Hello book nerds! Today, I get to share with you my interview British author Mike Russell, best known for the short story collection Nothing Is Strange. He is also the author of the short story collections Strange Medicine and Strange Secrets, the novella Strungballs, and the novels The Exploding Book and, most recently, Magic.
Mike Russell talks about his latest book, the characters and their inspirations, and his affinity for strange stories.
I had the pleasure of reading this latest work, Magic, and once again I found myself enamored by the strange characters and the even stranger world! (Not to mention that I’m fond of of magic shows and tricks, so this was such a fun read!) I’m so grateful to have the chance to interview him! Here’s how it went:
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am an author who currently lives in the east of England with my girlfriend and two cats.
Describe your latest book “Magic” in three words.
Magic! Magic! Magic!
What was your main inspiration for writing Magic?
The main inspiration was magic itself. Does magic exist? If so, what is it? Magic in novels tends to mean fantasy magic, which is fun until the book finishes. I wanted to write a different kind of magical book. The world of the stage magician has always fascinated me. I loved magic tricks as a child. I like traditional magic shows with top hats and rabbits and magic wands. For many years I made paintings, sculptures, stories and short films that used the imagery of the magician. The object on the book’s cover is an example of this (the object also plays a part in the story). I wanted to bring all the ideas I had worked on in these various media together in a novel. I am very happy with how it turned out.
I particularly adored Charlie Watson’s character arc! Was there any challenges in writing the story through his perspective?
Charlie Watson appeared as if by magic when I began writing the book. As soon as I understood who he was, the story became a lot easier to tell. I loved writing from Charlie’s perspective. I think we would all benefit from having a friend like Charlie. I’d love to hang out with him.
Barry Clark is an interesting antagonist in the story! How did you go about building his character?
Barry Clark came from the idea for the M.E.C (I won’t spoil the story by saying what that stands for). He had to be a little terrifying as well as understandable. Like most tyrants, he thinks he’s doing a good thing and making the world a better place.
I can’t help but notice that strange stories are kind of your specialty. When did you start writing these kinds of stories? What made you have so much affinity for them?
When I was very young I wrote science fiction stories, then as a teenager my writing became more surreal. As an adult, it was doing spoken word performances in clubs and bars for years that made me realize there was an audience for the kind of stories I like to write. I just love the mystery of the unusual.
What lesson or advice do you want to impart to your readers with this book?
Well, I will leave that to Charlie Watson to impart. I would also say that it’s not only what you say but the way that you say it. For me, the imagery that fills the book is as important as anything that the book is saying. Some things cannot be simply stated but arise from certain combinations of images. It’s like rubbing sticks together and getting fire. I hope that readers will enjoy the journey that the book takes them on. They may discover real magic!
Thank you for your questions, best wishes, stay safe and read a book!
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I loved this! I got to know more about Mike’s inspirations as a writer, and about the interesting characters of his latest book!
Magic is out now! And good news, it’s free on Kindle Unlimited! Is this book on your TBR? Tell me in the comments!