Kat's Blog

Kat's Blog

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Bash - Day 16!

Today I have the fantastic Rebecca Ryals Russell joining the party. She's an absolute sweetheart so without further ado, here she is.

1: When did you first begin writing?

I’ve written since I could hold a pencil. I remember writing rhymed stories with illustrations very, very early on up to love poems and lyrics in college. Then I took a break from writing to teach Middle School and raise a family. I wrote sporadically, getting up at 5am sometimes, but couldn’t keep it all balanced. Since retiring and with the kids mostly grown up I’m writing again in earnest.

2: Where do you get your inspiration for writing from?

My father talked a lot about writing and after he died I found an unfinished manuscript, but he never did more than talk. I never really needed inspiration, it seems it’s part of my genes.

3: Do you have any rituals that help you get in the mood to sit down and write?

I need it quiet with no interruptions. Once I get the train moving it hates to stop and kids asking questions or texting is a real bummer. That’s why I do my best writing from midnight to 3am.

4: Are you a plotter or a pantser when you write? Why does that work for you?

I’ve discovered I’m a plotter. I pantsed the first manuscript and it was a mess—took me two years to straighten out. Now I plan a basic outline of the book making sure the ARC is in place then write. Of course the outline changes with each chapter as the Muse interjects her own thoughts. It works because I’m an organized person and a schedule-keeper.

5: Who are some of your favorite authors to read when you are not writing?

I adore Ray Bradbury—everything he’s ever written. I use JRR Tolkien as a role model, a lot of my story is modeled after his LOTR series. I enjoy Stephen King, I read a lot of David Eddings and Terry Brooks. We all devoured Harry Potter. Gosh, there are so many. I LOVE reading YA and have read many, many YA authors over the years so I could recommend them to my students. And I encouraged my own children to read the classics, which they have. My son at 14 read Catcher in the Rye, All three parts of Dante’s Inferno and more. He’s headed for journalism. I guess it’s in his blood, too.

6: Are you currently reading anything?

I picked up Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey at the SCBWI conference in June. I haven’t yet started it, but I was very impressed by her as a person, so I’m anxious to find time to start it. I just finished The Lovely Bones and thought it was an amazing story. I loved the new angle she took.

7: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Ah, the bane of a writer’s existence. It’s a problem because there are so many interesting things on the Internet, like Facebook games, blogs, emails, chatrooms, need I go on? I guess I just force myself to concentrate on the next sentence. Late at night I’ll read the last thing I wrote and just start writing. It gets changed a lot, but at least the train is rolling again.

8: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing?

I don’t think there is a time I’m not writing. It drives my family crazy because I talk about the characters or plot or latest plot twist at supper, in the car, at a restaurant. If I think I’ll have a few hours to spend away from home, I take my laptop and find a plug. If I don’t take my laptop, I take my legal pad with its fancy red leather case. (Everything I own is red.) BUT, if I’m not writing I’m watching a movie, reading or conversing with family.

9: If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

That one’s hard. I’ve seen most of the US, part of Canada and Mexico as a kid with my parents on summer trips. I married an Irishman and we’ve been over there numerous times. I adopted a Vietnamese son and we picked him up there, so I spent a week in Hanoi and a week in Ho Chi Min City.

The one place I haven’t been and really want to see, however, is Scotland and Wales. I love castles. That’s why I write fantasy.

10: What advice do you have for new authors?

Read every agent’s blog you see then begin your own. Even if you think you have nothing to say, just say it poetically and write—it’ll come. Then read helpful how-to-write blogs. There are TONS of them out there (including mine). It was by reading I finally figured out the process involved in writing a good manuscript. Next, read good books from the genre you’re writing. Make notes, underline good phrasing or description or characters. Lastly, and I know this is cliché, but, write, write, write. It doesn’t matter how good it is or even WHAT it is. Just the act helps. It’s like playing an instrument. It takes practice.

11: Is there anything you’d like people to know about you?

The basics anyone can find on any of my bios, like my website Plotting Worlds or Facebook, Twitter, MuseItUp Publishing. I guess I’d like people to know that I’m passionate about my story. It has been rattling around in my head for about thirty years. It’s what I started writing over and over again at five in the morning. But it wasn’t until I retired and had quiet days to think that it all came together and then gushing onto the page. In six months I wrote 130,000 words. It took the next two years to whittle it down to the svelte 90,000 words my Book 1: Odessa became. But I’m extremely happy to have the opportunity to share my passion thanks to Lea Schizas at MuseItUp Publishing. And I hope to have the next book out soon so more of the story can be shared.

12: Tell us a bit about your book. What’s it about?

18-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s death by burning alive and many other atrocities in the news. She meets Michael (19), who becomes her guide and explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen demon-slayers with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island.
Reluctantly, but knowing it is her only way to get back home, she agrees to lead, battling dragons and monsters while crossing swamps and mountains, forests and seas. She discovers love when three very different men join her quest—a seasoned dragon-slayer who irritates but beguiles her, a tender and sweet mentor in whom she trusts completely and a roguishly handsome Scientist who sets her senses aflame. How is she expected to lead the others and keep everyone safe with so much inner turmoil?

Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?

Thank you so much for being here Rebecca. I can't wait to read this. Rebecca doesn't yet have a cover for Seraphym Wars book 1 so she designed this cover to use until her official one comes through. Isn't she talented?


Lin said...

Now I am also envious of your designer talents. Rebecca you are a woman of many incredible layers, and I look forward to watching you share them with us.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Thank you Kat for the opportunity to do this and Lin for your comment. I love graphic arts and had a ball making the cover. That's my oldest daughter, btw. I LOVE the way it turned out, just as I see Myrna.

MuseItUp Publishing said...

Rebecca, is there such a thing as no interruptions? SMILE

Kat, want to say a big congrats on your monthly promo guest list. I have enjoyed each and everyone so far on your list. An exquisite line up.

Kat said...

I enjoyed having you Rebecca. It was a blast.

Lea, thanks so much. I am having a good old time doing this. And each of my guests are a riot.:-)