If you've been keeping up with The Bookshelf lately, then you know that we are no stranger to author signings, community events, and activities for everyone - and we have been busy! The holiday season is well approaching, and The Bookshelf has a lot in store for you guys. This upcoming Saturday, November 19th, we are hosting an author signing with Russ Underwood, author of The One. His book is actually set in our local community of Thomasville, along with Valdosta and Rosemary Beach, and you might recognize his name if you've been on any of our social media pages late as he is a big supporter of our accounts (thank you Mr. Underwood!). Below, I've asked him a few questions regarding his new book, his writing process, and career as an author.
1. You say your path to becoming an author was not a usual one, switching over from a career in business after so many years, but what prevented you from being a full time author previously? Were you still writing during those years in the business world, just not professionally?
RU: I think the main obstacle to pursuing being a full-time author was fear that I couldn’t write a book and develop characters, a dialogue and a story. I have always written professionally such as in business correspondence, email correspondence, company presentations, etc. but that writing was confined to business. I didn’t really begin writing anything other than that until I met my wife Mary. I have written many poems, letters, and cards to her.
2. It's very exciting that your first book has been recently published, and as I'm sure you are new to this word, what has been the most exciting part about becoming an author and seeing your work published?
RU: The most exciting part for me so far has been meeting people at the events and book signings I’ve done and interacting with them about the book and their life. It has been so enjoyable to be able to discuss my book with potential buyers and learn more about them as well.
3. Your book is set in the local communities of Thomasville, Valdosta, and Rosemary Beach. What inspired you to do that?
RU: As for Thomasville, I worked there for almost a year as I began writing the book and really fell in love with the history and feel of the city. I felt setting part of the book there would fit in nicely in the book. I chose Valdosta because I lived there for several years as a child and attended college there. I have visited it frequently since and it will always have a special place in my heart which led to its inclusion in the book. Rosemary Beach is a place my wife and I have vacationed to several times. From the first visit I fell in love with the town and its surroundings and thought it would be the perfect place for the two main characters to meet.
4. What led you to the genre of a romance novel? Have you, or are you going to, branch out to other genres within the literary world?
RU: The credit for that really goes to my wife Mary. She encouraged me to write based on pieces I had written to her, and that’s why I chose romance. It’s possible, but I won’t be with my second book. After that, it is a possibility for me to branch out.
5. Many authors speak of becoming so invested in their novels and attached to their characters as if they were real. Would you say that you've become attached to the characters within The One, and if you had to choose just one, which character would be your favorite?
RU: I have definitely become attached to the characters and I would see them in my mind as I wrote about each of them. I love them all but my favorite is Willie. His committed friendship and love for Ethan are very compelling and he didn’t give up on Ethan even when Ethan had.
So remember to come out and meet Russ Underwood this Saturday, the 19th, during our signing for his new book The One - which is also available for purchase in the shop. We're looking forward to many more author signings and holiday events in the upcoming month as well! Downtown Holiday Open House is this Sunday, where we will be featuring a Pen and Paint postcard pop-up along with many other festive treats, from 1-5PM. Come visit The Bookshelf before the holidays get too close, because we have a special wishlist that patrons may fill out with all the books and gifts they hope to receive from family members this holiday season. We'll even keep the list so your relatives and friends can come view what you've written down - talk about stress free holiday shopping!