Interview with Aidan Russell

Published 2017-04-04.
What do your fans mean to you?
The fans are the lifeblood of this job. When a fan tells you they loved your book and then what they loved about it is one of the greatest moments of not only being an author, but life in general. All the hours, days, months, and years of outlining, work, tedious edits, re-edits, and re-re-edits all become worth it when I hear someone tell me about their favorite scene. Fans are also our best critics. In the end, the fans, not the agents, editors, and executives, decide whether or not a story is good. So, for all the fans, thank you for making my chasing this writer's dream worth it.
What are you working on next?
As of today (April 4th, 2017), my first full-length novel, an epic fantasy titled "Road of the Lost," is having one more professional edit before the publisher starts getting it ready for release this winter. The sequel, "Conspire the Damn," will be released shortly after. I wrote these books as one massive tome originally, but decided to split them due to both the length and they really are two separate story lines. Luckily, that means fans of "Road of the Lost" won't have to wait long for the follow up.
While waiting on the edits, I'll be working away on the third installment of the series and then finishing up a military thriller set in the Baltics that I have been working on.
Who are your favorite authors?
As with every fantasy author, my first favorite was J.R.R. Tolkien. After Games Workshop started pushing out Warhammer-based stories through Black Library, I discovered Robert Earl's beautiful prose and Dan Abnett, who made the eternal war of the far future feel human, despite the aliens, giant war machines, and super-soldiers. I listened to Naomi Novik's "Uprooted" on audio book and was blown away by the suspense. I think Brandon Sanderson is also a master of suspense in fantasy novels as well as having very real characters. I think he does a great job of not only making intricate magical systems, but also in tying those magical systems into the characters and the plot as to make me care about those most of all.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If it's winter time, I'm always trying to find a way to get on the slopes for some skiing. No, I've never tried snowboarding. Skiing is hard enough to master!
I also enjoy working out: weightlifting, running, and Crossfit.
I'm a big heavy metal fan. I listen to lots of power metal, folk metal, black metal, death metal, and all the hundreds of other sub-genres. One of the highlights of my year is going on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise every February.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I'm one of those folks who prefers having a physical book to read. When I get an ebook, it's usually something I need for reference or a matter of convenience. Also, my ebooks are sometimes free previews. When I get a book to specifically read on my computer or tablet, I'll see it as a recommended read on iBooks based off my previous reads.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. "Road of the Lost" was the first story I wrote, but it required several edits and critique partners before it was ready. The first story I truly finished was "Iatrophobia" for the horror anthology "Never Fear-Phobias." I was asked by the folks at 13Thirty Books to contribute and I wasn't sure I would be able to come up with a good idea for the premise. After all, I wasn't a horror writer at the time, I saw myself only writing in the SF/F realm. Then on the car ride home, I suddenly had the idea for a homicide detective with a fear of doctors having to track down a serial killer.
What is your writing process?
I am a planner, through and through. For short stories, I can usually get away with simply writing down some bullet points and then a synopsis before I jump into writing. For novels, I make a full outline. I like to figure out my plot points, pinch points, and midpoint, without getting too technical and exact on the placement and purpose. Once I have the structure figured out, I use an outline format similar to what J. K. Rowling used for the Order of the Phoenix novel. I find C. S. Plocher's blog at the Friendly Editor (https://thefriendlyeditor.com) is a huge help with my story planning process. One the story is planned, it's just a matter of finding the time to write. I find all the planning and outlining helps the words just start to flow.
How do you approach cover design?
I use Elle J. Rossi for my covers (http://www.ejrdigitalart.com). For all the books I've asked for her work, I give her a simple premise of what the book is about and she has consistently delivered a product better than anything I could have thought of on my own. She truly is a savant when it comes to books covers.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm a big fan of old-school quest fantasy, military science fiction, and military thrillers. I will also read books from a variety of military professional reading lists. My current reads are "Level Zero Heroes" about a Marine Special Operations Team in Afghanistan and a book on intelligence analysis, both of which are recommended from several military commands. But once I'm done with those, it's back to fantasy with Mat Kaufman's "Lights End" on audiobook.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the woods of eastern Pennsylvania. Not only did I have an expansive forest right out my back door, but we also had a really great Renaissance Fair nearby, which fed my love of knights and dragons. As you can imagine, this led to me going on many quests with my magical stick-sword into the mystical forest. When you get a chance to read "Road of the Lost," you'll quickly realize this influence runs deep through the book.
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Books by This Author

Uncharted Worlds: Xeno Encounters
Price: $4.79 USD. Words: 70,290. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2016 by Invoke Books. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author
Uncharted Worlds: Xeno Encounters Stories by New York Times bestsellling and award winning authors: Michael A. Stackpole, Jeff DePew, Matthew Costello, Lance Taubold, Patrick Freivald, Ed DeAngelis, Thomas F. Monteleone, Aidan Russell, F. Paul Wilson, and Richard Devin
Never Fear - The Tarot
Series: Never Fear. Price: $4.79 USD. Words: 179,410. Language: English. Published: October 20, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Horror, Fiction » Horror » Occult
Never Fear - The Tarot: Do You Really Want To Know? 13Thirty Books asked twenty-six authors to agree to write stories based on the Tarot, with the cards determining which stories the authors would write. Over the course of several months we reached out to some of the best genre authors and proposed our idea. Once we had our authors, we took a tarot deck and a list of all twenty-six names.
Never Fear - Christmas Terrors
Series: Never Fear. Price: $4.79 USD. Words: 163,150. Language: English. Published: December 2, 2015 by Invoke Books. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Horror, Fiction » Horror » General
Twenty-Two Tales of Christmas Terror ranging from ancient Iceland to modern-day Iraq by New York Times Bestselling and award-winning authors, including: a new ghost story by Heather Graham, a Repairman Jack Christmas adventure by F. Paul Wilson, a spine tingling tale by master of horror Thomas F. Monteleone, and a special tale of Christmas wonder by Jon Land
Never Fear - Phobias
Series: Never Fear. Price: $4.79 USD. Words: 122,440. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2015 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
For those who like their stories on the darker side ... 19 Stories of phobia from New York Times Bestselling master suspense authors F.Paul Wilson and Heather Graham with a "krewe" of dynamic award winning story tellers.