Interview with A M Russell

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I am a fiercely independent person who likes the "Do It Yourself" approach in nearly everything in life. I have always wanted success through my own efforts. I am comfortable with working on my own on the rock face of the writing adventure. So being an Indie Author really suits my personality! I don't get freaked out by the technology or the challenge of formatting. It's an exciting adventure.
Discovering that sites on the web existed to self publish was an amazing revelation. I like to be a control freak, and pedantic about every detail. I can indulge myself totally, and truly be who I am.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords allowed me to do what I wanted without paying a penny upfront. I don't have money to throw at my dreams. But even if I did this ethical way of building a path to success is setting things right in my mind. I feel happy and calm publishing on this site. I think that the stress of going on dubious sites that exploit you undermine the flow of creativity. Here, at Smashwords you are free of the concern that there is any hidden weirdness trying to trick you. I can get on with writing. It is helping me learn how to be better at things like formatting. I have to make the effort and persevere and that helps me to be a better Indie Author.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The wonderful part of writing is getting to know my characters. They come to life; they live and breathe. I feel very strongly that my characters should be who they are. My writing has been freer since I realised that you can just 'Let Go". I feel like I am flying over a landscape sometimes. I am totally immersed in the world they inhabit. Doing NanoWrimo helped make this flow even more. Having NanoWrimo featured on the site was liberating! The joy of daring to do; of letting go and going for it has transformed me and my characters forever. They are real people to me . Just not in this Universe. (Yes. I write Sci fi/fantasy)
What do your fans mean to you?
Every single person matters to me. Every person who has ever read a story and got something from it is important, valuable and the fuel to exist as a writer. I want to share the passion for story telling with readers. I want to encourage others to write too! I am a fan of people who write stories that bring out deeper things. I think that readers and future fans are smart people who know what they like and I just want to share that magic with them. I value comments and constructive criticism.
What are you working on next?
At the moment I am working on book number 5 in the series. I know that I can choke on the editing; I have to keeping correcting and polishing. "Not Without My Cat" has gone through several revisions as it happened because it was a NanoWrimo novel while it was already posted on Smashwords.
The current book is about Jared Arden who appeared in that story, and Davey Milnes, who you first meet in "Cloud Field" (Book Two - Not yet published). It is about a journey of discovery and the tension between what one believes ought to be done, and what actually happens. This is first hinted at in "Not WIthout My Cat" where the Time traveller from the future Jared meets his younger self who goes by his second name of Jay. I think he has developed in very difficult to deal with ways. A character who demands you attention.... Davey is more accepting, something of an innocent; but often has curious visions of the future, and is immune to paradox.
Who are your favorite authors?
C.S.Lewis, because when I heard "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." I knew I wanted to write stories.
I love Douglas Adams for his wonderful eccentric wild imagination; Tolkein for his Lyrical depth and intricate imaginary world; Frank Herbert (Dune) for the creation of an entire culture and states of mind as not yet encountered.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The fact that normal life has to be attended too! I start early so that I can do some writing in the evening. I am NOT a morning person so it's really to do with being a very motivated person. I don't like not doing something, It makes me twitchy. I get everything else out of the way so that I can not be distracted when I sit down to write. I always get up early despite being insomniac occasionally. I get so focused on the novel that everything else disappears, so evening is the best time for that. I don' t find it hard to be inspired to write, but nagging mundane things do bug me so I get them done as quickly as possible.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Randomly. I just follow things on Twitter. Or stumble on something when I am looking up some thing else. I have a Kobo Arc ereader, and it is always suggesting books. I don't think it gets me sometimes but I have found books I like that way. I like to randomly search a keyword and see what happens. I like free promotions and have downloaded free ebooks here at Smashwords. But I will pay for them too. I do not buy books that are too expensive, I just think it is wrong to charge so much for something that is a load of electronics whizzing through the air. So It is genre and reasonable price that decide it for me, no matter what the reviewers say. I won't read a book if the author is an arrogant know it all. why should I support someone who presumes to know something more than me? We all have our own expert areas of knowledge. I think that is what I find most off putting, that and excessive marketing, with no actual book!
What is your writing process?
I think of titles before anything else. I keep a notebook for random thoughts on characters, their names elc. I don't plan it all out. I have a general idea of the story arc, but the actual events are not predetermined. I tend to make notes about technical stuff: like how a parallel world could connect with ours, what do you experience when meeting yourself, and what kinds of things the characters use, carry, drink, or eat. I doodle little plans like layouts of a house so that I know where things are consistently. I take it a bit like role play and move within the environment, but the people might do anything at any time.
How do you approach cover design?
I use manipulated digital images and import them into "adobe photoshop elements". I use the layers in the program to add things and only flatten the image and save to a Jpeg after several revisions. I am very careful to stick to a standard 300 dots per inch, and make my image 5 x 8 inches so it can be the basis for a print copy.
What do you read for pleasure?
I like crime fiction like Patricia Cornwell. I have read some of Ian Rankin's Rebus books and will try novelists that have good prose styles if the genres are broadly something I like whether Self, or Traditionally published. I cannot stand so called "Christian Fiction" with the exception of Peretti which I admire, and C.S.Lewis who is intellectual enough to remain compelling. I don't generally read hard fantasy, because I get lost with all the names of characters, but for some reason if it is Science fiction I will give it a go whatever sub genre it is: all good stuff!
Published 2013-09-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Substance of Fire
Series: Cloud Field. Price: $12.00 USD. Words: 107,800. Language: British English. Published: March 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Davey and his friends escape the prehistoric enemy base. Back in London Davey is sent a letter with instructions to a safe deposit box. The contents reveal the story of his friend Jared and a life in a future time. Can the two friends help each other when Jared is suspected of murdering his ex girlfriend? Can Jared's plan to infiltrate the enemy base succeed? Part Four of the Cloud Field Series
The Power of Forgetting
Series: Cloud Field. Price: $12.00 USD. Words: 147,210. Language: British English. Published: July 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Jared Arden tells the story of his extraordinary journey. He is a magnet for trouble in this adventure and even his friends begin to doubt him. New allegiances and ancient loyalties are tested in this time travel journey into many worlds. Janey, his sister takes a leap of faith that strands them both in a future possible version of our world that strangely has no sea shore. Can they escape?
Sand Glass
Series: Cloud Field. Price: $12.00 USD. Words: 103,230. Language: British English. Published: June 13, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Davey Milnes returns to the Cloud Field Parallel world; now revealed to be part of an experiment in the manipulation of time, fate and probabilities. He learns more about himself and why he has the power to help overcome evil people who are attempting to get this God-like power for themselves. But this is one of many experiments sponsored by the university. The adventure is only beginning.
Cloud Field
Series: Cloud Field. You set the price! Words: 126,360. Language: British English. Published: June 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
A group of scientists and adventurers find mystery in a parallel world, where all possible events can and will happen. The chief scientist Janey is rapidly becoming obsessed. Davey Milnes tells his story as he travels further into these impossible and possible worlds.
Zebra and Cheese Sandwich (How To Steal A Time Machine And Not Get Caught)
Price: Free! Words: 64,580. Language: British English. Published: November 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
An old Diary leads hacker Kyle Owen and Paranormal Investigator George to Samantha Parker, who is the key to the disappearance of a scientist Joseph Drucker. When Sam vanishes, they delve though records of secret experiments of two competing brothers. To save Sam; they must reach into the heart of Time Distortion Science, to reveal a shocking revelation in the encrypted document codenamed "Zebra".
Not Without My Cat (When fish is not enough)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 139,350. Language: British English. Published: November 1, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(5.00 from 1 review)
Sam is a detective, who along with his smart but troublesome cat Camille, uncovers an impossible crime. With the scene of the unusual event too close to home for a man already harassed with a Mad Ex and difficult new clients, this proves to be the challenge that he needs to overcome his deepest fears, find out what electric tin openers are really used for; and save a Lady from mortal peril.