Russell Interview

Russell’s DERRICK

Hello Everyone!
I have to share some exciting news with all of you!
My new book, DERRICK, just won in 2018 New Apple Literary Awards Contest as Official Selection in Psychological Suspense. I am completely surprised, flattered and humbled by the honor!
Also, GAVIN (Part 1 of The Gavin Nolan Trilogy) won 2017 New Apple Literary Summer E-book Awards as Official Selection in Horror.

Does DERRICK have a special meaning to you? i.e. where you found the idea,
its symbolism, its meaning, what made you want to write it?
DERRICK is the second part of the Gavin Nolan Trilogy. After completing GAVIN (Part One), I realized that Derrick, Gavin’s detective partner, had much more involvement to Gavin’s overall story. For the series, I wanted the reader to go on a different type of detective story, which is more character driven. To get beyond the a-typical novel, I gave a few twists and turns in the process. Similar to Harris’s The Silence of the Lamb and Flynn’s Gone Girl, my series heightens the intensity of the scenes, and puts the characters in perilous conditions. For DERRICK, Gavin and Derrick’s friendship becomes an ultimate test to a madman’s deadly agenda.

Where do you get your storylines from?
Very good question! Usually, a beginning to a story, or rather concept, comes to my mind. This becomes the Prologue. Soon, I ponder a character, the name, and soon couple of chapters are produced. After that, I let the characters and story somewhat pave the way for the rest of the time. I truly do not know the outcome of the book until mid-way, and I stir the ship in that direction. On a side note, I don’t conduct any research, create chapter layouts, make up a book outline nor develop character descriptions. Seriously, it’s me, the laptop and my dark, insidious thoughts running the show.

Was DERRICK easier or more difficult to write than others?  Why?
Yes. Simply put. Much like a painter using a new set of paints and brushes, he or she trains him/her-self to create in a different a perspective in order to keep their work alive, i.e. brushstrokes. With the Gavin Nolan Trilogy, the storyline is presented strictly in Gavin’s point-of-view. Even in GAVIN, I found the challenge overwhelming, wanting to ‘jump’ into another character. As I began to write DERRICK, the challenge was how to get to Derrick’s story without losing Gavin’s view. As a result, when you read it, a created a unique yet simple solution. As I currently edit QUINN, the final part of the trilogy, I am tempted to break and leave Gavin’s mind. Still, I must resist because it is the finale.  

Do you only write one genre?
Funny you mention it. After I penned QUINN, I took a break from Gavin’s world and wrote a science fiction/horror novel. In my youth, my favorite movies were Scanners, Alien, Terminator, and Blade Runner because I enjoyed how sublime modern realism merged to darker worlds. Even more, my favorite series that I read (The Hunger Games) really blended a pseudo reality into a fantasy/alternative universe. Thus, my forthcoming novel, The Eradication Initiative, is a dark piece about a group of gifted strangers who are hunted, gathered up and brought back to a secret underground facility. For what purpose? You will just have to wait and find out…

Give us a picture of where you write, where you compose these words…is it Starbucks, a den, a garden…we want to know your inner sanctum?
I could describe this amazing study lined 18th century books with equal sized brown leather sofas in the center. On the east side, several floor to ceiling windows allow the cascading beams of sunlight. On the walls, ancient maps, unique objects and medieval swords cover every inch of space. In the far corner, a globe innocently stands, yet when you open it holds a couple crystal flasks of savory scotches. In the dead center, a majestic dark stained oak desk sits. On the top of the desk, several manila envelopes are stuffed with papers, pens and pencils litter the surface and a black laptop hums quietly…
Really, I write from you my dining room table with a tiresome view of the quiet street. Really, it’s not a magical place (except in my head…).

And finally, of course…was there any specific event or circumstance that made you want to be a writer?
In my youth, I had a knack for spinning a tale. Because my family moved around quite a bit, my talent grew more while the new set of friends got to know me. Soon, they enjoyed my stories.  I would describe malevolent stories about missing people captured in the basement of nearby houses, specters or ghouls haunting the school or even crawling malformed creatures in the shadows that grab children in order to bring them back into the depths of sewers. Seriously, I always had a dark imagination! Truly, it wasn’t until I read my first ‘grown-up’ book--Cujo by Stephen King--which I grasped the concept of being a writer, and desired to conjure an equally terrifying story. Plus, it’d be awesome to have my name on the cover! Even then, I realized I had to drop my last name: My god, it’d take up too much space…;)
As an adolescent, I attempted writing: Really premature renderings of dialogue, descriptions and scenes paved my wave into larger pieces. In college, I did take creative writing, but I found it to be too structured for me. Then again, I did just about majored in everything. In my twenties, I wrote my first manuscript—not exactly a great piece of literature—and then buried it. Will it ever come to the surface one day? Perhaps. Anyway, the sense of accomplishment catapulted me into writing The Tale of Old Man Fischer, which took me a long time to write and edit. Frankly, I never really told anyone in my family (and even my friends) that I wrote books. When Old Man Fischer hit the shelves, they were absolutely flabbergasted! Attending Graduate School and completing my thesis further ignited the writer in me. In essence, I wrote GAVIN as a study break. Soon after, DERRICK was conceived.

Thanks again for having me! Keep note, QUINN, the finale to the Gavin Nolan Trilogy, will be out Spring 2020…stay tuned!

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