- GUEST AUTHOR
& BROADCASTER -
Today, I interview an interesting character from the UK who has had a very interesting career.
Welcome, Russ ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
My name’s Russ Kane & I live in London UK. I have four kids and a dog. The dog is the centre of the universe. As Pete Townshend said, the kids are alright.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
It’s all I ever wanted to do. My late father was a timber importer supplying the TV and film studios. As a little kid I’d go with him and wander over Kubrick’s ‘2001’ set or a James Bond set. I was asked if I’d like a souvenir and I replied yes, a script. I got it and devoured it.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I map it out in my head bit by bit. So, when I start I know the beginning and the overall arc of the story, but I’m not clear about the ending. If I see something that I think might be useful I make a note in my notebook. But I don’t write a skeleton framework.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Watching the words magically appear on the screen in front of me and thinking, where the hell did that come from?
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Every damn thing! At the back of your mind you’re thinking “This is me. This is my showcase to the world. I hope they like it”. Some days it flows and is a pleasure and some days it feels like swimming through molasses.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I trained as a lawyer, I became a speechwriter, then an advertising copywriter in New York and London, then a scriptwriter.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Opening the package that contained the very first copy of The Gatekeeper and freaking out. It was a fabulous moment.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Book two of The Gatekeeper series. It’s called ‘Invasion’. It’s mapped out pretty much in my mind. So all I need to do is, er… you know…. write it.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Everything and anything. I have a voracious curiosity for life & people.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
That’s an interesting question. I’m really a comedy writer but the publishers wanted the story much, much darker, so now I’m in the horror, supernatural, thriller very dark humour area.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Yes. Marry someone wealthy. Failing that, make sure you really love the genre that you are writing in. It’s a massive amount of work, so you have to love your characters as you will be living with them for at least 12 months.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
No. Never. My career as an advertising copywriter & a corporate scriptwriter meant I was always writing to a strict contractual timetable. No time therefore for writer’s block. Ever!
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
No. Not at all. But I’ve always been a night owl so often write until 3 or 4 in the morning.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Indeed I do. My kitchen table. Seriously.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
It’s who I am. It’s what I do. I adore it. I am never happier than when I’m at the keyboard. I have always been passionate about writing even when I was at school.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Easy question! Anthony Horowitz. Why? Because he’s a brilliant writer who grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go until the last page. He’s also a very nice guy.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
All the reviews so far have been Five Star, so I feel very blessed. The fact that people often say ‘I had to read it in two days’ or ‘I was gripped’ is tremendous to receive.
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
An American reviewer went on and on and on about a couple of typos.
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Yes. The initial germ of the idea of The Gatekeeper was sparked by the death of my young wife. It grew from that.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
My dog. Havana cigars (my only vice). Red wine. London. The River Thames. Cheese and pickle sandwiches. Endless double espressos. The Theatre. Cabaret shows in London. Impressionists (comedians, not the painters!) and classic cars from the 1950’s to the early 1970’s. Broadcasting on the radio. Performing my one-man stans up show ‘Kaned Laughter’ in London and LA.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Not really. My literary agent read it about a thousand times and was very hard core with me. I will employ a professional editor on book two. I think it’s essential.
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Wake up. That’s always a good start. Espresso. Walk the dog along the River Thames. Espresso. Write. Boadcast on the radio.Visit the Soho Whisky Club, have a couple of drams of Single Malt and a Havana cigar. Go and see a great cabaret at The Crazy Coqs in Town.
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
My idea of Hell. But if I have to be there I think maybe Stephen Fry as he is such an interesting fellow. If Stephen’s busy, then Bruce Springsteen so we could become best buds!
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
“Get a f*****g grip you morons!”
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
26. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
I have no idea what this means.
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
People very close to me can identify bits of my character traits in some of the protagonists.
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Yes. It sucks. Like the music industry it is always behind the curve playing catch-up. I don’t think it’s populated by the nicest people on the planet.
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
The Gatekeeper. It was such an exciting adventure and a thrill-ride to be on.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
What is success? Finishing a book? Getting a book published? Having it turned into a TV series or film? Being adored by the media? Success is a ridiculous word and completely subjective. Having people enjoy your work is success.
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
Well, it’s not an instruction manual. It’s up to the individual reader. It’s not for me to dictate or prescribe how or what they feel.
33. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
I would LOVE The Gatekeeper to be a six part Netflix / Amazon series or a movie. No, I’ve never written a full-length movie screenplay. Nor do I want to.
34. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
You know the saying ‘Never judge a book by its cover’. That’s crap. Everyone judges a book precisely like that! I had a variety of ideas for the cover, we worked them up and I’m thrilled with the end result. A good cover is essential.
35. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
The one I can talk about? Oh, OK. To have a top ten bestseller on The Sunday Times & New York Times list and to have The Gatekeeper made into a TV series.
36. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
It’s 100% essential. This is no area for shy wallflowers. You have to market the f*** out of the book. Every day. Endlessly. Social media is vital. I created a full PR plan & worked week after week pushing, pushing, pushing. It never ends.
37. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
38. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Insomniac. Driven. Creative. Gregarious. Passionate
39. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Rudeness & bad manners. Reality TV. Fake people. Liars. Fast food. WOKE snowflakes. People being offended by every damn thing on the planet. Deafening music in stores. Politicians.
40. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I’m obsessed with Holmes and Watson. Conan-Doyle was a genius.
41. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
Hey, careful, that gun might be loaded…
42. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Peace of mind. But that ain’t ever gonna happen.
43. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Hmm. If you find something you love as a career then you’ll never work another day in your life. In these horribly dark times, art is more essential than ever. Finally, never, ever give up.
Clancy's comment: Go, Russ! Well done. Keep on keeping on.