Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you an interview I took part in with Mike Russell, author of Strange Secrets, which is a short story collection that I recently read. You can find my review here if you are interested in getting to know more about the novel. As for getting to know the author, let’s get right into it!
About the Author:
Mike Russell was born in 1973. He grew up in the small village of Pulborough in the south of England. As a child, he enjoyed daydreaming, art and writing strange stories. As an adult, he enjoys daydreaming, art and writing strange stories.
Mike Russell is a British author best known for his books ‘Nothing Is Strange’ (a collection of 20 mind-expanding short stories), ‘Strange Medicine’ (weird and wonderful stories for all that ails you), and ‘Strungballs’ (a surreal science fiction/fantasy novella.
‘Strange Secrets’ is Mike Russell’s fourth published book to date.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I grow potatoes.
What is your favourite thing about being an author?
Discovering strange and magical things! And being able to share them with others.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t despair. You’ll find your audience. And start growing potatoes
Strange Secrets is your third short story collection, that’s impressive! Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
I have moments of inspiration that come at odd times. For this reason, I have post-it notes in every room in my house and carry a pad of them wherever I go; post-it yellow is a wonderful colour. Inspiration always comes with a brief feeling of euphoria. Where it comes from is a mystery. We are all mysteries surrounded by mystery and filled with mystery!
How do you select the names of your characters?
I really enjoy names. Deciding a name for a character is usually intuitive, it just feels right. Sometimes a little experimentation is needed to find the right one. My girlfriend and I enjoy looking for absurd names in the end credits to films. I don’t find characters’ names that way because I don’t like basing anything about a character on a real person, but it’s a good game that I recommend. One of the best absurd names has to be the old film producer ‘Cubby Broccoli’. I mean, really!
Do you need to be in a certain type of environment to do your best work? Or does inspiration just come to you?
Inspiration just comes but my mind has to be settled to receive it. There is no work involved in that part of the process. It is pure, effortless joy. The hard work is in transforming that inspiration into a story. For that, quiet is needed and a lot of time. I have to discipline myself to take breaks though, otherwise I will just work constantly. My cats are pretty good at ensuring I don’t do that. (I have attached pictures of them for your pleasure.)
What is your favourite quote and why?
“We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding
something outside us.” WB Yeats
This summarises how I feel about stories and all other forms of art. As a simple illustration of what the quote means to me, imagine you are feeling dreadful and all you see around you is pretty pictures of smiling people. Those pictures may well make you feel worse. If instead you were to see a picture that expresses how you feel, it could be transformative. Art has that power. Of course art can just be entertainment too but art has a magical power that our culture seems to have forgotten. That power is there whether we acknowledge it or not. The danger is that if we don’t acknowledge it, we end up with art which instead of liberating us, does the exact opposite. I believe in the power of stories. I see them as universal dreams; dreams that can help us.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
http://www.strangebooks.com is my virtual home, where you can find out about all of my books. It also has links to reviews, a free story, merchandise and other bits and bobs. If you follow the website, you will be emailed of new publications. I also run competitions and giveaways for likers of my Facebook page: @MikeRussellStrangeBooks And my Amazon author page is here: viewAuthor.at/MikeRussell
Come take a look!
Thank you sincerely for your interest in my books. I hope you enjoy what you find in them!
Thank you to Mike for allowing me to interview him! I hope you enjoyed reading and getting to know more about him 🙂 Please do check out the links to see more about his books, they truly are some of the most profound and astounding collections!
Until next time,