Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sheldon Russell

A former Oklahoma public school English teacher, Sheldon Russell retired as a professor emeritus from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2000. Russell published his first novel, Empire, in 1993 with Evans Publications, Inc. He followed that suspense novel with two historic frontier titles—The Savage Trail (Pinnacle Books, 1993) and Requiem at Dawn (Pinnacle Books, 2000). Requiem at Dawn was a finalist for Best Original Paperback in the 2001 Western Writers of America, Inc., Spur Awards competition.

In 2006, the University of Oklahoma Press released Dreams to Dust: A Tale of the Oklahoma Land Rush, which won the Oklahoma Book Award in Fiction and was selected as an Official Oklahoma Centennial Project. With The Yard Dog (Minotaur Books, 2009), Russell introduced the Hook Runyon series. The first book finds Hook investigating a murder at an Oklahoma railroad yard near a German POW camp during WWII.

Russell's second Hook Runyon novel, The Insane Train, is out this month.

A couple of days ago I asked Russell what he was reading. His reply:
I came to the mystery genre rather late in life and have been playing catch up by reading some of the established authors’ early books, Robert B. Parker’s Shrink Rap for example and James Patterson’s Pop Goes the Weasel. Although these books are dated, I suppose, they’re ripe with lessons to be learned. I like reading my way through a writing career from beginning to end. It gives me a sense of an author’s history and writing evolution. So far, I’m taken with Parker’s dialogue and Patterson’s cliff-hanging suspense.

I also enjoy nonfiction, particularly biography, and have only recently read Haunted Heart by Lisa Rogak, an engaging story about the life of Stephen King.

For the most part, I resist the draw of the best seller list and enjoy a rather random, even whimsical, reading agenda. Having said that, I’ll probably be the first in line for the new autobiography of Mark Twain. We have a personal relationship that goes back to my adolescence.
Visit Sheldon Russell's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Yard Dog.

--Marshal Zeringue