Name: Russell Blake
Where are you from:
RB: My misspent youth was on the West Coast. I’ve lived all over the world, and for the last fifteen, in Mexico, which I love.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
RB: I’m releasing the sequel to Fatal Exchange on Feb. 26th, titled Fatal Deception. It’s a crime mystery that centers around a serial killer who is memorializing his misdeeds in snuff films.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
RB: I have been writing on and off for decades, mainly for my businesses, and later, for my own amusement. I released my first effort, the aforementioned Fatal Exchange, in June, 2011, and since then have written something like close to fifty books.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
RB: When I started making a living at it. That would be around Feb, 2012.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
RB: A combination of fear, greed, and desperation. Actually, it was because of a friend, who badgered me into doing so, since I’d been trying my hand at it for years. He asked me why I didn’t write something to self-pub, given all the headlines that it was making in 2010, and by the time I made up my mind to do so, it was already 2011, and Fatal made its way into the world.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
RB: Not really. I adapt the style based on the genre. If you read my noir detective offerings, BLACK et al, you’ll find one style. Read the JET series, you’ll find another. Ramsey’s Gold and sequels, still another. The Assassin series, still another. My R.E. Blake YA romance trilogy, Less Than Nothing, still another. I try to keep it consistent with genre norms. Definitely can’t bitch about being bored when you change your voice that often.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
RB: The subliminal message is to buy more of my books. And that lawyers and bankers are evil. Not necessarily in that order.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
RB: My next release is based in reality, and it’s on the grittier, darker side of the stuff I write. Crime fiction dealing with murder and deviance tend to be that way, so I’d say it’s highly realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
RB: Nope. I haven’t been in, or made, any snuff films, nor have I been a serial killer or a homicide detective, so I pretty much make it up as I go along. At least that’s my story until DNA evidence proves otherwise.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
RB: David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. I devoured that. Oddly, I don’t write anything like it – but it fired my imagination and got me writing, for which I’m grateful.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
RB: James Lee Burke’s latest, House of the Rising Sun. He’s an incredible wordsmith.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
RB: With my writing schedule, sadly, I don’t get to read many new authors. I tend to stick with my established favorites with the paltry hours I have to read.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
RB: I’m working on a trilogy, tentatively titled The Day After Never, which is post-apocalyptic, set in a near future after a cataclysmic series of events end civilization as we know it. The world is in chaos, reeling from the effects of an outbreak that had led to a breakdown of society worldwide. The story follows one man, a former Texas Ranger, who has lost everything, as he searches for answers, and ultimately, redemption.
I’m also researching a novel that’s based on history, that if it vets, will be based on the crime of the century, times ten. Even I’m shocked, and I’m a conspiracy novelist, so it takes a lot to shake me.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
RB: Jose Cuervo Distillery.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
RB: More akin to a calling. Like prostitution, only lower paying.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
RB: Not really. I’m still grappling with toning down one scene where a performance artist pushes the extremes of his twisted art, but beyond that, I like the way it turned out.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
RB: When I saw several articles that touted indie authors who were making reasonable livings at it, that motivated me to get involved in publishing and marketing my work. But my interest in writing, which is the content creation part of the deal, started far before. I’ve always enjoyed it, so it’s been a lifelong labor of love.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
RB: Keeping the ideas and the prose fresh and interesting. After as many novels as I’ve written over less than five years, it can seem that I’ve written every scene a dozen times in one form or another. But that forces me to stretch, which is good. Complacency is the writer’s enemy.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
RB: James Lee Burke, without a doubt, for his command of language and evocative prose. The man’s a master without peer.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
RB: I travel a lot, but not specifically for any one book. But having traveled the world definitely makes it easier to create believable ambiances for my novels.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
RB: I use several designers depending on what look I’m after. Elizabeth Mackey and Ares Jun are my two faves.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
RB: Spending the twelve hours a day getting it done.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
RB: I got the chance to run it by several working police officers, and picked up some pointers on criminal investigations, which was interesting to me.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
RB: Write what you enjoy reading, because the likelihood is that you’re going to be the only one who reads it, so might as well create something you’ll enjoy. If a bunch of others also do, so much the better, but don’t bet on it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
RB: Thanks for continuing to support me. Without readers, a writer is just a narcissist babbling to himself.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
RB: Either the Hardy Boys or Lovecraft. I forget which.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
RB: I see humor in just about everything, so the laughter part’s easy. Cry? Cruelty to animals, as well as the passing of loved ones, animal or human.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
RB: George Orwell. He pretty much nailed reality as it stands today.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
RB: “I always knew I’d wind up with my prose etched on a stone tablet.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
RB: Do vices count as hobbies?
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
RB: Love Tarantino. Don’t own a TV, so couldn’t comment. Haven’t seen American TV for fifteen years, and feel none the poorer for it.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
RB: Steak and AC/DC.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
RB: I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve done a number of things with my life thus far, so I can’t complain that I haven’t had sufficient diversity. I’ve started and run companies, been an architect and home builder, made wine, been an investor, played music, you name it. I won’t go out complaining I got short changed on the experience part of the equation.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Authors page http://www.amazon.com/Russell-Blake/e/B005OKCOLE