Fellow Portlander and Rose City Romance Writer RWA chapter member, E.J. Russell is joining me today. Welcome, E.J.!
E.J. writes romance in a rainbow of flavors—from M/F stories grounded in absurd contemporary reality to M/M tales splashed with the supernatural—but you can be sure that while the couple makes their way to HEA, they’ll never stray too far into the dark.
Q) Do you have any habits that get you in the writing frame of mind?
I’m fortunate to have a home office that’s spacious enough to have a “left-brain” side (with the Windows computers and monitors for my day job as an information architect) and a “right-brain” side (with comfy chair, bookshelves full of writing reference books, and my MacBook Air, complete with Scrivener). The first step in getting into the writing frame of mind is to cross from the left-brain side to the right-brain side, and switch from Windows to Mac. When I’ve got a deadline approaching, I adopt the Nike attitude—just do it.
Q) Tell me about your latest book?
My latest release is Lost in Geeklandia, a M/F romance about a woman with more technical skills than social graces, who builds the perfect matchmaking algorithm based on social media data feeds. Then, in order to land her dream job, she’s challenged to prove its accuracy on herself—and ends up matched with her childhood best friend (now nemesis). Hijinks ensue—including a game of Star Trek trivia, which, according to the hero, is “so cutthroat it should come with pirate sound-effects.”
Q) Is this part of a series? If so, tell us about it!
It’s the first in a series, yes, although the other stories aren’t in the production pipeline yet. Each story involves a geek and a non-geek, and occurs around a holiday. Lost in Geeklandia is the Independence Day story.
Q) What are your upcoming projects?
My next book, Stumptown Spirits, releases on May 16th. It’s a M/M paranormal, the first in my new Legend Tripping series with Riptide Publishing. Book two, Wolf’s Clothing, is slated for an October 10th release.
Q) What inspired you to start writing?
A trip to the dairy. J We’re going waaaaay back here. When I was in second grade, my class took a field trip to a local dairy farm (in those days, Orange County in Southern California still had dairy farms). When we got back to class, we had to write a story about the experience. With a sublime ignorance of biology, I wrote pages and pages about a Holstein cow named Trinket who believed herself to be a variety of different animals and ended up giving birth to a series of cross-species offspring. The title? You Silly Cow. (Feel free to snort into your coffee…)
In our school district back in that day, creative writing was encouraged in grade school, but once you got to junior high, it was all about composition and expository writing. My next opportunity for a creative writing class wasn’t until I was a junior in high school—and it was a poetry class. I declined.
Then, when my own kids were in high school, I came across a post about craft on Jim Butcher’s blog and fell into it again. Thanks, Jim!
Q) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Learn your craft. Take classes from good instructors. Find the process that works for you (and there are many different methods for getting to The End). Then—just do it.
Q) What are you reading right now?
I just finished reading the six books assigned to me for the first round of the RITAs. Next up—Dancer of Death, the newest release in Jordan L. Hawk’s SPECTR series. **squeee**
Q) What’s your favorite writing related piece of technology?
Scrivener. Scrivener. Scrivener. Oh, did I mention Scrivener?
Q) What do you wish you’d known about writing before you began?
I wish I had found my own process earlier, but it took time, experimentation, and a whole boatload of classes and craft books.
Q) We are in Portland, after all. 😛 What’s your jam?
How embarrassing is it that I had to look up what that meant? Truthfully, because I’m an auditory learner, I can’t have any noise while I’m working (either on the day job or while writing), so I don’t really have a jam. Um…do Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me podcasts count? That’s what I listen to when I’m driving—and considering I live at least an hour from everywhere, one WWDTM podcast is just about perfect for the commute!
E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer and business intelligence consultant. She returned to her childhood love of writing fiction after her twin sons learned to drive and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class.
Her daily commute now consists of walking from one side of her office to the other — from left-brain day job to right-brain author cave — where she’s perfected the fine art of typing with a cat draped across her wrists and a dog attached to her hip. Her stories include gay and straight characters because her life includes gay and straight characters (as does everyone’s).
E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
You can find E.J. online at: http://ejrussell.com/
On twitter at: https://twitter.com/ej_russell
On Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author