Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Rob Samborn

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Rob Samborn! His debut novel, The Prisoner of Paradise: A Dual-Timeline Thriller Set in Venice (Painted Souls Book 1) released on November 30th 2021.

How long have you been writing?

Like many authors, I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid, but professionally (or with professional aspirations), for about twenty years. My professional writing training and education is in screenwriting. I’ve written nine feature scripts, as well as some TV pilots, shorts and work-for-hire projects. I’m also a script doctor. Though I still work on screenplays, I transitioned to novels about seven years ago.

Describe a typical writing day.

This has changed considerably since the release of my first book, The Prisoner of Paradise, in Nov. 2021. My second book, Painter of the Damned, releases on Oct. 25, 2022. Nowadays, beyond my day job, about 80% of my writing day is filled up with book marketing and promotion activities, as well as editing and/or prep for my next release. I often don’t start on actual writing until 9:00 at night!

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

For all my book and script ideas, I get inspiration from everywhere. It could be a real event or person, something I see, a theme, or ideas that pop into my head for characters or plot. I have a list of over 100 different story ideas.

For my current books, which are a series, they’re all inspired by the same idea. I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of soul mates—the connection between two people that goes beyond physical attraction or shared interests, etc. And this doesn’t need to be between people who are romantically involved. It can definitely be felt between friends. Oftentimes, it’s an immediate, unexplainable connection. I’ve always wanted to explore that theme in a story.

On a trip to Venice, I was captivated with paintings by a Renaissance master named Jacopo Tintoretto. Many of his paintings are massive in scale, and includes dozens, and sometimes, hundreds of people. The paintings of these people are portraits in their own right and the people run the gamut in terms of race, gender, age, social class, etc. I started wondering where he got his inspiration from. Of course, artists use models, but he would’ve had a line of people out his door.

All of these people have truly been immortalized. They’re still there, plain as day, hanging on a museum wall.

From there, I married this concept of immortalization through art with my fascination with soul mates. I thought, maybe it’s their souls that are captured in the paintings. And a story was born…

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

I want readers to be captivated with the characters and go on what is often a heart-wrenching journey. I want them to have a thrilling escape while they’re reading, but there’s also a decent amount of history and art, so if people learn something, I’d love that, as well. And as a take away, I hope they want to read the next book!

What is the significance of the title?

The Prisoner of Paradise actually has different meanings and people will need to read the book to find out. However, the obvious significance is that it revolves around Tintoretto’s Paradise, the world’s largest oil painting. This real-life painting has hundreds of people in it. In my book, one of these people is a woman whose soul has been imprisoned in the two-dimensional canvas as a purgatory of sorts.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

A huge amount. Though my book takes place in the real world in real places, not everybody is familiar with Venice, Italy. So, it was very important for me to not only establish that world but continue building it as the story goes. It also takes place in the present and 16th century, so I need to build the 16th century world.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

There are obvious career highlights – getting an agent, signing with the publisher, release of the book. Post release, whenever someone says they love my book, that’s a highlight that never gets old. And during the writing process, I love writing a scene and then when I reread it, I know it’s something special.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

I’m currently working on the third book in the series, which will be released in 2023.

What advice would you give to other authors?

For aspiring authors who haven’t been published yet, my advice is to never stop learning your craft, never stop reading, and never stop learning about the industry. Writers need to realize and accept this is a business. You’re creating a product to sell in a marketplace.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

That my books are escapist thrill rides set in the real world. If you love thrillers or historical mysteries and want to go on a journey unlike any you’ve read or seen, I think you’ll love my books.


Thank you Rob Samborn for chatting with me! I will include his information down below. Check out The Prisoner of Paradise today!


A disembodied whisper.
A soul mate murdered in 1589.
An ancient order that will kill to silence the truth.


Nick and Julia O’Connor’s dream trip to Venice collapses when a haunting voice reaches out to Nick from Tintoretto’s Paradise, the world’s largest oil painting.

Though Julia worries her husband suffers from a delusion, Nick is adamant the voice belongs to a woman from the 16th century—his soul mate from a previous life. He discovers a religious order that has developed a method of extracting people’s souls, which they imprison in Paradise. Over the centuries, they’ve judged thousands of souls and sentenced them to eternal purgatory.

As infatuation with the past clouds his commitment to a present-day wife, Nick must right an age-old wrong—destroy the painting and liberate his soul mate. But freeing her would allow all the souls to be reborn.

The order will never let that happen.

A riveting thriller ignites with a time-spanning love story. Perfect for fans of Dan Brown, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman or David Mitchell.

In addition to being a novelist, Rob Samborn is a screenwriter, entrepreneur and avid traveler. He’s been to forty countries, lived in five of them  and studied nine languages. As a restless spirit who can’t remember the last time he was bored, Rob is on a quest to explore the intricacies of our world and try his hand at a multitude of crafts; he’s also an accomplished artist and musician, as well as a budding furniture maker. A native New Yorker who lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, he now makes his home in Denver with his wife, daughter and dog.


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