Today on the blog, I have fellow Crescent Moon Press author Wendy Russo.
Her book, January Black, was released this week by Crescent Moon Press and it was an honor to get the opportunity to ask her a few questions about the book, her writing, and what she reads.
So, help me welcome Wendy…
Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for January Black?
I have a shelved rewrite of a shelved novel. It’s a personal junk yard, and one of the spare parts was a still-frame image of a boy in an overgrown garden. When NaNoWriMo came around in 2009, I started with that image. I fed in my frustration at the banking collapse and the busted economy. My appreciation for America’s Founding Fathers plays a role. I listened to a lot of Dream Theater and Taylor Swift, which contributed to Matty and Iris respectively.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really. That strikes me as odd, now that you mention it. Maybe if I picked up a few, I could get my muse off her lazy butt and pick up my word count. I’ll have to think about that.
Can you name a book or two that has influenced you as a writer?
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson. The Snow Queen, by Joan D. Vinge. Foucault’s Pendulum, by Umberto Eco. And, it’s not a book, but Pulp Fiction made a huge impression on me.
Who is your go-to author, the one who you know will always deliver a great story?
Depends on my mood. I’m finding Crescent Moon Press’s catalog to be a great place for quicker reads. When I’m looking to challenge myself, Eco is my guy. I’ve read Foucault’s Pendulum three times, and each time it gets better. The Island of the Day Before was great as well. For action and wit, Neal Stephenson is always at hand. Snow Crash, The Big U, and The Diamond Age keep your brain engaged while pulling you along for a ride. Timothy Zahn has written several books for the continuing Star Wars universe. He’s a very good story-teller.
What book are you reading now?
Christine Ashworth’s Demon Hunt (A Caine Brothers Novel #2). I read Demon Soul last week while my husband drove from Gadsden, Alabama to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The second that I had internet access, I bought Demon Hunt and the Little Moon novella, Blood Dreams, which is next on my To-Be-Read list.
My Currently-Reading list is kind of embarrassing. I’m about one-third of the way through Steven Montano’s Blood Skies and SM Boyce’s Treason. Neuromancer, by William Gibson, has been waiting for me to pick it back up since before my son was born five years ago. And I’ve been a pitiful fan of my favorite author, Neal Stephenson. I’m a hundred pages or so into both Anathem and Reamde. One day I’ll get back to them. *hides face in shame*
What was the hardest part of the publishing process for you?
Researching agents and publishers to find a good home for my story. January Black didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. The people who were looking for YA science fiction rejected my queries mostly by form letter. One of the few bites I got was from an agent who said that everything about the book was great…the characters, the setting, my voice…but it wasn’t literary enough. Rejection didn’t bother me so much. They were rejecting a letter, after all. Steadily running out of places to send a query to was stressful.
What’s next? Are you working on a new project?
I’m working on two ideas, both series.
The first is Nick Jackson’s Error. It’s NA Science Fiction about a DJ with Asperger’s and stolen nanotechnology stuck in her brain, and her friend Sam, who takes it on himself to protect her from the people willing to kill to get the tech. The first book is called Virgo.
The second is The Choir Boys. It’s NA Paranormal about a Redeemer, a special op angel charged with hunting down fallen angels and bringing them back to heaven. His US-Army instilled sense of honor and duty, while normally a virtue, gets him into trouble with his boss, (archangel) Gavriel. The first book is called Glitch.
Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.
More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.
What was January Black?
It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He’s been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost…or call the king’s bluff.
Hidden in this post is a link to an extra excerpt to the book. If you find the link, the password is matty. Commenting on that excerpt post will enter you in a giveaway for a signed copy of January Black.