Welcome to the seven hundred and sixth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with debut novelist J Russell ‘Rusty’ Smith, courtesy of Book Marketing Services. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. Rusty is kindly offering a giveaway with this interview – see below for details.
J Russell ‘Rusty’ Smith has spent a lifetime fighting for a sense of moral justice, on both a personal level and on a broader stage. His experiences in the Vietnam War and his graduate studies in intellectual history and political theory allow him to bring both an intimate perspective and a scholar’s analysis to the writing of Longworth. Rusty is currently at work on his next two novels.
Morgen: Hello, Rusty. Welcome to my blog. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Rusty: I am currently based in the US, in Southern California. While I have always entertained the notion of writing, I really “found myself” during the writing of Longworth. I then decided that I would continue writing as long as I was able and had the time. Unfortunately, I have a company to run, thus I am writing much less than I would like.
Morgen: I didn’t start my creative writing journey until my late thirties and thought I was late to the party but then read that Mary Wesley had her first novel published when she was 74, and Barbara Cartland was still writing (dictating) her novels until her death at 99. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Rusty: I have only written the one book, but I am in the midst of two others. One of those, probably the next one to be published, is science fiction. The idea came to me in a dream / nightmare.
Morgen: An interesting mixture. Do you write under a pseudonym?
Rusty: No, I have not used a pseudonym and will not likely use one.
Morgen: It’s hard enough getting known as one name so I don’t blame you. You self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
Rusty: I did it that way only because I could garner no interest from either agents or publishers. The discouraging part was the fact that I was dismissed without a single firm looking at my book.
Morgen: It’s often how it goes, but if authors do well online, there is more chance of them getting picked up, and marketing (guesting on blogs just one option) is a way to become more visible. Your novel is available as an eBook, how involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Rusty: My book is currently available in hard cover, soft cover, and eBook. While I do not read eBooks, I felt it necessary to offer it in that format, as so many read eBooks. I remain old-fashion enough to want to hold and feel my books, preferably in hard cover.
Morgen: 🙂 Most people do. I love my Kindle as it has a text-to-speech function and I love Mrs Kindle reading my books out to me. Do you have a favourite of your characters? If your book was made into a film, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Rusty: If I had to choose a particular character, it would be the protagonist, Carson Longworth. Regarding whom I would choose as the leading actor, I have not a clue. I suppose there are many who could play the role. Certainly a young actor with gravitas.
Morgen: If your book was audiobooked, whom would you have as the narrator?