Meet the Author: James Russell

What is your inspiration for ‘The Club’?
John is the first character we meet as the private club, The Leighton, opens for the evening. He’s the club’s doorman who takes his job seriously and is a consummate professional. When he sees something in the street it gives us an insight into his past personal and how it is still affecting him.

John originated from a longer piece centred on The Leighton Club where we meet 5 quite different characters during a night in the club. Being the doorman it was obvious I start there on a journey deeper into the club and what happens inside. He was fairly easy to write as I had a specific image of him in my head; a burly doorman whose exterior doesn’t match his private side. It didn’t need a lot of editing, perhaps because it is written in the present tense it just flowed quite well. The intention was always to revisit him (and the four other characters) and write a novel based on their very different lives and how each ended up in the club.

Are you a plotter or a pantser when it comes to writing, or somewhere in between?
I am more a pantser. I have an idea and I go with it and let it develop as I go. I would love to be able to plan properly and drop well crafted characters into it but Ilike seeing how they develop as they face the difficulties of life.

How did you celebrate your first story acceptance/publication?
This is my first piece of fiction that has been accepted for publishing although I have a finished novel which is looking for a home and have also started a second. I’ll celebrate seeing this in print with something bubbly.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I read Of Mice and Men as a teenager. I was about 20 pages from the end when my bus journey ended. I had to sit at the bus stop on a Glasgow street reading it to the end by street-light I was so riveted by the story. It was the first time a story grabbed me and didn’t let go.

Have you ever had writer’s block?
I have sometimes written a load of rubbish just to keep writing and not stare at a blank page. I think that’s a useful way to get over the block. Write, write and write some more until a good line or idea presents itself and go with that.

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
I loved reading Paul Mcveigh’s The Good Son.  It made me think about writing from a young person’s point of view, getting into their head, something that I enjoyed experimenting with for another short story.

‘The Club’ by James Russell appear in Tall Tales & Short Stories Volume One.

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