Kindle Author Interview: Coral Russell

Coral Russell, contributor to the story story collection for charity, Twelve Worlds, discusses the anthology, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Twelve Worlds?

CORAL RUSSELL: Twelve Worlds is a collection of short fantasy/sci-fi stories by over a dozen authors. The idea was hatched by Derek Canyon to publish an anthology for charity. All profits from the sale of Twelve Worlds goes to Reading is Fundamental.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

CORAL RUSSELL: I'm new to this, but the ideas I've come up with so far is to take tidbits from real life. Anyone who says artists don't borrow from real life are stretching the truth... a lot! Doesn't matter what you're writing, those human quirks are important to give authenticity. I've been experimenting with a journal format for my characters. I pretend to give them a journal and write whatever he/she wants for at least 30 days. I try to arc over the main story during that time with that character. 

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

CORAL RUSSELL: Someone who loves to read and doesn't mind some background thrown in for effect. I come from a non-fiction background. Fiction is much different and I'm still learning, but I like to throw in facts that make you feel like you are right there in the middle of the story.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

CORAL RUSSELL: A long and twisted one. hehe I wrote a lot of non-fiction because of being in Education. I won the McCaleb Peace Initiative in 2003 and re-visited Korea. That is published on Amazon under Peace on the Peninsula. I ended up with some time on my hands and had always wanted to try writing fiction, but had no idea where to start. An author I really like posted on her favorite 'how-to writing books' and I bought a couple. After reading them, I was inspired to try. I found this site BookRix when I was looking for resources for my students and they were running a writing contest. I was afraid to try on my own, so I asked my husband to help me (he writes poetry) and we won the contest—by sheer luck and it was a fluke! But I caught the writing bug and have been learning and writing fiction since then.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

CORAL RUSSELL: I've lived in eight states, traveled to all but 3—Alaska, Vermont, and Maine, lived in Mexico and Korea, traveled through Canada. I've held multiple interesting jobs. My last was teaching for 5 1/2 years. I always heard that you had to experience or 'live life' before you had something to write about and now I feel like I've done that. I started coming up with ideas for paranormal mysteries after becoming really interested in ghost hunting and going on ghost tours. So once I get the idea, and it's usually something that won't leave my head until I start writing, then I do research. It starts out broad at first, but then I narrow it down by chapter. That takes a lot of reading, but the Internet makes it easy. Then I start writing. My short story for Twelve Worlds came about because my stepson became obsessed with solving the Rubik's Cube and wanted me to write a story that had a Rubik's Cube in it.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

CORAL RUSSELL: I have too many favorite authors to count, but Emma Holly (romance/erotica) put the information on her website of what tools she used to become a writer or things that inspired her. That was a huge or perhaps the single greatest influence on me and I haven't seen any other author do that. She's tops in my book and I've enjoyed everything I've read by her. The other one would be Naoki Urasawa and his masterpiece, Monster. It started out as Manga. I watched and then bought the anime show. This kind of complex, character-driven story is the stuff I can only dream of writing one day.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

CORAL RUSSELL: I am so extremely jealous that I didn't write Daemon and Freedom by Daniel Suarez. This story is fantastic and a must read!

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

CORAL RUSSELL: That's still something I'm learning. Definitely get out there and basically bug people. Dig out your old yearbooks! I've heard it put this way—identify your genre and the people who read it, then ram it down their throats. lol To that end: Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Blog Tours, supporting other Indie writers, book reviews, well-placed and specific ads, finding your fans and staying in touch with them. Bottom line—you have to have a good, entertaining book! Even better—several of them!

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

CORAL RUSSELL: I wanted to go paperless at home and as much as possible at my work place. I succeeded and was excited about ditching my paper books (which at one point I thought I would never give up) and going the ebook route. The price of ebooks brought me up short. I had a WTF? moment. hehe So I worked on getting the classics that I'd never gotten around to reading, which were usually free. Then I started to notice $.99-$2.99 novels and after searching the reviews I tried out a couple and found them to be just as good as the traditionally and expensively published ebooks. I found Konrath's blog and I was sold! I've enjoyed indie music and film, so why not ebooks? 

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

CORAL RUSSELL: I'm a DIY kinda person, so first—you can do it! You don't need any special training. The first time uploading might be a little rough. After that, you've got all the experience you need. Good cover— is wonderful and Paul Davies would be if he would ever get his blog up and running! *hint-hint* He's a good friend and does some great stuff as well. Find a dedicated crit partner. My crit partner is the absolute greatest find on the planet! I can only hope and pray that I'm helping her as much as she has helped me. Submit your writing to a good critique site. I have personally found Critique Circle to be a great place for feedback. Spend the money on a good last edit—Scott Nicholson and Diane Cox are reasonably priced and do a great job. REMEMBER—you are asking hard-working people to plunk down money for your product—make it the best they've ever seen and something they would want to tell all their friends about!

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with the book.

CORAL RUSSELL: Thank you so much for letting us get the word out about this anthology for charity!


Coral Russell lives and writes in the Southwest where it's always sunny! Family, friends, reading, traveling, eating, BodyrockTV, laughing, serendipitous Googling...

Visit her website and find her on facebook.

You can find out all about the Twelve Worlds project, authors, bios, and story descriptions here:

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