Bec: Welcome to my blog, please start out by sharing a little bit about yourself –
Russ: I’m a freelance writer who decided to quit waiting for the zombies to show up at his door and write about them instead. So I wrote a little book called Zombies Don’t Cry, and decided to stick with zombies for awhile. (Okay, with the occasional vampire thrown in for good measure.)
Bec: What first got you interested in writing?
Russ: Judy Blume, in particular. Being a dork, in general.
Bec: What are the worst struggles you think writers face, writing or marketing?
Russ: Though it’s far from easy, I am much more comfortable with the writing than the marketing. I think because I can at least control the writing, while marketing is more out of my control. I think that’s why most of my marketing is writing-centered, i.e. I wrote a lot of FREE zombie and vampire stories and poems to help market my book-length stuff, because rather than a simple banner ad or something, I could at least control the content.
Bec: Tell us about your book/s –
Russ: I write about dorks, who just happen to be zombies and vampires – or hunting zombies and vampires, or zombies hunting vampires, whatevs. I write about zombies when I want to start from scratch with a new mythology, and I write about vamps when I want to take existing mythology and tweak it a smidge. I think both genres appeal to me because they’re about immortality, and I like to play with that, especially for a YA audience because I think life and death are so real to them. But mostly, it’s about the dorks.
Bec: Are you working on a sequel/s?
Russ: I am (hush, hush) working on a sequel to Zombies Don’t Cry!
Bec: What other projects are you working on or involved with?
Russ: Right now I’m pretty busy marketing my new book, Vamplayers, which surprisingly ISN’T about zombies but is hopefully fun anyway. So I’m writing a lot of guest posts for that, talking to lots of bloggers and reviewers, working on some new FREE vampire short stories and poems. It’s kind of nice to work on different stuff than a book for a change, but I can already feel that “itch” and am keeping my eyes open for the next book idea.
Bec: What’s your favorite color?
Russ: Tan. (I don’t get out much.)
Bec: Chocolate chip cookies or brownies?
Russ: Sorry, I’m a pop tart man!
Bec: Do you like to listen to music while you write or have complete silence?
Russ: I listen to light jazz Christmas music while I write, which is as close as you can come to complete silence.
Bec: If you could walk on the ceiling once where would you want to do it at?
Russ: I’m a big West Wing fan, so I’d have to say the White House. Either that, or George Clooney’s place on Lake Cuomo or whatever; that could be fun. Yeah, sorry Barack; let’s go with that one.
Bec: What genres do you most like to read/write?
Russ: If I’m reaching for a book to read for pleasure, it’s either a straight forward, hardboiled crime/detective novel ala Michael Connelly or Jonathan Kellerman or a quirky YA supernatural like Fat Vampire.
Bec: Do you find writing a lonely profession?
Russ: Yeah, but I’m a loner anyway. I honestly don’t mind it and, frankly, can’t really write in public or jointly or even pretty much in the same room with another human.
Bec: If you were trapped in your car with a wild boar, what would you do?
Russ: Die, slowly and miserably. Zombie writer or no, I have zero survival skills; zero.
Bec: What would you share with a beginning writer?
Russ: Just keep writing, period. Don’t let rejection stop you, the odds stop you, more rejection stop you, the advice of friends or family or even professionals. Writers write; it’s what we do.
Bec: What do you wish someone would have told you when you first started your writing journey?
Russ: See above answer, seriously. I finally confessed to the head of my English department that I wanted to be a writer and he told me, no joke, to “get a job.” I understand now what he meant; writing is hard to make a living at but, still. That’s what everybody says and if you can’t tell someone to follow their dream in college, when can you tell them?
Bec: What would you be willing to do to the leprachan to get his pot of gold?
Russ: What “do”? I thought you just found the end of the rainbow and that’s that; that I’ll do, nothing more! (I’m more of a silver man myself, anyway…)
Bec: Do you think having other writers as friend is a good thing for your growth as a writer?
Russ: I honestly haven’t had a ton of other writer friends until I got on Facebook and Twitter, but now I can definitely say that interacting with writers – authors, bloggers, reviewers, whatever – is totally essential for a working writer. Yes, writing is solitary and I’m fine with all that, but when you get a bad review or have a publishing question or just want to vent or laugh at one of those demotivational posters on Facebook, it really helps to have support. I’ve learned and shared so much this past year simply because of the connections I’ve made through social media.
Bec: What’s your favorite book? Why?
Russ: My favorite book is Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. There’s a scene in it where he writes about eating fish and chips rolled in newspaper that literally made me taste the salt and grease and I’ve never forgotten it. It’s more than just that once scene, of course; all the scenes are like that. Plus he didn’t publish until he was in his later years and, at this pace, that’s a real inspiration to me.
Bec: Where is your favorite place to hide?
Russ: Back row, left corner, feet up in the movie theater; always, every time.
Bec: Who’s your favorite author? Why?
Russ: Stephen King, period. I may not read every book he’s written over the years, but I’ll never forget his impact on me as a young writer, what I felt like – the epic excitement I felt – when I read the Stand and every time I *do* pick up a new book by the King, I’m sucked in easily and quickly.
Bec: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?
Russ: I’m a Capricorn; that explains a lot.
Bec: Thank you for stopping by and sharing! Best of luck with your book and future project!
Russ: Thank you for having me!
©Rebecca Besser & Rusty Fischer, 2012. All rights reserved.