Russell Blake, Silver Justice, Suspense and Thrillers!

Silver Justice, By Russell Blake

Silver Justice, By Russell Blake

If you’re looking for a suspense thriller, a rip-roaring, edge-of-your-seat read from a talented, fresh voice who writes about compelling themes and complex characters, then look no further then bestselling author Russell Blake. As the following interview makes apparent, he can write with the best of them.

 

Silverberry: What are the elements of a great suspense thriller?

 

Blake: Characters you care about, a conclusion that matters to you by the time you’re a third of the way through, and a series of beats that continue escalating the tension and stakes as the story unfolds.

 

Silverberry: Silver Justice deals with the 2008 financial meltdown. What made you decide to take on this topic and what will readers find by reading the book?

 

Blake: I’m deeply distrustful of official explanations of anything, because we’ve seen that the government and media lie to us at every turn. The official explanations didn’t make sense to me, so I decided to research how the entire global economy could be brought to the brink of collapse by the actions of a few players. As I watched the outright fraud that unfolded – everything from bailouts that were gotten at gunpoint and under false pretenses, to exactly zero prosecutions for the largest fraud in history, I knew there had to be way more to the story. And there was. Silver Justice explains what actually happened, but does so within a fictional framework.

 

Silverberry: What does you heroine, Silver, yearn for? Will we see her again?

 

Blake: She wants what we all want. To be happy. To earn the respect of her peers. To get satisfaction from her job. Love. She’s swimming upstream in a man’s world, trying to forge her own way, and she wants to do so on her own terms. I have plans to write another novel with her in it, but frankly at this point, with the other projects I have on the board, it won’t be anytime soon.

 

Silverberry: To this mix of financial crisis and compelling protagonist, you add a serial killer. What inspired you to add that to the brew?

 

Blake: I wanted to try to write a villain that the reader winds up relating to, and blur the traditional lines between what a bad guy is and what a good guy is. Life is full of shades of gray, and I found the idea of a serial killer who had very logical and plausible motivation an interesting challenge.

 

Silverberry: You’re one of the most prolific writers I know. Give us a glimpse into your process.

 

Blake: I come up with a high concept idea, like, say, female ex-spy fakes her own death to get out of the life, but enemies from her past won’t let her rest. Then I write about three paragraphs fleshing out the story – why are they after her? How did she fake her death? How did they find her? How can she stop them? Then I write the first 15 chapters with single sentence descriptions, like, Chapter 1 – Jungle, tranquility, execution, we don’t know why. And then I start writing. By the time I get to chapter 15, I usually have a very good idea of what the next 15 chapters should be to bring the story to a conclusion. So I repeat the process. As to how I write, I’m OCD – I sit down at around 8 a.m. and start writing, and finish up my writing day at 10 p.m., with a quick break for a sandwich for lunch. I find that working that way, I get completely immersed in the story, even to the point where I go to sleep thinking about the next bit, and wake up excited at some breakthrough I had and anxious to write it. So I basically just hole up for two weeks and do nothing but write the first draft. By the time I’m done, I’m burnt, but the book is 95% there. I’ll then go on to a second draft where I fix all the poorly written sentences and address any plot holes, and then, finally, a third draft where I further polish it. Then it goes to my editor for her to shred, and then to a proofreader to catch any nits we introduced or missed. I now also use a second proofreader to catch any the first didn’t get, and then I do a complete read-through on my kindle to verify it’s clean and that the story flows the way I wanted.

 

Silverberry: What kind of characters and situations make for a good series? Tell us about some of yours.

 

Blake: I like to read about extraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, who turn out to be much more ordinary than at first blush as the story rolls along. I try to make them real, with conflicting emotions and imperatives, inner turmoil, and huge odds stacked against them. I also generally like to put them in situations where there’s a massive conspiracy they need to get to the bottom of. In JET, the protag is a female ex-Mossad operative who faked her death, but is plunged into a web of intrigue and deceit she must battle through if she’s to survive. There are bad guys aplenty, each more malevolent than the last, and all she wants to do is be left alone, but circumstances won’t allow it. In my Assassin series, I crafted an anti-hero lead character – El Rey, the deadliest assassin in the world, who worked for the cartels as a freelance executioner. And then I crafted a protagonist, Captain Romero Cruz, who is chartered with stopping him at all costs. The tension between those characters is very effective, made more so because the books are set against a backdrop of cartel violence in Mexico, where they literally run whole swatches of the country.

 

Silverberry: How have you found your readers?

 

Blake: Beats the hell out of me. Mostly word of mouth. My readers tend to become voracious fans, and tell their friends about my work, because they’re excited to have found an author that they can really connect with, and whose work is at a high quality level.

 

Silverberry You’re selling a boatload of books. Thought experiment: a major publisher comes a courtin’ with a delectable, multi-book deal. What do you do and why?

 

Blake: It’s purely a function of money. If the deal is financially beneficial to me, I take a hard look at it. If not, I don’t. I see no reason to trade a pretty substantial revenue stream for something less. I don’t give a damn about the prestige associated with having a trad pub deal, so I’m not going to buy into the idea that signing a deal is an honor. It’s just a business transaction, like any other, where I’m deciding to effectively become an employee for a high enough comp package, rather than remaining the owner of my own company. But I have nothing against the traditional publishers. For me, self-publishing is a means of connecting with readers in an expedient manner, which is always the most important thing. It’s not a cause célèbre or a religion. Any deal I’m brought I would consider on its merits, not on how it strokes my ego.

 

Silverberry: What’s ahead for you?

 

Blake: Hopefully, I sell between 200-250K novels this year, and figure out a way to double that next year. Easier said than done. I’m very excited about my new series I’m working on, BLACK, which is a Hollywood detective series with an unlikely protagonist, and also Upon a Pale Horse, which is the scariest bio-thriller ever written, I think, because it is so fact-based and close to home. I’m also working on some things I can’t talk about, but let’s just say that 2013 and 2014 are going to be extremely interesting years for Russell Blake.

 

Silverberry: There you have it folks, as compelling an author as you’ll find on the indie scene today. You can grab a copy of Silver Justice, follow Russell, and learn about his other books at the links below. And in July, look for a chance to win a copy of Silver Justice in my Thriller and Suspense Giveaway Contest, right here on my website.

 

Follow Russell Blake on his Website

 

Purchase Silver Justice on Amazon

Russell Blake is the bestselling author of twenty novels, including the thrillers Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, Zero Sum, King of Swords, Night of the Assassin, Revenge of the Assassin, Return of the Assassin, Blood of the Assassin, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy, The Voynich Cypher, Silver Justice, JET, JET II – Betrayal, JET III – Vengeance, JET IV – Reckoning, and JET V – Legacy. Non-fiction titles include the international bestseller An Angel With Fur (animal biography) and How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high, or incarcerated), a parody of all things writing-related. Blake lives in Mexico and enjoys his dogs, fishing, boating, tequila, and writing, while battling world domination by clowns. Russell is a proud member of RABMAD – Read A Book, Make A difference.

2 Comments

  • Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Great interview, gents! 🙂

  • Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by, Claude! Looking forward to interviewing you, shortly!

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