Author Interviews

{Interview} A dreamy chat with Russell James

by Russell James
Published by Samhain Publishing Buy on Amazon

Horror After Dark Interview with Russell James, Author of Dreamwalker.

{HAD} Tell us a little about yourself.


{Russell} I was raised on Long Island, NY. A shorthand version of my teenage years can be found in my novel Sacrifice, if you leave out the murderous evil spirit. I spent five years flying helicopters in the US Army after college, then went out into the business world. Dreamwalker is my fifth novel with Samhain.


{HAD} What’s the first book you remember reading?


{Russell} My parents taught me to read before kindergarten. The teacher called my mother, all upset, to tell her that I was pretending I could read the names when I gave out the class valentines. Mom had to break the news to her.

I definitely remember reading about Dick, Jane and Spot in first grade and wondering why we kept doing it over and over. I mean, Spot got the ball. I know the ending. What other books do you have?

The first real fiction I remember reading were Hardy Boys mysteries and I devoured them. I still have them all on a shelf in the living room.

{HAD} Your current book, Dreamwalker, is steeped in magic and the fantastical. Were these aspects of great importance to you as a kid or an adult?



{Russell}My other novels are much more grounded in reality than Dreamwalker. This story was my chance to create a whole new world, the alternate reality of Twin Moon City. It was a lot of fun starting from scratch and building that place up in my head. All the magic in it came from researching voodoo, research that really creeped me out while I was doing it. The supernatural element in another of my novels, Black Magic, is all kinds of generic sorcerer-type magic. Voodoo is a real thing, practiced by true believers. Some of the accounts of its reported impact gave me chills.


{HAD} Is the “palace” an actual place in real life?

{Russell} The feel for Cauquemere’s palace in Twin Moon City draws from a visit to southern France. Some of it comes from the former papal estate in Avignon, France. Everything there is solid stone, walls, floors, etc. and huge. There were also some old monasteries I visited that helped me get a good picture of what I wanted the interior to be like.


{HAD} What was your favorite line/moment or scene in Dreamwalker?


{Russell} There is a scene where Prosperidad learns as a little girl that she has the gift of seeing the future. She sees this terrible fire where children die. Her grandmother explains that she cannot try to change the future she sees, that the forces that give her this gift will punish her for intervening to make the vision she saw never happen. This moment sets Prosperidad’s character, forces her to balance the blessing and the curse of her gift. It makes her decisions later in the book even more difficult.


At the other end of the spectrum, from a horror aspect, I love the scene where Pete gets tortured by crazy EMTs in the back of an ambulance.


{HAD} What character was your favorite to write and why?


{Russell} I liked writing Rayna’s part, or actually, re-writing her. Her first version was so flat, just Pete’s girlfriend. Beta readers gave her a big thumbs down. So I went deeper with her, better explored her devotion to her kidnapped sister, re-cast her attraction to Pete as a distraction in her mind from saving her sister. She ending up having to make tough choices and hard sacrifices. She became stronger and much more interesting.


{HAD} Do you dream? If so, are they as creative as your stories?


{Russell} I have dreams just like Pete does, with recurring storylines. That was the inspiration for the novel, what of one of those storylines was actually a real place. The ones that I remember are usually pretty exciting. I almost never have nightmares. I guess I commit all of those to paper and make people read them.


{HAD} If you could play the role of one actor/actress in a movie, who would you be and what movie would you play in?


{Russell} I’d be Harrison Ford as Han Solo in the first (Fourth? I get confused.) Star Wars film. Once he comes out of carbonite, he seems to lose his edge.



{HAD} What’s next on your To Be Read shelf?


{Russell} I have The Cure by JG Faherty (about a woman who can cure with her touch, but must pass the disease on before it kills her) and Boom Town by Glenn Rolfe (about a mysterious gel that infects a town) queued up on my Kindle. (due out in May.)


{HAD} Would you care to share with us one thing most folks don’t know about you?


{Russell} I like Spam. The food, not the email. Fried for breakfast. There, I said it.



{HAD} What can we expect from you next?


{Russell} My next novel is Q Island coming in June from Samhain. A virus gets loose on Long Island that turns people into psychotic killers. The island is quarantined and a woman and her son have to escape the infected and a crime boss bent on killing them both. I just finished the copy edits on it and I think people are going to love it.


Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and we hope you’ll come back and visit us here at Horror After Dark. We wish you the best!



About Russell James

Russell R. James was raised on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching Chiller, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Dark Shadows, despite his parents’ warnings. Bookshelves full of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe didn’t make things better. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida.

After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight.

His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.”

He has published the novels DARK INSPIRATION, SACRIFICE, BLACK MAGIC and DARK VENGEANCE, the compilations OUT OF TIME and TALES FROM BEYOND, as well as numerous short stories. He founded the Minnows Literary Group.

He and his wife share their home in sunny Florida with two cats.

Drop by the website to kill some time with some short stories.


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