Bookish · Interviews

Interview with Mike Russell

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Hello, book pandas 🐼

Today I’m here with something completely different and new – INTERVIEW!

This is something big for me, because although it’s taken personally and you have no chance to get to know the person while talking, he still gave you some of his time.

After reading Nothing is strange, I don’t know why, but I decided to try and ask the author for interview. Mike gladly agreed to this. So here it is…

1. The passion for writing comes with the passion for reading. When and how you found the magic of the books? 

As a child I loved reading. I loved Dr Seuss and Roald Dahl. I then moved on to HG Wells, then Philip K Dick and Angela Carter, then Franz Kafka and Bruno Schultz. These are all writers who explore the mysteries of life and who enjoy the strange.

Mike Russell Author

‘Magic’ is a good word. If you felt that there was magic in my books then I am glad. Stories can be truly magical, truly transformative. Modern culture seems to have forgotten that, like someone who has given up on the possibility of their life ever getting better and who has settled for less than they desire. At www.strangebooks.com we say: “We wish our readers the highest possible outcome from their reading experience. We believe that stories have the potential to be life-changing. So let us not limit the power of the story; let us read with an expectation of the highest possible outcome and allow every story to work its magic.” http://www.strangebooks.com is our contribution to the re-magicalising of the world. (Yes, I made that word up.)

2. When did you found that writing is your thing? 

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When I was a teenager I was astonished and relieved to discover that in books there were written things that no one ever spoke about. I therefore felt that books were my home. I found that I could explore life through writing with much more honesty and with more freedom than in any other way. Years later, I began performing my stories in clubs & bars and happily I kept being invited to do more. This showed me that there was an audience for my writing. The stories in ‘Nothing Is Strange’ have all been performed many times and have been carefully honed over many years.

 

 

3. When you started writing Nothing Is Strange, did you know that you’d get to see it published? And which is your favorite story in the book? 2218e-2017-06-162b10-03-292b1

www.strangebooks.com is an Indie publisher set up by myself and Jay Snelling for the purpose of distributing my books. Nothing Is Strange is the first book we published. We currently have two other books available: Strange Medicine (weird and wonderful stories for all that ails you) and Strungballs (a surreal fantasy novella). There are many more books to come. If you visit www.strangebooks.com and press the ‘follow’ button you will be notified when each new book is released.

Creations are difficult to choose between, so all the stories in ‘Nothing Is Strange’ are my favourites.
4. What is the feeling to hold your book in your hands?

It makes me happy. Seeing someone reading it makes me happier. Until a book is read, it is just a thing. Reading a book makes it more than a thing; that is when magic can happen.

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5. What was the hardest thing to do in the publishing process? What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

I have always done it independently. Years ago I made hand-bound books of my stories and sold them. I would sew them together, then make cloth, hardback covers for them. They took ages to make. These days it is so much easier to produce a book. Creative freedom is a wonderful, precious and important thing. You have to have that freedom to be able to create something that is unique and that has integrity. Indie presses like www.strangebooks.com are on the increase and to me that is a wonderful thing.

 

6. Are you writing and then editing or both at the same time? Does writing energize or exhaust you?deb02-2017-07-132b09-04-272b1

Writing is a process that for me is both active and passive. You have to be passive and receptive initially to receive inspiration, then active to bring that inspiration into the world. Acting on your own immediate reaction to what you have written is also important. I edit a lot in order to create stories that are very succinct, with nothing unnecessary. I hope that gives my stories an intensity and power.

If you believe in what you are doing then you have the energy to just keep going and going to get your work out there. Again it has to do with inspiration: when you are inspired to create something, you can have total belief in it because the source of that inspiration is as much a mystery to you as it is to everyone else.

 

7. Have you ever lost something you wrote due to some Internet or computer problem? How did you cope with it? 

Thankfully not! I have learnt that inspiration has to be written down immediately otherwise it can be lost, like a forgotten dream. Losing an idea can be very painful as it is irretrievable, whereas writing can be worked on again from the original inspiration.

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8. Do you believe in writer’s block?

I am sure it happens though I have never experienced it. However, I do not see it as a problem. If there is no inspiration to write then you probably should not write.

 

9. What’s your motivation to continue when everything seems hard?

The magic of creating is a mysterious process and an absolute joy. Even if you are in a situation where no one is interested in what you are doing, it is still worthwhile to do as it can be personally transformational.

 

10. What are common traps for aspiring writers? Does a big ego help or hurt writers?e7c5f-2017-06-162b10-04-472b1

That is a difficult question to answer as I do not know many aspiring writers but I suspect that rushing the work is a common problem, as a result of a desire to have written a book. That desire is pure ego and therefore worthless. The desire to see your name on a book-cover is like wanting to see your name on a gravestone. For me a book is a means to an end. It is what a book can do to a person that is important not the book itself. The books will rot; the magic will not.

 

11. What advice will you give to the young writers?

The advice I would give is to enjoy the process and to stay true to yourself.

 

Thank you for your time! 

You are very welcome! Thank you for your interest in my books. Best wishes to you,

Mike Russell

 

‘Nothing Is Strange’ is available to buy here: viewBook.at/nothingisstrange

 

Yes, I used old photos because I don’t have the ideas for new ones. This was all, I hope you like it^^

 

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