Rusty Blackwood










Photo: Miss Carson E. Doan (Carson E. Doan Photography)

Thanks for doing this, first of all! And congratulations on your success as a writer!

1. I see you as a very energetic person. Are you one of those lucky people with pep to spare? Or do you have to work to keep going and stay motivated?

Rusty: First of all I would like to thank you for having me on your Blog, Eleanor, and I hope my answers will be both entertaining and informative for your readers.

In answer to your first question, there was a time when energy was never limited, but I’m afraid those days are gone, or greatly diminished at least. Fortunately writing is a job that does not require physical input as such, but instead mental, and definitely creative instinct with regard to what you are hoping to achieve. I find some days more productive than others, and I truly feel the weather can affect the mind in ways one might never think. Sunny days are great for creating an upbeat poem or story; then again a rainy or stormy day can produce something with fully as much impact, at least for me, as I find my mindset is a great contributing factor in what I write, and how I write it. I have to feel what I write; by this I mean through expression, and emotion. If I don’t feel it, I can’t write it; at least in the way I hope my readers will experience it.

2. Has writer’s block ever been a problem? If so, how do you deal with it?

Rusty: I think every writer suffers this unfortunate bugaboo, at least at some point, and I am no different. Thankfully it has never lasted any extended amount of time when it has occurred, but while it’s happening it truly is discouraging. I usually just walk away from my keyboard, go for a walk, especially by the water, and let my thoughts just carry me wherever they wish to go. Usually I find that after awhile new ideas are beginning to blossom.

3. Would you want to pursue movies of your books’ stories? Is that something that’s been discussed or could be in the future for you? I’m sure the plots would be great for movies.

Rusty: Well thank you for your confidence, Eleanor! I believe any writer’s dream is to see their work up on the silver screen, or at least television’s movie of the week, but so far I have never been approached about that, however I have had readers tell me that ‘Passions in Paris: Revelations of a Lost Diary’ would make an excellent film, and without sounding full of myself, I would have to agree. Passions is a sweeping love story set in a most desirable place at a very festive time of the year; the location itself would be wonderful to experience. I could say the same about the soon-to-be-released ‘Willow’s Walk’, which is set in our lovely capital city of Ottawa, and tells a revealing and tumultuous story about what can actually happen when you least expect it. But in the world of writing you never know, but the offer to have one of my stories on the screen would certainly be nice.

4. You mention (on your website) a negative experience with traditional publishing. Can you give some advice to new authors agonizing over what path to follow?

Rusty: I must say that the publishing avenue I was referring to was not traditional, but rather self-publishing, and the problem was not in the route I used but rather the company. With the exception of submitting the odd poem for traditional publication, I had decided at the beginning of my venture into serious publishing that I wanted to take the independent route. When one publishes traditionally one must be prepared to accept rejection, and it was not that which I had a problem with, but rather the signing away of my Rights in order to obtain a contract, which I was not prepared to do. I very much savor the ability to hold my own Rights, as well as the direction of my work, which is why I continue to self-publish. However, having said that, I would advise whoever chooses the independent route to be extremely careful and selective of the company they choose. I chose Xlibris Publishing, which unfortunately turned out to be a bad choice, especially first time out, and resulted in major issues with regard to my work and the quality of it. At the time I was very green, having just begun and no one to help direct my path, which I believe had a lot to do with the reason why I experienced the problems which I did. I had no recourse but to terminate my contract, pull my work, and republish all of it through CreateSpace Publishing, which I have remained with, and would highly recommend. Nowadays there are endless companies vying for the new author, and promising the moon in return to get them. So be sure to research thoroughly, understand the contracts, and if at all possible, use a professional’s input and guidance

5.Can you tell us how you come up with the plots for your books?

Rusty: The first rule of thumb in writing is to write what you know. Experience truly is the best teacher, and one that provides an endless array of ideas in which to pull from. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, believing that everyone has a certain someone, though it is not always easy to find them; sometimes they’re never found, and the ideas that can be pulled from what has been, or could be, is an endless wealth of ideas for me. I usually write about topics I have experienced in one way or the other, and when I combine that with the vivid imagination I’m fortunate to have, it often results in written pieces.

6. Who’s your favourite author to read? What genre do you enjoy most, for your own reading?

Rusty: I greatly enjoy a stirring romance, but I don’t really have an actual favourite genre. I enjoy an eclectic array, just as I enjoy an eclectic array of authors, and it greatly depends on my mood. I love descriptive writing; I write that way myself and so enjoy it when I read another’s work. However I greatly enjoy the work of Stephen King, whose mind I admire because he has the rare ability to actually get into someone’s head and manipulate it through the scenes he describes, and the often mind-teasing endings he uses. It takes a special talent to do that, and he certainly has it.

7. Why do you think people like romance novels?

Rusty: That’s a very good question, and one which there may be no plausible answer. But in my opinion, it could possibly be a person’s way of fulfilling emptiness in their life or relationship; possibly something they wish could happen to them, or possibly provide an escape from their own problems, or their life in general. I enjoy romance novels because they give me a chance to escape my own life for awhile, so maybe my answer isn’t too far off the mark.

8. How did the decision come about to take up writing full time?

Rusty: I have always loved to write but never chose to do it professionally, therefore was never trained professionally. When I was in high school the choices offered for women were limited, and writing was not one of them. I always did well in English, both literature and composition – the latter being my favourite – but I had never considered trying my hand at it in a serious way until the winter of 2001. I had written poetry for some time, as well as short stories, but in 2003 I decided to try my hand writing a full-length novel, and so the planning of Passions began, and also because of the growing amount of pieces I had already written, I decided to see where it could possibly take me.

9. There is such a huge popularity with fantasy these days! What makes that genre so sought after? It is so all-pervading, for example video games, some of which are so violent.

Rusty: There again I feel it’s possibly because of missing wants in a person’s life, though I really can’t see why violence would be something so sought after. I find today’s world unsettling enough without the need for it within the pages a person is reading. Fantasy can be delightful by way of imagination fulfillment, and possibly searching for the unknown, or celebration of what has never been proven. I think fantasy can be a wonderful genre to free your mind within. When I write, I try to write realistically, and sometimes, depending on the story line and characters involved, anger can exist and even vengeance, but I try to keep it at a minimum if and when it does occur. On the other hand, I can’t say I like sugar coated words, I would rather realistic, but I don’t appreciate being made feel inept or made to feel a fool by the author.

10. How much do reviews count toward sales as an Indie Author?

Rusty: Like anything that is for sale, word of mouth counts greatly with regard to how well it does. Then again a review is but one person’s opinion – of which they’ve the right to feel and express –but I feel the onus put on reviews can be overstated, however they are necessary, especially for an Indie author’s work. I prefer a reader’s review as opposed to an editorial one, because to me the reader is the recipient of the story, and their views as to whether they enjoy it or not is most important in selling it to other readers. An editorial review is usually based on element and technical aspect, how well the story is constructed, related, edited, etc. A reader knows what they like or do not like, which is why I put by far more value on what they have to say.

11. It’s tough to be noticed and start getting sales for Indie authors. How did you get past that?

Rusty: I don’t know if I have as yet, but I am much further along than I once was. As I stated above, when I first began publishing in 2009 it was like the blind leading the blind. I did what I thought best, which brought me some return but nothing worth writing home about. Then in 2011, I found out about, and went on the US top-rated North Carolina Internet Radio/TV show, The Author Show, as a guest author promoting the book I had out at the time. This brought me into contact with co-host Don McCauley, a marketing representative and publicist with thirty years experience in the field. I began working with him in August of that year, and that was the best move I could have made. Since that time he has managed to make my plume de nom one of the top romantic fiction author’s names in the field, doing so through great coverage platforms, Press Releases, and a solid online presence. But that is only my Internet presence; getting known in my own area has been a much harder time consuming task, but with determination, and the never ending drive to make my name known, I have managed to continue to gain ground. I greatly owe a lot of this to Jordan Fry, and Grey Borders Publishing’s’ annual Niagara Literary Arts Festival that happens throughout the entire month of June in numerous venues around the Niagara area. Securing public events and awareness of my work is a never ending job, but I am committed to it, and will continue to do so.

12. How much of your time is spent at book signings or other events?

Rusty: That greatly depends on what is available, and whether I can work them into my writing schedule, also whether they are worth the time. I don’t mean that last remark in a derogatory way, but experience in that area soon teaches you what best works, however having said that, I do try to take most events offered, as well as seek out signings, readings, etc. and I try to do at least one every month if at all possible. I find the best exposure is through literary events themselves, as opposed to other venues, but each and every one provides exposure for your work, as well as you as the author, and in that respect every venue is worthwhile.

13. Do personal sales make up a worthwhile percentage for you?

Rusty: I usually find I sell more direct than online. I think when people can personally meet and speak with you it tends to be more successful, and this might be contributed to the fact that they can actually hold the book, browse it, and put a face to the title as opposed to purchasing online where it might feel rather impersonal, as if you are purchasing something from an unknown source, meaning the author of course. Not everyone has the notoriety, or celebrity of authors whose names have become a household word, simply because they’ve been fortunate enough to have had that kind of push by Standard Houses, but it is nice to know that self-published authors are finally gaining ground in areas where they never used to be given a chance.

14. Do the local libraries have copies of your books, or is the Indie Author on the periphery of that possibility, only able to look and not participate?

Rusty: Presently they don’t, but I am hoping that will change one of these days. I do readings in libraries, and different personnel on staff there are becoming aware of my name and work, so I do hope to be approached, or at least considered if and when that time presents itself. Presently I feel they tend to look too much at traditionally published work with the idea it is the only work worthy of gracing their shelves, but like brick & mortar book stores, they are beginning to realize the quality and talent that self-published authors and their work are offering the reading public.

I would very much like to extend my sincere thanks, Eleanor, for the opportunity to speak with you in a public forum, answer your questions, and for the interview itself. It is through this kind of coverage and exposure that readers can become aware of the self-published titles available to them, as well as the extremely talented Indie authors who write them.

Thank you, again,

Rusty Blackwood.

Willow’s Walk is a 482-page trade paperback and will be priced in the $28.50 to $30.00 range. People in the Niagara Region may pre-order directly from Rusty by contacting her through her  Official Website:


Rusty will also respond to emails at


The novel will be carried on all the usual online outlets and it’s nice that we finally have an Amazon store as close as Toronto!          Amazon: http://








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