Author of JANUARY BLACK, Wendy S. Russo

Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call.
Since then, she’s majoredin journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 PM on weeknights.

Please welcome Wendy S. Russo. She was kind enough to answer a few quirky questions for us…
Where do you currently live?
Denham Springs, Louisiana. It’s part of the Baton Rouge metropolitan area.

Are you Married? kids? pets?

I married my husband shortly after our 10th anniversary. We have a five-year-old son. We used to have cats and sugar gliders, but at the moment, we have no pets.

What/who/ How did you get started writing?

I wrote a short story in the sixth grade for a Young Author’s contest. I didn’t win, but after that, I always had a work in progress.

Do you want to thank one person in particular for giving that extra push?

If I thank the one that immediately comes to mind, I have to thank two.

The first is Bill Hoagland, my poetry teacher at Northwest College, in particular. We had a public reading on our last day of class, and several of us identified the poems we read as “the last one I wrote for the class.” Bill told us, and our audience, that the last poem we write for the class will be the last one we write in our lives. I haven’t written much poetry since then, but the words really stuck with me.

Moira Crone at Louisiana State. She was my Short Novel professor, and I was so scared the first day of class, because she’s an award winning author. She’s opinionated, blunt, and a touch teacher. I got an A at the end of the semester for the first 120 pages of a contemporary novel. Her feedback was a huge confidence boost.

How many books did you attempt before you were published?

Three Star Wars fan fiction novels, a two-volume epic high fantasy, a contemporary short novel, a rewrite of the high fantasy (uncompleted while shelved). So, six completed with no attempts at publication, and 1 flopped attempt.

Do you have any MUST haves to write? Food, drink or time?

Noise. Music, television, or whatever. I don’t do well with quiet. And these days, it might be helpful if my cable modem stopped working, because social media is a huge distraction.

Which novel is your favorite of your books?
January Black. It’s the most complete, in my opinion.

Who is your favorite character?

King Hadrian. The guy amuses me.

How many books do you have in the work now?
Two. One is YA/NA science fiction with an alternate timeline. The other is YA/NA paranormal.

For your next book, What is the name and when is the release date?
No release date, because I haven’t gotten very far with it. It’s called “Virgo.”

What inspired you write this book?

The current political and economic environment of the United States. January Black was a vent for my frustration.

Do you like writing hot romance scenes?

You know, I don’t really. I’ve only recently reached a place where I can read them without getting embarrassed. I’m not saying that I would never write a sex scene, just that it would have to be plot crucial. It’s the only way it wouldn’t feel like I was adding hotness simply to appeal to readers who like reading those scenes.

Do you have plans for another new book/series?
Both books I’m working on, “Virgo” and “Glitch” are the first of planned series.

What is the 1st book you remember reading and falling in love with?

Put Me in the Zoo, by Robert Lopshire. It’s one of my son’s favorites now.

Who is your favorite author? Favorite series?

Neal Stephenson is my favorite author. Series would be “Chronicles of the Shadow War” by George Lucas and Chris Claremont. If you’ve seen the movie Willow, “Shadow War” begins with the death of Madmardigan, Sorsha, and the residents of Tir Aslin. Elora Danan, one year old at the time, is spared the tragedy and taken by Willow to another city. The “Shadow War” books see her grow into a woman.

What is your favorite quote?

“Be who you are, and be that well.” St. Frances de Sales

Do you have a favorite book cover?
Right now, it’s “Clockwork Princess.” That cover is gorgeous!
Naughtiest book you ever read?
Oh, now you have me blushing. I have a short, short list of erotic reads, all of which is gay romance written by Marie Sexton. I like her books because while there is graphic sex, the scenes are only as detailed as their importance to her story. Casual sex might get a paragraph before she closes the door, while a fully-clothed make-out session might get a thousand words. My favorite of her books is “Strawberries for Dessert.”
Favorite color?
Tell us something no one knows.
I had a huge crush on Wil Wheaton in the 80s. Or maybe someone does know about that. I can’t be sure.
Just in case you don’t know who Wil Wheaton is…
Special thanks to Wendy for stopping by the blog and sharing with us.

January Black

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He’s been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost…or call the king’s bluff.


Refreshingly intelligent and loads of fun!

I lost a few hours as I read this book. It’s a Young Adult novel that is refreshingly and astonishingly intelligent, and the love story is perfectly played out.

~Christine Ashworth, Amazon Review

The mystery was intriguing – I loved how Wendy Russo weaved in all her secrets throughout the book, how she incorporated just enough to keep you reading, while never actually divulging much of anything. I was guessing for most of it and that’s pretty hard to make me do.

~Julie, Clean Teen Reads

Wendy Russo has created a masterpiece.

~Ivan Amberlake, Author

Book Trailer

Where to Find Wendy S. Russo
More Information:

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 5/8/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway