Friday, 23 September 2011

Meet author Rebecca Ryals Russell

Welcome to my blog, Rebecca.
Rebecca Ryals Russell writes MG and YA Dark Fantasy and Horror while living with her family in a Victorian house on five acres of North Florida countryside. She also runs a Vacation Rental Log House on the property: Florida Black Bear Cabin.
She is a fourth generation Floridian. She was born in Gainesville, grew up in Sunrise, lived in Orlando and Jacksonville before moving outside Lake City to care for ailing parents.
The daughter of an Elementary-school principal and secretary, for fourteen years she taught Middle Grades, preferring English and Creative Writing. She had several students’ works published in anthologies as well as her own poetry, photography and stories. Her main interests are her four children ages 22, 19, 16, 11 and Irish hubby of 35 years. She enjoys spending her time writing, drawing, going to movies, reading, discussing philosophy with her 17-year-old son.

Can you tell us a little about your latest release from MuseItUp Publishing.
My newest book is a Novella in the YA series Seraphym Wars. Prophecy is free-standing and can be read at any point, but should be read early in the series as it explains the origin of the Prophecy of Solsyl which the Vigorios (teen demon-hunting warriors) must fulfil. It has about 70 pages.

     Where did the germ of an idea come from for this book?

This particular book came about as a way of explaining the need for the Vigorios and the Prophecy. The idea for the series was born from an observation of the increasing levels of evil in the world. All of the evil in either of my series (Seraphym Wars and Stardust Warriors for MG) comes directly from actual news accounts.

How did you choose your setting? Have you woven your own environment into your story?

I wanted the world of the series to be the home planet of the Demon-Dragons, so I had to build a world that is infected by their evil. But I also wanted readers to be able to identify with the world. So I loosely based Dracwald on Earth.

Who is your favourite character in your novel?

I think my favourite character in Prophecy is the blue Wren named Shadow because he’s smart, popular and a smart-alec. He lightens the story.

How many drafts did it take before you felt satisfied to submit this novel for publication?

Because Prophecy is the second book in a series, the publisher, MuseItUp Publishing, has first rights. I think I revised Prophecy three times before being satisfied with it. The first book in the series, Odessa, however, was revised six or seven times before getting ‘right’ and even now I’d like to go back and work on issues I see in it.

What's the one thing you hope your readers will take away with them, after finishing Prophecy?

I hope readers want to pick up Odessa and see where this Prophecy of Solsyl takes the Vigorios and just who the Vigorios are, anyway.

 If,  by chance, you became trapped inside one of your stories, would you try to escape to your real world?

Absolutely. I have no desire to live on Dracwald and endure the suffering the people are put through by Narciss, Ruler of Tartarus, and his Demon Legio. There are monsters living in every forest, lake, sea, swamp. The evil has seeped into the mountains, ground, water where the dragons live, making the land and animals toxic.

Do you have a daily writing routine?

I try to keep to routine, but with a family and Vacation Rental business, it’s difficult. I usually check my email first thing, do some Twittering and marketing on blogs then try to do some writing. On some days I can write as much as 5,000 words—other days none. If no writing continues for too long I get frustrated and stop everything else in order to write for a whole day. But since Odessa and Zarena and now Prophecy came out, I have less and less time to write due to all of the marketing required.

 Whom do you most admire?

I have eternal admiration for my soul-mate husband. I met him six months after his arrival in the US from Ireland at age nineteen. We dated for six months then married—much to everyone’s shock and surprise. We’ve been married thirty-five years this year and are as much in love and respect as the day we met. My husband has an amazing nature for patience and tolerance, seeing/analysing a situation and thinking through to the best solution. He’s driven in his work as an Advertising Executive and everyone at work respects his judgement as well. He’s been an awesome Daddy and will be a terrific Grandpa when the time is right. It was he who insisted I quit teaching and ‘write that book you’ve always wanted to’. And the dedication in each of the books states just that.

When you aren’t writing, what do you enjoy most?

Every Tuesday night my young adult daughter and I have a standing ‘movie date’. We look forward to it all week, planning what we’ll see. We live in a tiny town with a very, very old theatre that has six small screens, so our choices are sometimes limited to yuk or nothing. On those nights we do an in-home movie and popcorn—but it’s not the same.

 What's the most important thing you would like readers to know about you as an author?

I would like readers to know how much I care about them as readers. I write my books with teens and young adults in mind the whole time—trying to create characters they could relate to and enjoy getting to know. I also LOVE meeting and talking to my readers/fans. I’m one of those authors who answers emails and questions about my books.
Middle Graders can contact me through an Interactive website I created just for them. See the list at the end.
 Apart from ‘never give up’ what advice as a writer would you give to someone who takes their writing seriously?

Don’t wait to get your work ‘out there’. My High School senior son is an incredible writer—better than I ever will be. But he has no self-confidence and thinks his stuff is bad. So he won’t blog or post any of his writing on forums or try to sell it to ezines. I keep telling him it’s a mistake to wait. If you have a talent for writing as a young person, take advantage of that youth and get your work in front of the public. If you are truly gifted, you’ll be discovered and can have a long, full writing career. I deeply regret not starting on this route until I retired from a career in teaching and mothering.

It's been lovely chatting with you Rebecca. Thank you for allowing us into your world. I wish you much writing success.

May we read your book blurb for Prophesy, please?

Prophecy (Seraphym Wars YA series)
For centuries the residents of Solsyl lived in peace and harmony with the planet. Then the dragon-demons arrived, causing the Great Shuddering. Majikals from everywhere scurried to find shelter from the evil while humans hid. Laud regretted his rash decision of exiling the demons on Solsyl and asked one of his advisors, a member of The Conscientia, to protect his people. Jeremiah Holyfield agreed to leave the peaceful world of Revrum Natura for a life of constant strife and fear on the newly renamed planet of Dracwald. But Narciss, ruler of Tartarus and King of the demons, desperately wants what Jeremiah has sworn to protect—a Prophecy of Narciss’s future doom. And Narciss refuses to take no for an answer. But Jeremiah discovers allies along his path and even true love, which he never dreamed possible.
But forever is a long time to protect something without ever letting down one’s guard.
This sounds like an exciting, though troubling time with plenty of strange characters to entertain your readers.LINKS
Under the Hat
Tween Word Quest
Teen Word Factory
Flyte Publishing
Author Page


Rosalie Skinner said...

Rebecca, Prophecy looks like another great YA adventure by the sound of it. What a great interview Wendy. You asked the right questions. I don't think I would like to be trapped on Dracworld either. Not after travelling through the adventures in Odessa.
Great post.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Wendy--thank your for the opportunity of being on your lovely blog. I enjoyed the unusual questions you asked.

Rosalie--thank you so much for stopping by.

Emily Pikkasso said...

Hey Rebecca and Wendy. Great interview. Your series sounds very intriguing Rebecca, I have it on my must read list. Now all I need is time. LOL


Anonymous said...

Very interesting interview, Wendy and Rebecca. I might enjoy roaming Dracwald if Rebecca gave me some special survival skills and kept tabs on those monsters.

The Black Bear Cabin sounds like a lovely writer's retreat!

Annie said...

An absorbing and very honest interview and I so enjoyed meeting Rebecca "for real"

I only knew the books from their covers but now I see I shall have to
settle down and read them.

LJ Roberts said...

What a great interview! I can't imagine how hard it must be to invest an entire world. I have enough trouble dealing with this one! Thanks to both Rebecca and Wendy.

LJ Roberts said...

It's too early. That was supposed to invent an entire world... It's still a great interview.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Hi Emily. Thanks for stopping by. Between editing, writing and setting up the Muse Retreat, I'm sure you barely have time to sleep.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Edith, thanks for stopping by. I really miss being able to use the cabin to write in. But making money on the renters is a pretty good excuse. As for surviving Dracwald--follow Myrna's lead. She's figuring it out one step at a time. (sometimes one misstep at a time)

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Annie, thank you for coming by. I'm glad you knew the covers--that's a large step in marketing. Now for you crack the cover, lol.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

LJ, thanks for stopping in. Creating worlds is the best part of writing Fantasy for me. I could do nothing but create fantastic worlds, creatures and characters and let someone else put them through the paces--but it doesn't work that way.

Emily Pikkasso said...

came back to read the interview again. I love that cover and I love Wendy's mountain banner on her blog. Wishing much success and great sales for the Yellow Hat Lady.


Wendy said...

It's been a pleasure Rebecca, thank you for letting us into your real and fantasy worlds.

Hi Rosalie, Nancy X 2 LOL,Edith, Annie and L.J..Thank you all for being here. I loved how your comments had Rebecca share even more of her worlds.

And thanks for your compliments:)