turned my attention to it, it was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be,” Lehman says. “You have to write it a whole different way and use a different part of my brain.”
The story is a political thriller set in Alaska and is a new take on the debate over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A plan to store nuclear waste there spurs a debate that ties in the state’s mining history.
“It’s not a history book, and it’s not historical fiction,” Lehman says. “But so many people have been to Alaska on a cruise. I wanted to tell what it is like for people who actually live there.”
That’s easy for Lehman, who grew up in Juneau and still makes frequent trips back to her home state. She also got her first taste of politics at age 17 when she went to work in the Alaska governor’s office.
Instead of trying to shop the novel around to publishers, Lehman decided to establish a new independent press, Fogdog Press, she and her husband co-founded.
With the first novel out of the way, Lehman has started on No. 2 — another political thriller about the biomedical field. She also has plans for a third in the series about energy policy.
“I’m sure there will be no shortage of issues,” she says. “The thriller genre is my favorite, and it’s likely the genre I would stick with. I like fast-paced novels.”
Her advice for anyone thinking about writing a novel? Do it.
“It’s absolutely what I want to be doing,” she says. “I love it.”