Author Interview: Rob Boffard


Credit: Nicole Simpson

Today I am interviewing Rob Boffard, author of the new sci-fi novel, Adrift.

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DJ: Hi Rob! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Rob Boffard: I am Iron Man. Well, I would be, if Tony Stark was South African. Also if he had terrible hair, a ton of tattoos, no money, was unable to build anything without it breaking, couldn’t do math, had an accent like a Canadian being punched in the voicebox, and wrote about spaceships and explosions for a living. But other than those things, I am absolutely Iron Man. Honest.

DJ: What is Adrift about?


Rob: OK, so you’ve been on vacation, right? And I’m guessing you’ve been on one of those terrible tour buses with the sticky plastic seats and the crackly PA system and a guide who doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Now imagine that: but in space. A tiny, shitty tour ship, going around a luxury hotel in the far reaches of the galaxy, while the tourists inside gawk at the Horsehead Nebula. The hotel is attacked and destroyed by a mysterious ship, and these tourists in their little cruising vessel are the only survivors. They’ve got minimal supplies, no weapons, and nobody back home knows they’re alive…

DJ: What were some of your influences for Adrift?

Rob:  Too many trips on crappy tour buses. But in terms of books: The Langoliers, by Stephen King, and Day Four by Sarah Lotz – both stories about ordinary people trapped in a pressure-cooker situation.

This question also has a slightly weird answer, because one of the books that also influenced it was Illuminae, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman. It’s this amazing sci-fi story with space battles and killer viruses and psychotic AI, and blew my mind. The thing is, though, I actually read it after I wrote Adrift. It definitely affected how I rewrote the book, and raised the bar for the kind of things I wanted to accomplish. 

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?

Rob: I wanted the people on the Red Panda (which is the name of our crappy little tourist ship) to be as ordinary a group of people as you can imagine. So you’ve got the bickering family with two kids, you’ve got a honeymooning couple, you’ve got an elderly tourist with a fanny pack, you’ve got a hotel critic. There’s also the guide on the first day of her new job, and a grizzled, bitter, alcoholic pilot.

And if these sound like stereotypes, that was part of the fun: setting up these characters who we think we are intimately familiar with, and who then reveal themselves to be very, very different as the situation gets more and more intense…

DJ: What is the world and setting of Adrift like?

Rob: It’s our universe, a couple of hundred years in the future, in the aftermath of a war between two opposing sides – the Frontier and the Colonies – who fought over territory and resources across the galaxy. Adrift actually takes place in the aftermath of that war: society has more or less gotten back on its feet, and there’s tourism, a functioning economy, infrastructure etc. The actual universe is very much a backdrop, as almost all story takes place on the Red Panda itself, however…fuck it, I don’t want to spoil anything.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Adrift?

Rob: I got to spend a lot of time with the people on the Red Panda, and although I had my own ideas about what they’d do in any given situation, they continually surprised me. Having a character you’ve created react in unexpected and interesting ways is one of the purest forms of writing dopamine there is.

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

Rob: The characters. I know I just talked about them in the previous answer, but really, this is it. The world I’ve built is really cool, the tech is solid, the science is interesting…but at the end of the story, the reader is going to be missing the people on the Red Panda like crazy.

DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Adrift? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?

Rob: Honestly? I just wanted to tell this particular story. When the idea arrived, it was so good and so compelling that I had no choice but to actually sit down and write it. There was no particular theme or message I wanted to get across; I just wanted to do the idea justice, and write a story that was a total blast to read.

DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Adrift that you can share with us?

Rob: “Who the fuck pissed in your cereal?”

DJ: Now that Adrift is released, what is next for you?

Rob: I have a suspicion: I don’t talk about books until they are ready to go. But I’ve got plenty more in the tank, and you’ll be seeing some of it as early as next year.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?  

Amazon Author Page:

Author Newsletter:





Kickstater: I’d rather punch myself in the throat.

Linkedin: Don’t think I’ve been on there since 2007…




DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Adrift that we haven’t talked about yet?

Rob:  That it’s not a typical sci-fi story. It’s not your usual space opera. It’s a story about ten people, trapped on a very tiny ship, with no rescue in sight. Yes, it has space battles and wormholes and interstellar conflict, but that all happening in the background. When it comes down to is: this is a story about people. A damn good one, too.

DJ: Is there anything else you would like add? 

Rob: Buy my books or I will shove a bat up your nightdress.

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!

Rob: Peace!

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*** Adrift is published by Orbit and is available TODAY!!! ***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Barnes & NobelGoodreads | Kobo| Publisher

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About the Book:

In the far reaches of space, a group of tourists board a small vessel for what will be the trip of a lifetime – in more ways than one…

They are embarking on a tour around Sigma Station – a remote mining facility and luxury hotel with stunning views of the Horsehead Nebula.

During the course of the trip, a mysterious ship with devastating advanced technology attacks the Station. Their pilot’s quick evasive action means that the tour group escape with their lives – but as the dust settles, they realize they may be the only survivors . . .

Adrift in outer space, out of contact with civilization, and on a vastly under-equipped ship, these passengers are out of their depth. Their chances of getting home are close to none, and with the threat of another attack looming they must act soon – or risk perishing in the endless void of space.


Credit: Nicole Simpson

About the Author:

Rob Boffard is a South African author who splits his time between London, Vancouver and Johannesburg. He has worked as a journalist for over a decade, and has written articles for publications in more than a dozen countries, including The Guardian and Wired in the UK.


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