Today, we are very pleased to have author R.R. Russell on the blog for a Q&A and a giveaway!
Her excellent Wonder Light: Unicorns of the Mist came out in early May, and we were lucky enough to read an ARC! Below, you'll find both the Q&A and the giveaway, and we'll be posting the review right after this!
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (first published May 1st 2013)
Q: You’re stuck in an elevator with Steven Spielberg, and you have thirty seconds to pitch Wonder Light as a feature to him. What would you say?
A: If I remembered how to speak at all, I’d tell him that Wonder Light is about a misty island, a pony ranch, a mysterious boy, strange creatures howling in the night, unicorns—and a girl named Twig, who must save them all.
Q: Whew, that was quite an icebreaker. Now, for something a little easier. Could you tell us three things that you think readers should know about Twig, before they start reading the book?
A: Twig is the last person who’d believe in unicorns. She just wants to hide in her shell and be left alone, but she’s about to step out and discover there’s much more to her—and the world around her—than she ever thought.
Q: Why unicorns? Is there a specific reason you chose to have Twig come face-to-face with unicorns, as opposed to other mythological creatures?
A: A few years ago, when I was struggling to sell a different book to a publisher—a book about a prize fighter—my friend joked that maybe I should add some unicorns, and then it would sell. A fighter and unicorns? That got me thinking about writing a book about unicorns who fight. I remembered how my walls used to be covered with posters of unicorns, leaping and shimmering with rainbow colors. They seemed to belong in a different, brighter world. They were beautiful, powerful, and free. I loved to look at them and to draw them, but I never really believed in magical, horned creatures bounding through the clouds. So I made my unicorns the sort of real, wild animals I could believe in.
Q: Do you see any part of yourself in Twig, at all? If so, how are you similar to her? And how are you different from her?
Twig does some very brave things in spite of feeling helpless and afraid. I was scrawny like Twig, and there were times I wanted to disappear into my shell. But I was also very protective of the ones I loved. If I’d been faced with the howling, hunting danger on Lonehorn Island, I like to think I would’ve resisted the urge to quiver under the covers like a lump of Jell-O, and confronted it like Twig.
Q: Let’s talk a little about your writing process. Writers have so many different creative processes – some are night owls, some are early risers, some can only work in coffee shops. Do you have a specific time of the day that you work best?
I work whenever and wherever I get the chance—indoors and outdoors, in the car, and on airplanes. I’m almost never alone when I work, and it’s almost never quiet!
Q: What’s the one daydream that you had about becoming a published writer that you’ve discovered as actually better in reality?
Readers! Whether I meet them in person or hear from them online, there’s nothing like seeing that my characters have become real to someone other than myself. My characters feel so real to me, and it’s neat to think they’re making new friends all the time.
Q: Finally, many of your readers will probably be interested in becoming writers themselves, one day. What advice would you give them?
Live a full life. It will enrich your writing and get you through the tough times in your writing life.
Thanks so much for having me, and for sharing Wonder Light with your readers! Readers can find me at the links below.
R.R. Russell lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. She grew up traveling the world as an army brat and now travels the country as a coach with a nonprofit judo club. She loves to read and draw, and like Twig, once spent a lot of time sketching unicorns.