Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Russell Vann. I’m 50 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from the Mott Haven Section of the South Bronx, New York.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I raised by my great grandmother. I’m an introvert. I champion for the underprivileged and devalued people. I went to Cardinal Hayes H.S. and Monroe College
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I recently retired and receive a life long pension. Now I’m trying to get another job with a pension so that when I officially retire, I’ll have 2 pensions.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In 2012, I sought therapy and after I finished telling my therapist about my life, he said “You should write a book.” I took that as a sign from above because the therapist ripped me off but the book idea continued.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I showed my manuscript to a bonafide editor and they told me how good it was, I thought to myself “I might have something here.”
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was a form of therapy for me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I’m from the ghetto and was rejected by my mother and father who were not married, thus making me a bastard child; thus came the title Ghetto Bastard.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
It’s a memoir so I have to reach into the past and relive it. Therefore my style of writing is real, transparent and brutally honest.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The book is 100% real, true and accurate.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No, I just have to travel to the past in my mind.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did with the help of a graphic designer. The initial idea was mine though.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message I want to convey is to never give up and to never surrender. Keep going until you are dead.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you? There aren’t any new authors that have grasped my attention.
Donald Goines, who wrote Dope Fiend, Whoreson, and White Man’s Justice, Black Man’s Grief, is my favorite author. The realness of his words, even though fiction, seemed like real people, is what grasped my attention the most.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
No one outside of my family supported my commitment to become a published author.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
If there is money in it. Until then I will have to keep working.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, the book is a memoir so nothing can be changed as I was telling my life story.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned that it’s a cold, cold, cold, cold world.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Well, the book goes through the course of 30 years so it would have to be at least two people. Denzel Washington could play me now because we are the same age but there are a lot of young, up and coming black actors that could do it justice.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t listen to anybody. Don’t be scared. Do what you feel is right.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Don’t be fooled by the title. They are books about the human spirit. It can and will touch people in all walks of life. It transcends nationality.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m not reading anything right now. I’m writing my third book Ghetto Bastard III, Life After Death.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes, it was called Forever by Judy Bloom. I was thirteen.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Comedy makes me laugh. I don’t cry much. The only thing I can think of is pain.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would love to meet my great grandfather because he was white and Italian. I would like to have known how he and my great grandmother came to have two children together.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
My only hobby is my writing. Until I can make a living at it, I consider it a hobby.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t like to watch a lot of TV because it’s a distraction from the real world. For movies, I like going to see the Marvel Universe movies because I read comic books when I was young.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite food is good old fashioned hamburgers. My favorite colors are lavender and teal. Smooth Jazz is my favorite kind of music.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would work, like I’ve been working all of my life.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would spend the time praying.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t want a headstone, I want to be cremated. But here is what I would want it to say if I had one: Here lies Russell Vann. A wonderful husband, father and human being.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?