Interview with Catherine Russell

Catherine Russell

Interview Date: 7/23/2012


Catherine Russell was born in Tacoma, Washington and raised in a small town just south, South Hill, Puyallup. At the time South Hill was a heavily wooded area and far off the beaten path. Growing up she had the forests as her fantasy world along with the wild animals. She lived with her parents and an older sister. There are a few similarities from her own childhood that have carried over in to her first novel, “The Stage”. As a child, she did have a small dog named Toto, whom she would quite frequently roam the woods with. Her childhood home still stands, and is still nestled in the woods even though South Hill has undergone an extreme makeover since she lived there. She enjoyed hours of day dreaming and playing in the woods, which in turn fed her fantasy world of make believe.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I've written in journals and diaries for most of my life. I had been a avid reader but found that after our son was born, that "me" time was gone. But the big moment that changed my life as far as reading and writing goes happened about 4 and 1/2 years ago. While shopping at Costco I came across a book that caught my eye. I loved the simple black and white photo of a set of hands holding a red apple. Yes, it was Twilight. I began reading it way before it hit the mega status it has today. Needless to say, I made time to read. Then re-read again and again. After completing the series and watching interviews of not only Stephenie Meyer but other authors as well that started out on a whim, I put pencil to paper. Yes, I said pencil to paper. We had one aging computer, a young son that was discovering the Internet word of games and my other half who wasn't use to sharing it. Four years ago I began to write "The Stage". I decided to let the characters, that had been with me for years, out of my mind and on to the paper to see where they'd take me.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

As I said, my characters have been apart of my mind for many years, way back, about 20+ years. The two main ones at least, the others just grew organically with the story line. The way the clouds scuttle across in front of the sun or maybe its the splatter of rain on my office window that really began my dream state of writing. Music is a huge influence in my life. That's one of the reason's I've posted the play list for both books on my website, My main character, Megan, is a survivor of domestic violence while growing up. I've worked in the medical field for going on 20 years, a large portion of that in the ER. I've seen what domestic violence can do to a family, not just the victim and it's horrific. I used those emotions and feelings in Megan's make up; she's a stronger person because of it.

Do you pre-plan your stories or are you a by the seat of the pants style writer?

Would you laugh if I said...both? I know I want certain scenes and themes when I began a book or chapter for that fact. But sometimes I don't control what the characters do. I know if what comes out isn't right though too. If it doesn't sound's scratched. When I really want to incorporate something into the storyline, I make it happen. Sometimes I have to let the idea simmer until a great idea comes along that makes it happen, then it's natural.

Kev's response: Not at all, I get the sense that most authors use some combination of the two.

Do you write only when inspired or do you have a set schedule?

I put the pen to paper, where ever I am. If I don't have paper, I record it on my iTouch and then type it in later. With being employed full time, a mom, a wife, the chauffeur.... you get the picture. When it hits, I write it down, even on sticky notes...which dot my desk at work because for some odd reason I can totally zone out doing my dull data entry job, listening to my music, and I come up with great ideas. I write when ever I can. Before work, on my lunch hours or even waiting for our son to get out of school, in the parking lot, whether it's freezing or not.

Kev's response: I'll add notes as tasks on my Evo when they come to mind away from a PC. :) Sometimes, we just have to take when inspiration hits!

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

For writing, I definitely prefer fiction, where I can dream and create my own world. "The Stage" is my first foray into the YA genre. When I was in my late teens, early 20's, I devoured The Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witch series by Anne Rice. So, it only came naturally to start my own writing adventure in the same area. Even to this day, I prefer to read YA. It's light and easy to read. For me, reading is all about losing my self in someone elses world that isn't complicated, someplace my mind can dive into and not want to come back.

Kev's response: Of course, you're assuming it DID come back...! o.O

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

The freedom to create another world outside of my own. I love to see how my characters grow along the way. Sometimes I in cooperate my own life's events but only minimally. I find that when I'm going through a editing session, it's hard to remember that I'm working on it I get so lost but then again I'm sure most author's have that happen. When I'm writing a really intense scene, I hit repeat on my playlist, on whatever song that's triggering the emotions, and get totally submerged in the words, completely forgetting time and place. Then I realize that hours have gone by, but feel very pleased with what came of it. I will have to add to this though. I love marketing my series as well. When I was younger, I was quite shy. Let's just say, after multiple signing events and conferences, I love to meet new people, discuss the book and the industry as well. Its all new to me and I love learning about it.

Kev's response: Interesting you say that about a song on repeat. I'll do that at the beginning of a writing session, to put myself into the mood. Wait, what? You enjoy the marketing part? I need to find the Dial-a-Freud number...

Is there any part of writing you don't enjoy?

This one is very easy to answer. The seemingly endless editing process. As being self-published, I was able to purchase only so many editing sessions, therefore I took it on. With the help of a very good friend and avid reader, we did the best we could and the next will be far better because now I know what to expect.

Kev's response: There are online tools that can help as well (before you have a separate editor look at your work). Check out Pro Writing Aid.

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

Hmmm, let me think. Well, the only thing my wife and I could come up with was that I can touch my elbows behind me back. I don't know if that's considered odd but there you go.

Kev's response: It's a rare ability, to my knowledge. Well, unless one is into bondage, and then I'm guessing that people become far more limber.

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

As a traditionalist, I prefer an actual book in my hands to read no matter where I go. But my best friend is a techy gadget pro and loves all of her electronic devices. I believe at some point the digital format will level out from its speedy growth. It's still in its infancy as far as growth goes. I believe the love of paper and ink will never die out as long as there are books and author's who love to write them.

What are your current projects?

I've just finished the 2nd in The Stage series. "Exit Stage Left" picks up right after then ending of "The Stage", shortly after New Years in Seattle. I've now begun the tedious work of editing, tightening up and expanding some of the scenes. But I must be completely honest here. The third installment, "Enter Stage Right" is just itching for me to start it. I've been having ideas and concepts popping up in my mind for days now. Plus I have a couple of different stories ideas for new potentially new series as well, but those are far off. My main objective is to find the right publisher to make "Exit Stage Left" a reality.

Kev's response: I'm torn on advice here. Part of me, the obsessive, driven part, says to get the second book out, push through it. On the other hand, another part of me says to take advantage of the creative energy while it is pent up, and let it out.

Do I have any advice for others about self-publishing?

My main thought is make sure you do your homework. And ask yourself one simple question: What do YOU as the author, want to do with YOUR book?

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you? (and your books?)

Yes, I certainly do. My home website is, plus they can find me on Twitter @ darkness6601 and of course on Facebook,!/pages/The-Stage/236537156361313. "The Stage" is available through Barnes & Noble ,, as well as on my publisher's website,,

Kev's response: Catherine, thanks much for joining me! Good fortune on the series!

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