YA Shot Blog Tour: Chris Russell Interview

Hello everybody! I am so excited to be hosting this stop on the YA Shot Blog Tour. This tour is a collaboration of authors attending YA Shot this year and YA bloggers. I was so excited to be paired with Chris Russell, author of Songs About A Girl. I hope you enjoy this stop on the YA Shot Blog Tour, where I interview Chris about all things bookish.

1. The finale in the Songs About A Girl trilogy, Songs About A Boy, is out later in the year! Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Well, my lips are quite heavily sealed, for obvious reasons … but I can reveal that it’s set in America, mainly New York. This was great fun to write as NYC is one of my favourite places in the world! I’ve played a bunch of gigs there, so it was a major nostalgia trip for me. All other details are staying firmly under wraps, but you can certainly expect tears, laughter, heartbreak, music and mayhem
2. Your books completely convey your love for music. What is it about music that captivates you so much?
If it’s not too grand to say it, I think the reason music is so important to me is that it basically changed my life. I started a band with my best friend when we were teenagers, and not only did it become my career, but most of my social life has grown out of the band as well. George and I are still the closest of friends; we were best men at each other’s weddings, and we both met our wives through the band. I’m godfather to his second son. These days, when we go away on tour, it’s often a family affair - parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews. Which is pretty special. On top of that, it was having adventures and collecting tour stories with the band that ultimately spurred me on to become a novelist, so I have music to thank for my writing career as well! 
3. I know you're in your own band, The Lightyears. Do you use your experiences as a musician in your writing? If so, how?
When I created my fictional boy band, Fire&Lights, the most important thing to me was that the relationships between the band members were authentic. And I think this, above all else, is where being in a band myself has been invaluable to writing the Songs About a Girl trilogy. I’ve toured all over the world with The Lightyears, and even played a few stadiums, but it would be dishonest of me to pretend I know what it’s like to be in a famous boy band! However, I do know what it’s like to live in the pockets of three other guys, sharing a dream that means everything, while trying to navigate the complex friendships and rivalries that arise from that. The Fire&Lights boys, like my own band, are friends, brothers, rivals, confidantes and collaborators all at once. Like a family, they’re bound together by something bigger than them, and that can be both powerful and destructive
4. What does the future hold for you after the finale of SAAG is out in the world? Can you tease any upcoming projects?
Oooooh … I’ve already planned quite a bit of my next project, but I am NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK OF IT. However, I can tell you that it’s YA and music-related, but very much a new set of characters. I AM VERY EXCITED. Watch this space. 
5. Is there any particular music you listen to that inspires you to write? Or is it different music for every book? (I listen to the same soundtrack on repeat when writing; Anna Karenina).
I actually can’t listen to music while I write. I need silence. I think this is because - and get ready for a super-pretentious answer here, people - as a musician myself, when I hear music, I start to deconstruct it in my head. Like, imagine you were looking at a building, and instead of just seeing the facade, you saw the structure underneath: the beams, the insulation, the wiring (see, I told you this would be pretentious). Before you ask, this doesn’t ruin music for me, but it does mean that I can’t really listen to it while also doing something that requires significant bandwidth (cooking or emptying the dishwasher is fine, for instance, but writing: not so much). That said, music is a massive inspiration to me when I’m working on a project - I just tend to do the listening when I’m walking around, formulating ideas in my head. You can check out the tracks that inspired Songs About a Girl here.
6. Are they any YA releases in 2018 you're dying to read?
I’ve managed to get hold of an advance copy of Alice Oseman’s I Was Born For This, and I’m dead psyched for that. It’s #boybandlit - which is exciting in itself - and the hype is REAL, man. Also, Alice illustrated the Fire&Lights boys for me last year and did an incredible job. She’s not only a creative genius, but a lovely person, too. 
7. Which authors inspire you to write?
When I was a kid, I was inspired by writers like Douglas Adams and Bill Bryson, but now that I’m a novelist myself, I think it’s the YA authors that I’ve connected with on social media who inspire me the most. Non Pratt, Alice Broadway, Cat Clarke, Will Hill, Keris Stainton, Melinda Salisbury, L.D. Lapinski - I could go on! 
8. What are you currently reading?
Girls Can’t Hit, by Tom Easton - who, coincidentally, will be on my panel at YAShot. It’s hilarious. I LOLed on page one, which I always think is a good sign.
BONUS: What instrument can you not play, that you'd love to be able to?
You can’t go wrong with a trumpet, I reckon. They’re loud and shiny. Job done. 

Thank you so much for your time Chris!
Check out his links here:
Twitter: chrisrusselluk
Website: chrisrussellwrites

1 comment

  1. Haha that was great.
    So interested that he can't listen to music while he writes!
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk