Featured Interview With Russell J. Dorn
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
My name is Russell Dorn. I am the co-creator of the children’s book character and associated website, Felipe Femur, the skeleton with a lot of heart. I also write poetry and adult fiction with an emphasis on horror themes. Raised in northern Nevada, the majority of my adult fiction is based in the cold desert environment, but my children’s stories are based in the fictional town of Toonstone. Currently I live in Reno with friends a black cat named Spooky.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
During an elementary school book fair, I first fell in love with books. Alvin Schwartz’s scary story collections and R.L. Stein’s Goosebumps series both appealed greatly to me. It wasn’t until freshman year of high school, though, that I began writing myself; and I began with poetry. During my undergraduate studies in psychology, I began writing literary horror prose in an attempt to comment on the darker sides of the human condition. Teaming up with my brother, an illustrator, I first created a cast of ironic monster characters for a series of children’s books, games, and a free website with activities (www.felipefemur.com).
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I loved Goosebumps, anything horror related, and the Harry Potter series growing up. In my adult years, I began reading more of the classics by H.P. Lovecraft, Franz Kafka, Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Shirley Jackson, all of whom became some of my favorite authors. I draw particular inspiration from the subtle paranormal, literary horror aspects in the stories written by Shirley Jackson, such as the The Haunting of Hill House. The Great Gatsby has proved to be my favorite book, despite it not being in any way related to horror and despite the fact that when I first read it in high school, I hated it.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My latest book is actually a children’s recipe book titled Kitchen Witch: Halloween Recipes for Kids. It takes the foods from the fictional world of Toonstone, which I established with the Felipe Femur website and series of picture books, and provides an easy step-by-step recipe, a collage of progress pictures, an illustrated Toonstone version of the treat, a short history, and an introduction by a monster character for each drink, dessert, and delicious snack. This is perhaps the most labor intensive book I’ve worked on as I had to make the 30+ recipes, take pictures of the process, have my illustrator create a creepy Toonstone version, and write a fictional history of each item, then compile it with tool requirements. It took several months to complete. The result is a fun holiday cookbook that has recipes easy enough for anyone to make.
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