Interview with: Author Russ Colchamiro
** all images are taken from his blog: http://russcolchamiro.com/ or Amazon**
Q: Was writing the books a fun experience for you?
A: I love to write … except when I hate it! Being a writer isn’t just what I do. It’s who I am. It’s a fundamental component of my personality. There’s an incredible rush when I’m clacking the keys and the ideas are flowing and I’m crafting my tales, reshaping, reforming, and chiseling away until the magic comes alive. But writing is also a solitary experience that requires untold hours—often late nights—grinding away, unclear if I’m on the right track. But ultimately I find it’s always worth it. The number one rule I apply to myself is that I’ll only put my name on a book if I’m proud of it. So far so good.
Q: After writing 5 books, which is your favorite?
A: Ha! Never ask a dad to pick their favorite children!
(Ailyn’s note: maybe they are all equally annoying? My kids are…)
Q: Do you have a day job aside from writing?
A: I’ve been a media specialist for more than 20 years. I started my career as a High School English teacher, but switched to journalism. For the first many years I was a healthcare journalist, and then commercial real estate. Now I provide strategic council and public relations services to various real estate companies. The biggest project I ever worked on was One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. I spent many years in that building while it was being built, and after it opened. I was up on the 90th floor one cold and blustery day … when there were no walls! Not a day I’ll ever forget.
Q: What inspired Jason Medley and Theo Barnes (from your Finders Keepers trilogy) to save the world?
A: These guys kinda just stumbled into it! Trust me … there was no grand design as far as they were concerned. Jason and Theo were just two guys from different parts of the world who connected in Europe on a crazy backpacking adventure, when fate decided they had a much larger role to play in the Universe than either one of them could have imagined! The discoveries they go through over the course of the three books was thrilling to write. I wasn’t so much the architect of the narrative as the conduit. The gods dictated the stories; I just clacked the keys.
Q: Can you see yourself in the characters that you created, who would you want to be?
A: There’s a part of me in every character. Jason Medley is very much my fictional alter ego. But if I had to choose who I’d like to be … hmm. Hank is probably more my speed. The older mystic who offers sage advice … while goofing off whenever he can.
(Ailyn’s note: that might be your high school teacher persona.. the mystic sage. Totally)
Q: How did you celebrate the release of your first book?
A: My kids were born just months before that—I have twins, a boy and girl; my little ninjas—so most of my celebrating at that time was spent changing diapers!
Q: Will there be a “deleted scenes” book one day?
A: Hmm. Interesting. There are deleted scenes—and one in particular from the Finders Keepers trilogy I’d like to find a place for someday. No plans for a deleted scenes book, but I’m thinking about taking some of the content in the three books and re-presenting it in a new way. Can’t talk about it yet, but stay tuned.
Q: Will you be venturing into other genres?
A: Definitely. I’m in the process of transitioning into mystery and crime fiction. I created a character—Angela Hardwicke—who’s a private eye. She makes a cameo in the second Finders Keepers book, Genius de Milo, and has a much larger role in the third one, Astropalooza. I always wanted to write a classic Sam Spade-type private eye, and she’s the one for me. Next week, as part of my team with Crazy 8 Press, we’ll be debuting our latest anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem. I’m the editor. The collection includes 15 stories. They all include at least one act of love or romance, and at least one murder, with mayhem welcome. We’ve got superhero and supervillain stories. AI, off-world, and space cruiser stories. We’ve also got private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travel, an aliens/monsters mash-up and … one DuckBob!
Besides being the anthology’s editor, Love, Murder & Mayhem includes a short story I wrote, with Angela Hardwicke as the lead. It was a chance for me to experiment with tone, style, cadence, story structure, etc., to get a better feel for who she really is and how to write her. I’m also reading tons of crime and mystery fiction these days—Elmore Leonard, Sara Gran, Harlan Coben, and others. My next book will probably be a full-length Angela Hardwicke novel, or else a collection of Hardwicke stories. If things go as I hope, I’ll be writing her for a long, long time.
(Ailyn’s note: hopefully poor Angela has a better time and luck than Jason and Theo @_@)
Q: What do you most enjoyed being an author? The books, the fans or just writing?
A: A combination. Like I said, when the writing part is grooving, it’s the greatest rush. I’m also a convention warrior—meaning, I like to do a lot of conventions on book tour, mixing it up with new fans, existing fans, and other writers. I’ve been on book tour all spring, and have a big show next week—Shore Leave in Huntsville, MD—where me and my gang from Crazy 8 Press will be debuting Love, Murder & Mayhem.
(Ailyn’s note: with the kids? that would be a cool family outing)
Q: What do you hate most when writing a book?
A: There are times when I feel completely lost. When I’m at it for a while, I sometimes lose perspective, because as the manuscript grows, it becomes more difficult to get a sense of whether or not the narrative is working or if I’m going to pull it all together. But I’ve learned to trust my process. I do many rounds of revisions. Each one is stronger than the last. And inevitably it all clicks. Takes a while, but I get there. I’ve also found that the more work I do up front—storyboarding, outlines, research—the smoother things go.
Q: Do you use a special writing program, or are you a handwriter?
A: I clack the keys, in Microsoft Word. And I take notes wherever I am. On the back of napkins and receipts, scrap paper, or I’ll text or email myself ideas, pieces of dialogue, plots, etc., if I’m on the run and don’t want to forget. I can’t tell you how many ‘great ideas’ I had and thought, ‘oh, I’ll remember,’ and never did. So aggravating! So now I try to write EVERYTHING down.
Q: Do you think people should join authors group, are you in one?
A: Important topic for any writer. I do not belong to any writers groups, but I did. I joined one or two, and I formed one. But I found that they don’t work for me because they require reading other writers’ works, and giving notes, while only focusing on your own work in small doses, from time to time. I want more focused time. I’ve since narrowed my scope to 2 or 3 trusted readers (other writers I know) who can read my entire manuscript, and then give me detailed commentary.
I know lots of people who love writers groups, or have a large group of beta readers. There’s no right answer. It’s just whatever works for you. I like to keep the circle small. For anyone who wants to join a group, I’d suggest finding one where everyone is at least at their writing level, or better. You want to avoid being in a group (or share your work with a reader) with people who either tell you what you want to hear, or don’t know how to help you.
Asking someone to give you feedback is tricky, because giving feedback is a skill. There are technical aspects to writing, whether story structure, syntax, rhythm, pacing, tone, setting, and the various copy editing components. The best feedback you can get is the kind that makes you upset. It usually means that you’ve been confronted with a problem you had either overlooked or ignored. It’s painful, but it’s a key way to improve your story, and your writing overall. You need thick skin, but I also suggest that share your work only with people who genuinely have your best interests at heart. It may take some time to find those people, but if you stick with it, they’ll turn up.
Russ Colchamiro and Crazy 8 Press Proudly Presents
Published May 2017
Love, Murder & Mayhem: Cosmic Tales of the Heart Gone Deadly Wrong
Synopsis:The Crazy 8 Press and Russ Colchamiro releases a fifteen author anthology, featuring superheroes and super villains! If you like funny crazy stories that are out of this world, look no further. Click To Tweet
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