Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Meet Rebecca Ryals Russell - Part 1

This is the first part of a three-part interview with author Rebecca Ryals Russell. Watch for the next segments over the next week.

The Yellow Hat Author
Where did the concept for your current book come from?

The concept for Seraphym Wars Series, Odessa has been brewing for twenty-five years. I started it several times but finally sat down and let it pour into the computer about three years ago.

How long have you been working on your latest book (concept to editing)?

Book 1 Odessa took about two and a half years from start to finish of actual writing, rewriting, editing, submission. The next book hasn’t taken nearly as long. I guess I was pretty much learning my way through the process.

How many books do you have published?

Odessa is my debut novel. I currently have three contracts, however. Odessa comes out April 2011, Zarena comes out July 2011 and Don’t Make Marty Mad comes out Oct 2011, but it’s a horror story and not intended for teens or children.

What interferes with your muse and what do you do about that?

I have discovered the more I write the more active my Muse has become. I see stories everywhere and in most conversations I have or overhear. I try to write during the morning, while everyone is at work or school or very late at night and they all know if they get the ‘stare’ it means I’m concentrating and to wait their turn. If I do find my Muse wandering, however, I turn to a different work in progress and the change of project helps.

Where do you perform your best writing? Why?

I have an awesome desk set-up in the living room. It allows me to be with the family but write or plan or answer emails. I write daily, finding time where I can.

Who was your greatest influence on your writing? Do they know it?

My father should have been a published writer but never had the gumption to pursue it. He was always writing poems and stories for occasions and I found one he’d begun after he died. It was he who introduced me to classic literature where my love of writing really grew. I like to think he’s watching me and is proud that I’ve succeeded where he didn’t.

But I’d have the say my greatest influence has been and continues to be my husband. He supports me daily by reading and commenting or editing, by putting up with late dinner or ‘do it yourself’ dinner.

Did you grow up in a ‘reading’ household? Do you believe that had anything to do with your becoming an author?

My father was a teacher while I grew up then a principal. My mother was a school head secretary. So our home was always full of reading material. It was Daddy who showed me what good literature looked like. We discussed Lord of the Rings and Ray Bradbury and Lord of the Flies after I read each of them. He was responsible for instilling my love of a good story.

My own children have grown up in a reading household because my husband is a voracious reader (bought an iPad soon after their release) and we have a pretty good sized library of books.

What was your favorite childhood activity and why?

I sat on the grass under our grape arbor, where it was shady, and watched the critters in the South Florida canal that ran behind my house while I wrote poetry, stories, songs for my guitar and day dreamed. I have a box full of these early literary creations.

As a youngster, what did you want to be when you grew up? When did this change, if it did.

I planned on being a teacher from the time I started school. I even held ‘school’ in our utility room with my best friend and younger sister. Daddy would bring home old mimeograph papers that I would ‘assign’. And I had a stand-up chalkboard as well. We even had a little school desk for my ‘student’. I taught for nearly fifteen years with a break to raise my family and only quit when I came back after twelve years and found the system so changed I no longer enjoyed teaching. That’s when I began writing.

Do you think people who are especially good at something, writers, singers, musicians, artists, etc, were born with talent or can it be fostered throughout a lifetime?

I believe people are born with certain abilities and interests. Whether these are fostered or not can sometimes make a difference in what they achieve in life. But there have been people born in dire circumstances who overcame them in order to succeed on their own.


  1. Great interview. It's so nice to get to know more about you. Look forward to seeing your books.

  2. I hope you come back for the rest of the interviews, Charlie.

  3. Marva, thank you so much for running my interview.

    Charlie, Thank you for stopping by.