Friday, January 28, 2022     Volume: 22, Issue: 48

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on September 11th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 28 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 28

Santa Barbara-based author Robert Eringer discusses new Twilight Zone-esque novel, Last Flight Out


Drained by the stresses of everyday life, the protagonist of Last Flight Out—the latest book from novelist and journalist Robert Eringer—takes an impromptu night drive to the nearest airport. On impulse alone, he wanders inside and buys a ticket to wherever the last evening flight should take him. After arriving in Sausalito, California, the novel follows its hero into a vintage photography shop, where he begins browsing through a vast collection of black-and-white prints. Little does he know there’s a string of time-warping adventures destined to ensue.

Now landing
Robert Eringer will be signing copies of his latest novel, Last Flight Out, at the Book Loft on Sept. 18, from 3 to 4 p.m. The bookstore is located at 1680 Mission Drive, Solvang. Call (805) 688-6010 or visit for more info. To find out more about the author, visit

Author Robert Eringer described his new novel, Last Flight Out, as an imaginative odyssey and modern homage to The Twilight Zone.

The Santa Barbara-based author behind said adventures will be appearing at the Book Loft in Solvang on Sept. 18, from 3 to 4 p.m., to discuss his latest work—described as a modern homage to The Twilight Zone. Eringer recently opened up to the Sun about the book, the inspiration behind it, and some of his biggest literary influences. 

Sun: What can you tell readers about the plot of Last Flight Out without giving too much away?

Eringer: I hope readers have as much fun reading this novel as I did writing it. The theme is escapism, and I like to think the protagonist escapes into an adventure of psychology and sociology in addition to 20th century history. Specifically, the protagonist—first by accident, later on purpose—travels in time by entering vintage photographs. The journey becomes unpredictable, with many twists and turns.

Santa Barbara-based novelist and journalist Robert Eringer will be appearing in Solvang on Sept. 18 to discuss his latest book, Last Flight Out.

Sun: Your biography on your website describes your first novels as humorous espionage tales, with most of them centered on master spies, royalty, and other political figures. What inspired you to take a tonally different route with Last Flight Out?

Eringer: I do not slot myself into any one style or genre of writing. Messages of the universe come from everywhere. I try to recognize and ride with them, ultimately integrating the all-important concept of story structure, a la Joseph Campbell. The original inspiration [for Last Flight Out] occurred when I inadvertently wandered into a vintage photograph shop in Marin County. The wide spectrum of images within that shop fertilized my imagination and set my creative juices percolating.

Sun: If you were forced to label Last Flight Out under one genre though, what genre would you choose? Although I’m sure it definitely applies to more than a few.

Eringer: Every author likes to think of their book as mainstream. If this novel has a genre, it would be magical realism, influenced by the writing of Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Matheson, and Rod Sterling, to whom it pays homage.

Sun: Are there any other writers you strongly look up to?

Eringer: Hemingway, Kerouac, Bukowski. The amazing Jim Harrison, master of the novella. Hunter Thompson. Lately, I’ve been drawn to inspirational titles, especially to Alan Watts and Steve Taylor.

Sun: The bio on your site also goes in depth about your career as an investigative reporter, including writing “The Investigator” column for the Santa Barbara News-Press. What aspects of your journalism career have carried over into your fiction writing?

Eringer: I became an investigative reporter because, from an early age, I was naturally inquisitive, mostly about the esoteric, the taboo, and the forbidden knowledge. Even when I’m writing fiction, I research and investigate relentlessly in search of verisimilitude. It isn’t easy to make traveling in time through photographs credible! 

The Time Warp is just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right for Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood. Reach him at

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