An Interview with Rising Star – Author Nat Russo

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I’ve known Nat for as long as I’ve been Twittering (Tweeting…whatever) and he’s quite an interesting character. As well as doling out great tips on Twitter, we share of the same interests in music and movies. I regret not getting around to read his first book, but it is in my rapidly dwindling TBR file.  Here’s his author bio from Amazon ~~~~~~

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Nat Russo was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He’s spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing/gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun.

Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do.

He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenage son, and mischievous beagle.

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Read on to learn more about this fascinating man and, from what I’ve read, an outstanding author.

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Hello, Nat. Take a seat in the Rokoko armchair and tell us about your current book and the approach you’ve taken to marketing it?

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My latest book, Necromancer Awakening, launched on April 8th of this year. I played around with direct marketing/advertising for some time and found it actually harmed sales more than helped. Since then, I’ve gone back to my roots, so to speak. I believe that writers should be content providers first and foremost. Instead of directly marketing my book, I market my content (blog articles) by sharing links on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Once people become engaged with my content, they often take the next step of seeking out my fiction, which they can find easily from my blog.

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I’ve noticed you do quite a bit to support your fellow authors. Do you have one (or two) that would be called your dream street team of sorts?

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I do. I’ve been very fortunate to meet some wonderful writers on Twitter, many of whom are bestselling authors in their own right. I’m currently doing some cross-promotional work with Nicholas Rossis, author of the #1 bestselling epic fantasy series “Pearseus”. I think this works for us because we’re each fans of each other’s work. It’s so much easier to support and promote a writer you believe in.

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Tell us what genre you’re published in and which one would never be an option for you to write in?

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I’m a speculative fiction author at heart, and right now I’m published under Fantasy (primarily “Dark Fantasy” and “Metaphysical & Visionary Fantasy” on the Amazon lists). My writing tends to be a commentary on various social realities and problems, and I’ve found speculative fiction to be a wonderful vehicle to address these issues. I doubt I’d ever write erotica. In fact, I tend to avoid explicitly sexual situations in my books, because those elements are rarely of any importance to the stories I write.

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Have you ever drastically changed a novel from it’s original outline or direction (if you’re a pantster) and what happened to cause it?

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I have. The original draft of Necromancer Awakening included a prologue that set the stage for the events to come. As brilliant (I thought) as the prologue was, it completely weakened the story. In subsequent revisions I killed the prologue, combined several characters into one, and also rewrote an entire plot line from a completely different character’s perspective. I must have completely rewritten chapter 1 three or more times before settling on the version that I published. The interesting thing is that each of those changes was the result of beta-reader feedback. I simply couldn’t see the problems myself until they were pointed out to me.

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Do you have a favorite charity and why is it important to you?

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I currently support the Beagle Freedom Project (http://www.beaglefreedomproject.org/). Many people are unaware of how much testing is done on dogs to perfect chemical formulas in products we use every day. People are even less aware of what percentage of those dogs are Beagles. Beagles are known to be very non-aggressive and trusting, and so they rarely put up a struggle for the testers. The Beagle Freedom Project uses its resources to make laboratories offer the dogs up for adoption when their testing is complete. Typically, these dogs are killed when the laboratory is finished with them, because the companies involved don’t want to go to the expense of finding homes for them. Beagle Freedom Projects steps in, takes the dogs, and goes through the process of finding homes for them.

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Mr. Russo, you were a DJ in a past life. Not reincarnation, just several years ago. 🙂 What 5 songs would be on your ultimate play-list?

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This one’s tricky. There aren’t enough spaces for all of the awesome Genesis tunes in my collection.

  1. Firth of Fifth – Genesis

  2. Supper’s Ready – Genesis

  3. Cinema Show – Genesis

  4. Burning Rope – Genesis

  5. Spirit of Radio – Rush

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Do you have a fellow author who’s been like a mentor to you and, if so, tell us about them?

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I speak a lot about Raymond E. Feist, a Fantasy author whose work I started reading when I was 12 years old. We became online friends back in the mid-‘90s, and he’s always very quick to answer any questions that I have. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Joan Reginaldo. My writing has improved dramatically over the last two years since we started working together. She started out as one of my beta readers for Necromancer Awakening, but it didn’t take long at all for her to become my mentor, editor, and friend. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude for taking the time to coach me over the last couple of years.

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If you wrote a book about your life, what would the genre be and would it be in the first person?

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My life has been a cross between Forrest Gump and a spaghetti western. I’ve never worked on a shrimp boat, but my career has definitely thrown me in with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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Thanks for the wonderful interview, Nat.  Let’s take a look at his first book – Necromancer Awakening.

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necromancer NECROMANCER AWAKENING

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SYNOPSIS — “Knowledge in the absence of wisdom is a dangerous thing.”

Texas archaeology student Nicolas Murray has an ironic fear of the dead. A latent power connecting him to an ancient order of Necromancers floods his mind with impossible images of battle among hive-mind predators and philosopher fishmen. When a funeral service leaves him shaken and questioning his sanity, the insidious power strands him in a land where the sky kills and earthquakes level cities. A land where the undead serve the living, and Necromancers summon warriors from ancient graves to fight in a war that spans life and afterlife.

If Nicolas masters the Three Laws of Necromancy, he can use them to get home. But as he learns to raise and purify the dead—a process that makes him relive entire lifetimes in the span of a moment—the very power that could bring him home may also prevent his return. For the supreme religious leader, the Archmage Kagan, has outlawed Necromancy, and its practitioners risk torture and execution.

As warring nations hunt Necromancers to extinction, countless dead in limbo await a purification that may never come.

Nicolas’ power could be his way home…

Or it could save a world that wants him dead.

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BUY LINK — http://www.amazon.com/Necromancer-Awakening-Book-Mukhtaar-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00JLVOU0U/ref=la_B00JLWXXEI_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405541172&sr=1-1

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RANDOM REVIEW

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I liked it, chances are you will too April 9, 2014

By Nathan   Format:Paperback
If you like character driven fantasy, this book is for you. From the first chapter, I immediately felt a connection to Nicholas, the main character, and felt like I was with him throughout his journey into this strange, new land. Nat Russo has a vivid imagination, and his scenes come alive in this story. At times it felt like I was watching a movie, although something tells me any movie based on this book would have to have a pretty big budget! I also enjoyed the humorous dialog, which managed to keep the story lighthearted, especially for a fantasy novel who’s entire premise centers around the art of necromancy. I was almost disappointed when I finished it, because I felt like we only got a small glimpse into this world that he’s created.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy – I highly recommend this book!
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LINKS~~~~~
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