Next in The Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview Series:
Bestselling author and tequila connoisseur Russell Blake.
Russell Blake has been at the top of my “to read” list since his first two novels, Fatal Exchange and The Geronimo Breach, two crash courses in what a fine thriller novel contains. I read both of these novels on my sailboat, and reached out to Blake when I returned—to congratulate him on an incredible “breach and clear” style entry into the Indie book scene. That’s covert ops speak for “explosive,” and his books are nothing less than explosive…all 35 of them. You heard that correctly. Since 2011, Russell has released 35 novels in a variety genres—mostly thrillers. It’s an incredible accomplishment, which has required Russell to put in unearthly hours and put down untold quantities of tequila. To this day, he will not reveal which was more important to his production.
Tequila jokes aside, there’s a reason Russell is an unmatched publishing phenomena. His stories grab you from page one, and he can write two to three times faster than most authors, while maintaining an unblemished level of quality. Let me tell you a quick story about Russell’s involvement in The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World project.
Russell was excited about the idea, so I put him in touch with my “handler” at Kindle Worlds. They arranged a phone call, and I receive a text message from Kindle Worlds stating that “Russell is in.” Awesome. I knew Russell was up against a few of his own deadlines, so I was a little worried. About an hour later, I get an email from Russell with an attachment and a message. “Looks like I’m in. I knocked out the first two chapters. How does it read?”
Huh? I open the document, and find 2,500 words that didn’t really need any editing. As a matter of fact, it was perfect from my perspective. Tied into the Perseid world, hitting the right apocalyptic beats. With a few emails back and forth, Russell knocked Deadly Calm out of the park. I know readers will agree. Just download it now and forget the interview. Actually, read the interview too…always interesting to hear from the legendary Mr. Blake.
Fair warning: interviewing Russell Blake carries risk to your good reputation in the community. The responses below have not been altered in any way. Clear your children from the room. 😉
Mexico, huh? How did you link your story to The Perseid Collapse Kindle World?
I use an EMP as the basis of the end of the world as we know it, as experienced through the eyes of a single dad living in Mexico, who’s also grappling with the aftermath of a hurricane that hits that same evening.
Without giving too much away, I was thrilled to hear that you would base the story in Mexico, and essentially share your own experience through the story. For those unaware, Russell endured the sheer terror of Hurricane Odile—waiting out the category four storm, at ground zero in Cabo San Lucas. You can read about his harrowing experience HERE. I suspect much of what you’ll read about at the start of his novella is directly related to this once in a lifetime experience. Check out some pictures HERE. It makes the carnage in my series look like child’s play.
Your novella explores more than one genre. The hurricane sequence qualifies as horror in my book. Which genre do you explore the most in your story?
It’s firmly prepper and dystopian. What would you do if you were caught outside of the country, in a world gone mad, and had to get back to the U.S. at all costs in order to save your family? What lengths would you go to?
This question is often found at the core of these stories. How far would you go to protect family and friends? Deadly Calm hits this note firmly. Beyond genre consistency, what major theme comes across the clearest in your story?
The primary theme is one of redemption, which is a common theme in my fiction. The main character gets a chance at reinventing himself while learning harsh truths about his past choices and his worldview. In doing so, he’s redeemed.
Russell makes it sound so simple…trust me, he does far more justice to this theme than he lets on. As the story unfolds, he explores this redemption in a relationship between two unlikely allies. Care to take over from there?
There are two main characters – Evan and Rick. One, the single father; the second, the crusty prepper. Evan is a civilized guy out of the corporate world, with progressive, some might say, naive, views about things like self-defense, guns and the role of government in his life. I think he’s relatable – he’s followed the rules, done everything right—but he feels a sense of foreboding, like maybe he missed an important memo on the meaning of life. Rick is a Vietnam veteran with a diametrically opposed worldview, who’s been to hell and back, and understands the evil that men do. It’s the play between these two visions of reality that I think make the book interesting. One could view them as two sides of the same character, really, but I thought it would be more interesting to create a ying and yang character set, both of whom learn important life lessons from the other.
Most writers in the The Perseid Collapse Kindle World reported that they nearly doubled their normal writing output. Did you experience something similar?
Is this humor?
Just kidding, we’ve already established that he’s a prolific writer. So, tell us about your other books. How are they similar to your novella?
My fiction, especially my bestselling JET and Assassin series, are approached in the same way: breakneck pacing, unexpected twists, a roller-coaster ride of surprises and action beats, and characters with unexpected depth. The novella showcases my approach to storytelling, which is character-driven action adventure.
Let me take moment here to better showcase Russell’s books. First, he has nailed the character-driven action adventure market. It was no surprise that Cliver Cussler chose him to co-author two novels. Eye of Heaven is the first, to be followed by The Solomon Curse later this year. At the core of his novels is a well-crafted character that you care about…surrounded by all kinds of well-constructed plot, mayhem and twists. I’m basically restating what Russell said, but I feel compelled. He truly nails this aspect, and we can all learn from this.
I know you don’t mind compliment showers, but let’s move on. Would you share some of your story about becoming a writer?
I was born a poor white child and raised by bears. The only way I could break out of my career as a celebrated porn actor was to start writing. So far so good.
That’s what I figured. You can probably see where this is going. Dare I continue? Why not? What makes you interesting outside of your books…in my opinion, authors are the most interesting people I’ve ever met.
Besides being a serial killer and having a lovely singing voice, I’ve lived in Mexico for a dozen years, and have done everything from being an entrepreneur to an architect/builder to a music producer to an investor. Now I write lies for a living rather than telling them. Came naturally.
I know how to get this back on track. I hope. Are you a prepper or homesteader? Worrier? How did you become interested in post-apocalyptic fiction?
Living in Mexico, I’ve learned to be self-sufficient, and after going through a number of big storms, the last of which was a hurricane that flattened my area, I’m definitely a prepper. I’m also deeply worried about the course the U.S. government is on in the development of a police state, as well as creating a nanny state dependency on it. Neither are desirable, and I think a reasonable idea as framed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights has run off the tracks and morphed into what Eisenhower warned about in his final presidential address: a nation operated by the military/industrial/financial complex for its enrichment at the direct expense of everyone else, including at the expense of their liberty. A steadily eroding quality of life in the U.S. for the middle class is an unavoidable byproduct of this, as is increased racial tension, constant stress over the future, and a colonialism approach to foreign policy wherein the nation positions its corporate interests as national security interests, and goes to undeclared war to further those aims. Not that I have an opinion on it or anything.
Yes. Russell may have an opinion. His stand alone novels, which I absolutely love, explore these themes, in an entertaining, high shock value way. Upon a Pale Horse, Silver Justice and the Zero Sum books really delve into deeper conspiracy theories related to the military/industrial/financial complex. Not to be missed, if you have a suspicious mind…or just want to read one hell of a story. By the way, I’ve given up linking to Russell’s books. With 35 of them, I’d have to outsource this job to a Myanmar sweatshop.
Since we’re on the topic of world scale conspiracies. What do you see as the most likely threat to modern living in our lifetime?
Number one worry I have is the rise of a superbug that wipes out most of the world. Whether lab created as part of our clandestine bio-weapons development, or naturally occurring, if you look at the history of humanity, about every 100 years something comes along and kills a big chunk of the planet. Last time we had that rinsing effect was in 1918, with Spanish Flu. Want to worry? Look at a calendar. If somehow this time is different, which I deeply hope it is, then look at the history of paper currencies, especially those which were used as de facto reserve currencies in their time, and look at the nations that rode that wave into oblivion. Rome. Portugal. Spain. The UK. History doesn’t predict stellar things for the U.S., and as they like to say on Wall Street, only a sucker fights the tape…
Now we know why you live in Mexico. What are you working on next, aside from the next novella in The Perseid Collapse Series World? 😉
I’m creating a musical based on the extremist philosophies of Pol Pot, Adolph Hitler, and Osama Bin Laden, written in iambic pentameter and entirely performed by singing pandas. Hollywood’s super interested in a tie-in with the Tranformers or Bourne franchise, as are the Ice Capades. We’re all very excited.
And there you have it. I’ll be the first in line on Broadway to see your musical. I knew pandas would make a cameo.
Check out his website, and as Russell is fond of saying, “Buy some of his crap.”