December Author Spotlight - Russell C. Connor

We're closing out a wonderful year with another great author. This month's spotlight, and the last for 2008, features horror author Russell C. Connor. I know I have a few thriller/horror enthusiasts out there reading and I'm sure you guys'll be jazzed to check out Russell's work.

Currently living in Fort Worth, TX, Connor is a proud member of the DFW Writer’s Workshop. By day he is a a Market Design Coordinator for a health insurance company. By night he is an author penning away his books with two current releases and another one on the way for next year.

His first novel, Race the Night, was inspired by a real life kidnapping attempt when he was eight-years-old. It was released as a trade paperback in 2007 focusing on a man fighting to take back his two young daughters from a serial killer. His second book, Second Unit, is a supernatural suspense thriller set in the film industry, about an independent production company working for a murderous German director. The Harrow Fantasy and Horror Journal called it “an enjoyable read from a promising author”.

Connor’s work has also been published in such literary magazines as Black Petals, Maelstrom, Alembic, and Alien Skin. His third novel, The Jackal Man, will be released in 2009.

Connor was gracious enough to share with me his writing habits, thoughts on the genre and his future releases.

How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?

I dream of a day when I can proudly say ‘horror’ once again, but that’s sort of faded into the general ‘suspense’ market these days. I write about monsters, ghosts, demons, werewolves, etc, all set against a very real word backdrop. I believe humor is essential to keep any reader’s interest these days, so I use character point of view and dialogue to add flavor.

What motivated you to start writing in this genre?

Something about horror has always drawn me. My father is an avid horror movie fan, and we would have regular movie nights where we watched the classics. I remember one weekend when my mother was out of town, and he rented “The Exorcist” for my sister and me. I would watch Hitchcock on Saturday afternoon specials, and full days of slasher marathons. Some of my first short stories were about Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees, but, oddly enough, they lived in a house together and answered the doorbell like regular people. And no one recognized them, even though a burned face and a hockey mask tend to stand out. I started reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz when I was in the fifth grade, and that really sealed the deal.

But more than just absorbing horror, I realized that I liked to scare people. Hiding in closets, setting up elaborate pranks, pretending to be dead…these things gave me a morbid satisfaction. My sister loves to tell stories about our youth, when I would look at her calmly and intently, and recite, “Sometimes people just go crazy. For no reason. Sometimes they murder their whole families. What if tonight is the night I go crazy?” Only when this tendency started losing me jobs did I realize I should probably express it through my writing. Jumping out from under board room tables is looked down upon in corporate America for some reason.

How have your personal experiences influenced the direction of your writing?

I try to bring personal experience to each of my projects. My first novel, Race the Night, deals with a kidnapping. When I was eight, a stranger in a hotel tried to abduct me. Since then, the subject has fascinated me. My last book, Second Unit, is set in Hollywood, behind the scenes of a movie being filmed, because I’ve always loved the industry. My forthcoming novel is basically set in the neighborhood where I grew up.

How many books have you written so far?

In September of 2007, Race the Night was released by Sense of Wonder Press. This is the story of Mike Hasker, a recovering gambling addict, who embarks on a cross country trip with his two young daughters. They are hijacked and abducted by a serial killer that may be more—or less—than human. As a blizzard descends and the police close in on the wrong man, Mike is forced to make the most important decision of his life: recover his children before nightfall, or lose them forever.

In April of 2008, Second Unit was released through Dark Filament Books. Davis Lowe is trying to make it as a director in Hollywood. Together with his cameraman and film editor, he runs an independent studio off (far off) the Sunset Strip, where the trio scrounges for crumbs and Davis puts off marrying the lovely struggling actress Susan Campbell. When an offer to do second unit director for enigmatic German director Torsten Gross pops up, they sign up to work on a horror flick called “Arterial Slice”. Soon they’re faced with a rash of actress suicides and a police investigation in the midst of a movie shoot unlike anything Hollywood could dream up. Soon Davis is racing to save those he cares about from the clutches of a man who will stop at nothing to finish production.

What will your next book be about?

My next book is called The Jackal Man, and should be out in late February. The small Texas town of Asheville is haunted by a creature older than legend. A beast rarely seen but greatly feared, the Jackal Man haunts the minds of this sleepy hamlet from the uninhabited woods to the south. When a land developer begins dozing over the local forest for a quick buck, tales of the monster begin to resurface.

Out-of-towner Frank Stanford is hired to take over the failed development project and moves to the sleepy town with his distant wife and rebellious son. Before long, the site is wrecked, people are disappearing, and Frank's relationship with his employers and family begins to suffer. As word spreads and strangers with their own agenda make their move, Frank must fight to uncover the town's secrets, while learning to face his own. Time is short, the Jackal Man is calling, and if Frank can't defeat this ancient evil, it will be those dearest to him who suffer.

Learn more about Russell Connor's books and his upcoming releases on the web:

Author Website:
Myspace Page:


Zoe Winters said...

This sounds really cool. I don't think there are enough horror stories about monsters and werewolves. It's true, horror has become "techno thrillers" and "suspense" and anything with a monster or werewolf has become "urban fantasy."

Some days I really hate the way books are labeled.

Savannah Chase said...

thank you for introducing me this this new author. I will have to check out his work for sure...

Rae Lori said...

I agree, Zoe. I think the industry may have polarized them into PR and UF fair but readers LOVE a good scare any time of year. I wish bookstores would take a number from how Amazon lists their books. Much easier to find exactly the kinds of books you're looking for. :-)

My pleasure, Sav! I love Russell's ideas and have added his books to my TBB/TBR pile as well. I'm a bit of a chicken with the scary stuff but his books sound too good to pass up! :-D