Interview with thriller author Russell Brooks

guest is thriller writer Russell Brooks to share a little about himself, his
writing projects, and his novel Chill Run.
Welcome, Russell. Please tell us a
little bit about yourself.
I’ve been
fortunate to have had the opportunity to be an Indiana Hoosier Track Champion
and Canadian Track Team member in the 100 and 200 metres. My BS in Biology has
given me a leg up to help write my first thriller novel, Pandora’s Succession, Unsavory
, and Chill Run. I have
a series of Op-Ed style essays that I post regularly to my blog, some of which
have been featured in the Canadian media and on MySpace. Although my goal is to
keep readers in suspense with my novels, I may occasionally entertain viewers
with my dramatic readings or play my violin.
I currently
live in Montreal, Quebec.
Please tell us about your current
It’s my
first attempt at writing a thriller that leans more towards mystery as opposed
to action.
In my first
novel, Pandora’s Succession, I
attacked the story from a broad scope—making it international with a
professional as a protagonist. The story was driven by a situation.
In Chill Run, I chose a different path.
Rather than go international, I went local—focusing the story around Montreal,
my home city. Instead of the story being seen from the point of view of someone
who has military training and is backed by a government agency, I chose the
Peter Parker (aka Spiderman) approach. My protagonist, Eddie Barrow, Jr., is
the regular guy you would never notice in the supermarket. He’s written one
book but cannot get it sold to a publisher nor get an agent to look at it. To
make matters worse, he doesn’t have the support of his parents who keep telling
him to get a ‘real job.’ And if life couldn’t get any worse for him, he lost both
his job and his girlfriend in the same day.
roommate and best friend, Corey, won’t even look for a job. His dilemma is that
he can’t leave the house without someone recognizing him as the FAILED Canadian
Idol contestant who became known as the world’s worst singer—after falling
apart when a certain British judge made an unexpected surprise visit to the
panel. Consequently he spends his days boozing or hanging out in the strip club
where his girlfriend, Jordyn, works as a barmaid. As a result, both of them are
behind on their rent and facing an eviction. What pisses Eddie off is seeing
celebrities who leak their own sex tapes, become famous, and get book deals.
an honest, hard-working individual like him can never be taken seriously.
That’s when Jordyn comes out to Eddie as a part-time Dominatrix, and suggests
that he do the same thing with a female celebrity she can hook him up with. Then,
deliberately have the media bust them so that he could become famous the same
way former call girl, Ashley Dupr
é, became after she was caught with former New York State Governor,
Elliot Spitzer. Eddie would be so well known that agents would be knocking on
his door to sign him on. Figuring that he has nothing to lose, he eventually
agrees to do the publicity stunt. Only one problem. The plan backfires when the
client is killed and Eddie’s framed for the murder. Now Eddie, Corey, and
Jordyn are on the run from the law—and the real killers who want to shut up
What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote this
right after the Norbourg scandal that rocked Quebec the same way the Bernie
Madoff ponzi scheme rocked the USA. The Norbourg scandal hit an emotional chord
with me when I saw how the company’s CEO, Vincent Lacroix, swindled his clients
blindly. Many of them who were retired and having to seek employment—most
likely for life. What also inspired me were celebrities and politicians who
became famous or infamous because of publicity stunts or bad behavior. So, I
thought of having a starving author as the protagonist, and you have the
perfect mash-up.

Author’s Note: This excerpt is taken from the prologue and from the first chapter. Although you may
see typos within some of the dialogue, please be mindful that this was intentionally done to reflect the broken English that is typically spoken among people of West Indian decent and also French Canadians.

North Hatley,
Eddie Barrow, Jr. didn’t remember
feeling the bullet tear into his shoulder. From where he lay on the hardwood
floor, the ceiling spun in and out of focus. God, I can’t even lift my arms and legs, let alone move my wrists.
The bullet may have been small, but he felt that it had blown a hole in him the
size of a golf ball. Now a chunk of his shoulder was gone. It was surely
splattered on the wall somewhere, oozing towards the floor and leaving a trail
of blood and tissue.
Eddie could barely open his eyes, but
he heard several voices all at once. It wasn’t too long after, that he felt
himself lifted onto a slightly softer surface and tied down. The frost gnashed
into his cheeks and chin as he felt a wintery wind-chill seconds after being
wheeled outside. He caught glimpses of men and women in burgundy jackets,
shouting orders and calling out words in French that he barely caught. Eddie
soon felt himself being jerked upwards and hoisted into the belly of the
ambulance, the doors slammed shut.
The warm air inside was a welcome
relief as it chased away the chill on his face. This was followed by the
jarring, unpleasant screaming of the siren. Although he was strapped in, he
still rocked from side to side as the ambulance raced off.
Through partially opened eyes, he saw
one of the burgundy jackets—a woman in her forties—staring down at him.
“Ca va?” You’re doing all right?
But Eddie was too weak and drowsy to answer. He guessed that’s what morphine
did to a person. “Soyez fort, mon grand. On est presque là.” Be strong,
buddy. We’re almost there
. He felt the patting on his forearm from the
paramedic, which gave him some comfort.
It was only supposed to be a stupid
and harmless publicity stunt. No one was supposed to die. How was he supposed
to know that he’d be involved in the biggest investment-fraud scandal in
Canadian history? As of now three people were dead and his best friend had been
shot. He’d dreamed of making it big in the world with his first novel. For now,
he’d settle to live long enough to see tomorrow’s sunrise.

Chapter 1
Montreal, Quebec. Four days earlier.
shit-storm of a day has to end!
There wasn’t a pleasant thought in
Eddie’s mind at the time, as puffs of vapour disappeared nearly as fast as he
breathed out. He unbuckled his seatbelt and got out of his car, pulling his
wool hat over his ears leaving the tips of his cornrows hanging out the back.
He deliberately parked two blocks away
from the strip club so that no one there would know that he drove around in a
piece of crap. Not only was it old, had rust stains on the bumper and around
the wheels, but lately it had started backfiring. He was sure an art dealer
would claim that bird drop stains would increase its value. Boy, how he
regretted giving $4000 cash to that salesman. He should’ve known the man was a
But the car was the least of Eddie’s
problems. Earlier in the day he’d lost both his girlfriend and his job. His
roommate and best friend, Corey, still hadn’t paid his share of the rent. This
had been going on for weeks, and every time Corey kept telling him that he’d
pay him.
Corey always kept blowing his money on
liquor and video lottery terminals. Corey had spent the last three weeks
integrating with the other lowlifes at the strip joint his girlfriend, Jordyn,
worked at as a barmaid. Eddie knew that she must be getting fed up with him. It
was a miracle that she put up with his crap for so long. Eddie figured that it
was the thick skin Jordyn developed from serving winos and other lowlifes every
He splashed his way through the
mixture of gray, inch-high slush and gravel that covered the sidewalk. He
couldn’t believe that it was already November—meaning that there was another
four to five more months in this freezer box. Why’d my parents leave
Barbados for this? What the hell were they thinking—giving up the hot sun, and
the beach, just so that I could be born in this?
After all, the Barbadian economy’s strong enough, there’s no damn snow
to shovel and no icy roads and sidewalks to throw him down. And he didn’t have
to put the snow tires on the car every year—a law that was recently enacted in
this province.
Eddie didn’t make it five feet inside
the joint when a human cement truck blocked him.
“Ton identification,” said the
bald-headed bouncer.
Eddie made a face. “What?” He’d only
been asked the same question by this bastard the last dozen times he’d come to
this strip joint.
“I said, hi want to see your hidee. You make me repeat in henglish, so show
“Boy, move aside. You’ve seen me come
here before. You know I’m twenty-four.”
“Rules are rules. I want to see your
Screw my ID, I don’t have time for
“Man, move
aside. I’m not in the mood.”
“Patrick,” came a young woman’s voice
from the bar. Eddie glanced around the bouncer and saw Jordyn behind the bar
counter. He gazed at her, forgetting about the cement truck. Corey sure knew
how to pick them. It must have been so easy for him since the best ones were
always attracted to him. But Jordyn was somewhat unique, being born to an
Italian father and a Jamaican mother. There wasn’t a place that Corey went with
her where they didn’t draw stares. She preferred her dark hair to be in locks,
showing off her Caribbean roots. And her arms were just as toned as Michelle
Obama’s, which she loved to expose. Eddie didn’t recall her ever having
mentioned playing any sports while in high school, but she sure knew how to
take care of herself.
What exciting story are you working on
currently close to finishing the first round of edits of the spy/thriller, The Demeter Code, which is the sequel to
my debut spy/thriller, Pandora’s
When did you first consider yourself a
I began
taking my writing seriously when I was 14 years old. It was then that I began
the first of several rewrites that eventually became Pandora’s Succession.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
Right now
it’s part-time, mostly because my fan base is still growing. Even though I
write on a part-time basis I do my best to come out with a novel at least every
two years. Like the late Tom Clancy, I started my career selling
insurance—except he did casualty whereas I work in health. I still have my
license and I still do consultation and sales. Even though I retired from Track
and Field I still work out regularly to keep in shape. My writing is done at
anytime during the day, it just depends when my muse is firing. I may go a week
without writing if the ideas aren’t there, then all of a sudden I’d wake up at
5AM on a Saturday morning and write all the way through to 2AM Sunday
morning—taking short breaks in between.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I’d say
that I tend to edit too much as I write, rather than saving it for the rewrite.
That’s a habit that I’m desperately trying to break. Sometimes I’ll physically
act out a scene in order to get a better idea what may be going on in a
character’s head—what they may see, smell, feel.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I wanted to
be a obstetrician. Then I wanted to be a criminal lawyer.

Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
occasionally post of video of myself playing the violin, and the only way you
can see that is if you LIKE my Facebook
Buy links

Thank you, Russell! Happy writing.

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