Monday, 29 April 2013

Author Interview - Wendy S. Russo

Wendy S. Russo

Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I am passive-aggressive. I'd like to be the kind of person who can say exactly what I'm thinking to anyone, but I'm not. It causes me anxiety, and adrenaline makes me physically ill. So, I look for ways to avoid confrontation, and often, it comes out in a passive-aggressive manner.

What is your favorite color? Orange. Realizing that a dozen years ago or so rather mortified me. I grew up hating orange, and pink. Now, the covers of my electronics are orange and hot pink. *shrug* Why fight it? 

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I'm actually stuck at the moment. I can take notes all day long about ideas, and then I'll sit down at my laptop and...oh, look! Shiny. An hour later, I'm still on Facebook. Or Pinterest, now.  I just keep taking notes. It's pen and paper and that open browser window's not tempting me. Lately, I've been sitting down with a goal. I'm going to write a scene. I pick one. I type whatever comes to mind until I'm done. It might all get thrown out later. The key, I think, is to always keep going, even if you go nowhere. 

Can you share a little of your current work with us? Here's part of January Black's first chapter. It falls, chronologically, two years into the story's timeline, so Matty and Iris are eighteen at the time. 

Iris stumbled at the corner of the north wing’s main corridor. Two police agents closed in on her. She heard them coming, felt their boots stomping through her veins. Defiance pushed her forward.
The private corridor of the Steer Residence was blocked by a waist-high of solid hardwood and guarded by the king’s white Kitsune. If she was going to be caught, it would be here, but the universe saw fit to cut her some slack. Conrad Marlo, the only guard on duty, lunged for her as she hurdled over the gate. He missed.

Slipping past was a short-lived victory. Conrad threw open the lock, allowing the agents to run straight through. Iris’ hope of catching Matty faded with every footfall, bled out with her sweat and tears. She knew that she had been too late before she darted from the only bed they might ever share, but still she prayed.

Please, Matty, don’t open that door. Don’t open that door.

Can you tell us about your main character? Matty's sixteen, brilliant and bored. He's a very curious kid, gifted with mathematics, and he has an analytical mind. He's also very naive about the world. His schoolmasters regard him as a troublemaker. His girlfriend, Iris, treats him like a child when he deserves it, and she brings out the best in him. He has a complicated relationship with his father, and is close with his mother, but prefers his rare time spent with King Hadrian to both.

Who designed the cover? Taria Reed. She's a photographer who lives and works in New Jersey. My publisher has contracts with her and a few other artists to work on their covers. It keeps the covers in a family, I think. Put them side by side and they look like they belong together, regardless of what each is about. Taria does great work, and she's a wonderful lady. 

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? I learned to listen to my characters, to let them direct how they get to where you want them to go. In one area, I pushed to get them somewhere and I ended up having to rewrite a third of the book. What's in the book now is truer to the characters than what was there before.

How much of the book is realistic? With the exception of a few technology bits that don't exist yet, it's all realistic. Several reviewers have drawn comparisons to America at present, actually. 

How important do you think villains are in a story? I don't think villains are necessary to a story, but antagonists are critical. The antagonist creates obstacles, tension, things for the main characters to overcome. That element of the story could be the divorce of parents, the loss of a loved one, a list of impossible criteria required to get a dream job. A villains are antagonists, but antagonists are not always villains.

Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest and why? There is an unpublished writer in British Columbia whose been on my radar for a while. Her name is Kelly Seguin, and I've been beta reading/critiquing for her since 2010. She has great ideas, but like a lot of writers, not a lot of time to devote to it. She's working on a New Adult urban fantasy series about guardian angels. It has scandals, schemes, bureaucracy, and a great romance. I think it'll be hot when she publishes.

January Black

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He's been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost...or call the king’s bluff.

Refreshingly intelligent and loads of fun!
I lost a few hours as I read this book. It's a Young Adult novel that is refreshingly and astonishingly intelligent, and the love story is perfectly played out.
~Christine Ashworth, Amazon Review

The mystery was intriguing - I loved how Wendy Russo weaved in all her secrets throughout the book, how she incorporated just enough to keep you reading, while never actually divulging much of anything. I was guessing for most of it and that's pretty hard to make me do.
~Julie, Clean Teen Reads

Wendy Russo has created a masterpiece.
~Ivan Amberlake, Author

Book Trailer

BookBlast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 5/5/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom



Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife


My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo



Powered by

Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun


Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max

Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry


My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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