Talking with Robison Wells about Living and Writing While Dealing With a Mental Illness

Rob Wells

In this interview, Robison Wells, author of Variant, a YA dystopian novel, opens up about his severe panic disorder. He shares his experiences to help others coping with mental illness in their own lives or in the lives of friends and loved ones. He talks about how his disorder impacted his life, his family, and his career. Please excuse the background noise – Jocelyn had to bring her baby to the recording session.

variant cover

He’ll be doing some book signings for Feedback, the sequel to Variant starting Oct. 2nd.
Check his website at for details. And as always, leave a comment if you want the chance to win a signed copy of Variant. A winner will be chosen sometime next week.

Download here (right click and select “save link as” to download”)


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8 responses to “Talking with Robison Wells about Living and Writing While Dealing With a Mental Illness

  • Kristy G. Stewart

    Thank you for sharing this, Rob. I enjoy (is that the word I mean?) understanding more about problems like this.

    Oh, and sign me up for the giveaway. 😉

  • Stephanie (@adreamindream)

    Thank you for sharing about your panic disorder Rob. I suffer from panic disorder, among other mental illnesses, and I know how it feels. I think it’s great that you would speak so openly about it, since mental illness is still stigmatized in our society. Also, please sign me up for the giveaway!

  • Mark L Forman

    Well done as always. I respect Rob for speaking out on his problems. Having suffered with depression and some lesser anxiety issue I respect Rob’s attempt to help others know that they are not alone. It’s a battle sometimes seems hopeless, but it is also a battle that can be won.

  • Ryan James Burt

    Wow I found that very interesting. It is really hard to understand how disorders like that affect people. Thanks for sharing that so we can all understand a little bit better. Also I would love to win a copy of the book.

  • Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

    *downloads mp3*
    I read Variant a few months back and absolutely LOVED it, now I have to wait until my copy of Feedback comes in. *twiddles fingers*

  • anonymous

    Thanks for your comments. I’m glad you liked the podcast. Rob did a great job. We’ll enter you all in the drawing.

  • Chas Hathaway

    Rob, you ROCK! I’m so impressed with your courage and fortitude. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but thank you for trying to help us understand.

    I suspect that one reason some people are afraid to come out and talk about their mental challenges because they’re afraid of receiving a response like, “Well, but that’s not a real clinical issue. You’re problems are part of normal life, and lots of people experience stuff like that. You really can’t compare that with real mental disorder.”

    Thank you for making it clear that you won’t respond this way! As long as I can remember, I’ve had a serious challenge with a number of things such as difficulty with orientation (can’t find addresses even though I’ve been there 20 times), forgetting names and other important information (like, severely), not being able to multi-task (as in, get this in gear or you’ll lose your job), not being able to locate stuff (probably related to the orientation thing), and other things that seem to me to be severe versions of what most people commonly experience.

    Since it’s not “painful” (except on the pride) or immediately noticeable to others, I’ve hesitated to get checked for a disorder or learning disability (not to mention the cost–whew!), and I’m always afraid to bring it up with people who HAVE some kind of disorder for fear of being told, “Yours isn’t a real issue. You’re just fine.”

    I realize it’s not nearly as debilitating as what you’re experiencing, but thank you for helping me realize that talking about it can and likely will actually help. I have nearly lost a number of jobs from these issues, and no one is more frustrated with it than me. Then my frustration exacerbates the issues, so the problem feeds on itself.

    I do wish there was an inexpensive way to get medically checked on this. From what I can tell, it would cost upwards of $800. I’m a starving writer! I can’t do that!

    Anyway, great podcast. Hope they have you come again, Rob.

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