Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New interview with writer John J. Rust

I'm happy to welcome John J. Rust back to Reviews and Interviews. He visited on April 20 to talk about novel writing. Today he's going to talk about short story writing. His newest short story, “The Art of Fear,” is featured in Halloween Dances with the Dead from Whortleberry Press.

Welcome back, John. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I come from New Jersey, where I spent about three-and-a-half years working as a reporter for New Jersey 101.5 and WBUD-AM radio. Then in 1996, it was off to Arizona, where I am currently the sports director for KYCA-AM.  Along with my short stories, I have also published the science fiction novel “Dark Wings.”  

My hobbies include exercising, collecting T-shirts and ballcaps, and studying history. Some of my favorite authors include Harry Turtledove, Tom Clancy, Lee Child, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, John Birmingham and Vince Flynn.

What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
It’s a challenge. With a novel you can go on and on and on. But when you have something like 4,000 to 6,000 words to work with, it forces you to really focus on the plot and the character development and decide what really needs to be in this story.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
My favorite would have to be “The Art of Fear,” which features the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe. One of the reasons I wrote it is because of my opinion of modern day horror films, which is very low. Horror, to me, means you’re supposed to scare the audience. Most of the directors of horror films only seem concerned with killing characters in the goriest and weirdest ways possible. There’s no suspense, there’s no fear factor. So I said to myself, what if the man many consider the father of the horror genre ran into one of these directors? How would he react?  And that’s how “The Art of Fear” was born.

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
Science Fiction. There are just so many possibilities to explore and your imagination can run wild.

What exciting story are you working on next?
It’s a very short story that deals with superheroes and social media.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Back in high school. I wrote for the school newspaper and lit mag, but I also did my own little action-adventure/science fiction stories. The writing bug has stayed with me ever since.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
Many times writer friends of mine alert me to markets looking for specific short stories. If something strikes my fancy, I start thinking of a story. I’ll also look at publications like Writer’s Digest.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have to go for a walk before I write. Anywhere from a half-hour to an hour. Besides being great exercise, it helps me plan out scenes for my short stories and novels.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A baseball player, but without any athletic ability, that wasn’t going to happen. So I decided to become a sports reporter.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I have some other short stories on fictionpress.com. “The Burden of Leadership” deals with a young Marine caught up in a Chinese invasion of America. “Fallen Sun” is about a Japanese fighter pilot coping with the end of World War II. You can also find another of my short stories in “What If? A Collection of 14 Short Science Fiction Stories.” It’s titled “The Last Soldier,” and follows an alien warrior taking on an invading army single-handedly.

Thanks for visiting again. It's a pleasure to get know more about you and your writing projects. 

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