About Rusty Blackwood:
I grew up during the 1950's on my paternal grandfather’s farm in rural south-western Ontario, Canada. My loving parents are gone now, and I miss them everyday, but I still have my brother. I am the proud mom of two wonderful sons, and loving grandmother to three beautiful granddaughters and one handsome grandson. I am also great grandmother – or G-G – as I am known to my delightful great grandson. I have always loved to write. This adoration for English composition began in grade school and carried into my adult years. Though I am unprofessionally trained in the field of writing, I have always possessed the uncanny ability of unique expression in stories that could grasp the heart of the reader. I am an Interior Decorator by trade and owned and operated a residential home service for twenty-eight years before retiring from that field. My writing venture began in 2001 when I became a serious writer with intent on seeing where it could possibly take me. Over the years I have written an assortment of both contemporary and traditional poetry, and from this I put together my first collection under the title, Feelings: A Rhythmic Journey in Thought which I self-published in 2009. This was followed in 2010 with my first collection of children's short stories, titled, Young Minds. This collection was based on my own childhood as well as stories I wrote for my grandchildren. In 2010 I published the first part of the original two-part Passion in Paris that I began writing in 2001. This two-part romantic fiction drama was short lived. It was not the way I had envisioned my first venture into this genre to be nor the publishing of it, and because of this the end result was inept, so I took it off the market until I could revise it into my original concept, that of which I finally brought to fruition in the 818 page, 4-star-Amazon awarded, romantic fiction drama, Passions in Paris: Revelations of a Lost Diary, which I released in 2013. Leading up to this, I published a new poetry collection entitled, Impressions which I released in 2011. I followed this with a revised children's short story collection containing previously published stories including those written for my grandchildren, plus additional new stories under the title, Through the Eyes of Innocence. This was followed in 2012 by the comedy short, The Misadventures of Derwood Tugbottom. This was followed in 2015 by the 5-star-award-winning romantic fiction drama, Willow's Walk. In 2017, I followed that novel with the second in the Derwood Tugbottom comedy series, titled, Derwood Returns. Since the beginning of 2019, I have released two titles, Derwood Goes Caribbean, the third installment in my ongoing Derwood comedy series, and my newest novel, The Perils of Autumn, another 5-star-award-winning romantic fiction drama. I love animals, horses in particular, as you will see within the pages of this new novel. I very much enjoy walks in nature, art, music, and spending quality time with family, and friends.
What inspires you to write?
I can find inspiration in many places: the way a sunset appears, ripples on a pond, trees swaying in the breeze, a memory that touches my heart with happiness, or sadness, life experiences that I have endured as well as grown from, and finally, the love of expression through written word.
Tell us about your writing process.
I suppose if I were to choose between being an 'out-liner' or 'seat of the pants' writer, I would have to say a bit of both. I choose to create my characters first and then create the scenarios I wish to immerse them into. I don't block a book, but I do outline the story through key points, and try to stay within the guidelines. However, characters often have a uncanny way of deciding where they are going, what they are going to say, and how those around them will react. I also enjoy this pleasant distraction because I have found through the experience of listening to my characters, I create a much more interesting story, than simply creating a cut and dry page after page journey that has no depth or color. I have sketched my characters in the past, in fact I did for Passions in Paris: Revelations of a Lost Diary. There are multiple characters in the story that interact with the two protagonists, and I found that by sketching them in the way my mind's eye perceived them to be, helped greatly to increase their impact in the story. What I have mentioned works for me. I believe any writer must find what best works for them in order for their story to blossom and flourish.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes, I listen to them very much as well as converse with them as we go along. A writer can create an interesting story line, yet if they don't listen to their character's voice, their personality, or their perception of where you are taking them, then you may end up having written a story that is both uninteresting, or a story that has no substance. Many of my characters that I've created over the course of time that I've been writing, I would love to meet, if they actually existed, and a few I would hope to never meet.
What advice would you give other writers?
First and foremost, write what you know. There is nothing more discouraging or upsetting than to undertake a subject that you know nothing, or little about, and make it both entertaining and legible to the reader. Often writers draw from life experiences, I do, for there is no better research than what you have experienced first hand. But when you are very young, you have yet to have much experience to draw from, therefore research everything thoroughly. I believe this suggestion could be taken by any writer, seasoned or not, but if you write about things you know about, you will find your finished piece a polished, fine offering for the eyes of any reader that chooses your title. Critique is a large portion of writing; it is not always kind, and you must learn to take from that what you can and apply it to your craft. Do not expect that your first, even second or third title, will be an instant success. It may or may not happen, but if you love to write, have a passion to write, then you will find a way to stick with it. It can be a very long, drawn out process. Finally, do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. Only you know the muse inside you, so let it speak to you, and have fun.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I wrote for many years before I decided to publish any of it. I researched both standard and self publishing methods for quite some time, weighed the plus and minus, and decided to choose self publishing. The main reason for this, was because I refuse to sign away my rights and directions of my work in return for a publishing contract. If you sign with a standard publisher you must sign over your rights to them, who can then take your work, alter it however they wish, and you have no say yet your name is still on the cover. The contents between the front and back cover is what you as the writer are judged upon, and I was not going to accept that in order to have a contract with a standard house. Self publishing is not an easy road either. The entire cost falls on your shoulders but at least you retain direction and rights of your work. There could be hidden costs, so be aware of them. Marketing is always a difficult area, yet an author with a standard house today must still do the majority of marketing themselves. It definitely is a plus to have someone who can do this for you, that is unless you are savvy in that area. Be sure to thoroughly research self publishing companies – there are many of them – some good – some not so good. Read their reviews, for it is there that you're choice will be made. Don't be afraid to question those who have experienced different companies, and though you must choose for yourself, the answers you receive may help greatly in choosing wisely.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It differs greatly than it once did, however, I feel there will always be need for it, standard, or self publishing. Many readers choose Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc, etc, but fully as many still enjoy the feel of a new book in their hands. Purchasing books online is popular, but through the bookstore events that I do, I have yet to see a decline in books lining the shelves. In order for there to be physical books, there has to be publishers – standard or self – to make this happen.
What genres do you write?: Romance Drama Suspense Comedy Children Short stories, and Poetry
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.