Dragon Soul Press took a moment to interview J.R. Rustrian, author of The Dragon’s Den in the upcoming History anthology.
1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing in some way since I was five years old. I would write three sentence stories in second grade as an assignment and write fan fiction in middle school and high school for myself and friends. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to take a crack at writing fiction. Looking back, I realize that the passion for writing was always there.
2. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
In my opinion, the ability to create a live, vivid character is a good element of writing. Using your unique voice to create somebody that speaks to a reader can make or break a story. What also makes for good writing is a world that you can see yourself interacting with, a place that you will either want to live in or be terrified of being in.
3. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
Recently, I’ve noticed a lack of focus. Ideas are there, but difficult to translate into words on a page. Characters are also difficult to deal with since I place so much emphasis on whether or not these people are believable and compelling.
4. Is there lots to do before you drive in and start writing the story?
It usually starts with a premise, then evolves into who is part of that premise and where. I’ll try with an outline of all the ideas in my head, and try to put that into something resembling cohesive. I’ll jot down character backgrounds, world settings, scenes I want to see into a journal that I keep close. Then, I’ll dive in and see if anything comes from all that.
5. Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.
I wrote a story for Brave New Girls with a character named Leona. She’s a brainy, techy girl, but awkward and full of self doubt. What I love about her is that how much she has passion for her inventions and science in general, but struggles with typical teenage issues. In creating her, I tried to make her a bit unconventional. Most of her growth is personal and emotional, but never loses that spark that makes her who she is.
6. Where do you draw inspiration from?
I’m a big history fan, so a lot of ideas come from books that I’ve read and classes that I’ve attended. I’m also Hispanic, so I turn to Mesoamerican stories and settings for a lot of inspiration. Real life also offers a rich gold mine of ideas.
7. Who is the author you most admire in your genre?
I’m a big Philip K. Dick fan. His stories are off-beat and give a more relatable view of science fiction that I tend to emulate in stories. Michael Crichton is also great. There’s a lot of suspense and tension that just grips you.
8. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love playing video games, cooking, hiking and watching movies.
9. Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
I’m a huge heavy metal fan. I’ve been listening to the genre since high school. There’s nothing more calming than screaming guitars and loud drums after a long day.
10. Where can readers learn more about you?
Check me out on Twitter.