Move over, Stephen King and Clive Barker - there’s a new thriller writer on the scene. Longwood author Russell James is spinning tales that are sure to keep readers up at night. This former Army helicopter pilot has penned paranormal novels, novellas and short story collections that will delight horror fans.
James, a native of Long Island, never planned to become a writer. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Business Management, earned his MBA from the University of Central Florida, and realized his lifelong dream of flying helicopters with the Army 101st Airborne. But he discovered his more creative side during long road trips with his wife. “While we were driving, I’d tell my wife stories, and she said I should write them down,” he recalls. “I told her there was no way anyone would pay for something I wrote. I’ve been apologizing to her ever since.” James’s wife took matters into her own hands when she gifted her husband with an online writing course for Christmas. This led to the publication of one of his short stories. Then James enrolled in an advance writing class and began work on a book about a haunted house. At the suggestion of his instructor, James submitted the novel, Dark Inspiration, to Samhain Publishing, and the rest is history.
Dark Inspiration was followed by four more novels (Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, Dreamwalker,) two novellas (Blood Red Roses and The Antikythera Answer,) and several short story collections. James describes his work as “character-driven paranormal thrillers based more on suspense than graphic violence.” His next novel, Q Island, is the nail-biting tale of a prehistoric virus that turns its victims into psychopathic killers. Publishers Weekly praised the book as “…a seriously creepy page turner that will keep readers up at night.”
His latest novel is Cavern of the Damned, an homage to the kind of monster movies kids loved to watch in the 1970s. Out-of-work paleontologist Grant Coleman signs up to be part of a documentary film about exploring a long-sealed cave, but he finds out it is really just a reality show to be filled with some fake scares. Park Service Ranger McKinley Stinson catches the crew trespassing, but before she arrests them, the cave entrance collapses. All are trapped inside, and the only way out is at the cavern system’s far end. Along the way they are attacked by giant cave dwelling creatures, including giant scorpions. Greed, double crosses, and mayhem ensure. The Haunted Reading Room said “Author Russell James delivers heart-in-mouth unstoppable action and terror. If you love creature horror, paleontology, megafauna, and scares-a-minute, love this!” In keeping with the spirit of the story, it is family-friendly with no sex or profanity. “It’s just the broadcast network-safe scary of a good monster flick, “James says. “I can finally direct kids at book signings to a book without adding a warning for their parents.”
Scheduled for release later this year will be Return to Q Island, a second story set in the world of Q Island. While millions want to escape a viral quarantine on Long Island, where they are terrorized by the infected, one man wants to get back in to save his family. His only way in is posing as a guide for an illegal safari hunting the infected. But he ends up being a slave to the hunters, and the infected are worse than ever.
While the primary reason James spins his scary tales is “to give readers an escape from the real world for a while,” he also hopes his writing will leave them with something to ponder. “All my novels have a theme embedded in them,” he explains. “Maybe readers will pull out that theme and apply the values to their own lives.”
For more information, visit the author’s website at www.russellrjames.com.
For more about Cavern of the Damned go to www.amazon.com/Cavern-Damned-Russell-James-ebook/dp/B071LMZFHJ)
For readers who want to meet James in person, he will be making appearances at Megacon in Tampa (September 29-October 1st) and Spooky Empire in Orlando (October 27-29) He invites readers to stop by for signed copies of his books or to just chat about reading and writing.