Hello Sue, can you please introduce yourself?
I’m Sue Russell, writing as S.L.Russell, and I live in Kent, UK.
How long have you been writing?
Since I first learned how, aged 5! But with serious purpose for about twelve years.
What first got you interested in writing?
I have always made up stories. For me the need to write is like a mental itch that must be scratched!
Do you attend a writing group?
Yes, I’ve belonged to a critique group for several years and find it a learning experience.
What genre(s) do you write? What drew you to this/these genre(s)?
I write chiefly contemporary adult Christian fiction with a British background, and I believe I was called to write in this genre.
Are there any genres that you don’t enjoy writing? Why?
I’m not keen on romantic fiction. I don’t mind a love element within a bigger story, but for me boy-meets-girl on its own doesn’t have enough in it to hold my interest.
What types of things do you write?
I’ve written some short stories for the critique group, and some poetry, but my preferred medium is the novel.
Have you ever had anything published?
I have a trilogy self-published: (‘Leviathan with a Fish-hook’ 2009, ‘The Monster Behemoth’ 2010, and ‘The Land of Nimrod’ 2011.) I can be found on Amazon under S.L.Russell.
Brilliant, I'll go and have a look. Have you sent your writing to agents/publishers? Have you received any rejections?
Yes, and yes.
You mentioned earlier that you have self-published. How did you find that? Are you interested in eBooks, or do you prefer the old fashioned paper-made books?
My experience of self-publishing has been good, but now I would like to try a more traditional route if possible. My existing books are paperbacks but are also available to be downloaded to Kindle if you have one. I have a Kindle and I enjoy it but I also love paper books.
Who/what influences your writing? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I suppose my reading has influenced my own books. I don’t really know where inspiration comes from: perhaps from reading or observing the world.
How do you come up with your characters’ names and personalities?
From living and studying people, eavesdropping on their conversations! Names are very important and I take great care when choosing them.
Do you have a writing routine?
I don’t have a set routine. When ideas are flowing I write till I am tired or interrupted, or till I feel I should stop for a while to think.
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
I have a broad outline of the plot and know my characters well before I begin, but things do change as you go along – so a bit of both.
Do you have an editing process?
I edit as I go, and again at chapter/section ends, and after the first draft. Then I get trusted readers to go through the Ms and come up with suggestions. I think about these and incorporate some of them into the text. I don’t read aloud – perhaps I should.
Sometimes reading aloud is quite helpful, especially when writing dialogue. What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
I love all aspects of writing, but I’m not mad about publicity and marketing.
Have you ever attended an open mic night for spoken word performers as either an observer or performer?
No; the nearest I got to this was reading a few pages aloud at my first book’s launch.
Have you ever entered any writing competitions? Have you ever won?
I have entered a few at the Winchester Writers’ Conference, but I didn’t win.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Very. For me the object is to communicate with other minds and imaginations.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to writing?
Don’t give up.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Have realistic expectations, keep learning and improving, believe in yourself. And don’t give up!
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Music: I play flute in a band, I am our church organist, I have a few piano pupils, I sing in a Choral Society. I like to walk my dog and hang out with my friends.
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
Lots of things. ‘Gilead’ by Marilynne Robinson springs to mind. But in the end we must write as ourselves with our own voice.
What types of things do you read? Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
I read a broad spectrum of genres, but am not keen on anything too light and fluffy. I haven’t read anything which is at all like my own books.
Do you have any favourite lines from novels/plays/poetry/songs, or any favourite literary quotes?
Lots: many from the Bible or C.S.Lewis.
Do you have a website/blog/twitter/facebook dedicated to your writing?
My website is www.slrussell.co.uk
My blog is www.suerussellsblog.blogspot.co.uk
I have facebook page Christian Author Susan Russell
What are you working on at the moment?
I have just finished editing the second draft of my latest novel, a stand-alone unconnected with the trilogy but in a similar genre, with the working title ‘Lost sheep.’
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for the interview. I haven’t added any photos either of me or of my book covers because they can be seen on Amazon or on my web site.
Would you be able to provide a short piece of your work?
Excerpts of each volume of my trilogy can be found on Amazon uk (http://www.amazon.co.uk/S.L.-Russell/e/B003C01LC6/) or on the publisher’s website www.authorsonline.co.ukThank you very much Sue.