Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meet Russell Blake - Suspense/Thriller Fiction

 Russell Blake
Suspense/Thriller Fiction

      Welcome to the beach where we're relaxing with Russell Blake...on the beach in Mazatlan, where he's been known to hang his bandana at times. Russ has a background and past that have help him put together his novels. We're ordering up a round of drinks so grab yours and get comfy, Russell's books will take you on a wild ride that you won't want to end! Don't forget to leave a comment and get in on the Rafflecopter contest at the bottom for a copy of JET!

Reader’s Haven:
  Russ, it's gorgeous here and so are the sunsets! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Russell:  I live in Mexico, and have for the last 8 years, where I can honestly say I'm happier than I've ever been in my life - best choice I could have made. It was either here, or Australia, and I figured I'd give Mexico a few months, and then if I didn't like it, I'd move to Sydney or Melbourne. I have a sordid and diverse past I won't bore anyone with, but it's contributed to my thriller novels in unexpected ways. I'll just leave it at that.

Reader’s Haven:
 What made you want to become a writer?

Russell:  I've always been an avid reader, and I first started writing about a decade ago, just for myself. I kept at it, scrapping everything I churned out, but getting consistently better. Around the beginning of 2011, a friend of mine who had read some of my stuff was sending me articles on how the kindle was changing the world, and I wasn't sold on it. But then I got one, and was hooked, and I thought, hey, maybe I should give the whole author thing one year of solid best effort and see what I can make of it? I published my first novel June, 2011, and as of now, have released 15 novels. When I do something, I tend to go all in. I am not big on following rules or sucking up, so I never really considered going the traditional publishing route, although at one point I had an agent who got me within a hair of a major deal, but at the time I was told that my style of writing wasn't what the two companies that were interested had slots for. In retrospect, that's the best thing that ever happened to me, because I sure as hell wouldn't have been good at working for someone else after decades working for myself. So perhaps things happen for good reason. Given my sales success, such as it is, I'm ecstatic at how this has worked out, and can see myself doing it for a long time - as long as readers want to read my scribblings, I'll keep at it. Because in the end, writers write for readers.

Reader’s Haven: The success of your books says enough. We're glad when readers connect with authors they love because they share those author sites with their friends! Please share a bit about your new release JET without giving away any spoilers.

Russell:  Boy oh boy, am I excited about this book…this series of books. I would say that if you only were going to read one of mine, read JET. The short summary is only four words: Kill Bill meets Bourne. It's the story of a female Mossad operative whose code name was Jet, who faked her own death to get out of the game, but whose past has now come back to haunt her, forcing her back into a life she thought she'd buried forever. This is a Lamborghini ride at midnight on black ice of a book, and is the fastest paced novel I've ever written - but at the same time, has almost a literary fiction quality to it that's hard to describe. I wanted to do something that surpassed anything else I've written, but incorporated everything I've learned about writing to date (after two million words, at least), and I think I got this one right. I think anyone that's a fan of Bourne, or SALT, or James Bond, if you can imagine Bourne or Bond with a twenty-eight year old female protagonist, will flip out when they read JET. I have very high hopes for it, and early feedback has been stellar

Reader’s Haven: 
*holding tight to our chairs* Wow! It sounds amazing, Russ! Deanna, write that title down! Do you write under a pen name?

Russell:  I've considered it for stuff not in my usual genre, and will let everyone know if I decide to do so.

Reader’s Haven:
 What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Russell:  Imperfect and real. I want heroes that bleed. That feel. That are conflicted and feel doubt and don't always do the right thing, or make the right choices, and aren't 100% sure of their course or their beliefs. I want fallible humans that are truly three dimensional, not cardboard cutouts.

Reader’s Haven:  Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Russell:  It's grueling. I'm sort of all or nothing. When I'm writing a novel, I get up at around eight, get some coffee and have some breakfast, and then by eight-thirty I start writing. I keep at it until ten to eleven at night with a short lunch break, maybe an hour at the gym, then back at it until dinner, which is as fast as I can swallow it so I can get back into the story. It's grueling, and a marathon, but in the end it's the only way I can write. I've tried more sensible hours, and it seems disjointed to me on first draft. I think I'm OCD when it comes to writing, and I work best when I'm living and breathing the story. For me, when I'm in a novel, writing is life. The rest of it - the eating, sleeping, living bits, are just the stuff I sort of have to do to survive between writing. I'm fortunate in that I sold my company fairly young and retired, so I don't have any real distractions. When I'm not in a novel, I try to relax, hit the beach, drink some margaritas, play with my pooches, and decompress from the insane pace of my writing.

Reader’s Haven:  I wish we all could write like that...steady and moving forward! Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Russell:  Different with important similarities. They all have an underlying conspiracy element, which for me is what makes them interesting and deeper than just your typical action/adventure thriller. I model Ludlum in that regard. I want there to be layers to the story, and what you see isn't all you get, if that makes any kind of sense.

Reader’s Haven:  How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Russell:  A novel generally takes me couple hundred hours to write a first draft, then another hundred to do second draft, then maybe fifty to do third, then an edit round with my editor, then a copy edit, then a proofreading final round. All told probably four hundred hours.

Reader’s Haven:
  Whew, that's a tough schedule but with your list of books already out, it's definitely working for you! Congrats! Do you have to be alone to write?

Russell:  Absolutely. No music. No distractions. Just me and the story.

Reader’s Haven:
 How do you go about naming characters?

Russell:  Whatever pops into my head. I should have a really deep and complex answer, but that's the truth.
Reader’s Haven:  Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Russell:  Character pictures? I just imagine them. That's it.

Reader’s Haven:
 How do you pick locations for your stories?

Russell:  Again, it just sort of pops into my noggin. I have no system.

Reader’s Haven:  What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

Russell:  I just put JET II - Betrayed to bed, and am working on JET III - Vengeance. I'll probably do a fourth book in the series before year end, and one more Assassin series book. Next year, only four novels. That's it. No more. OK, maybe five, but I swear that's it. Gotta have a life, after all, and once I have 20 novels out, I'd say the problem is not that there aren't enough Russell Blake books to choose from...

Reader’s Haven: LOL Readers, we hope you're all taking notes and thinking of your crime/thriller reader friends who love this stuff so you can share Russ with them. Russ, where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Russell: Here are my site links:

 On Twitter, @Blakebooks 

Reader's Haven:  Russ, thank you so much for being here and letting us inside a writer's life! Readers, thank you for stopping by to learn about Russ's books and we hope you visit his author page to check out all the other books he's written! Don't forget to get in the contest below!

CONTEST:  One signed copy of JET when it’s released - one lucky winner will get this. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter contest and leave your comment below also.

Release date is Oct 5
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hey Russell! We're so excited to have you visit this week. Congrats on the release of Jet. Ever thought about submitting you MS to any of the indie film sites online? ~Louise

  2. Nope. I didn't even know there were indie film sites online. But I will say that at least 5 of my books are as close as literature can get to ready for the big screen. If you know of any sites, shoot them to me and I'd be grateful.

  3. Sounds great! It's amazing how you write. I hope one day I'll be able to pump stories out like that!

  4. Sounds like another winner to me. I'll be looking for it!