Interview! BOYS OF LIFE by Paul Russell

Interview! BOYS OF LIFE by Paul Russell

Boys of Life

Country boy Tony is seduced by a smooth talking pornographer, who brings the young man to New York to star in a violent sex film. An escape, a marriage and a murder follow the story’s cinematic arc of innocence, betrayal, redemption and revenge.
Buy links:
Amazon Kindle:

B&N Nook:


Google Play:


Please tell us about your novel.

Boys of Life is about a handsome, feckless Kentucky boy seduced into the world of independent filmmaking by a rogue director of great genius, charisma and depravity.

How did you research your novel, if applicable?

The initial impulse for the novel came from reading a biography of the Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini.  I immersed myself in his films, poetry, political essays, novels (he was a dazzling polymath, and everything he touched turned to gold—or was it poison ivy?). I also  watched a lot of Italian, French and German cinema from the sixties and early seventies.

Where can readers find you online?

When you are stuck on something, what is your go to cure?

My garden.  A surveillance camera set up to record my writing process would show a hapless figure sitting at his desk and writing the first half of a sentence, and then, weather permitting, wandering out into his garden to pull a few weeds till the second half of the sentence occurs to him, then darting back inside only to discover that the second half of the sentence doesn’t correspond to the first half… 

Do you have a real life hero? If so, can you tell us who and why?

The wonderful  novelist Jonathan Strong (whom I’ve never actually met).  He began publishing novels with mainstream publishers to huge acclaim in the early seventies or so.  I think Time Magazine even called him “the future of American fiction.”  Then for whatever reason—poor sales, subject matter, who knows— he dropped off the commercial publishing world’s radar screen.  But he never stopped writing novels.  He published them with smaller and smaller presses.  And he just kept getting better and better in more or less total obscurity.  It turns out he really may have been the future of American fiction.  It’s just that most everyone stopped noticing.  He’s a great lesson to us all that doing your work is all that counts.  Check out his magnificent novels Consolation, The Old Country, Drawn from Life and More Light—among others. 

Who is your favorite literary hero and heroine?

Timofey Pnin from Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin;  Angelica Deverall from Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel.

Are you character or plot driven? Why?

It’s hard for me to distinguish between the two—they’re so intimately interwoven and interdependent. 

What are the first five titles on your kindle?

I don’t do kindle.  I like the texture and feel of old-fashioned physical books—in their way, the most perfect word-delivery system ever devised.  Sort of like the shark, the book  hasn’t needed to evolve over the centuries because it does what it does perfectly. 


Do you have a favorite charity?

The Center for Biological Diversity.


Paul Russell is the accomplished author of various works of both fiction and nonfiction, including several award-winning novels, anthologies, poems, short stories, essay, and book reviews. He is a Professor of English at Vassar College. He lives in upstate New York.


Leave a reply

Header Banner by Nit_Witty Copyright © 2014
Joyfully Reviewed
Site Design, Graphics & Maintenance
by Miranda Grissom