Below is a new Q&A interview with yours truly, courtesy of book reviewer and interviewer Laurie from Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews. Here we talk about my latest novel, the mysterious scifi space romp, CROSSLINE, my favorite TV shows, whether I’m an early morning chirpy bird or grumpy bear (take a guess), and where I would go, anywhere in the world, if my publisher was footing the bill:
Welcome Russ! It’s so great of you to stop by today and agree to answer some questions . I’m excited to find out a little about you and your books.
How did your start your writing career?
I wrote a King Arthur-style short story in the third grade. It was pretty bad, but I had fun with it. Then in high school I wrote a short story trilogy — about the ‘troubles’ in Ireland, of all things — which is actually the basis of my new sci-fi space adventure, Crossline. Go figure. So Crossline was actually 25 years in the making. But before that I started to get more serious about writing in college, and became a journalist professionally, so I was always writing.
But in terms of fiction I dabbled with comic book scripts and more serious short stories in my 20s, when I needed to sort of prime the pump, and get some really awful writing out of my system. And then about 10 years ago I started writing what became my debut novel, Finders Keepers. It’s been non-stop ever since.
Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.
Thrilling. Heartbreaking. Exhausting.
If I came to visit early in the morning would you impress me as being more like a chirpy bird or a grumpy bear?
Grumpy bear, definitely. I don’t drink coffee — I’ve actually never had a cup of coffee, ever — so it takes me a while to ‘wake up’, even after I wake up. It’s nothing personal to anyone. I just need a little ‘me’ time before I really get going. But I have two little kids, so they’ve trained me to jump into daddy mode pretty much on demand, whether I’m in the mood or not!
How do you react to a bad review of your book?
Thankfully there have been far more good ones than bad, but with the negative reviews, I admit they can get under my skin a little bit … but usually not for long. If someone criticizes my work and I think they’ve made a fair point, I try to incorporate those comments into how I think about writing going forward, and look at the feedback as an opportunity to improve as a writer going forward. And I’m not just saying that. Sometimes the truth hurts! Ha.
But if I disagree with the comment or I feel that it makes no sense, I let it go. It just doesn’t bother me. One reviewer gave Finders Keepers a low rating because he said it had too much naughty language. But there’s an F-bomb on the very first page, including a kinky love-making scene. He knew what he was getting into and he kept reading anyway. There’s a compliment in there somewhere. But what did he think he was going to read going forward? That one made me laugh.
Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.
A few months ago I attended the LunaCon sci-fi convention in Rye, NY. I was at my table, promoting Crossline. And then I heard a girl’s voice. “Russ!” I turned around and saw Kelly*, who is now a freshman at Syracuse University. She met me at a convention about a year before, and bought and read Finders Keepers, which she loved. She asked me if I was working on the sequel, which I am, and if I would have it ready for LunaCon 2014. I told her I wasn’t sure, but that I’m trying. She said, “Don’t rush. Take your time. Make it great.” That’s about the best moment I could ask for.
(*Not her real name)
What are your favorite TV shows?
Yikes. Tough one, but here goes: Current shows: Dexter, Breaking Bad, The Big Bang Theory, Homeland, Game of Thrones, Justified, The Killing, Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, The Americans. Of all time: Sports Night, Northern Exposure, The Sopranos, The Wire, Homicide, The Shield, Seinfeld, Friends, Scrubs, Battlestar Galactica (remake), Lost, The X-Files, The Office (U.S. version), The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, Family Guy, M.A.S.H., House, Brotherhood, ER, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Star Trek Next Generation, Cheers, Columbo, Law & Order, The Odd Couple
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
Hmm …. I want to be careful about specifics, as doing so would ruin a few surprises I have coming in new books that I’m working on, but it’s safe to say that one location is hot, humid, and rocky, and the other is really cold. And I mean REALLY cold. Use no more than two sentences.
Why should we read your new book, Crossline?
Crossline is part rollicking space romp, part parallel Universe stranger-in-a-strange-land adventure, and part mystery. It’s a pulpy epic tale that will keep you guessing — and out of breath — laced with great characters, plenty of twists, and loads of humor.
Click here for the full, expanded interview …