A Quickie with Daniel I. Russell

Nikki Noir (NN): What’s your darkest fantasy? And why will you never act it out in real life?


Daniel I. Russell (DR): I would never act out any of my fantasies. Well...not the fantasies your readers would like to read about. Not that they're too bizarre or extreme, just boring. "My fantasy is to save up over summer and put those excess funds into our check account and not the savings, as while it's not accruing interest, it is offsetting the higher interest generated by the home loan, yet still available should an emergency arise."


Not exactly Two Girls, One Cup is it?   

However fantasy, especially sexual fantasy, is all mixed up in my work. In my first ever short story (2003!), my meek protagonist encourages his partner to have a MMF threesome with a guy he meets at the gym. He knows that this guy is her dream man, so expects to be cuckolded. But that's all part of the plan, as HIS fantasy was to brutally murder his partner. Having her reject him for another man before his eyes is the motivation he needs... Alas, the story is lost in the sands of time. Would love to read it again, as I know it's terrible.

NN:  We all have a guilty pleasure. What’s the movie, television program, or music you’re a bit embarrassed of?

DR: I don't embarrass easily, but then again I'm too boring to do anything embarrassing. I was embarrassed that my savings were not in the checking account as--

No. We've been through all that.

I guess something that is a little different is my preferred writing music. I always go for music with no lyrics, but there's a particular genre I tend to listen to. Seems most horror writers are metal heads, whereas I tend to play early '90s rave music. While they're growls and doom, I have two glow-sticks and a whistle.

NN: If you could collaborate with any small press author on a project, who would it be and why?

DR: I attempted a collaboration! Really, I did! My buddy and fellow West Australian writer Anthony Ferguson arranged a meet up at the pub. We took notebooks and pens and everything. Drafted out a couple of ideas. That was weeks ago. Last night he emailed me one of the finished first drafts. I've done literally NOTHING.

I'm terrible at collaborations. 

NN: Tell us about your latest project or work in progress

DR: I've been working (and it's now close to the end of rewrites) on a new novella. I had to write a psychology thesis this year, so only had time for something short. It's an unofficial sequel to my novella Retard in theme and time, but is a stand alone. I love throwing in life experiences, so while Retard allowed me to reminisce about a childhood in the 80s, this book, The Girl Outside, was a trip down memory lane of hitting 18 in the late 90s. Themes of mental health continue, and how this can affect relationships.

Like Retard and your first question, dark fantasies play a huge part!

NN: Of all the character’s you’ve created, do you have a favorite and why?

DR: I have a character called Rose in an unpublished novel. I like her as she completely took me by surprise. She's a girl in her early twenties who is diagnosed with schizophrenia, but her visual hallucinations are actually genuine auras that surround people. By learning what patterns and colors mean, she can read people's moods and intentions, know when they're lying, etc. A valuable skill in the ordeal ahead of her in the book.


But about a quarter in, it hit me: This was Rose's second outting.


My novel Playthings (which is still with my agent) features a little girl, the daughter of the protagonist Charlotte. On rereading that book, it struck me that Rose is that little girl ten or twelve years down the track. The whole plot explains why Rose would have developed such an ability, and the epilogue also suggested why she would change her name. And her doll is called Rose!


Blew my mind. I created all this and had no idea the substantial connections between both books.

NN: What’s your favorite philosophical quote or phrase to live by?

"Nothing worth having comes easy."

My wife and I use it all the time. It originated when we first planned to be together, what with living on opposite sides of the world. But we put in the work, and we were patient, and we achieved something life changing. A good mantra to repeat when faced with something that requires you to dig deep.