Every Village Has One – An Interview with Russell Gayer

Published December 2, 2016 by rochellewisoff

russell-in-plaid

Like Benjamin Franklin, Russell Gayer spent most of his adult life in the printing industry, except for three years in which he was a framing carpenter. During that time he’s been honing skills that his wife, Connie, has made sure come in handy ever since. 

His collection humorous short stories, THE PERILS OF HEAVY THINKING, is available at Pen-L.com, Barns & Noble.com and Amazon.com.

Russell is the resident humorist of Friday Fictioneers who, every week, manages to pull laughter from the most somber photo prompt.

You may ask (or not ask) what makes Mr. Gayer tick? I did ask. Here are the answers:

 

What made you decide to be a writer?

I’m not sure it was a conscious choice. I began writing songs and poetry at an early age. I have written over 200 poems. The majority of them were pretty somber or serious stuff. I gave our neighbor, Linda Apple, a book containing some of my poems and short stories about ten years ago, and she invited me to attend a local critique group with her. Several people in that group were published authors who were willing to give of their time to help us “rookies” grow and improve. It was a very nurturing environment and I’m extremely grateful for their guidance and support.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

My favorite genre to write is humor. We live in a very fast-paced world filled with pressure, tension, and stress. People need an escape from that. Sometimes a little silliness is just what the doctor ordered. When people tell me they laughed out loud or snorted coffee out their nose while reading my work, I feel like I’ve touched them in a positive way and perhaps replaced some of that stress with joy, if only briefly.

I’m fascinated by near-death experience books. I find these stories encouraging and supportive of my spiritual beliefs—sort of an affirmation of faith—if you will.

Who is the author who inspires you the most?

My “go to guys” in the humor field are Patrick McManus, Dave Barry, and David Sedaris. Sedaris is more subtle in his approach to humor, but still very funny. I’m also a huge fan of Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder.

In addition to enjoying the story, I study the structure of their work. Their characters, how they set up a scene, use of dialogue and narration, any little thing that can help me become a better story teller. russell-in-coveralls

How often do you write?

I write something every day. Weekdays, I get up at 5 am and write for an hour. It could be on a story, or reading and commenting on blogs. When I go hunting, I take a pad and pen and write in the woods. Some of my most productive periods have occurred in the woods.

I am also what people in my writing group call a “Pantser,” meaning someone who doesn’t diagram out a story before they write, but simply flies by the seat of their pants.

Do you have any major projects in the works?

I’ve been working on ONE VILLAGE SHORT OF AN IDIOT for over a year now. This title was originally used in a Friday Flash Fiction post in October 2015. When I decided to turn the concept into a longer piece, I envisioned something in the neighborhood of 5,000 words. As of today, we’re at 29,000+ and counting. The characters have taken over the story on numerous occasions and created scenes that I never anticipated or would have thought of on my own. It’s been a real blast to write, as I never know what’s going to happen next.

What are your writing goals for the future?

I have a dozen other short stories lying around impatiently waiting for me to finish the Idiot saga. Hopefully, I’ll wrap that one up and hand them all off to Pen-L Publishing shortly after New Year’s. I was hoping for an April Fools book release, but that doesn’t seem too realistic at the moment.

What advice would you give other writers?

Write what you love. Be observant and study the work of others. Hone and polish your craft. Join a critique group and find a beta reader who will provide open and honest feedback. Attend writers’ conferences and rub elbows with published authors.

russell-and-mark-twainI’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes.

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is… the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” — Mark Twain

(This quote copied from fellow OWL member Lori Ericson’s blog) https://loriericson.com/2016/09/18/every-word-is-a-choice-and-opportunity/

 

29 comments on “Every Village Has One – An Interview with Russell Gayer

  • That was great. Love seeing this side of Russell.And was that first picture taken before or when he met Connie? 😉 ‘Coz I can see why she picked him, even if he’s not wearing his now-habitual smile…

    Like

  • I’m very happy, Rochelle, that you put this guy in the spotlight.

    Russell, I’m also happy to see you open the door to the treasure house and spill the secrets of writing. You learned and are continuing to learn your lessons well. I didn’t know Linda was the one who helped get you started (nor was your neighbor). The influences are definitely there, I can tell. Fun stuff! Keep on keeping on, my friend.

    Like

  • What a delightful interview. It’s awfully fun to get to know fellow writers and especially fellow Friday Fictioneer writers. And your humor brings such delight to our merry band each Wednesday/Friday. True words of wisdom, Russell. P.S. I’m a Pantser, too. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words, Alicia. I’m really surprised how many writers have confessed to being Pantsers. Personally, I just get an idea and start writing. After that, the story pretty much goes where it wants to.

      Liked by 2 people

  • Dear Rochelle and Russell,

    Peas in a pod, you two and I’m glad to know you both. Rochelle, this was a fine interview. Russell, you’re a fine interviewee. Best of luck to both of you in your trailblazing for the rest of us.

    ‘Aloha’,

    Doug

    Liked by 2 people

  • I love that interview and am glad to learn of a fellow pantser. My reading list has just got longer, as I love to laugh 🙂 Thanks for this post, Rochelle. Being rather a sporadic Friday Fictioneer and not always able to read everybody’s offerings, I seem to have missed Russell’s stories altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think I’ve killed a single character yet, although some have suffered mightily (primarily my readers). It can be difficult at times to wring humor from some of the photos, while others just cry out for laughs. FFF is a great exercise in tightening our stories. I think it’s definitely made me a better writer.

        Liked by 1 person

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