Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Katherine Russell
Your Name or Pen Name you use: Katherine Russell
Title of the book you are promoting: Shapes of Water
Link to purchase your Book: https://www.createspace.com/3927850
Recent Publication: Love Around the World (series)
Publisher: Senserial Publishers
Genre: Travel Romance
Welcome KR…I, LH have some questions for you 😉
LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?
KR: My first influence was my aunt, Margot Russell, who published a collection of stories about life with multiple sclerosis. She knew I was writing constantly from the time I could hold a pen – it was in my blood. When I was eleven, she asked me, “Are you ready to write your book?” With her encouragement, I compiled stories by and about people living with cystic fibrosis called With Every Breath, though it took several years to publish! As for my fiction, it’s heavily influenced and inspired by authors with lyrical style like Arundhati Roy, Edwidge Danticat, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?
KR: I self-published my poetry book because I wanted full control over its production and promotion. With the book With Every Breath, I was sponsored by Boomer Esiason Foundation to self-publish, but that was before Amazon made it so easy! As for my novel, Without Shame, I’m currently seeking out a traditional publisher.
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest offenders. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Which form of media do you think is the worst offender?
KR: Agreed! What confuses me, though, is a TV-show can’t say a curse word or show a naked body, but it can graphically show a human getting his head bashed in (ahem, The Walking Dead). At the same time, we sexualize nearly every advertisement, assigning gender expectations through a camera lens. It has fostered a very insecure nation – men who think they have to always be chasing sex, and women who think if they’re not being chased there’s something wrong with them. I’d like to write a whole book on our media’s confused approach to the human body. We’re pretty twisted.
LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen I truly would have world peace in the blink of an eye. If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
KR: I’d bring Twinkies back. Kidding. I think I’d ask for more selfless leaders. Power attracts the ruthless and greedy. If leaders put their people before themselves, we wouldn’t have situations like famine in North Korea or hundreds of miners dying in China every day.
LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?
KR: I think there are more important things about a book and its promotion, for sure. But I do think there’s something to be said for an eye-catching cover! Nowadays, instead of browsing the spines of books in a store and pulling one from the shelf to read the back cover, people are quickly scrolling through their browser and maybe only catching a glimpse of your title in a millisecond. You want that millisecond to count, catch their eye instantly. The market is just inundated, and people don’t have a lot else to go on when browsing. If a cover looks cheap, they might assume the writing is cheap. If it looks interesting, they might go as far as reading the description of your book. By the way, Leanna, your covers are killer!
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
KR: I’m working on getting an agent for Without Shame, which is a novel about an American who comes to teach in pre-independent Bangladesh, and he meets a Bengali woman who is waiting for a revolution. I’ve also started a collection of flash fiction pieces about survival and our coping mechanisms. It’s called The Magic of Healing.
LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year. How many books have you written? How many have been published?
KR: I was asked to write a romance novel for a start-up publisher called Senserial Publishers. It’s an episodic travel romance called Love Around the World. Things I’ve self-published are my books about life with cystic fibrosis: With Every Breath, and my poetry collection on coming of age with chronic illness, Shapes of Water. Then I’ve written Without Shame, which hopefully in the near future will be published!
LH: I have never experienced it. I have experienced writers “don’t want to”…Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
KR: Not often, but when I do, I read about something interesting. It stimulates me to think and learn something new – something I might be able to write about! I try to make writing a daily habit instead of relying on the “ahah!” moments. Sometimes beating writer’s block is merely a matter of sitting down and forcing myself to write something.
LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”…Do you?
KR: My advice is to read as much as you can. See what is being published and learn from what those writers have to offer.
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did…
If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
KR: I’m too afraid to mess with the past. Learned that from The Butterfly Effect. But really, like you seem to do, I always try to remember that both good and bad things have shaped me into who I am today, so if I can accept and love myself, there’s no regretting the past.
KR…you are not only funny, you are an inspiration!…Now… for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? Chai
Exercise or Bubble Bath? Bubble Bath!
Favorite Color? Daffodil Yellow
Sports or Chocolate? Chocolate
Dogs or Cats? Dogs – I have a Bichon Poodle
Favorite Food? Ethiopian (seriously, I eat it about once a week)
Favorite Song? Chopin Opus 9/Nocturne 1 – also, Electric Feel by MGMT
Favorite Movie? Ratatouille – it just makes me feel good!
Favorite Car? Jeep, not that I can afford any car at this juncture
Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Sex, but I’m not opposed to chocolate being incorporated
And now for the essay part of the interview 😉
If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go and who would you take?
KR: I’ve always dreamed of Costa Rica, and I’d take the love of my life with me. It would be a huge benefit if his boss didn’t find out he missed a week of work. (To paint a fuller picture: my boyfriend is a first-year accountant with very long hours!). I’d go to see the sea turtles hatch and make their way back into the ocean.
Thank you for spending this time with us and make sure to pick up your copy of Katherine Russell’s
Shapes of Water