Interview with Todd Russell

To all the wonderful people who joined me for the recent blog hops, thank you!  I certainly enjoy reading about your favorite parts of the season.  I am most looking forward to all my children being together again, and the younger kids are eagerly awaiting their big brothers and sister being here again, too.

The blog hop has been a great success, and an e-mail has been sent to the winner.  Congratulations and enjoy!

Today, I bring you an interview with Mr. Todd Russell, horror writer extraordinaire.

Todd, tell us about yourself.

Hi Laura :) Thank you for inviting me over to your place. The furniture is comfortable and the way the leather squeaks when I slide across it is wild.

Enough about my leather, and would you sit still!  I just barely got all my boys to quit sliding around on the couch.  Tell us about yourself!

My name is Todd Russell and I love reading and writing scary, atmospheric horror and thriller stories. I live near Mt. Rainier in Washington State and when it erupts they say we'll have 45 minutes to evacuate before being swept away. Living that close to impending destruction is the perfect environment for writers like me.

I used to live just across the way in Bremerton.   I used to commute right down the highway they said would be wiped out in a heartbeat next time it erupts, and my one time driving up to the visitors' center was a memorable experience, seeing both the destruction and the re-growth.  But we were talking about you!

I've been married for 20+ years and have three grown children.
Oh, and I love eating Tabasco sauce on anything that isn't sweet. Let's party like it's 1985!

Do I have to wear neon leg-warmers?  If not, I'm there!  Speaking of neon leg-warmers, what got you into writing in the first place?  What led you into the world of horror and psychological thrillers, and why do you think they, like paranormal stories, continue to fascinate readers and writers alike?

At a very young age, I got into writing after reading. I still love reading a little bit more than writing all these years later. We all are fascinated by our fears on some level. Horror and thriller writers make our hearts beat faster. It's a strangely pleasurable sensation for many people. We feel better knowing that the bad has been exposed, rather than locked in some dark, dank place . . . waiting.

As if exposing it takes away its power.  I know some people also feel better having confronted, in a sense, the question, What would I do if...?  Tell us about your books.

Thank you. FRESH FLESH is my debut horror, psychological thriller novel about a woman who shipwrecks on a strange, mysterious island and is rescued by a man who is not what he seems. It's available in both paperback and e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine bookstores.

Mental Shrillness is a collection of short stories, each dealing with a powerful emotion. Stories range in size from flash fiction to one story that is 7,200+ words long about a race of weird creatures at a nearby carnival.

I really like the aspect of the strange and mysterious, of people not being what they seem.  Strange creatures at a carnival...intriguing!  You have me curious.  What was the hardest part to write?

Getting going is hard. Once the writing flow begins, everything starts clicking, but getting started can be challenging for me at times.

But you have gotten going on a few more projects.  Tell us about that.

Work continues on the first draft of the second book in my Fresh series. I wrote over 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo last month, but I still have a good amount of story left to finish.
My second novel will be announced this month with a release coming soon. I have two other novel WIP that are at early stages and if the muse cooperates, both of those books will be written in 2012.
As for short work? I'm doing a story streak that involves writing a new short story (at least 250 words) every day. I've written 113 consecutive days and stories as of this interview. These stories are being entered into online writing contests and available for a short time online linked on my fans page at

Wow!  And people think I keep busy!  That's a lot of writing.  I take it you have been influenced by your reading.  What are the top three books that have had the most influence on you as a person and as a writer? Why?
As a writer, I've enjoyed The Stand by Stephen King and Swan Song by Robert McCammon. Two great apocalyptic horror stories. For short work? Rod Serling's writing for The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. A lot of work by these three excellent writers have shaped both me and my work. Plus factor in masters like Poe, Lovecraft and Bradbury.

I loved the Twilight Zone, and I've just downloaded several volumes of Poe to re-read old favorites and discover those I haven't yet read.  Any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. The more you write, the better you'll get. I'm not the first or even the hundredth to say this, but it works. Really.

I have to agree.  Of course, I think a lot of people have a burning desire to write, but don't know what to write.  Where does your inspiration come from? And how do you keep on keeping on?

I try to establish and follow writing habits and routines. My story streak, mentioned earlier, is a good writing exercise for me. It gets my writing brain going.

kickstart stories.  At this point in your life, what do you hope to achieve with your writing?

Like many professionals, I would like to be able to write full-time. I don't need to be the next Stephen King, but need to earn enough money to afford the time to write the stories out of my head. I have a lot of stories to tell. For those reading who enjoy my work, please tell your friends to check out my books. The greatest compliments any writer can be given are to have their stories read, recommended and shared.

Well said.  What would you like to be known for when you leave this little planet?

As a human being? I'd like to be remembered as a good person who was productive with his life. Writer? People enjoying my work, becoming lost in the stories and swept away. People who feel the art I'm creating.

Thank you again for the interview. Much appreciated.

Thanks, Todd, it was fun.  Except for that thing about the couches.  Now I'm going to have to convince my boys all over again that is not what furniture is for!  I'm off to check out your books!


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