1)What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now? Maranda Russell, I was born in Muncie, Indiana, and now I live in Dayton, Ohio.
2)Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be? Yes, I always wanted to be a writer. Even before I learned to write. Before I started Kindergarten, I used to sit and cry because I worried I would never learn to read or write. It was that important to me.
3)When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"? Officially, probably the first time I made money at it! For some reason getting even a small amount of money for your writing makes you feel validated.
4)Did it take a long time to get your first book published? My first picture book, "Ode to Icky" was accepted for publication early in 2011. That came after years of getting rejections. Soon after that acceptance, I had another picture book manuscript accepted for publication! Seems like I finally broke through the brick wall! I have also self-published two ebooks which is obviously ALOT easier!
5)Do you work another job as well as your writing work? Not right now, although I am a foster parent, which is a full-time job in itself!
6)What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say? "Ode to Icky", a funny picture book about a stinky cat and his clever owner, Candy.
7)Who is your publisher? or do you self publish? "Ode to Icky" was published by Mirror Publishing. My other soon-to-be published picture book was accepted by 4RV Publishing. My two ebooks, "In Memory of Dad" and "Weezie, the Elephant with Allergies" were self-published on Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
8)How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it? It varies widely. I have finished some manuscripts in a day or two, but some have been spread out over months. Obviously, short stories or picture book manuscripts don't take as long to write as longer pieces. However, editing picture book manuscripts can be a challenge.
9)Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others? What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre? "In Memory of Dad" was hard to write in some ways because it was based on experiences I went through after my father died when I was 12. It was healing in some ways though. You can definitely expect more children's or YA books from me, genres may vary, although I want to write books that mean something.
10)Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
What genre would you place your books into? Right now I am working on a story about the pain humans put animals through when they mistreat and abandon them. The story I am writing is based on a couple kittens we found abandoned in a cardboard box in our church parking lot. They were in really bad shape, one even died, but the other became a part of our family and is healthy and happy now.
11)Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite? "In Memory of Dad" is my favorite story, it just meant so much to me to talk about something so personal and to remember my dad in that way. "Ode to Icky" is also a favorite because it is the first book I have had published that I can actually hold in my hands!
12)Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite? So far the favorite character would probably be the cat, Icky, from "Ode to Icky". He is so much like our fat cat Einstein! In fact, I had the illustrator draw him from some photos of Einstein.
13)How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write? I've been writing stories, poems and other stuff since I first learned to write. I think what inspired me was the way people would laugh while reading my stories and how friends, family and teachers would often tell me that someday I would be a great writer.
14)Where do you get your book plot ideas from? Quite a bit from real life. Both from my own childhood experiences and from the things I see my foster children going through. Of course, some ideas just come out of nowhere and sometimes those are the best ones!
15)Do you gift books to readers to do reviews? Yes, if I ask someone to do a review, I always offer to provide a book for them.
16)Do you read all the reviews of your book/books? If I know they exist, I read them. Most of them really raise my spirits.
17)How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books? "Ode to Icky" was designed by the publisher, so I didn't have much of a hand in that. I did design the covers for "In Memory of Dad" and "Weezie, the Elephant with Allergies". I just tried to pick a cover look that really made sense in connection to the storyline. As for titles, those normally come to me quickly, before the story is even written.
18)How do you market/promote your books? A lot of online promotion, tweeting, Facebooking, participating in groups for readers and writers, blog tours, giveaways, whatever comes along that I think might work. I'll try anything once.
19)What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller? Really, for me it mostly comes down to the characters. If I care about the characters I can hang around even if the plot isn't great. But if the characters don't strike a chord with me, nothing else matters.
20)Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"? My block mostly comes from my own perfectionism and expectations. Nothing ever comes out as perfect as I envision it. I have to work past that everyday that I write.
21)What do you do to unwind and relax? Read, hike, dance, shop, skate, take baths, eat chocolate and cereal.
22)Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you? Definitely. I don't make them exact replicas, but I use people and events for inspiration.
23)Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..") Yes, although I don't like to make them overpowering or so obvious that the story looks like a setup just to teach a lesson. The story should come first.
24)Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing? Edgar Allan Poe is my favorite writer, even though I don't write much horror or mystery. I think his literary style did influence me though.
25)Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback? Paperback or ebook are my favorite. I don't like hardbacks very well, especially the ones that come with bookcovers.
26)What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once? My complete collection of Edgar Allan Poe's tales and poems is my favorite book, and I've definitely read parts of it many times.
27)What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback) "Before I Die" by Jenny Downham in paperback. It is sad, but a really good book. Makes you appreciate life.
28)Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books? In time they might come close. I will be sad if that day comes, even though I don't mind ebooks.
29)Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish? I tried to read "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Catcher in the Rye" and just couldn't get into either of them. Quit pretty early into the book on both.
30)What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? Never give up. If you really want it, keep the faith.
31)Where can readers follow you? My blog, Facebook Page, Twitter and Goodreads.
Your web site/blog? www.marandarussell.com
Your facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/#!/Maranda.Russe...
Your Goodreads author page? http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/480...
Your Twitter details? http://twitter.com/#!/shojobeatgirl