Tuesday, February 4, 2020

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: BARBARA RUSSELL




In addition to writing books, author Russell is an entomologist and a soil biologist. She jokes, stating, “Which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs.” She admits that nature and books have, for some time, been a passion of hers.


“I was a kid when I read The Lord of the Rings and fell in love with fantasy novels.”

She adds, “When I discovered cozy mystery and crime novels, I fell in love with Hercules Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. Then I grew up and… nah, I’m joking. I didn’t grow up. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.”


I had a chance to delve into The pact of the White Blade Knights for myself.   What a satisfying read! Author Russell has a way of drawing you into the story with characters Tyon, Hazel, and Aleximanus’ at the center, a web of good and evil that keeps you guessing at every turn. The author uses beautifully constructed metaphors that practically dance as she unfolds the layers of each character.


From the start, you understand Hazel’s desire for Tyon, and the complexities he presents with allowing her to get close to him. With awesome description, the reader becomes enchanted almost with how eloquently the story flows through the plot.


Hazel, now working for Tyon, is drawn into unforeseen danger. Aleximanus, who breathes sins, is the arch enemy of Tyon. As the story unfolds, it is Hazel who denies herself the truth. But will she discover it fully? Will she find love after all? I highly recommend this book, and other books by author Russell!


I had the pleasure of interviewing this author. I must say her wit and charm are delightful! Here’s what she had to say:


Given the fact you began writing as a young girl, what influenced you more regarding your endeavors, a parent, friend, or fantasy stories?


After reading The Lord of the Rings, I wanted to be like Tolkien (so silly of me, LOL. There’s only one Tolkien.) Still, I can remember the awe while I was reading and the feeling of wanting to do the same, to be able to picture a scene only with words.


I wrote my first novel when I was 10. Well, for me it was a full novel, haha, but the word count was merely 800 words. Anyway, it was the story of a space bear that lived on a planet populated by bears. Each bear had the coat of just one color, while the protagonist had a multi-colored coat, and everyone gave him sideways glances for that. He started a quest to find someone who could dye his coat and turn it completely brown. He traveled up and down the galaxy and found nothing.


At the end, he said, “Screw it,” and he kept is multi-colored coat. Now, before you think that the story has a moral, that it’s about accepting yourself, etc… let me tell you this: it doesn’t. I just got tired of writing and ended the story there, LOL.


Are you encouraged or disappointed by aspects of the writing business for indie authors?


Both. I like the freedom of choosing all the details about the story, the cover, and the type of writing style I want. I have some books traditionally published and while I love my editor, sometimes I have to change my style to adapt it to the publisher’s house style, and I feel like my voice is different.


But, promoting a book is expensive, time consuming, and not rewarding at all. I’m not good at it, LOL.


What are the biggest pitfalls you see new authors slipping into?


Ha! Not knowing how to promote their books (like me). You can’t be just a writer, you have to be a publicist, a marketing expert, a statistical analysis expert… it’s a bit too much.


What inspired your book, The Pact of the White Blade Knights?


I did a lot of research on the Victorian Era for The Heart Collector and Clockwork Victoria (Coming soon) and I loved it. I also collected a lot of material so I wanted to write something else set in that historical period. Also, I’m a bit lazy, LOL. After all the effort that research took, I thought to use it as much as possible before starting research on something else.


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