I have been a musician for a living for 16 years. I play piano, guitar, and drums. I live in Round Rock (just North of Austin, TX) with my wife Kathy, son Compton (6) and daughter Cooper (2). We are all very funny. I have two albums with my band Dorkstar and am currently recording one of my own where I play most of the instruments.
What inspired you to become an author?
I have been reading since I was five years old, and as long as I can remember I have said I would write books someday. I have read many hundreds of books. When I was in third grade, I sat in the back row, ignored the teacher, and read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series that was on the shelf next to me. Not exactly an answer to your question, but the answer is that I've always been a writer. I wrote a book in fourth grade called "Dinosaurs of the 90's" and one in seventh grade called "Rambo Lowers Oil Prices." Both were illustrated.
What was the main inspiration for your most recent book?
I had had a couple of false starts with novels. I decided to just write a silly, geeky story that mirrored my personality. That made the book much easier to write. I started by ripping off Douglas Adams and it grew into my own thing.
Who influenced you the most in life?
I have many, many influences from people I have read or listened to. Let's put the Beatles, Daniel Quinn, my Grandfather Bill Glazener, Douglas Adams, Sam Harris, the 80's thrash metal movement, the 90's grunge movement, and all things wizard and dragony at the top of that list. And anything that involves science and being nice to people. I try to use reason and compassion to run my life overall.
What is the kindest thing someone has ever said and or done for you?
My life has been filled with kindness and generosity from other people. I don't think I can narrow it down to one. My son says I'm the best Daddy ever. I take that as a pretty big compliment.
Do you have a favourite author? (Or name a few)
Douglas Adams is the biggest stylistic influence for the books I'm writing now. I'm also influenced by an assortment of scientists like Brian Greene, Richard Dawkins, Mikio Kaku, and Stephen Hawking. Other fiction writers I love are Mark Helprin, Terry Goodkind, Joseph Heller, Robert Asprin, and others.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
Stick to the story. Before anything else, make you books an escape for people that they may want to visit again and again. I'm paraphrasing many authors, but Stephen King seems to be one of the loudest advocates for this and I completely agree.
Did you always want to be a writer and if not what did was the first thing you wanted to be or do?
Music came first, but you have a small window in your life to be a rock star and you can be a successful author forever. Rock n' Roll is a young man's game, but I can be a hundred and still make up stories. That's why I waited to write a full novel til later.
Do you like to listen to music while you write? If so, who are your favourite artists?
Oddly, I rarely do that. When I listen to music, I focus on the music. I do sometimes, though. My favorites artists include The Beatles, Dream Theater, Wu Tang Clan, Eminem, Led Zeppelin, and (again) all things 90's Grunge. I've been on a rock kick lately, listening to Foo Fighters and Aerosmith. They don't make rock bands famous anymore. That's at least one reason I'm not :)
What helps you write when you're stuck and or have writer's block?
I'm one of those guys that thinks writers block is a myth. I write myself into corners all the time. There is always a way to either 1) make random things I've thrown in all work together in some cohesive way 2) redo a few things that have happened to make them somehow cohesive, or 3) make things go in a direction I hadn't planned. Like many authors say, if the characters are alive, they'll just do things. I drive a lot as a musician, so I'll just ponder different possible ways the story could go. I ask myself questions on my notes on my phone until one of them makes me go "Hey! That would be cool." Or I make up a melodramatic action part that changes everything. At worst, I stop thinking about it for a week. Again, I don't know if that's writers block. That's what it takes to write a story that isn't a rip off of someone else's.
After a long day of writing etc, do you have a favourite tv show you like to watch?
I absolutely never just flip on the TV to see what's on. I haven't done that in 20 years. But I always have a show on Netflix I'm watching. Right now I'm on Frasier season 5 and I love it. Mostly I'm a video game guy, though.
What are you working on currently?
As of today, I'm 65k words into my second novel. My first had 112k, and I revise as I go, so only about half of it is a true first draft. I discovered my personal "formula" with my first novel, and I'm using that for the second: quirky characters, odd situations, weird science and odd philosophical questions that hopefully don't beat people over the head.
When you're not writing, or working, what do you like to do?
My two small children take up very much of my time. I read about 50 books a year, play lots of video games, record albums that take forever to complete and have three instrument to practice. I try to work out every day. This month has not been good for that.
What are some of your most favourite books of all time?
East of Eden, Catch-22, 1984, Ismael, A Tale of Two Cities, The Stand, Wizard's First Rule, Tolkien stuff, CS Lewis's Space Trilogy, The first few books of any Orson Scott Card Series,and yes, Harry Potter books.
Which of your characters do you love the most and why?
Wow that's tough. I got to know Chintz the best. Quincy made it to the next book (my books don't have sequels, but the characters often overlap like many authors do).
Which of your books are you most proud of?
I've only written The Chorus Effect, so that one so far. I think my second one will be better. I love The Chorus Effect and so far a few other people love it, too, but I intend it to be the worst book I ever write because I will only get better.
What is the title of the last book you read/was it good or bad?
The Dirt by Motley Crue and Neil Strauss. I'm not a big Motley Crue fan, but that is a well put together telling of their crazy story.
Is there anything specific you'd like to try writing about in the future?
I plan on letting my books evolve organically and not force anything. I've never written and have no plans for a full series, but I'd like to do at least a trilogy before I die. Series are fun.
What is an interesting or hidden talent you have?
I don't like my talents to be hidden. I prefer to show off.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why would you choose it?
I would make people, either as individuals or a group, read more books. It would be like a new species. It would change the world.
Is there anything else you'd like my readers to know?
I will be writing many books for many years to come. My books are funnier than most. Try them out.
Where can we find you on social media?
Website (not social,but I thought I'd add it): www. russellboyd.com and www.thechoruseffect.com
Check back later this year as I will be reviewing Russell's book The Chorus Effect!