Queens Graduate Charles Robbins Publishes First Novel
Queens congratulates Charles Robbins, a graduate of Queens' MFA in Creative Writing program, who has published his first novel to critical acclaim.
"The Accomplice" is a high-end political thriller set in a Senator's presidential campaign. It comes out September 4 and Publishers Weekly has already labeled it as a "must-read."
Robbins completed the MFA program in 2007 after attaining his bachelor's degree at Princeton University and his M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. His career path includes several years as a newspaper reporter, a Senior Lieutenant with the U.S. Navy and a long career in public affairs including a stint as senior advisor to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. Robbins co-authored two non-fiction books with Sen. Specter in which he interviewed President Ford and Cuban President Castro. He also co-authored The U.S. Senate with Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, giving a comprehensive account of how the Senate works.
Robbins says, "I was about forty and it was time to either make a serious go at writing or not." He called his friend Pinckney Benedict, who was on faculty at Queens and introduced him to the low-residency concept that allowed him to keep his job while earning his degree. While Robbins knew he was ready to write, he didn't expect the transformational experience he found at Queens. "Queens forced me to look deeper into other people and myself. I learned to mine much deeper than I ever had. It was also the greatest gift from Queens." Robbins also credits the faculty- like Fred Leebron and Mike Kobre - for helping him post-graduation. "They hooked me up with agents and gave me guidance on publishing and marketing," he says.
As for how he feels about publishing his first novel, Robbins says, "It validates my whole life plan. When I hit forty I just decided to put all my eggs in one basket. I left Capitol Hill and a fast-tracked career in politics and took a job as a bureaucrat, running the media department in a sleepy federal agency because I knew it would give me time to write in the evenings. It was my dream, my lifelong dream and it's wonderful to have accomplished it even though it took me darn near the age of fifty."
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