Saturday, October 30, 2010

Guest Blogger - Author Russell Brooks

Please join me in welcoming my newest guest blogger, Russell Brooks, author of Pandora's Succession.  Russell joins us today and provides an informative and well-thought out article concerning his writing influences and the type of extensive research that went into the creation of Pandora's Succession.

First, about Russell and his novel:

Pandora's Succession - Ebook

Selling for US$2.99
Amazon.com link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00486U6O2
ISBN: 978-0-9867513-0-1

Former Hoosier Track champion, Russell Brooks, hangs up track spikes to write debut action/thriller.
"Russell Brooks kicks off the release of his debut action/thriller, Pandora’s Succession, with a virtual book tour from October 24 to November 14, 2010. Free ebooks and other prizes."

Get free ebooks and enter at the "STOP THE SUCCESSION" Virtual Book Tour, which runs from October 24 to November 14, 2010 and celebrates the launch of Pandora’s Succession by Russell Brooks. Simply leave a comment on a blog or site with your email address. Everyone that leaves a comment with their email address (in the body of your message) will win an autographed ebook cover. After the blog tour, 10 commenters from all of the blogs will be drawn to win free autographed ebook copies of Pandora's Succession.


STOP THE SUCCESSION tour schedule.

Pandora’s Succession

Where would you hide if you learned the CDC and a major pharmaceutical company unleashed a hyperdeadly microbe on the human race?

CIA operative, Ridley Fox, never stopped hunting his fiancée’s killers—a weapons consortium called The Arms of Ares. When an informant leads him to an old bunker outside of Groznyy, Chechnya, Fox is captured, beaten, and left for dead. When the informant rescues him, Fox learns that his capture was no coincidence: someone had set him up—possibly another government agent. Fox barely escapes after learning that Ares has acquired a hyperdeadly

microbe—called Pandora—that is believed to have wiped out ancient civilizations. The trail leads Fox to Tokyo where he discovers that people within the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Japanese Intelligence want Pandora for themselves. The only person Fox can trust is a woman from his past who he nearly got killed.

Author’s biography

Russell Brooks is a former Canadian Track Team member in the 100 and 200 metres. He has written several essays on his blog The Big Picture, one of which was published in the online Op-Ed section of the National Post in early 2009. He has also written the short story, To The Last Bite, and produced his own poetry/novel-themed show, The Russell Show, on YouTube. He currently lives in Montreal, Quebec.

You can learn more about Russell Brooks at http://www.russellparkway.com/.
 
And now on to the article:

Anyone can write a novel. You just have
to watch a lot of TV.


By Russell Brooks

One of the dilemmas of being an author is having to deal with criticism. Thankfully, most of the ones that I’ve received so far were constructive. On the flip side we also have to deal with the not-so constructive criticisms. Yours truly has dealt with his fair share of critics, and no doubt will deal with a lot more. Lately I got one criticism—or should I say, a comment. The person told me that they were surprised that I wrote an action/thriller of all things, considering that I have a degree in biology. They thought that I would’ve written something that reflected that I had a degree, considering that this was: “clearly me being influenced by a lot of stuff that’s on TV.” I understood that the individual obviously never read too many novels in that genre or knew of the complexities that are involved in writing a novel. So I thought that I would take the opportunity to set the record straight. Writing Pandora’s Succession was not an easy task. And given the amount of research that was necessary in order to minimize any possible inaccuracies, one must appreciate that it wasn’t something that was done overnight.

The scientific subject matter took several weeks to research. Even though the Pandora microbe is fictitious (unless proven otherwise), turning it into a believable menace meant being able to give readers enough verifiable facts with regards to microbes in general, in order to make it appear more plausible. This involved me having to make frequent trips to the library, spending several hours surfing the internet, and even interviewing some of my old science teachers for the purpose of learning (and relearning) everything I needed to know about viruses, micro-organisms, bacteria, and proteins. It was also important to study the brain—including any past and current research done on it—because it was also part of the subject matter. Having my biology degree was an asset. And considering that some readers may be scientists, it’s important to be accurate in the scientific subject matter in order to retain them.

In addition to learning about firearms, it was important to learn as much as I could about martial arts. We’re used to watching fights on television and in the movies. Movies such as Charlie’s Angels, Batman and Robin, and The Matrix are some examples of movies that depend on lots of action. Although many of these actions scenes are fun to watch, one must realize that many of those action scenes could not happen in real life. In order to create realistic fight scenes, I consulted with Belgian martial-arts specialist, Wim DeMeere. I’m glad that I did or else my protagonist, Ridley Fox, never would’ve survived beyond the first chapter. On a side note, DeMeere motivated me to the point that I plan to take up martial arts in the future. What better way to learn about subject matter for a future novel than to practice it first-hand.

After finishing Pandora’s Succession, it was important to have experts beta-read certain areas before I submitted it to a professional editor. As a whole, it was a very exhausting process. In fact, when I wrote my second novel I deliberately stayed away from the same genre simply because I needed to take a break from writing something so complex.

As for the person that commented about me writing something that didn’t reflect my degree, I invited him to read Pandora’s Succession and tell me if he truly believed that I couldn’t have used my background in biology to write it. I still haven’t gotten a reply.

I’d like to thank CJ Black for hosting me on this leg of the STOP THE SUCCESSION virtual book tour.

You're welcome, Russell!  It's been a pleasure having you here!

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