Guest Post: Todd Russell’s Fresh Flesh

Today I’m starting a series of guest posts from authors, readers, reviewers, publishers and other such interesting folk. You didn’t want to hear from me all the time, did you?

First into my virtual interview studio to plonk himself down on my imaginary interviewee’s couch is Todd Russell, a horror writer of many years who is due to launch his new novel, Fresh Flesh at the end of the month.

Fresh FleshSo, Todd, you’ve previously released a collection of horror flash fiction (Mental Shrillness). Now you’re releasing a full novel. Sounds like one extreme to another; what made you write a novel?

Firstly, thank you for chatting with me for a few minutes about my upcoming debut novel. 

I love writing in all shapes and sizes. Flash fiction, short stories, novels, whatever the story dictates. I hope readers will soon see that my imagination is not bound by word count. Writing flash fiction is a good writing warm-up exercise and recently I challenged myself to write one new story every day (minimum 250 words). As of this writing, I’ve written 24 days in a row and 25 new stories (yes, one day I wrote two stories). How long will the streak go? Please tune in to find out at http://toddrwrite.com/

I like referring to flash fiction as beauty in brevity and it’s a special type of fiction that I’ll probably never tire of writing.

Novels are exciting because they allow me to paint on a gigantic canvas things that scare, thrill and hold me in suspense. I get to meet and know people–those wild and wonderful characters that inhabit my story worlds–and follow them and see how they are forever changed by the story. I love being surprised as much as readers.

I agree: writing novels can turn up surprises. Tell us about your new novel, and — I have to ask — why name it FRESH FLESH?

Shipwrecked Jessica Stanton is about to be discovered, cherished, and trained to survive on a remote island by a man who is not what he seems.

The first and second draft of FRESH FLESH was written eight years before any of the stories in Mental Shrillness. It’s my third novel written but the one that landed me an agent when I was 20 years old. I love this story as much in 2011 as in 1989.

The story was originally written as a standalone novel but while finishing the third draft in 2011 I saw the possibility for additional stories that continue the journey in a compelling way. I would like to write many more FRESH series books and reader interest will help determine how fast and frequently I return to tell a new tale in the series.

I’m also considering using the same first draft writing dates each year to add (at least) one more story in the series. What intrigues me about this idea is I’ve never heard of any other next-in-series book being written this way before (has anybody else?). New experiments excite and challenge me.

I’ve liked the title FRESH FLESH since 1988 and feel it best describes the purpose of the island in a wide variety of ways. From the brief description of the book given above you can see a couple ways the title might apply. There is something in this book that every horror reader will enjoy as well as a fast pace to satisfy thriller fans.

Talking about the range of horror readers, there’s been a lot of sexy vampire/ Twilight/ Buffy/ horror-lite recently, and I like some of that. There’s been a lot of zombie outbreaks on TV and in books and I love a good zombie. Some of my horror-writing friends complain that between the hordes of lumbering zombies and the chick-bit zombie books, the ‘other horror stuff’ is getting squeezed. What do you think?

If readers love these types of stories and writers want to fill these needs? Rock on. Everybody wins when readers are reading and telling their friends to read

Okay, now don’t say anything that will incriminate you with the police, but did you do any research for FRESH FLESH?

I’ve done more research for FRESH FLESH than any other story I’ve written to date, including the six other novels I’ve written. There are historic events referenced in the timeline that actually happened and have a fictional tie-in role in the story. There are a bunch of little things researched often boiled down to a sentence or two in the novel. These are spices for the stew and help with the realism.

Once FRESH FLESH has become a bestseller and you’re negotiating the film rights, what will be your next book?

Thank you for the optimism!

My goal this year was to have 3-4 books available by the end of the year, so I’m hoping to get at least one more book out. It all depends on beta reader feedback and the editing process how fast my novels will be turned out. Of the six other completed novels I have, two need a small amount of work to be published, two need more significant work and two can only come out after I’m dead.

This year so far I’ve introduced readers to some flash fiction, one long short story (“The Illusion” in Mental Shrillness is 7,200+ words long), so publishing a novella would give readers a sample of my work at all word length.

Meanwhile, I have a few WIP that I’m excited about. I showed a friend of mine an idea I have for an YA book that has a gaming element to it and he thought the idea was intriguing.

That’s impressive and writing a novel is hard work, right? Do you get to have a life? What do you do when you rise from your writer’s coffin and step into the light outside (assuming you don’t burst into flames)?

LOL, yes, I have a life. If you come to Orting, Washington, please look for my name on Foursquare. We sell autographed copies of my book in our insurance office. If you are a Washington resident you can get a comparative quote on your home, auto and business insurance needs.

Thank you again for the time and space. Much appreciated! Please let me know what you think of FRESH FLESH.

Thanks for talking with me, Todd. Fresh Flesh is out in paper and ebook formats on 29th September 2011. There is a drawing on October 17th at Goodreads for a free signed proof copy. Follow this link to enter the draw.

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About Tim C. Taylor

Science fiction publisher and author of the bestselling Human Legion series. I live with my wife and young family in an English village. I am currently writing full time, when I'm not roped into building Lego.
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