Robert Swiatek has been a computer software consultant
for over twenty years, having worked at various corporations
throughout the east coast. He studied and worked with computers
for over thirty years and taught mathematics
at high schools in New York and New Jersey. He has worked at
throughout his life, which you can read about in the first chapter
of Tick Tock, Dont Stop, his latest work. The
Midwest Book Review rates it as an engaging and confidently recommended
reflection offering a much-needed perspective on the "daily
grind" that occupies so much of our waking life. His website,WWW.BOBCOOKS.COM
has more detail on the book as well as information about his
first work, The Read My Lips Cookbook, which has
gotten excellent reviews. Thomas Fortenberry of the Midwest Book
Review calls it, A very highly recommended addition to
any cookbook collection. Alice Holman of the RAWSISTAZ
Reviewers says it is fun and entertaining, while
Kevin Tipple of the Blue Iris Journal praises it as good
and realistic and far different from the normal cookbook.
Lois Marie Gibbs states that it is a great, funny cookbook.
You can find the full reviews and more at BOBCOOKS.COM, which
features a new recipe each month, so you may want to check back
regularly. He has also published a novel, Dont Bet
On It, a suspenseful thriller about the national lottery.
PageOneLit: Where did you grow up? And were
reading and writing always a part of your life?
Robert Swiatek: I was born in Buffalo and
lived in Western New York until just before my 26th birthday,
when I moved to New Jersey. You can read about where I spent
the following years in the cookbook, as it is autobiographical
as well as instructive and entertaining.
I read a great deal in high school but also recall one of the
joys of life when I got my library card, while in elementary
school living on Walden Avenue in Buffalo. I may not remember
the books, but I have always read a great deal. You can't be
a writer unless you read a great deal. I wrote for the school
paper at St. Mary's High in Lancaster and was sports editor as
a senior. While teaching in Binghamton, New York in 1972, I wrote
a computer math book that almost got published. I did use the
book as a supplement to a computer course I taught in the Wappingers
Fall School System a few years later.
PageOneLit: Why do you write?
Robert Swiatek: I write because I am still
a teacher, even though I left the profession thirty years ago.
I try to help others by instructing...my first three books are
really all self-help books.
PageOneLit: The "Read My Lips"
Cookbook is a culinary journey through different places in the
eastern U.S. that you lived and travelled. What inspired you
to create this piece of work? Have you always enjoyed cooking
& the culinary arts?
Robert Swiatek: By reading it, you might
understand why I wrote "The Read My Lips Cookbook." By the time
I started it, I had collected quite a few delicious recipes and
I had a few stories to go with my cooking endeavors. At the same
time my goal was to create recipes that were healthy, easy to
make as well as good tasting and wouldn't cost a fortune. The
book was begun when George Bush was president, the older one.
You may remember one of his famous quotes, and hence the title.
At that time the country was in a recession, which is tied into
the cookbook since people were forced to stay home and cook for
themselves. They really couldn't afford to go out to dinner that
much so the money in their wallets was a concern.
I have always and still do enjoy cooking. You can
read about the "annual corn roast" in the book on work.
Just a few days ago, I cooked dinner for some basses and tenors
from the contemporary music ensemble that I sing in. The main
course that night was pecan crusted salmon, which my guests raved
about. You can find the recipe on my website, WWW.BOBCOOKS.COM,
but not in the cookbook. The entire menu for that night will
be featured on my website as a "meal suggestion" in
about three months.
PageOneLit: One thing that makes The "Read
My Lips" Cookbook unique from other cookbooks is the humor
you sprinkle throughout. How do you keep you sense of humor in
this busy, fast-paced world in which we live?
Robert Swiatek: Humor has always been around
and a necessary ingredient for existence. Without it, survival
in the world is difficult. I think that the friends you have
are a great part of how much laughter there is in your life.
Reading is a way to bring humor into your life...any book without
it is probably quite dull.
PageOneLit: Your first novel, Don't Bet
On It, is a technological, political thriller about the national
lottery. Tell us about this novel and how it evolved.
Robert Swiatek:My consultant background
with computers gave rise to the ideas in the novel. I just worked
on the development and finished the book by researching lotteries.
"Don't Bet On It" tells how a crooked party (sound
familiar?) deviously wins the election and then introduces LOTTO
for the entire country. Once the games begin, people are winning,
maybe too many. John Kuzinski, a Western New York software consultant,
smells a rat. He doesn't gamble but nonetheless winds up getting
involved in the LOTTO program. Before long, friends of his are
dying and he wishes he never got involved. The novel is about
computers, gambling, statistics, deception, fear and food. Though
the book is fiction, the statistics and facts about lotteries
PageOneLit: Tick Tock, Don't Stop: A Manual
for Workaholics, your most recent book, is described as "a
non fiction work on 'work.' " You cleverly base your advice
on the variety of workplace encounters you experienced over your
years in the workplace. Can you give us a few simple tips on
how to make our lives at work better?
Robert Swiatek: Here are some suggestions
that "Tick Tock, Don't Stop" talks about.
1. Do you really need 3 vehicles and a home with 10,000 square
feet for just you and your wife?
2. If you keep up with the Joneses, you'll have to keep up the
mortgage payments as well.
3. Management has to do a better job and let people that they
hire do the work, rather than sit over their shoulder and be
4. Analyze a job before jumping right in to the assignment. In
the long run, it will save time.
5. Institute a thirty-hour workweek for all employees. This will
6. Give workers four weeks vacation to start, rather than a mere
two. Workers will be happier and more productive.
7. No one can work a sixty-hour week and be truly productive!
8. "Working smart" beats "working hard" any
PageOneLit: Today's technologies have allowed
many people to start working from home. Tick Tock, Don't Stop
touches on the advantages and disadvantages of working from home.
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages? And what challenges
does someone face who starts working from home after years of
working a traditional job away from home?
Robert Swiatek:Working at home requires
discipline as well as a place that truly is a workroom, without
distractions or children running about. The longer your commute
was to the job, the easier will you find it to be successful
at home. Disadvantages of this approach are less social time
with fellow workers, but then you aren't really at work to chew
the fat. If these people are friends, you will have them over
to your house or meet them for lunch. The advantages are less
traffic tie-ups, a shorter week (working plus commuting), less
gasoline used, financial savings, more productivity since there
are less interruptions such as phones ringing and meetings. Finally,
there is less stress since you will be away from your boss and
won't have to put up with driving.
PageOneLit: What's next? Any plans for another
book? Any plans to open a restaurant featuring your recipes in
The "Read My Lips" Cookbook?
Robert Swiatek: Soon to be published is
"Take Back The Earth," a nonfiction treatise on the
perilous condition of our planet as well as "For Seeing
Eye Dogs Only", a humorous look at intelligence, or more
precisely the lack of it in our world. You can get a peek at
each by going to my website and click on "coming soon."
At present I am working on my most controversial book so far,
"Just Another War." If you know of a publisher for
any of these three works, let me know.
I have no intention of opening a restaurant. I
am retired, or actually in my third career as a starving writer.
PageOneLit: What was the last book you read?
Robert Swiatek: I just finished reading
Maureen Dowd's "Bushworld: Enter At Your Own Risk."
It's long, but everyone should read it. It has a great deal of
humor in it. You can also see what else I have read by clicking
on "recommended reading" on my website.