>Daniel I Russell An Interview
Hello folks for your reading pleasure today, we have an interview with author Danniel I Russell
GNOH – Hi Dan how’s life treating you down under?
Same old. Not getting enough sleep and wishing for rain! It’s made me into a real pessimistic writer/gardener type! Still, better to be hot than cold in my eyes. The view’s still nice though.
GNOH – It’s been a while since you moved there have you gone native yet?
My old boss at Necrotic Tissue said at every online editorial meeting that my accent was going more and more Aussie. However, since I insist on wearing shoes (running joke), complain about the weather and still eat Battenberg cake, I guess I’m still very British! I am accustomed to the wildlife though. I barely bat an eyelid when a huntsman spider crawled out of my shoe the other day…
GNOH – For those who are not familiar with your work can you bring us up to date?
I’ve been writing since 2004 and am the author of several novels, some published, some waiting, some given up on! The ones of note are Samhane, an extreme horror novel, which was published with Stygian Publications late last year and is available through all leading retailers, and Come Into Darkness, available with Skullvines Press this year (and both books out in Germany through Voodoo Press). I also have the ebooks Samhane, Roots, Fluffs and The Collector available on Smashwords. Regarding short stories, I’ve been published in Apex’s The Zombie Feed anthology, Pseudopod, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Festive Fear: Global Edition to name a few recent ones.
GNOH – You’ve put your short story / novella Fluffs up as a free download, how has that panned out?
Well, it’s one to make you step back and think about why you do this. Fluffs was published in the anthology Weirdly 2: Eldritch and years later, I thought it was prime meat for a freebie ebook that I could do myself. The book went up on a free pdf hosting site, and later Smashwords. It received great reviews and has been read by almost a thousand readers. This is a damn good feeling, after all, we’re predominantly doing this to have readers enjoy your work, right? Some might suggest that adding a nice $2.99 price tag would have seen me a decent return, but it’s harder and harder to get people to part with their hard-earned cash these days. With Fluffs, I’d rather have the high number of readers over a few dollars from a couple of sales. I hope to follow the success of this with the new serial, The Collector, a horror/fantasy/SF epic mix.
GNOH – This year finally saw Samhane back in print, (great story folks here’s my review), how well has it been received? I believe you’ve fallen foul of the “I don’t like horror type review”?
We gave 3 copies away with Goodreads, and this is the usual situation for non-horror readers to read something as hardcore as this and cry blue murder! So far, we haven’t had any ‘I don’t like horror’ reviews, although there has been quite a bit of controversy over in Germany. The German audience , it seems, are largely split over such writers as Laymon or Little. They either love them, or despise them. As Samhane is of a similar style, I copped the same kind of reception, notably from a certain review site that personally insulted me, the book, the translator and the publisher. This caused a massive online debate with blogs and emails flying back and forth…which resulted in more sales!
Generally, I’m happy that with American, UK and Australian reception, the book has been well received. Just a shame that extreme horror never gets the same respect from the mainstream horror fans. Perhaps I need to lighten up a bit to appeal to more readers and award judges!
GNOH – Are we ever going to see a release of The Forgotten?
The Forgotten is currently under consideration by an American publisher and everything is crossed!
GNOH – It must hard juggling a writing career with that of a teacher. What do the other teachers think of you being a horror writer?
Now that my class load is full, I find it very hard to find time to write other than at the weekend and holidays. During summer, I managed to crank out an entire new novel because I knew it would be the only chance I’d have for a while. It’s an amazing motivator to get your bum in the driving seat and lay down some major wordage.
The other members of staff at my school haven’t read Samhane, as they aren’t really horror types. I think they’re a little bit scared! 😉 They do, however, show a keen interest in the ups and downs of a writer such as myself. In fact, I’m a special guest at a writers’ festival this year all because one of our English teachers had friends in the library system. I get paid and a meal, I believe.
GNOH – How is your man cave coming along?
Wonderfully. I have a fridge, microwave, stereo, computer, fan and table tennis table in there now. Shame about the lizards and spiders.
GNOH – How alive and kicking is the horror community in Australia?
The Australia horror community is finally receiving some major international recognition, which is great to see. I think that over the next twelve months, Australia might the equivocal horror ‘where it’s at’. There are pokers in the fire to be more of a presence in Australia, and I hope they pan out because I love the country and want to be part of the team. This may require the loss of my shoes.
GNOH – It was with great sadness when I read that Necrotic Tissue had closed. That must have been a real shocker for you?
When we had the meeting, it was like the phonecall with your girlfriend breaking up with you! It was a shocker, especially as we’d just finished a full submissions period and we were all still in NT mode. NT was a great magazine that helped hundreds of writers, be it giving them their first, and yes sometimes even professional, paid sale, giving out advice or giving detailed reasons for rejection. But in these tough economic times, you have to prioritise and be damn sure that something isn’t going to bankrupt you. The publisher decided that by paying for so much fiction, the mag really wasn’t doing the whole financial thing, as unfortunately most fiction magazines nowadays don’t. The aim was to pay our contributors more, but keeping the mag afloat would have meant reducing rates to token payments. The heartbreaking decision was made to close the mag and concentrate on hopefully a few anthologies and other projects. I hope that the mag will remain in the hearts of those that either read it or were printed in it. Who knows? In better times, we might see it again…
GNOH – You’ve just set up the READING CIRCLE, could you tell us what the goals you are hoping to achieve with this forum?
There’s the saying that God helps those who help themselves. I say bollocks. I think that people, especially writers, should help each other. There’s too much competition between horror writers right now, a little too much looking down noses over sales and awards and things like that. I say to hell with it. Help each other out!
The Reader’s Circle was set up with writers in mind to buy each other’s work, thus increasing sales, reviews and widening the scope of writers each person would usually read. I also think it’s good to have a place to discuss these books.
We’re in the very early days but the first circle is slowly turning. Books are being read and I’m having a lot of fun. Hopefully we can generate interest and gain enough members to make this an ongoing gig.
GNOH – Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
As mentioned previously, The Collector will be released over around five parts in the coming weeks, for free at Smashwords (and I intend for free on the Kindle as well). Other than that, I have a novel and novella I want to write, but these are going to need more research than normal, and the time to write them! I also intend to study for a graduate diploma in education. There’s not enough hours in the day! Come Into Darkness should be out soon, and things might be happening with The Forgotten if all goes well.
Cheers Dan always a pleasure chatting away with you.
Dan’s books can be purchased from all the usual online places.