Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hi! My name is Russell Holbrook. I’m 42 years old, married, and my wife and I live in Mableton, GA, a neighborhood on the west end of Atlanta where I’ve spent most of my life. I’ve been reading, writing, and listening to Heavy Metal since a very young age. Concerning my artistic output, my mother once asked with a deep sigh, “Why can’t you make something that’s uplifting to the human spirit?” Apparently, I never gave her a satisfactory answer. I’ve written four books so far. Three have been novellas and my most recent release, Lucy Furr, is my first full-length novel.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Lucy Furr is my latest book and my first full-length novel. It was inspired by my cat, Lucy Furr, who was an absolute joy and a total terror when she was young. I gave her the name “Lucy Furr” when she was a baby kitten because she was always getting into some kind of mischief. I loved her dearly and we were very close. When we lived alone she would occasionally bring me dead birds in the morning or leave a gutted squirrel behind my writing desk for me to find when I got home from work. When she was hit by a car and killed in 2012, I was devastated.
While this book was written over the last year, the story idea began in 2005. By 2009 it was a feature-length screenplay and by 2011 said screenplay was collecting dust in a drawer. When I was making a list of book ideas in 2013 I realized that I would like to novelize the Lucy Furr script. However, I avoided it because of the emotional pain involved. Then, in 2016 I felt like I could finally write the novel and in 2017 I actually did.
Novelizing Lucy Furr was an integral part of my own grief process regarding the loss of my most beloved kitty cat as well as that part of my life that was lost with her. It is also my tribute to her, a cat the likes of which I have never known and may never know again.
In addition to Lucy Furr herself, other elements in the book were inspired by the prominence of the Christian religion in our town, being surrounded by conservatives, and the weird Orwellian times that we’re currently living in.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really. I sit at a little desk like pretty much everyone else and write on a laptop with a cool, retro-style keyboard that my wife gave me for my birthday.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I feel like I’m influenced by everything I read, but I’ve definitely found huge inspiration in the works of C.V. Hunt, Jeff O’Brien, and Carlton Mellick III, whose books Ritualistic Human Sacrifice, Bigboobenstein, and Apeshit are huge to me. I also love reading Ryan Harding, Stephen King, Richard Laymon, and Jack Ketchum, so I’m sure they’ve influenced me in one way or another. Also, Walt Disney’s illustrated Peter Pan was very, very important to me, especially as a child. My mom read it to me every night for I don’t know how long and it still sits safe on our bookshelf. And, I must admit, The Bible has also been a big influence, I’m just not quite sure how to articulate how.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on promoting Lucy Furr and doing some editing work on a new novelette called Chandler Bolt Versus Dehumanizer, a campy story about an author fending off an otherworldly monster who’s pestering the author to help him with his unfinished manuscript.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I have no idea, haha! This is something that I’m really just beginning to learn about because in the past I was always so timid about any sort of self-promotion. My only promotion experience comes from what I learned playing in punk, metal, and indie rock bands, which is: book an event, make fliers, and tell everyone you know about it. So, I organize and put on release parties for my books, but now I’m learning about online promotion. I suppose I use Facebook more than anything else at this point, just through writing posts and creating pages for the books. Awesomegang is awesome, though! 😀
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I’m still a new author, so I don’t really have any advice. I just want to encourage everyone to keep writing what’s in your heart and stick to what you believe in. I agree with Brenda Ueland, who said “Everyone is talented and has something to say”. That quote is so rad, and so, so true! Keep that belief close, and do it, just write! Let it out! There’s nothing stopping any of us from becoming amazing writers other than our own unbelief! We can do this!!!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I always scoffed at practical advice when I was younger and now I truly regret that, haha! A great piece of practical advice I heard came from Joe R. Lansdale. Regarding being a writer, he advised that aspiring authors make sure to have a way to financially support themselves that they at least somewhat enjoy and that allows them time to devote to writing. I’m totally paraphrasing, but I agree. We all have to support ourselves and our families, and being a starving artist really isn’t all that.
What are you reading now?
At the moment I’m reading The Halloween Man by Douglas Clegg. It’s the October selection for the Horror book club that I belong to here in town. As soon as I finish it I plan on diving right into Home is Where the Horror Is by C.V. Hunt. After that, I have to make up my mind on which ’80s paperback Horror novel I want to check out from my to-be-read bookcase/personal library. 🙂
What’s next for you as a writer?
I just want to keep learning and practicing the craft and working on becoming the best writer I can be. I’m fully devoted to the Horror genre and I want to continue to become more active in the community and contribute and help out as much as I can in whatever ways are possible. Oh, and conventions! I want to go to all the conventions! 😀
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I’d bring Dark Thoughts on Writing by Stanley Wiater because this wonderful collection of quotes and interview excerpts from Horror writers is truly comforting and inspiring, Duma Key by Stephen King because it’s climate appropriate and I really love it, The Stand (uncut version) by Stephen King because it’s really long and I might be able to stretch it out until I got rescued, and, I’ve also heard there’s lots of hidden symbolism in there and that you have to re-read the book to really get it. Lastly, I’d take any Christopher Pike Omnibus I could find, because he freakin’ rules.