At Gothic Bite Magazine we love welcoming new patients to become part of our asylum. We question them and learn about them. It doesn’t matter what creative field they are part of because they’re our patient now. This week, we welcome Indie Author Barbara Russell!
Patient Name: Barbara Russell
I’m an entomologist and a soil biologist, which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs. Nature and books have always been my passion.
I was a kid when I read The Lord Of The Rings and fell in love with fantasy novels.
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.
ALEXA WAYNE (A.W.): When did you find out you would want to write novels?
BARBARA RUSSELL: 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 scenes only with words.
I wrote my first novel when I was ten. Well, for me, it was a full novel, haha, but the word count was merely eight hundred words. Anyway, it was the story of a space bear who lived on a planet populated by bears.
Each bear had the coat of just one color, while the protag 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.
In the end, he said, “Screw it,” and he kept his 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.
A.W.: Which genre would you think you write, and what category is best to describe your writing?
BARBARA RUSSELL: I write romance, fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal for adults. But I’ve published books for middle grade and young adult audiences.
I consider myself a multi-genre author. Not sure it’s a successful strategy, though.
A.W.: You mentioned to me your work, all set in paranormal or Gothic settings, would you let our readers know why you are more attracted to that genre?
BARBARA RUSSELL: I love historical settings, especially the Victorian Era. The Gothic genre was born in the nineteenth century, and I just love the atmosphere…and dresses. There. I said it.
A.W.: When writing about paranormal, do you do research, and if so, how far do you go with your research?
BARBARA RUSSELL: I do a lot of research. I start reading books in that genre, and then I research the myth/creature I’m interested in, not fiction but non-fiction.
Where did the myth come from? Who was the first author writing about that myth?
A.W.: What is most important to you when writing your novels?
BARBARA RUSSELL: The characters’ backstory. I need it to build the plot because I think that the plot should be related to the protagonists’ backstory. Most of the material I write doesn’t end up in the novel, but I need it.
A.W.: Which authors influenced your writing?
A.W.: Which of your novels is your favorite, and why is it your favorite?
BARBARA RUSSELL: Difficult question. I’d say that my favorite is the one I’m writing at that moment. I always think that my latest novel is better than the previous one.
A.W.: Do you believe in the paranormal, by that I mean in hauntings, that there are creatures out in the wild we still don’t know the existence of?
BARBARA RUSSELL: Yes, I do. I’m a scientist, so I believe in facts and things we can prove, but there are things we don’t fully know or understand. The paranormal explanation for many events is maybe too easy.
Besides, my mum was like the kid of The Sixth Sense. She saw dead people all the time and talked with them. They ask her to do things for them.
I don’t have an explanation for the details of dead people’s lives my mum knew, people she had never met.
A.W.: What was your reaction when you learned a publisher wanted you as part of their authors? / What made you decide to be self-published?
BARBARA RUSSELL: I’m a hybrid author. I have traditionally published books and self-pub books.
I like the idea of having a team of people working on my novel, but self-publishing is faster, and I have total control over the final product.
A.W.: What sets you apart from other paranormal and Gothic authors?
BARBARA RUSSELL: Not sure!! Most likely, nothing. I might be just another writing gal, lol.
A.W.: What can readers look forward to from Barbara Russell in 2020?
BARBARA RUSSELL: I’m working on a new series. I’ve recently published The Heart Collector-Auckland Steampunk #1, which is the first book of a planned series, a romantic suspense novel.
I’ve already written the first seven books of the series—they need a few rounds of edit though, lol.
So I wanted to take a break from that and start something new. It’s set in the Victorian Era. I love Victorian novels and writing in that setting for many reasons.
I love the dresses, aside from the blasted corsets, haha, the social environment gives a lot of material for conflict, and it reminds me of Sherlock Holmes’ novels.
As I said, I have a passion for crime/ mystery stories. Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie are my favorite authors, along with Tolkien and J. K. Rowling.
If you enjoyed this interview, come back each week for other interviews with authors, editors and more! We love welcoming new patients! If you are a creative yourself, go to our CONTACT section and send us an email to become part of our asylum!
Until next time…enjoy the bite!