Indie Author Spotlight: Todd Russell on Horror, Halloween, NaNoWriMo and Other Scary Things

This week I’m hosting my last IWU blog tour guest until NaNoWriMo is out of the way. As appropriate for Halloween, my guest this week is indie horror novelist Todd Russell, author of Fresh Flesh, the first entry in his Fresh series.

Hi Todd! Kick us off by telling my readers what Halloween is like for a horror novelist.

Even though I’ve been writing in some form or other for 30+ years I’m a newbie to publishing. This is my first Halloween having a horror novel published.

I’ve been thinking about all the things I want to do in the future that I’m not doing this year. One of them is buying a huge cake that looks like one of my book covers and throwing a Halloween horror novel bash. I’m making spooky notes!

I did self-publish a book of 13+ flash fiction stories and 13 October facts as a trick ($0.99 at Amazon)-or-treat (FREE at Smashwords) called: Flash O’Lantern.

I love the idea of of calling the paid copy Trick and the free one Treat. Speaking of tricks or treats, will you dress up this year? If so, what’s your costume?

No plans to dress up this year. I was a werewolf the last time I dressed up for a Halloween party.

Are you the guy on your block who always goes the extra mile to scare the trick-or-treaters who come to your door?

No, we’re the house that the kids bag on for not getting into the spirit enough. We have candy at the office and sometimes at home, but haven’t done much in the way of decorating the home—yet. I took part in creating a huge haunted house in the city at the local Eagles club a couple years ago. That was a lot of fun and would like to do that again.

I think we’ve been so used to being out trick-or-treating with our children (all raised and too old for that now) that we haven’t made a good transition to being good hosts yet.

One of my favorite things about Halloween happens at the stroke of midnight — that’s the official kick off of NaNoWriMo, which I understand you’re participating in this year. Will you be staying up to build up a decent word cushion after midnight?

Actually, I’ll be starting in the hole for NaNoWriMo 2011. I’m planning on beginning on November 2 because this will be the 23 year anniversary of when I started writing the first draft of Fresh Flesh (Fresh #1).

What are you writing for NaNoWriMo this year?

Book #2 in the Fresh series.

Did you do any planning our outlining for your Nano novel, or are you just going to pants it?

Of the seven novels I’ve completed, all of them have been pantsers. I have about 80% of Fresh #2 outlined and this will be my first attempt to write the first draft of a novel from an outline. I’m a bit nervous about whether or not I’ll be able to stick with the outline. Part of me thinks I might trash it and let the characters tell me where they want to go. Whatever happens, there are a few questions I want Fresh #2 to answer. At the very least, those questions will be explored and answered.

Is this your first year taking part in NaNoWriMo? If not, how many have you done/won, and what keeps you coming back each year?

Technically it’s my second time. I tried seven years ago or so under a pen name and got about 35,000 words done pantsing it. Wrote myself into a corner, crashed and burned. This will be the first time under my own name.

Tell us about your most recent release, Fresh Flesh. What inspired it?

I’m fascinated with the ocean. Sometimes it’s easy to forget we all live on islands. Every continent on earth is surrounded by the ocean. Imagine shipwrecking on a small island without electricity, the internet, running water and packaged food? Without the news, hustle and bustle of land life, how long before a vacation-like destination becomes a nightmare?

In the first two drafts in 1988-1989 Fresh Flesh was written as a standalone novel. This was my third novel completed. In the final 2011 draft I realized that there were more stories in this world that I wanted to explore and decided to make this a series (Fresh series).

What inspires you to write horror in general?

I love reading and writing scary, thrilling stories. Stuff that makes our hearts beat faster. Stuff we have a lot of fun reading. After all, it’s all entertainment.

A few months ago, I had the honor of writing a guest post for your blog series about what scares different authors. So to wrap this up, I have to ask: what scares YOU?

The long answer? I’m saving my answer for #666 in the series 😉 In short, I’ve left a few clues in some of my short bios around the web: Broken shards of glass, rock music after the 80s, clichés, Sunday night, predictability, stalemate chess matches, who really shot JFK, the iceberg that downed the Titanic, asteroids hitting earth, the insatiable beast known as ET Cetera.

Thank you for chatting with me for a few, Jean 🙂

Todd Russell loves reading and writing atmospheric, fast-paced, scary, character-driven stories. Mental Shrillness, a collection of horror twist ending short stories, was his first book. His debut novel, Fresh Flesh, was published September 29, 2011 and is available in paperback and ebook. He lives in the small city of Orting, Washington overlooking beautiful, active, and deadly Mount Rainier with his wife of 22+ years. He is working on more books.

Fresh Flesh

The ocean surrounds the secret.


Last night a wicked storm swept a beautiful sacrifice onto the shore. Shipwrecked Jessica Stanton is about to be discovered, cherished, and trained to survive on a remote island by a man who is not what he seems.

There is a place on earth where unrestrained evil flourishes.


Welcome home, Jessica.

Available in e-book format on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Also available in trade paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, where it’s currently on sale for 28% off.

Connect with Todd Russell Online:

Official Website
Contact Todd
Facebook (‘like’ the fan page for special offers)