Well, Monday rolls round again. Hope your week is off to a good start We’re having a bit of a change of days for guest posts this week, as I have the fab Russell Nohelty visiting. Russell is chatting about his new release, My Father Didn’t Kill Himself. If you’re looking for something a little different, check this out, it’s a YA mystery told through blog posts – mixing dark humour with real issues of grief and coming to terms with loss.
Thanks for being here, Russell. So, let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself.
I’m a writer, publisher, and podcaster. I own a little publishing company called Wannabe Press (www.wannabepress.com) and host a podcast called The Business of Art (www.thebusinessofart.us). I live in LA with my wife and two dogs.
Sounds like a busy life Was there a specific moment where you first knew that you wanted to be a writer?
I never wanted to be a writer. I started writing completely as a way to move along my directing career. Then, I got in a pretty bad accident in 2008 and couldn’t do anything but sit at home and think.
I was going crazy, so that’s when I started writing as a way to relieve my neuroses and get all of my ideas out on paper. I fell in love with it then and have never looked back. I absolutely love writing now. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. But there wasn’t a single moment that it all clicked for me.
Do you have a particular writing routine, or any special rituals?
I like to get up early, get my emails done and put out any fires. Because of the podcast and publishing company there are always a couple of things I must do in order to set the ship on the right course that day.
Once that’s done it depends on where I am in the process. Right now I’m editing a book so my time is laxer, but when I’m writing I make sure to write at LEAST 1,000 words a day. I never go back after writing something down. I can’t even go back a single line. I keep going until I can’t go anymore, and I come back the next day and do it again. It takes me about 2-3 months to bang out a first draft.
Hehe, I’m the same way, I can’t edit a word until the end or it totally puts me off! Tell us about the genre you write in, and what drew you to it.
I don’t really concern myself with genre. I’ve written mostly mystery, sci-fi, and horror. What I’m really interested in is character studies. All my books are very deeply rooted in a single point of view. I want to show you a character’s journey from beginning to end. Genre and spec fiction are great for that, because you can drop a character in the worst situations imaginable and see how they’ll react.
For me I start with a character, and let them tell me the storyline.
Are there any particular authors or books that have really inspired you?
I am generally inspired by people that lived their own lives whether it was commercial or not. Somebody like Vonnegut or Hemmingway.
They wrote the stories they wanted to tell. They did it their way and an audience followed. I think that’s so important. When you do things your way, when you speak in your own voice, the audience will follow. Because I’m obsessed with business and audience building, people like that are incredible to me.
Very true, hopefully if you write the stories you love then people will love them in turn. What five things could you never do without?
My computer. It’s the only way I can write.
My wife. She is way more supportive than had any reason to be.
The internet, because that’s how I build my audience.
My dogs, because they keep me sane while I’m writing alone.
Books, because they let me lose myself inside their pages.
Tell us a bit about your new release.
My Father Didn’t Kill Himself is about a girl whose father commits suicide and she sets out to prove his death is a murder because she can’t stand the thought of losing him.
It’s a black, black comedy full of gallows humor and told all in blog posts. Most people think that the plot is the story, but as we have talked about earlier, for me the plot is a device to tell a character study. This one is about death, loss, grief, and finding out the people you idolize might not be as perfect as you think.
Sounds interesting, I love stories where humour mixes with real issues. Where did your inspiration for it come from?
I really wanted to tell a small story about a girl who faces the worst parts of herself and finds a way to overcome them. Honestly, it all starts with the character for me. Delilah spoke to me for a long time. I started writing her in 2008, and she just came out in book form a couple months ago. That’s one of the longest relationships of my life. I wanted to do her justice, and I think I did.
What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?
Delilah is my favorite part of writing this book. She’s so smart, witty, funny, and morbid. She makes this book. Writing her blog entries was my favorite part.
What was the hardest part about writing it?
Molding it into a cohesive story. Originally the book was a movie script where Delilah wrote a diary about the many ways she tried to kill herself.
Moving that into a book was challenging, especially when I had to give it a plot. I wanted to keep the diary component, but make it a little more relevant. So I decided on a blog. But then the script had to made sense as blog posts. Writing past tense blog posts and making them seem suspenseful in the moment was really hard.
Then when we added a second protagonist it got even more complicated. Luckily, it all worked out. We ended up with a phenomenal story.
It’s certainly a different kind of style, I’m fascinated to read it! Who’s your favourite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)
Delilah. She’s my favorite all the things. I love all my characters, but I’ve known her the longest. I think she is the embodiment of everything I want my characters to be.
Just in case anyone isn’t convinced yet, why should we run out and buy it right now?
Delilah is a self-actualized female character that doesn’t rely on a man or anybody to fix her. She takes charge even when it’s crazy. I love that about Delilah. I am so sick of reading books where a man has to save a woman. Save yourself already! Why are you waiting?
This is a deep dive into grief full of gallows humor. If you want a real weird, awesome book, I really love it. It’s quite good.
Check out the book details here:
How would you cope is somebody you love committed suicide?
Delilah’s father is the greatest man she has ever known. When he commits suicide her world is shattered. She can’t eat. She can’t sleep. Her bubbly personality becomes ascorbic. All she wants is to be left alone.
When his insurance policy refuses to pay out, Delilah sets out to prove what she’s known all along: that his suicide was in fact a murder.
A story of getting over grief and learning those you idolize aren’t perfect, told in blog posts through Delilah and her best friend.
On the surface My Father Didn’t Kill Himself is a mystery book, but right below the surface is a story of how people get over grief. And not just how Delilah gets over her grief of losing the person she idolizes most in the world. Also about how a wife gets over the grief of her husband, a husband that was supposed to provide for her, but instead left her alone and destitute.
Mixed with that is the loss felt by Alex, Delilah’s best friend, in losing her best friend to the anguish of grief, watching her slip away and pull back from the world, feeling helpless.
And you can get your hands on a copy here:
Don’t forget to follow Russell on social media to stay up-to-date with his news and releases:
Twitter/Instagram – @russellnohelty
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/russellnohelty
Take care x