Recently I interviewed author Russell Brooks, writer of the hit thriller ‘Pandora’s Succession’
I’d like to say a big thank you to Russell for agreeing to it, and taking the time to answer my questions. I wish him continuing success with Pandora’s Succession, and with his forthcoming work, Unsavory Delicacies.
Here is the INTERVIEW:
Hi Russell, and welcome to fringescientist.com!
RB: Thanks, Tony. I’m glad to be here.
Firstly, tell me a little bit about your book Pandora’s Succession.
RB: It’s a fast-paced spy thriller that has been compared to The Bourne Identity. There are several plot elements that range from Cold War references to modern news events that will make the story appeal to both young and older generations of readers.
How did you arrive at the story for Pandora’s Succession?
RB: I read about the sarin gas attacks that rocked Tokyo, Japan, back in the mid-1990s by a cult. Not too long after there were the Anthrax-laced letters that were mailed to members of congress. It occurred to me that some of our greatest threats don’t originate from the outside but from within. In other words, people we normally trust to help us are actually the ones who are working against us. I thought that would be a scary plot idea for a novel.
The Pandora of Pandora’s Succession is a deadly microbe thought to have wiped out ancient civilisations – do you see so-called ‘germ warfare’ as a major threat to the civilised world?
RB: Of course, it’s already happened. The late Doctor Bruce Ivins, a senior biodefense researcher, was the main suspect believed to have orchestrated the Anthrax letter attacks in 2001. Working at Fort Detrick, he had access to deadly viruses, microbes, and other pathogens. Not to freak you out, but I believe that it would just take a deliberate oversight from food inspectors or members of the FDA for tainted food products to get onto grocery shelves across the nation.
As a writer with experience of the ebook market, what do you think the future holds for traditional ‘paper’ publishers?
RB: I don’t paper will disappear. I was in Barbados last September and most of my family and friends down there haven’t heard of eBooks. When I asked them if they’d be willing to read a novel off of their computer, blackberry, or any other handheld device, they all said they wouldn’t because it didn’t seem natural for them. That’s the common answer for someone who hasn’t tried eBooks. As they say, old habits die hard. It’s in those countries that traditional publishers still have a chance. But they’re only buying themselves time with those markets because eventually they will evolve too. Unless the traditional publishers evolve too then they’ll all go the way of VHS and BETA.
Staying on the theme of writing, when did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
RB: It was about ten years ago. I was fresh out of university and I had aspirations of being a world-class sprinter. Since I had difficulty getting a sponsor I thought that if I had a published novel, then it might bring me some much-needed income to help me out. What I thought I’d end up doing part-time wound up being a passion of mine. Eventually I saw myself coming up with more ideas for other stories, some of which I’m currently working on.
How long did Pandora’s Succession take to write, from conception to editing, to finally putting the ebook together?
RB: 22 years.
To what extent would you say word-of-mouth has had an effect on the success of Pandora’s Succession? Would you say that as an author, especially in the digital realm, it is important to reach out to bloggers, twitter users, etc, to ensure that your work gets a decent amount of coverage and exposure?
RB: Book bloggers have been a great help in to me getting the word out and it’s also the most cost efficient. The difficulty for me as a new and as an Indie author was to get reviews from the most popular bloggers who have readership in the thousands. I haven’t given up and I don’t plan to either. But I’m happy with the support I’ve gotten from all the bloggers who have helped me out with Pandora’s Succession and the additional bloggers who are currently helping me with my upcoming release.
To beginner novelists out there, what’s the best advice you can give them starting out?
RB: Always keep reading and writing. Everything counts. Don’t reinvent the wheel, there are several writers on forums such as KindleBoards.com and MobiReads.com as well as JA Konrath’s blog who share their experiences—good and bad, give breaking news on the latest scoops or technologies, as well as other opportunities for writers. Most importantly, the best way of succeeding is to be Patient, Passionate, and Persistent.
Russell, tell me a bit about ‘The Russell Show’ and how it started.
RB: The Russell Show originated from my weekly poetry recites on The Artist Lounge Radio Show, which is on every Sunday at 7PM on Talkshoe.com. It’s open mike and I’m their resident reciter. In other words, many poets love my dramatic style of reading and have asked me to recite their poems for them. As a way of paying it forward, I started The Russell Show (couldn’t come up with a better name) on YouTube. I expanded and started reciting novel excerpts, featuring some bestselling authors’ novels, such as Barry Eisler, JA Konrath, and Cheryl K Tardif. In fact I helped Cheryl during her blog tour and featured Karly Kirkpatric on my show. It’s a lot of fun and I’m slowly getting a growing platform on that show too.
Before we finish, your new work, Unsavory Delicacies is out soon – what’s it about?
RB: It’s three short stories of suspense, all of them involve someone having very bad luck within proximity of the dinner table. Readers will enjoy the fact that CIA operative, Ridley Fox from Pandora’s Succession, makes an appearance. It will be out on April 22, 2011.
Russell, I’m going to ask you five questions.
1. Favourite Book/Series of Books
RB: It’s split between JA Konrath’s Jack Daniel’s series and Barry Eisler’s Rain Fall series.
2. Who would play you in Russell Brooks: The Motion Picture?
RB: lol. I didn’t see that one coming. Wow! I guess the first person to come to mind would be Tyler James Williams, the star of Everybody Hates Chris.
3. If you could stipulate an inappropriate song choice for your own funeral, which would it be?
RB: Goodness! You’re planning my own funeral before I am? As for bad song choice, I’d have to go with Achy Breaky Heart.
4. Which website would you say you visit the most on a regular basis?
RB: My email account.
5. I know this has been painful, so last question: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
RB: Naw, it hasn’t been that painful, lol. In five years time I see myself with triplets and having to convince my mother that no alcohol nor drugs were involved. I’d obviously be living in a bigger house, plus I’d be scouting around for a fourth child so that I’d have enough for a 4×100 metre relay team.
Lastly – when will there be a follow-up to Pandora’s Succession?
RB: I have a mystery/suspense novel that’s scheduled for the Winter of 2011 and then if all goes well, the sequel to Pandora’s Succession will be out by the Summer of 2012.
And we’re at the end! Russell, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Hopefully we’ll chat again soon!
You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to next time.
About Russell Brooks:
Russell Brooks is a former Indiana Hoosier Track Champion and Canadian Track Team member in the 100 and 200 metres. He has written several essays on his blog The Big Picture, one of which was published in the online Op-Ed section of the National Post in early 2009. His suspense short story trilogy, Unsavoury Delicasies, will be available in April 2011. Brooks has also produced his own poetry/novel-themed show, The Russell Show, on YouTube. He currently lives in Montreal, Quebec.
The Official Russell Brooks website http://www.russellparkway.com.
Facebook: Russell Brooks Fans (Group)
Where To Purchase Pandora’s Succession
Amazon US HERE
Amazon UK HERE
A link to his new work, Unsavory Delicacies, will be available next week. I will update this article with the link when I get it.