Author of the month, Rocky Russell

This month, I am proud and humbled to introduce to you Rocky Russell, author of “Tico“, “Lies Exposed: Truth Revealed“, and his latest novel, “The Life and Times of Christopher Le Monte“, the story of a sixteen-year-old having to run for his life after a family feud. To stay alive, he becomes one of the fastest guns in the old west while being hunted by relatives and plagued by other top guns.

“He never wants to fight, but he must or be killed.”

Traveling, he tries to stay more than just one step ahead of his enemies. He soon learns it’s not the fastest gun that always wins.

In hiding, from his enemies, he finds that someone special.

Speaking of special, I find Rocky’s interview answers entertaining, thoughtful, and I am very glad that he agreed to partake in my Author of the Month feature. Thank you Rocky!

But first, here’s a little bit more from Rocky’s bio:

Rocky Russell is married to Wanda for 59 years. They have two sons, three grandchildren, and two great-grandsons. He is a student of the Bible, especially Eschatology.

He served as a counselor at the Billy Graham Crusade in Denver, Colorado. He is retired from a very strong construction background, thirty-five years. He loves adventure, suspense, mystery, who-done-it, and with a little romance thrown into the mix.

He was raised in the country but has traveled over most of the United States. Being retired, he lives with his wife in their country home. He says, “Retirement sucks,” so he writes a lot.

 

THE INTERVIEW:

What is the first book that made you cry?

‘Pokey Puppy’ didn’t get strawberries.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both, I have roller-coaster times when I want to quickly get through the scene. Then there are scenes where I want them to last longer. {“Tico” the board room meeting of the heads of the railroad.}

What is your writing Kryptonite?

The wife, the dog, the phone, the kids, Noise in general

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Sure, have you ever read a Tech manual?​

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

The hell with everything else, just write.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

They all have been too damn much for what I received.

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?

Robert Louis Stevenson, Daniel De Foe, Luke Short, Zane Grey.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When my Daddy gave an order and followed it with PDQ.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Horse, Gorilla, Raccoon.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Maybe a hundred, maybe more. I wrote for 20 years before I decided to publish a book.

What does literary success look like to you?

My mailbox filled with fan mail

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I can get an idea and write a short story in a few hours. But for some articles, it can take me months, even years, like a novel.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Absolutely “Lies Exposed & Truth Revealed” was two and a half years of an in-depth Bible Study.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Making sure I have the right dress for the scene. Let’s keep it a family affair.

How many hours a day do you write?

Sometimes I write for two to four hours. Then the days when I don’t feel well, none.

What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)

Child, Teenager, young Adults, middle age, and elderly.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I am hell on names in that I don’t remember anyone’s name unless I have known them for a while. If I can’t think of a name for my characters, I use the telephone book.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

Hunt for the keys to let me out of this madhouse.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

A good one I say, “Right on”, for a bad one I say, “What the hell does he know?”

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Yes, you would have to know me very well to see the dates, places, and people I have known.

What was your hardest scene to write?

The fight scene in Tico with the natives. Here is a White man making a home in the heart of Africa. I was very careful not to appear as a bigot, and always give the natives the respect they deserved as humans.

Do you Google yourself?

Hey, this is a family program so watch your language, What is that?

Does your family support your career as a writer?

They could care less at first but they are beginning to come around.

Which is your favorite season to write in, and why?

There are only four so I’ll take them all

If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Jerusalem.

Do you like audio-books, physical books, or e-books better? Why?

Physical mostly, but any way the book can reach the people.

What is your most unusual writing quirk?

I use two computers sometimes. One will display the information that I want for my article, so I read one and type on the other one the needed information.

What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

The old days of the USA. I was lucky enough to know two generations before me, and to live in the area of great things that took place. I would like to have the history books of the different counties of the USA. All before 1950.

What scene tidbit in your life would probably surprise your readers the most?

When I was eleven years of age, my favorite movie hero was Lash La Rue. My grandfather bought me a twelve-foot Bull Whip. I had no one to teach me how to use it, so over the next year, I literately beat myself black and blue. But from then on I could do every trick old Lash could do. And a few more I dreamed up.

What is the funniest typo you’ve ever written?

I’m not sure.

Do you feel like you’d be a better writer if you wore sparkly socks during your writing sessions?

I don’t wear socks unless I’m going outside of the house, that is if they will let me.

How do you come up with names for your characters?

See #18 phone book.

Who is the most supportive person in your life when it comes to your writing?

I was challenged by my High School English teacher. She was an elderly lady with the desire to have one of her students become a world-renowned writer. I put it off until I retired I’m sorry to say. But better late than never. Only a movie of my work will be proof that I succeeded to fulfill her expectations.

How many drafts do your books generally go through before publication?

I started “Life and times of Christopher Le Monte” in 2002, a few times I would add something or rewrite a scene or two. With all novels, it is a bunch of short stories which I tie together.

Do you have a writing blog?

No, I am mostly computer illiterate

What was the hardest part of writing your author bio?

Being able to remember before last week.

What is your favorite time to write, and why?

After 8 PM, the wife is in bed the dog is in his bed and the TV is off.

What is your favorite word, and why?

Jesus is my Lord

Rocky Russell, a.k.a okiehayseed

Below are links to three of Rocky Russell’s recent novels. More to follow!

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”

— Billy Graham


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