Russell Slater is a writer and author AND small press publisher located in West Michigan.
Here, he talks about FIVE THINGS LEARNED WRITING his Classic Monster (in my words) novella, ACIPENSER.
Something in the lake… 4th of July Weekend!
Time for flags, barbeques and late night fireworks. For the residents of a sleepy West Michigan community, the carefree days of sun-soaked bliss are about to be interrupted by a deadly abomination of nature…lurking in the depths of a local lake. ACIPENSER
Vietnam veteran Silas Sobel loves Green Lake. He watches over the water – protects it. When he witnesses a mysterious attack on a pontoon of partiers, his claims are dismissed as wild stories. Setting out on a lone mission, he utilizes unconventional methods to capture the proof he needs. As the town slowly realizes the truth, they find themselves woefully unprepared to combat the hideously mutated monsters of Green Lake.
FIVE THINGS I LEARNED while writing ACIPENSER
FYS – Finish Your Shit. Don’t look backward (until the end).
2. ACIPENSERS don’t have teeth – wait, yes they do!
When I chose the Lake Sturgeon as my “Green Lake Monster,” I soon was disappointed to learn that these fish don’t even have teeth! Somehow a giant mutant fish that gummed people to death didn’t seem as frightening as rows upon rows of serrated steak-knife teeth. So we gave him chompers – deadly, pointy ones. Coincidently, I did learn later on that certain species of Acipensers in Eastern Asia are predatory fish, and do in fact have teeth.
3. We’re famous! (not really)
4. Great art will sell your book
It took Jordan and I several months to develop the final look of Acipenser. He went through many variations, and after several sit-down meetings and dozens of emails exchanged, we finally got it right. I love the final look of the monster – so much so, I got him tattooed on my left shoulder.
5. It’s all good: Feedback
Toughen thy skin until it becomes an armor shell that can absorb whatever a reader throws at you.
Positive feedback makes us writer-types puuuuurrrr. “I liked it,” or “it was an enjoyable read” are nice to hear, but what really gets me purring is the feedback with details. Stories of readers’ reaction to your material are great. I recently had a woman who lives on Green Lake tell me how her teenage daughter bought a copy of Acipenser, and then invited her girlfriends for a sleep over. They took turns reading it aloud to one another and then went swimming in the lake at night.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Russell Slater is a Michigan author and head of Peninsulam Publishing (Publishing stories Made in Michigan). In addition to his published novels, his work has been featured in the (Wayland) Penasee Globe, Allegan County News, Flavor 616 Magazine, Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, Engraver's Journal and the Volunteer: Civil Air Patrol Magazine. He enjoys creative writing in multiple genres, from alternate history political thrillers, to sci-fi/horror, and children's books. He lives in a rural community with his wife and son.
Peninsulam Publishing and Book Links