This week I pick up not just my featured author, but his family, too. We take a short hop to Cape May, NJ. Sunning on the beach, his children (the Ninjas), playing in the sand, the wife working on her tan. Out farther, dolphins play. What a cool place for an interview.
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
A: If I’m the most fascinating person in New York City than Manhattan has gotten awfully boring! LOL! I’m Russ Colchamiro, a science fiction and fantasy writer predominantly focusing on humor, mystery, and action adventure. I’m married with twin ninjas—a boy and a girl. I work in Manhattan, and live in Northern NJ. I also have a crazy dog, Simon, who may or may not be an alien himself.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I think most people have that ‘one in a million’ experience once in their lives. For some reason I’ve had about a dozen of them. I have no idea why. But for someone who generally speaking stays close to home—except when I travel the world!—I seem to have a knack for getting looped into the unpredictable scenarios that seem to be influenced by cosmic forces. Oh, the stories I could tell. Oh … wait …
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as a professional wrestler?
A: I can barely wrestle the Netflix remote away from my ninjas, much less get in the ring. When it comes to writing, the best way I can say it is this: being a writer isn’t what I do, it’s who I am. Not writing simply isn’t an option for me.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
A: Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Harlan Coben, Carl Sagan, and Sara Gran. Besides being great writers they’re all brilliant in their own ways and have (or had) a life perspective—and experiences—different from mine. I’m a bit of a philosophical guy with a curiosity I’m never able to satisfy.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book be great company?
A: Love, Murder & Mayhem is a new anthology from Crazy 8 Press, with 15 stories from 15 authors. While I’m typically a novelist, I served as editor for this one, and contributed one of the stories. Each tale contains at least one act of love or romance, at least one murder, with lots of mayhem, all in various science fiction settings. We have superhero and supervillain stories. Off-world and space cruiser stories. We’ve also got A.I., private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travel, an aliens/monsters mash-up and … one DuckBob! Perfect reading for a layover.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
A: I tend to do a lot of ‘pre writing’—a combination of outline, story concepts, and character arcs. I take a lot of notes, and try to work out most of the plot—like storyboarding a movie—before I sit down and clack the keys. Once I have it all down, then I start digging in, following my chapter outlines. After the manuscript is written, I go back and do anywhere from 5 to 10 revisions, tightening up the prose, rewriting where needed, and layering in details, descriptions, and dialogue to fill in the gaps. Then I show the manuscript to my trusted inner circle, and then make additional edits after reviewing their feedback. I’m process oriented in this way. I edit, edit, and edit again until I feel like I’ve nailed it.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
A: Don’t over think it. Start writing. Doesn’t matter if what you write makes sense or not, if it’s good or not. It’s irrelevant. Just get the ideas flowing. There’s an old saying from my hero Zig Ziglar I adhere to: You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to start if you want to be great. Just write and write and write, ignoring any doubts or confusion. Just go. You’ll get there.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
A: My overriding philosophy is this: Every day my goal is to be a better man today than I was yesterday, and to be a better man tomorrow than I am today.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
A: I’ll probably stop writing when I’m dead. Maybe. My next project is going to focus on my private eye character Angela Hardwicke. She’s in that classic Sam Spade style, fedora, pinstripe suit, knows the angles. She’s appeared in three of my books so far—including Love, Murder & Mayhem—but it’s time for her to get her own book. My plan is to do an entire series with her. I’m also working on a top secret project which I can’t talk about just yet. But stay tuned!
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
A: You can find me on Amazon, Goodreads, my Web site and the Crazy 8 Press Web site. Plus Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And when I’m on book tour. And … Links here:
Love, Murder & Mayhem at Amazon
Russ books at Amazon
My Web site
Crazy 8 Press Web site
Facebook author page