Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wecome Rebecca Ryals Russell

1: Thank you so much for being here, Rebecca. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

I wrote a lot as a preteen until I began teaching as a young adult. Then it was sporadic. But once I retired a few years ago and the kids were teens I began writing again in earnest and finished the first book of the series I’m working on.

2: What inspired you to write?

My father wrote poetry for special occasions and after he died I discovered an unfinished manuscript. I’ve always had the desire to write, so I guess it’s in my blood. My son, age 16, aims to be a journalist. See what I mean?

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

I love writing because it stretches my mind. Since I write Fantasy I create new worlds and creatures and such. The thing I like least about it is the marketing. I’d much rather just write, write, write.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

That almost never happens. Writing IS relaxing for me. I carry my laptop or a pad everywhere I go. BUT, I have been known to go to a movie with my daughter or sit on the front porch and have a beer with my husband. Then it’s back to writing until 3am.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

My favorite is Ray Bradbury. I also enjoy Stephen King, Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey (dragons of course), Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling. There are so many more! I love YA lit. I just bought Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey because I attended an SCBWI conference and she was a speaker. Can’t wait to start it.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

I guess that would be that I’m genuine. Sometimes I come off as conceited or uncaring and tactless, but it’s usually because I’m a one-track person and not because I meant any slight. I usually say what’s on my mind, I hate playing mind-games and despise politics. I’ve tried to change, and hopefully I’ve gotten better, but I’m passionate about things and that sometimes is read wrong.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

My website/blog is Plotting Worlds. I also have a book website called Seraphym Wars, which is also the title of my series. I’ll be posting current book info at that site, while Plotting Worlds is all about helpful links and tips for writers as well as info about me and the series. Readers can also go to the Dragon’s Lair page for links to all of the sites I’m on (like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.)

18-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s death and many other atrocities in the news. She meets Michael (19), who becomes her guide and explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen warriors with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island.

Reluctantly, and knowing it is her only way to get back home, she agrees to lead, battling dragons and monsters while crossing swamps and mountains, forests and seas. She discovers love when three very different men join her quest—a seasoned demon/dragon-slayer who irritates but beguiles her, a tender and sweet mentor in whom she trusts completely and a roguishly handsome Scientist who sets her senses aflame. How is she expected to lead the others and keep everyone safe with so much inner turmoil?

Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Don’t wait to start your marketing. Blog, create a website, join ALL of the author-related websites, read editor/agent blogs WHILE you are writing the book of the century. If you wait until you are finished writing, it will take a few years of platform-building before anyone will look at your book.

On the writing side--write, write, write. It takes practice to get it right. (lol) And read other author’s book in your genre, underline and circle good passages, take notes on description, characters, etc.

Then spend months editing. Put it away for a month then edit again and don’t be afraid to revise, even to the point of completely changing the story, if it’s for the better.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

I did. Early on they were closely based on my own children, but through the evolutions of editing and rewrites they have meshed and become amalgamations. I like them much better than the original characters. Anyone who knows my kids and reads the books will be able to tell who is based on whom.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

My ideas come from news articles, mostly. This particular series is based on atrocities reported in the news over the past few years that is worse than I could EVER imagine. I’ve been writing a version of this series for the past 30 years, off and on. It wasn’t until I retired three years ago that the final version came pouring out onto the page.

11: What are you currently working on?

I’ve been thinking about a MG series involving a dragon (of course) and a little boy. I want it to be Historically and or Science-based so it can be used in classrooms. When I was teaching I used a lot of novels to help teach subjects. It would be cool to be on the other side of that coin. I’d be curious to know if readers would prefer a boy or a girl character. Maybe readers could leave a comment on this blog or mine and let me know.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I want readers to know that I am passionate about books. I love to read and instilled that passion in my students and my own children. I’m not in this business to make a ton of money (remember, I was a teacher lol). I want to get my story read because I think it’s a good one and Myrna is dying to tell it. Literally.

An Excerpt From Chapter 16:

Traveling alongside the dark and foreboding Humac Forest in a car had been a piece of cake compared to the scoots. We stayed on the far left margin of the road, careful not to fall into any of the millions of potholes lining its edge. The sky was as light and bright as it got here on Dracwald. Although I glanced at the edge of the forest often, I had yet to see evidence of the monstrous zombies said to live inside its borders. I tried to put them out of my mind by thinking about our next phase on this quest and just how far we had come in only two days.

We had been grinding the road for a few hours when the sky began to darken. Glancing up I feared the dragons had returned, but was even more chagrined to realize we were losing daylight. Michael glanced back quickly. I nodded fiercely, acknowledging that I had noticed. Moments later he swerved to the right nearly into the forest itself. I panicked and swerved as well, following his lead. Sure enough there had been a pile of fallen branches in our path. Had they been put there deliberately?

As I swerved back onto the left edge of the road I felt Tien yanked away from me. I screamed and Michael turned his head to look. Tien screamed insults and curses into the darkness. Michael swung his scoot around and roared back toward me. I stopped, unsure what was happening. I could still hear Tien swearing and screaming, but she was becoming fainter. Once he was past, I swung around in time to see Tien, kicking and screaming as a Phosboor dragged her by the ponytail into the forest. I screamed again and sped forward. Michael had already disappeared into the forest. Unsure what I should do I waited. I walked the scoot to the edge of the forest so I could see in a little better, although with darkness falling the forest was nearly pitch black. Fear clattered my teeth together and whooshed the blood in my ears.

Once my eyes adjusted I could just make out Michael roaring across the pine needle and leaf strewn, slippery forest floor after the Phosboor who had Tien. Her arms flailed trying to grasp trees as the Phosboor galloped away hauling her by the hair. She dug her feet into the soft forest floor but the needles just bunched up giving her no hold. Michael swerved around the Phosboor, grasping Tien around the middle and sped back toward the road. She continued screaming and cussing every foul word I had ever heard and then some. The Phosboor, refusing to release his grasp on her hair, dragged behind the scoot, causing an imbalance which nearly threw the scoot sideways.

A blur out of the dark landed on the Phosboor, growling and snapping until sections of the poor rotten zombie lay scattered across a ten foot stretch of forest floor. The blur continued following Michael as he now sped through the forest avoiding trees, his rear tire slipping on the forest litter. Tien clung tightly to his back, head lowered.

Suddenly I was assaulted by a huge furry creature that leapt from the dark forest landing on the rear of my scoot with his paws on my shoulders. I screamed and gunned the scoot forward when I heard a soft purring voice in my head, “Calm yourself, human. I’ll not hurt you. I’m here to help. Be ready to ride momentarily.” While ordinarily I wouldn’t have been calmed by such a statement, there was a wash of peace throughout my being that quelled fear. At that moment Michael jumped the edge of the road onto its surface where his tires found purchase and he sped away toward the distant lights of Hallsea Village, leaving a long scratch of burned tire on the asphalt. The smell of burning rubber reminded me of our night in the repair station avoiding the Shubons. A tan blur ran behind him before I could gun my own scoot into action.


Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

very nice site and interview. way to go, girls, or is that insulting? one never knows anymore what is the latest social I always enjoy reading about another author who is a tad bit obsessive about writing. makes me feel right to home.

Marsha A. Moore said...

A fellow dragon lover! Wonderful! I have a novel half finished filled with dragon adventures on the list to complete in 2011. I will be sure to enjoy your fiery creatures in the meantime. :)


Kat said...

I really liked this.:-)