Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy series, Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.
Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.
As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.
Q: What inspires you to write?
A: I’m compelled to write. It’s a fundamental part of who I am. But ever since I’ve been a dad—I have seven-year-old twins, a boy and girl, my ninjas—I’m more inspired than ever. They love that I’m a writer, which gives me additional fuel and passion. They know all of my book covers, and ask me all the time to write books for them. That could certainly be on the way.
Q: What kind of research goes into your books?
A: Depends on the book. For my Finders Keepers scifi comedy backpacking series – Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza — I relied heavily on notes I took when I backpacked through Europe and New Zealand, reviewing journal entries, maps, photos, receipts, etc, as I wanted the details to be spot on. When I’m writing ‘outer space’ scenes, I research star coordinates, names of galaxies, theories on time travel, space travel, and the multi-verse. For Crossline, which includes a key sequence where the pilot is viewing Earth from space, I researched astronauts and how it felt for them to be soaring through the Milky Way. I don’t write hard science, but I want my scifi novels to have a basis in facts where it makes sense.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I’m writing a top secret project I can’t talk about yet, but soon. I’m also starting to plot out my next book, which will focus on my private eye character, Angela Hardwicke. She’s appeared in three of my books already—including the new anthology I edited—Love, Murder & Mayhem. The collection has 15 stories, from 15 authors (including me) with every story containing at least one act of love or romance, at least one murder, and lots of mayhem. I initially thought I’d get nothing but private stories—I did a get a few—but the anthology contains superhero and supervillain stories, off-world and space cruiser stories, as well as A.I., private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travel, an aliens/monsters mash-up and … one DuckBob!
I also plan on writing several Hardwicke books going forward.
Q: Have you read any books that have inspired you to improve or change yourself in any way?
A: Many. In addition to fiction I read a great deal of philosophy, mythology, psychology, spirituality, and motivational texts. Some of my favorites include The Road Less Traveled series by M. Scott Peck, Over the Top, by Zig Ziglar, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell, and Pulling Your Own Strings, by Wayne Dyer, just to name a few.
Q: What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
A: Editing. That’s where I can start sculpting the raw text I’ve already written, filling in the gaps, adding nuance, and helping bring a basic premise to a more fully realized life. I tend to do many drafts—anywhere from five to eight is typical for me. That’s where I find the ‘magic’ in the stories. The editing stage is where I dive into the details, and explore the themes, character development, and subtle moments that are more difficult for me to focus on during the initial draft.
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