Interview & Contest: Russell Nohelty

Author Pic - Russell NoheltyJen: Today we welcome Russell Nohelty to Romancing the Book.  Russell, will you share a short bio with us?
Russell:  Russell Nohelty is a writer, publisher, and consultant. He is the publisher of Wannabe Press and its main author. Russell likes to write genre fiction with deep character studies. He’s sadistic with his characters, putting them in the worst situations and watching them claw their way back up, just to kick them back into the abyss again. Russell started his career writing comics, and now writes novels and children’s books as well.

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Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Russell:  My Father Didn’t Kill Himself is about a girl whose father commits suicide and so she sets out to prove it’s a murder because she can’t stand the thought that he took his own life. It’s a pretty deep dive into grief, loss, despair, and death. However, just like life it isn’t without comedic moment. I like to weave comedy in with drama because that’s life. Life is never either happy or sad, it just is.

Here’s a short excerpt:

DROWNING

Posted by Delilah Clark × December 15 at 9:31 pm.

Here is what The Suicide Handbook says about drowning.

Drowning in cold water is supposed to be like going to sleep. For me, it was a nightmare.

Shivering, freezing, I sat for a minute until my body

Adjusted to the cold. Then I sunk down under the water. The cold washed over me, but my lungs were on fire. Before I could pass out my natural instincts kicked in. I couldn’t fight them. I kicked and screamed until half the water was gone. I gasped for air. It was frightful.

I performed my experiment much like J. I laid down in the tub until my body adjusted to the temperature. Once I was acclimated, I sunk below the water. I breathed out until there were no bubbles. And I waited. It didn’t take long for the fire in my lungs to start. Soon, it was unbearable. My body thrashed around for a moment before I shot out of the water and gasped for precious air.

I wholeheartedly endorse every word J said.

On top of that I realized something.

If I died in this tub, my bowels would empty, and I would be sitting in feces-filled water until somebody found me. That is not a dignified way to die—my bowel excretion muddying the water and coating me in a fine mist of poop. They’d be scrubbing for days to get me ready for the casket.

No thank you.

Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Russell:  I’m a pantser who really wants to be a plotter. Being a pantser is more fun for a single book, but when you do a series you really need to a tight plot.

Right now I’m working on some longer content and you just have to be a plotter when you are working on a six book series. It’s really hard for me though, because I just want to write and figure it out in the moment. Discovering my characters and story through writing is one of my biggest thrills.

You get better at plotting the book in your head as time goes on too. I naturally became more of a plotter as I grew as a writer.

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Russell:  I write one book a year. I start in January and write until April. I spend the rest of the year working on the story for my next book, editing my current book, and promoting my work.

When I’m writing I make sure to write 1,000 words a day at least. When I’m editing I make myself edit 2,500 words a day minimum.

I wait 1-2 months after a book is drafted to start editing. Then, I do 5 drafts. After than the book is ready for editing. The editor does a pass, then I do a pass. The editor does a pass, then I do a pass. Then we sit on it for a few months and do a proofreading pass. When all of that is done it’s ready for press.

Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Russell:  I don’t. I refuse to write anything down. If I remember something, then it’s good enough for me to consider. If not, then I didn’t waste my time on a mediocre idea. Usually, I only deal with ideas that come back a dozen times or more.

I have a little folder where I throw ideas that come back to me but aren’t completely formed yet. A not insignificant portion of my writing life involves bouncing files back and forth between that inactive project folder and my active one.

Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Russell: The characters come up with their own names when you let them stew for long enough. I’m a big proponent of taking an inordinate amount of time crafting your character. You should be writing back stories for them, talking to them, and thinking about them constantly.

Once you have the character, backstory, and setting the character will tell you their own name. Sometimes I hear a name and it immediately sparks a character in my head and the story takes over from there. If you are forcing your character names, or anything with your story, it will lead to sub-par results.

Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Russell:  I write a lot of comics. In fact, I used to exclusively write comics before I began writing novels. The highlight of my career has been seeing people dress up (cosplay) as my characters. It’s an unbelievable experience. So much time and effort spent on something I created.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Russell:  We are constantly evolving my publishing company Wannabe Press (www.wannabepress.com), so that takes up a large chunk of our vision for 2016. However, I do have a new book launching on Kindle Scout next month called Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, about a boy struggling with abuse who finds a homeless alien and helps her rebuild her ship and go back home.  I’ve not used Kindle Scout before and am excited to see how it works. You can join our mailing list and get more info about it if interested.

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