Q&A with Author Russ Colchamiro
Q: Your new book Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition is set in Eternity, as well as several European cities, and New Zealand. Have you ever been there?
Russ: Finders Keepers is loosely based on a series of backpacking trips I took through Europe and New Zealand, set against a quest for a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA. So…yes! I’ve traveled a fair bit. Not to the cosmos… but still!
As for Eternity… it’s a cosmic realm not reachable or traceable through any star map. Think of it like Hollywood, only… instead of the movie business, everyone in Eternity either directly or indirectly supports or is engaged with the creation, design, and maintenance of the Universe.
Q: You named your book Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition. Why ‘Definitive’? Have there been other versions?
Russ: I first released Finders Keepers in October 2010, which meant I wrote it during the late 1990s. I was really happy with it… then, including getting write-ups in Publishers Weekly and having paperbacks in Barnes & Nobles. But in revisiting the novel these years later, I saw passages that needed to be cut, sections that could easily be combined, and a few character traits I wanted to approach with a bit more nuance.
On a larger scale, when looking at these adventures as a series—Finders Keepers kicks it off—I wanted the first novel to more closely match the tone, pacing, length, and style of books two and three—Genius de Milo and Astropalooza—especially as the original Finders Keepers was a bit rough and raunchy in places. I came to accept that some of the more raucous, sex comedy elements in the original might be distracting from the rest of the story. This version is tighter, cleaner (think ‘PG-13’ instead of ‘R’), and nearly 15,000 words shorter, without sacrificing any story or character development.
In fact, a recent Amazon review put it this way: To draw an analogy between the two editions, Hitchcock once said about his two versions of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH: “Let’s say the first version is the work of a talented amateur and the second was made by a professional.” Same can be said for Colchamiro’s redux of FINDERS KEEPERS. I think that pretty much nails it.
Q: What genre do you write and why?
Russ: For the last decade I’ve focused almost entirely on science fiction and fantasy because it’s so much fun! The stories I write, and the worlds I create, are limited only to what my crazy brain can come up with, so it allows me to take readers on journeys that more ‘Earth-bound’ genres simply can’t accommodate. But now I’m shifting a bit more into mystery, detective, and crime fiction. In fact, I’m in finalizing the first book in a Finders Keepers spin-off series based on hard boiled private eye Angela Hardwicke, who appears in the second and third books in the Finders Keepers series. I love writing this character. I plan to write many books with her in the lead.
Q: Do you write every day?
Russ: If you mean ‘clacking the keys’ then no, not every day. More like 4-5 days per week depending on how much energy and focus I have. But I consider ‘writing’ to also encompass thinking about stories, plotting them, working out character traits, and details, etc. In which case, yes, I ‘write’ in some capacity virtually every day.
Q: Where do you write?
Russ: Typically, at my home office, in the basement. I need a quiet environment, so I can concentrate. And yet… you can often find me out walking my dog at night, where I live in New Jersey, and walking back to Penn Station in NYC on my way to and from the office, talking to myself, working out plots and dialogue. I often put in my earbuds, so people think I’m talking to someone… which is true. I’m talking to myself! LOL. I often need to ‘hear’ my ideas spoken aloud to get the best feel for them and spot the elements that don’t work or make sense. So, if you see me walking around town gesticulating wildly and talking frantically… I’m not crazy. Well… not entirely.
Q: If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you?
Russ: Lamb, by Christopher Moore. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. The Stand, by Stephen King.