Interview and Giveaway: Barbara Russell

Barbara Russell stopped by to celebrate the recent release of The Pact of the White Blade Knights, the first book in her The White Order series. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a digital copy of the book (mobi/epub).

After she read The Lord of the Rings, she decided she wanted to be like Tolkien.

“So silly of me,” she said, laughing. “There is only one Tolkien. Still, I can remember the awe while I was reading and the feeling of wanting to do the same, to be able to picture scene only with words.

“I wrote my first novel when I was 10. Well, for me it was a full novel, haha, but the word count was merely 800 words. Anyway, it was the story of a space bear who lived in a planet populated by bears. Each bear had the coat of just one colour, while the protag had a multi-coloured coat, and everyone gave him sideways glances for that. He started a quest to find someone who could dye his coat and turn it completely brown. He travelled up and down the galaxy and found nothing. At the end, he said, ‘Screw it,’ and he kept his multi-coloured coat. Now, before you think that the story has a moral, that it’s about accepting yourself, etc… let me tell you this: it doesn’t. I just got tired of writing and ended the story there, lol.”

When she started writing seriously, she promised that she would never, ever write a vampire story.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love vampires,” she explained. “J. R. Ward is one of my favourite authors (not a fan of Anne Rice, sorry). But I thought that there were enough books on vampires around and it was really hard to write something fresh. So, of course, I wrote a book on vampires. The Vampire Who Played Sudoku is going to be released soon and it’s a rom-com/paranormal novel set in modern Auckland. I’m a bit nervous, lol, because the male protagonist, Ash, who is the vampire, isn’t an alpha male, quite the opposite. He’s a cute, sweet guy, and a biology teacher not the usual strong, billionaire vampire present in other novels. I’m worried that readers might not like him.”

I asked Barbara, “What is your work schedule like when you are writing?”

“I wake up before 5 am. Yep, it’s not a typo. It’s really 5. I’m an early bird, and the earlier I wake up, the more time I have to write 🙂

“After a very quick breakfast, I take the dogs out for their morning walk which usually includes: chasing cats around the neighbourhood, fighting against other dogs, and getting soaked in the rain if it’s winter.

“Then I change and jump on my bike to go to work while trying to not get killed by morning drivers text-driving (I don’t understand those people), SUVs invading the cycle lane, or simply drivers showing how little they like bikers.

“I do my hours at work and,” she lowers her voice, “when I can I sneak a peek to my Facebook account to share or like a few posts.

“When I get home, I have all the cooking and housework to do. Not fun. There’s a reason why it’s called housework and not house-fun. I take the dogs out for their afternoon walk and feed them before they attack me. If I’m lucky, I have 2-3 hours to dedicate to writing and do some promotion if the dogs don’t feel sick (too gross to talk about it) or something else doesn’t come up (exploding pipes, blocked drains, broken boiler etc…). Then I collapse on the bed to read before asleep.

“Now what I didn’t mention is that while I’m doing all these things, I’m plotting, thinking about writing, and rehashing dialog in my head. It speeds things up. So when I sit down to write, I’m faster.

“I might be in a meeting, nodding at the right places (hopefully) but I’m really thinking about why my villain is doing what he/she is doing.

“It’s like having a double life, and to be honest I often wonder why I do all this. The answer is always the same though. I just like writing. Promoting? Not so much.

“I had to learn (still learning) stuff about promoting my books, but it feels like someone told me to learn to do brain surgery in a matter of weeks. Not my thing.

“And that’s pretty much it.”

When she’s not writing, she enjoys trekking and climbing! She love hiking with her dogs and has discovered that forests are the best places ever to think about plot holes and characters’ developments.

“Not to mention that a good trekking recharges me. I need to get out of the city and its noises now and then and be surrounded by trees and nature,” she said.

I asked her what the scariest moment of her life was.

Bile is produced by the viagra on line cheap liver and pancreas are alkaline glands. Increased potency and stamina during the viagra for cheap sexual intercourse and reaches the blood to the penis. This has been found a leading factor to cause ISD sildenafil tablets uk Dearth of emotional link: – One with lack of trust may account a factor to cause ISD Dearth of emotional link: – One with lack of trust may account a factor to cause sexual mayhem in men. Before choosing the body art form of your choice, make sure viagra without prescription usa you know the removal process if you require it in your supplement can help you even more in maintaining healthy levels. “Thing is that I shouldn’t be alive,” she said with a laugh. “I was a blue baby, born with the umbilical cord around my neck. I didn’t cry. It scared my mum to death. At five I fell from a cliff while trekking on a path on a mountain. No one knows how I got out alive with only a scratched knee. At ten I had to be quickly operated for appendicitis. Boy, it hurt. My belly was on fire. A few years later a motorbike ran me over. I hit my head pretty badly. Lots of cuts and bruises as well. While driving on a snow-covered road, I lost control of the car and ended up on the top of trees. The car was balancing itself on the branches and I had to get out through the window. That was pretty scary.”

“Is that all?” I asked.

“Nope. I got a pulmonary embolism that almost killed me (I belong to the lucky 16% of people who survive it, yay!). It was the most painful and scary experience of my life.”

When Barbara is writing, she always starts off with a blurb, just to see if the story has a hook and makes sense. After that, she expands the blurb into a synopsis, then she starts the outline, chapter by chapter.

“It helps me to see if the story flows and if I can add a few twists,” she explained. “I don’t add all the subplots at this stage. I develop them while writing to leave some space to creativity. The writing itself is fun! All the plotting is fun too, but sometimes I can see that the story doesn’t work or it needs some major re-plotting, and I have to start again.”

I wondered, “Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?”

“I think it depends on what you mean with writer’s block. If you mean that a writer sits down and can’t write anything, then no. It has never happened to me. I don’t want to jinx myself,” she crossed her fingers, “but so far, I’ve never had a writer’s block. Also, I believe that many writers who complain about a writer’s block probably use the wrong writing technique. I’ve seen that usually pantsers tend to fall in the writer’s block trap, but maybe it’s because they aren’t real pantsers. Maybe they need to plot out the book first, and then start writing.”

“On a more personal note, what’s your avorite color?” I asked.

“Don’t tell anyone, but it’s pink. There, I said. Yes, I love pink, purple, and lilac. I also love Barbie Dolls. I have a collection of them. My favourite dolls are (surprise, surprise) my Victorian Barbies! I have one Barbie with a lovely burgundy velvet dress with a bustle and a pretty hat, and another Barbie with an afternoon tea dress with little pink roses draping the underskirt.” She sighed. “I know, kill me now.”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“I don’t think I should give any advice, haha. I published 15 books, but I’m still learning, but I’d say that the best thing a writer can do is reading everything, from memoirs to sci-fi novels. I love fiction, but true stories are the most amazing ones. There’s a lot to learn from non-fiction books as a writer, and you never know what might inspire you. Besides, unless you read as much as you can, you won’t know what style you like, and as Stephen King said: If you don’t find the time to read, you simply don’t have the tools for writing a story.”

London, 1884.
While other twenty-seven-year-old, middle-class women think about rearing children and attending dinner parties, Hazel finds herself unmarried and unemployed.

The stuffy barons of the Royal Archaeologic Society don’t believe a woman can be an archaeologist, so they gave her the sack. Having slapped the leader of the society when he groped her breasts might have something to do with losing her job.

With bills to pay and a stomach to fill, she accepts a position as dealer in ancient artefacts. It’d be her dream job except that her new employer, Tyon Sancerre, has more secrets than an Egyptian tomb and is probably involved with the Whitechapel’s mob.

When he says he needs her to find his long-lost fellow crusader knights, she thinks he’s mad, a rich, handsome, but mad man.

Tyon claims to be a sin-eater, a human turned into an immortal to clean people’s souls from their sins. After he and the other sin-eaters—the knights of the White Blade—were cursed, they were separated and scattered around the world. Alone the sin-eaters don’t hold much power, and with their enemies—the sin-breathers—multiplying and causing wars and famine, the only way Tyon has to find his brothers is through a relic Hazel worked with at the museum.

It’s all poppycock, that’s what she says. But when sin-breathers attack them, a ghost appears to her, and she witnesses wounds healing themselves in a moment, she wonders if her beliefs need to be reconsidered.

And the worst thing? She’s falling in love with an immortal, cranky, too-many-centuries-year-old white knight.

About the Author: I’m an entomologist and a soil biologist, which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs. Nature and books have always been my passion. I was a kid when I read The Lord Of The Rings and fell in love with fantasy novels.

When I discovered cosy mystery and crime novels, I fell in love with Hercules Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. Then I grew up and . . . Nah, I’m joking. I didn’t grow up. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.

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Buy the book at Amazon.


  1. Debra K Guyette says

    I love to find a new series. Thanks for the great post.

  2. Thanks for having me!

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