James: Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a professional musical theatre actor currently on the North American tour of The Wizard of Oz. I spend basically all my time traveling for shows, so home changes a lot. And the concept of a steady schedule is a very foreign thing to me.
James: When and why did you begin writing?
I actually began writing because I was really unhappy in the show was doing at the time. I was utterly miserable onstage and needed an outlet to keep me sane. Writing becamethat outlet.
James: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, the aforementioned misery. But the actual concept for the book came from the idea of a boy waiting in a window for a girl to come back. Discovering who that boy was and where the girl had gone became The Tethering series.
James: How do you make time to write?
Desperate determination. My schedule is chaotic at best. Right now, I live on a bus with thirty people, so quiet time to write is a rarity. I’ve given up on any concept of a pre-writing ritual. If I have time available, I’ll write. I’m working on this interview while backstage at a show!
James: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not a message per se, more a question I’d like them to be able to answer.
What is your obligation to help those less fortunate than yourself?
Can continuing to watch someone suffer without taking action become as bad as committing the harm yourself?
James: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Anything Madeline L’Engle ever wrote. I love her style, her characters, her unending sense of wonder. She was just a truly amazing author.
James: What book(s) are you reading now?
Currently Ready Player One.
James: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Since I’m a professional actor, writing is really just an extension of that need to tell stories. The only difference is in writing I get to create the world and build the characters instead of getting the information from a script and director.
James: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The mechanics of writing fight scenes can be very difficult for me. It’s a matter of how someone would duck away from a punch and where they would hit, and if their arms would get tangled. Those sorts of things take me forever to plot out to be sure that I’m not giving anyone three arms and no joints.
James: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I don’t want to give anything away. But the last scene was very tough. There were some huge choices to be made about how the series would progress. And setting everything up so the choices I made will make sense without telegraphing to the audience exactly where everything will go in book three was very difficult. Judging by the fact that I’ve had several readers contact me to make sure there would be a book three, I think everything worked out how I wanted it to.
Also, yes, there is a book three. I’m almost ready to send it to my publisher. I promise!
James: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Just write. You can edit anything but a blank page.
And just because you want to write doesn’t mean you have to be an author. You can create a story without having the will to fight through to publication. Telling your story is important even if you’re only writing for your own benefit. Don’t let anyone take the joy of writing from you because submissions, rejections, edits, and reviews aren’t how you want to spend your life.
You are still a writer. You are still a storyteller. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.
James: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love hiking and camping. Traveling in general is sort of an addiction for me. I also love playing my ukulele.
James: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I actually have two blogs!
My life and adventures blog can be found at: https://lifebeyondexaggeration.com/
My author and all things books blog is on my author website at: https://www.meganorussell.com/
Join the newsletter
Subscribe to get our latest content by email.