Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hello, Fiona and thank you for this opportunity.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Ron G. Russell, Jr. I will publish under R. G. Russell, Jr. My age? I forgot. No, I’m forty-nine but not for long. I will turn fifty in August.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Dewey, Oklahoma. It’s a small town fifty miles north of Tulsa. I currently live in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, which is one of the most beautiful small cities in America. It is five miles north of Dewey.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I attended Dewey Public Schools. I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Informatics in 2014, which is the same year I began my soon-to-be released debut novel The Storm Shield. I have been married to my wonderful wife Lisa for twenty-six years. We have two grown children: Ryan, who is the oldest, and Candace. Ryan currently lives in Chicago and Candace lives in Tulsa.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Well, I will soon release my first three novels in a science-fantasy series subtitled The World of Arwan. The books in the series will be The Storm Shield: Book One. The City of Forever Night: Book Two and Fortress of Last Hope: Book Three. There will be others but I am plotting out Book Four which will conclude The Storm Shield Saga.
They will all be released in e-book and paperback on Amazon, and possibly other distributors, on September 25th and 26th. If you like epic adventure and a combination of heroic fantasy, high fantasy, and science fiction, this is for you. Even if you don’t like it, this is for you. It is fast-paced and full of imagination and with characters whom you can root for and some you can hate.
My wife and I also wrote a romantic comedy novella titled Gypsy Love which will be released in October. The characters and situations in it were some of the most fun I have had while writing and I hope it shows.
And I have a science-fiction novel I am co-writing with one of my best friends, Robert Bright. It is titled Far Station Zero. It takes place in the 27th century and it is about a medical space station which orbits a planet 1,000 light years from Earth. The best way to describe it is Station 19 and Chicago Med meets Star Trek.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in the sixth grade. I wrote a science fiction short story for English class. My teacher said she thought I should think about becoming a writer. That stuck with me. I wrote various stories for school assignments, friends, and personal use. I aspired to be a writer from that point forward. Like a lot of writers I didn’t do anything about it until much later in life. My wife told me to write my book from the first day we were married. I should’ve listen but you live and learn. Here I am many years later doing something about it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Right before I graduated college in 2014. That’s when I began to take a serious mindset towards writing. I didn’t want to go to my grave regretting never have written a book. Self-publishing is a great blessing for writers like me. There was only one option when I first thought about publishing a book.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was a voracious reader growing up and I still am. I loved the novels and stories of Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcoock, Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Stephen R. Donaldson, J.T. Edson and Louis L’amour. They and many other authors definitely inspired me to write.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I knew I wanted a magic artifact in my story but I didn’t want a sword or other type of weapon. The Storm Shield is really the shield of Faith and how it gives us protection throughout the storms and battles of life. This particular shield can also control the weather but no one can truly control it. The characters, both good and bad, believe they can control it but they really can’t.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I tend to write in a very descriptive style. I like to provide details which helps the reader envision the characters, landscapes, lore and situations. I like to think of it as a movie playing in the reader’s imagination. The authors I admire wrote in that fashion.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The struggles my family has endured play a big part. Nothing specific, just having to overcome the trials and tribulations of life. I think real life has to play a part in fiction in order to give it meaning. I want to entertain but I also want the story to have meaning.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Oh, no. I don’t travel enough. I want to travel more but living in Oklahoma affords me with amazing scenery.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A lady named Olivia designed my covers. I chose the artwork but she definitely took it from there. She is a fantastic graphic design artist and she will be my cover artist for the foreseeable future.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Oh, yes. Can your faith stand the fire? That is something easily said but difficult to put to put into practice. We all go through things in life and our faith in a higher power is tested. I am not ashamed to say that my faith has been shaken at times. The thing is to hold tight to something bigger than ourselves. For me that is my faith in God and his son Jesus. Can your faith stand the fire? The answer is yes. That is the central message of the Arwan books.
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?
I like Steven Erikson, China Mieville, Joe Abercrombie and Peter F. Hamilton, as far as new writers go. My favorite author is Michael Moorcock followed closely by Tolkien. Michael Moorcock and Tolkien both have such a command of the language. And their writing possesses an incredible amount of mythic power. The new authors I mentioned are great storytellers. If I could be known as either a great writer or a great storyteller I will choose great storyteller every time.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My friends Robert, Don and Cindy all encourage me to become a published author. I would say friends is the answer to your question.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. That has been my goal from the beginning. I have novels planned for the next few years and I fully intend to stick with the plan.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Oh, yes. I would probably change a good portion of the middle of the book to incorporate different elements of the story. I probably will never be fully satisfied with anything I write.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes. I found it is far more difficult to write a book than anyone ever told me. Writing a novel is akin to building a bridge without help, in my opinion. I have worked in warehouses, driven forklifts, tossed pallets, and writing is just as difficult as any of those.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oh, man. That’s a good question. Don’t know really. I never thought about it much. Maybe the guy who played the barbarian chief in Game of Thrones.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write in different genres. Get out of your comfort zone. I did when I co-wrote the romantic comedy Gypsy Love with my wife. I definitely had never thought about writing a romance book before then. It was a lot of fun.
The other advice I would give would be not to allow fear of rejection stop you. And keep writing no matter if your book is a bestseller or it only sells a few copies. Your time is coming.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I truly appreciate you. I will continue to improve as a writer. And I will always try to deliver on what you want, especially when it comes to character development and adventure.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Caine’s Mutiny by Charles E. Gannon. He co-wrote a couple of the Ring of Fire alternate history series. It is a military science fiction novel and I just started it but so far it is very good.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was either Lord of the Rings: Return Of The King by Tolkien or Corum: The Swords Trilogy by Michael Moorcock. They both had a powerful influence on me till this day.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Good sitcoms make me laugh. Good jokes, especially if it’s from family and friends. And the passing of a loved one or a family pet makes me cry. Our family cat of nine years died on Wednesday morning. Yeah. That made me cry. Pets become part of your family.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Winston Churchill and Dr. Martin Luther King. Two extraordinary men who faced overwhelming odds and never backed down. And they didn’t do it for themselves. They did it for causes that still hold a legacy today. People like that are truly larger-than-life.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Well, I used to be a decent athlete but I allowed myself to become lazy. I need to get back to it. My current hobbies are tabletop role-playing games and reading. I’m a total geek. What can I say?
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My current favorite television show is The Big Bang Theory and my all-time favorite television show is Sanford and Son. Redd Foxx was a comedic genius and his supporting cast was right there with him. Favorite movie? Probably Patton but my favorite movie series is Star Wars followed by the Indiana Jones films. I have too many favorites to name them all.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favorite foods? BBQ and Spaghetti but not together. Favorite color? Red. It is the color of my high school teams and my Oklahoma Sooners. Music? Jazz, Soul/Funk, and Rock. I also play drums, so I love music with a good driving beat.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Another good question. Maybe start my own internet company. Don’t ask what the business would entail because I would have to work that out.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would fly to New York City, London, Paris and as many places I could visit in 24 hours. Hopefully I would pass away on the flight to my next destination.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“Here lies Ron G. Russell, Jr. A good husband, father and friend. Oh, yeah. He was a pretty good writer, too.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Twitter: https://twitter.com/palius2014 and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WorldofArwan . I am currently working on getting an author site. I don’t have a blog but that may change very soon.
Armen Pogharian said:
We share a lot of the same influences. I like the idea of a magical item that’s not a weapon. Best of luck to you.
Daniel Long said:
I certainly like the genre that you are writing your saga on and sounds like a book that I would most definitely read. I am going to make a note to find and read them!
The fact that he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree at the age of 45-46 makes me feel good about being an adult college student. This was a wonderful interview though. Science-Fantasy is not my favourite genre but I feel like if I can sit through all 6 Harry Potter books then I can easily read all of these. It sounds really adventurous.