TweetA.T. Russell is a retired Navy Chief currently residing near Chicago with his wife of 25 years. A lifelong reader, the passion of writing came to him midlife. A.T. writes Urban Fantasy and aspires to write across many genres.
“History is a point of reference, not an anchor.” ~A.T.
Time to chat with A.T.!
What is your latest book?
My latest book is Apex. As for writing and the other stories I’ve written, this one is probably the most challenging, and for me that makes this one the most exciting to write.
Is your recent book part of a series?
It is. In fact, Apex is the first of four planned books. I’m actually franchising the series, and I’m very excited to report that Dawn Kirby and Frantiska Oliver will be writing two of the volumes. The last position will be decided by a process that Twisted Core Press is designing and I think it’ll be a trendsetting model for years to come.
What else have you written?
As some may know, I’m a member of 7DS Books, a short story platform and imprint of Twisted Core Press. I’ve had the great opportunity to write Greed for Seven Deadly Sins, Sleepy for Seven Dwarf Stories, Eddie’s Ring for Seven Dress Sizes, and No Man for A Man’s Promise. Above all, however, my greatest pleasure came from writing my first two books, New Alpha Rising: Ascension Parts I & II
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
You know, I have one character that has been the most thrilling challenge I’ve faced in storytelling. Little Wolf says what she wants when she wants to, and no one can stop her, not even me. Thing is, she’s the only character I’ve written that has had that effect on me, and writing around her, even in scenes I didn’t want her to be a part of, is where the challenge lies. She’s a main character in New Alpha Rising Saga and I look forward to sharing her madness with the world in the third book.
How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?
I believe choosing a character’s name is critical to any story. From my perspective, names should be memorable, respective of the character’s personality, and above all, brand-able.
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
This is a great question for me, because the answer is, I have no idea. All I know is that I have to write. The passion came along in 1994 and words began to hit the page in 2009, totaling over three million that year. Ever since, I’ve been head down and punching keys.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
My best advice to handling a negative review is simply remembering that your imagination belongs to you. When you share it with others, their imaginations may not be a good match. If and when that is the case, remember that stories written by the historical greats were ripped worse than yours, and that was by people who really mattered in the literary industry. Nowadays everybody is a critic, and tearing others down is a sad truth about our overall culture today. After all, isn’t that what reality tv is all about? Judge this and judge that, then let’s see who can rip the hardest. Seems like a lot of people channel Simon Cowell these days.
Every day brings forth new changes and shifts in the world of publishing. Any predictions about the future?
I think Amazon will become the BIG ONE.
Have you ever wished that you could bring a character to life? If so, which one and why?
I would love to bring Little Wolf to life. She’s a doctor, a killer, and an Omega Wolf. She loves hanging out with puppies and watching cartoons, and world peace would piss her off. Other than those things, she’s about as cool as any creature I can, did actually, imagine. If I could wish, though, the whole world would know Little Wolf as well as I do.
What genre have you never written in that you’d like to try?
I typically have a romantic element in every story I write, but I really want to tackle a full-on romance. Trouble is, every time I write, the theme of the story pervades many aspects of my daily life. With my luck, pouring my passion into romance, my wife of 25 years might think I’m flipping the script on the second half of my life and have me committed or something … or worse.
Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?
Social media is a wide open expanse, a tremendous pool of laughs and thoughts, though sometimes myopic and quite scary. You see, some authors use their platforms for their family members and personal friends to interact with them. That’s cool, but when their profile is supportive of their books, services, etc… they shouldn’t complain when a fan or interested customer comes along and steps across a line they’ve blurred. I’ve seen a number of people trip over that line and get burned in the process. No, it hasn’t happened to me.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I’m very humble and I don’t say much on social media platforms. I think, maybe it’s shyness on my part. Heck, it could be fear of the unknown. I mean, I am shading 50, so it’s possible I have old school hesitancy. I’m getting better at interacting with others, though.
What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?
My favorite film is Something The Lord Made. The best I can say is, watch it. It’ll open your heart and mind to a truth that affects every human being on the face of the earth. As for my favorite book; I love J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover. It is the only book I’ve ever read (thoroughly enjoyed the entire series, by the way) that made me want to scream at the author…violently. In less than five chapters, she managed to kill my favorite character, and that was the first book of the series! George R.R. Martin wasn’t able to have that kind of impact on me, and he kills everybody off!
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