Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Russ Durbin, author of the short stories THE SUBURBANITES, and A PRIVATE LITTLE AFFAIR, among his works, and welcome him to my blog. Welcome Russ!
Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?
A: I began reading at an early age (well before first grade) and have loved reading fiction and non-fiction ever since. I began my career as a reporter for a small daily newspaper in Indiana. I also got into broadcasting as a news and sports announcer. Altogether, I spent 13 years in the news business, the last seven with The Indianapolis News, an evening daily that sadly no longer exists. I then moved into corporate communications, spending 13 years with an Indianapolis-based company, and 16 years with a New Jersey-based company before retiring.
I married a beautiful professional musician who has taught piano since she was 14 and directed vocal and handbell choirs since that time. We raised three children, two of whom are married and we have four grandchildren. Diana and I celebrated 50 years of marriage in Paris in 2011. I am a certified lay minister and serve as the parish visitor for our church.
Q: Have you been writing for a long time?
A: Yes. I wrote my first fiction at 17, a sci-fi short story. I took a creative writing course at Butler University and won the university-wide creative writing contest with my first entry. I wrote a few stories then (some of which were trash and one or two that were pretty good). At the time, I made lots of notes for other stories which I never developed.
Two years ago, I began cleaning out the closet in my office when I came across these notes. One was a title, “The Old Woman from Catspaw,” with five or six lines written. One line was: “Felicity Furr was a cranky old crone nobody liked.” It sparked my imagination, and I sat down that night and wrote the story. That started me writing fiction again after 46 years.
Q: You have a prolific output of short stories. Do you have a writing program which works for you?
A: When I have an idea for a story, I jot it down wherever I am. When I get home, I disappear into my office and put the notes into the computer. Then I let the idea marinate in my head before I attempt to write. Often, I am writing scenarios mentally while doing other things. When I get a clear story line in mind, I sit at the computer and write, often editing as I go. I find I write best at night, if I am not too tired. Sometimes, I write in the morning (5-6 a.m.). No phones and no interruptions.
Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?
A: Yes. My favorite is western. I regard the western as the only true American literature. However, I like a literary smorgasbord – legal, historical, crime, spy, romance, spiritual, sports, sci-fi, human drama, and humor. I also like biographies. Not a big fan of horror and fantasy stories, with a few exceptions.
Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?
A: As you might expect, my favorite author was Louis L’Amor; I have read all of his books and short stories. He wrote about what he knew and had experienced in one way or another. While his protagonists were idealized, he gave the reader a feeling of being there, seeing the story developing. Another favorite author was Dick Francis. I believe I have read all of his novels about the British horse racing scene. His descriptions of people, horses and situations were sharply drawn and often mixed with a bit of dry humor.
Of course, having majored in English, I am in love with the classics of literature. Shakespeare tops all for me.
Q: Your books cover a wide range of subject matter and content, from westerns, romance, to satires, just for starters. Which genre is your favorite to write?
A: That’s a tough question. I like doing the research and writing westerns. But I get bored easily and like to move from one type to another.
Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, from either the past, or still on the air?
A: I’m so old I had favorite radio shows before TV. Among them were “The Lone Ranger,” “Gunsmoke,” and “Sherlock Holmes.” On TV my favorites included “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza,” “I Love Lucy,” and “Star Trek.”
Currently, I especially like “Blue Bloods,” about an Irish-Catholic family of New York cops. One of the reasons is that the show gives at least equal time to human and family situations as well as nitty-gritty police work. We need more shows like this one. The writing is excellent.
Q: Do you have any hobbies you like to participate in when you have spare time?
A: I like to sing. When I was dating my wife, she would play the piano and I would sing. I sing in a community choral group now. I love sports, watching more than playing these days. But I still can shoot a mean game of basketball with my son and grandson.
Q: Do you have any other writing projects which you would like to mention?
A: Yes, thanks for asking. I have just finished a short sci-fi story with a twist and a longer love story that deals with spiritual as well as physical love. I am working on another baseball story and a historical romance story set in the World War I period.
I am certain that you will join me in thanking Russ today for his time, and that we look forward to reading more of his works in the future.
If you wish to contact Russ, he is available on:
*Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/people/Russ-Durbin/100003368919141
Russ’ books can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below: