This week’s author spotlight features William Russeth, author of Belerion Odyssey, among other historical fiction novels.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Not much to tell. Have always loved history and mythology. One of the first books I remember reading was a dumbed down version of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Graduated from college with a degree in Fine Arts (painting) with a history minor. Went back and secured a Journalism degree after deciding I wanted to live above the poverty level. From there it was advertising, marketing communications, and business development with a major company. I got the bug to write a few years before retirement. Michael Chriction,’s “Eaters of the Dead” and “Crystal Cave” by Mary Stewart fired up my imagination. They both took mythical stories, but presented them in a realistic way that might actually have happed. One night I had a vision as to how Excalibur might have been created and I gave birth to the great sword “Clach na Adhar”, forged from the stone from heaven, and the “Fires of Belenus”
Tell us about your latest novel.
In 480 BC, life is hard for Helot slaves; working the land for their Spartan overlords. During the rite of Krypteia young Spartan men are expected prove their manhood by strangling unsuspecting Helots. But this year, a lowly shepherd, murders the youths who try to strangle him and he must run for his life. Taken in by a band of pirates, he enjoys a taste of freedom.
He finds a gift from Poseidon on the ocean floor, just a bit of gold and a map etched on an ancient medallion, neither enough proof to convince anyone to search for treasure. That is—unless you are a runaway Helot slave with nowhere to run or a pirate with no place to hide. Then the promise of finding Jason’s fabled treasure with the woman of your dreams could only be deemed as good fortune bestowed by the gods. That is—unless your closest shipmate is the Spartan who is hunting you and the love of your life may be an incarnate of Medea, the monstrous witch.
Where did the idea for your latest book come from?
My passion is taking history and mythology and looking for ways to create a fictional adventure. On vacation in Sicily, I learned that in the fall of 480 BC two great sea battles were fought in the ancient world: Salamis, where the Athenians crushed the Persian navy and the battle of Himera, where Greek colonist defeated Carthage. Both battles changed the development of the Mediterranean History. This registered as a great background period in which set a novel. Delving into the history, I came to realize that the ancient Greeks, above all things, were pirates. Even our word pirate is derived from the Greek word for raider, “pieraomai.” The idea of a pirate story set in the ancient world, was a fresh and new idea that had not be overworked in the publishing world.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
As I mentioned before, Michael Cricton and Mary Stewart are favorites. Bernard Cornwell never disappoints. He brings history to life in a wonderful way. RR Martin is also a favorite. He dwells in fantasy, but presents it in such fine detail that you feel the story is real. His plots are driven by conversations.
What makes a bad book? List a few you couldn’t finish.
Passive sentences, too much backstory, and too much telling. Every time an author jumps out story to explain what is happening, my mind starts to scream, “let the characters do it!” Explain it via dialogue and actions. Try reading Don Quixote and you’ll see what I am talking about.
What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
I love drifting off into the dream world and letting the story flow. I hate proofing it and I am a terrible proof reader. (Which you might catch on to with this exercise.) With my last book, I actually paid for an edit, before sending off to the publisher and think it was worth it; not in financial gain, but in piece of mind.
How do you deal with rejection?
I am always looking for constructive criticism, which is really hard to find. If rejected, I do try to understand why. If it is superficial, I blow it off. For example, someone said they didn’t like my books because of the genre or another comment I remember was the character’s names were too long.
As with any of the Arts. we create to satisfy an inner spark. Most of us never realize any significant notoriety or financial reward.
What is your favorite TV show? Why?
Breaking Bad has not been beat yet. Sure I loved GoT. But the story development and characters of Breaking Bad had me binge watching. Mr. White’s corruption over four seasons was a haunting transformation. Every episode was a jewel and every season upped the stakes. Whew!
How can our readers find you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/William-H.-Russeth/e/B003F0WZZ0/
Web Page: https://williehowie2002.wordpress.com/
Face Book Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/WRusseth/