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An Interview with Rush Leaming: Author of Don’t Go, Ramanya

Rush Leaming AuthorRush Leaming lives in the Southeastern United States. He has done many things and lived in many places.

At various times in his life he has been a/an: car wash attendant, bartender, dishwasher, Adjunct Professor, lab rat decapitator, shoe salesman, fish pond builder (in the Congo), film actor (a very poor one), music video director, refugee camp volunteer (in Kenya/Sudan), film production manager, ESL teacher, star of a country music video, newspaper delivery person, Chinese wok assembler, night time hotel desk clerk, cement mixer, ballet manager, waiter, internet teacher, screenwriter, short film director, Cuban cigar mule, auctioneer, pre-med student, traffic pattern analyzer, photographer, landscaper, homeless, Academic Director, shepherd, lifeguard, audio-visual coordinator, recruiter for a prestigious government agency, and single dad.

Just to name a few…

Tell us about your book.

A literary thriller set in Thailand. Three men running from secrets and tragedies in their past. Four tense days in and around Bangkok. Based on characters I met and experiences I had.

What did you learn on your journey as an author?

That I could actually write a full novel. I’d been writing short stories since age five and always hoped “one day” I’d sit down and complete a full manuscript. That day came about a year and a half ago. It was an idea I’d had for fifteen plus years, and it just came pouring out.

What do you think are the main pitfalls for indie writers?

Obviously getting noticed, getting promoted. This was my first time publishing, so even though I read dozens or articles and blogs ahead of time, still felt like I was stumbling in the dark. A whole lot of trial and error using various sites to promote the book.

Don't Go, Ramanya by Rush LeamingAs a writer, what is your schedule? How do you get the job done?

I’m not an everyday writer. I don’t follow a word count. I let it spin around and around in my head until it just bursts out. I sometimes make very rudimentary outlines: just keywords or phrases or snippets of images or dialogue.

What tips can you give other authors looking to self-publish?

Come to Self-Publishing Review first! Seriously, the vast majority of promo sites I tried didn’t deliver and some were outright scams. This was definitely worth the time and money; they delivered as promised.

Tell us about the genre you wrote in, and why you chose to write this sort of book.

I like character-driven thrillers. I like exotic locations and stories of “strangers in a strange land”. I wanted to take the structure of a fast-paced page-turner and see how deep I could dive exploring characters and themes. Graham Greene was a master at that.

Who are your biggest writing inspirations and why?

Some of the usual suspects: Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, George Orwell, Henry Miller, Albert Camus, Stephen King, Milan Kundera, Harry Crews, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Graham Greene.

What are your plans now your book is published?

Next book, “The Whole of the Moon,” is finished and going through editing! It’s a prequel of sorts to this story.

What have you learned from this experience?

To trust my instincts and don’t hold back.

Why did you wait so long to write a book?

Life, life, life. Again, it was always in the back of my head to “one day” do it. I spent 15+ years in film/video production. I was an adjunct professor for 7+ years. I’m a single dad of a 12-year-old girl. I’ve been raising her myself since she was two. Life takes over. I’ve had a gazillion odd jobs and weird experiences, but one thing I can say for certain: If I had spent my entire life trying to be a writer, I would have had nothing to write about.

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