I'm Russ Melrose. This page will hopefully get you acquainted with me and give you a feel for who I am as a writer. I'm putting more information in here than I normally do for an author bio, but I won't be going into great detail, just enough to give you a feel for my background. So without further ado, let's get started with some background info.
Military - I have a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, master of a few, background. When I graduated from high school, I enlisted in the army, specifically the Army Security Agency (and yes, it's related to the NSA). I spent four years in the ASA and was stationed overseas in Thailand and Panama. I was seventeen when I went in and it was quite the life experience. I probably appreciate those experiences more now than I did back then. I didn't enjoy the army that much but I did make some great friends and enjoyed the camaraderie with my fellow servicemen. I had some crazy experiences which included getting stabbed one night in Panama City. But that's another story for another time. Let's move on to civilian life.
Turbulent Twenties - My twenties were a time of awkward growth for me--a period of personal upheaval. Most of it stemmed from a dysfunctional childhood. I drifted in an out of jobs and school (Salt Lake Community College) and relationships. I worked in business (accounting, assistant buyer, management) and had some blue collar experience too (building floors for mobile homes, a job retrofitting military vehicles for the army, etc.). By the time I reached my late twenties, I was ready to find my niche in life, or so I thought. That's when I decided to attend the University of Utah.
Education - By the time I enrolled at Utah, it had taken me five years to earn a two-year Associate's Degree in Business Management from Salt Lake Community College. As I mentioned, I kind of drifted in and out of school for a while there. But now I was focused. Took me two-and-a-half years to earn a Bachelor's Degree in English at the University of Utah, and then three years to get a Master's Degree in English from Utah State University. I really enjoyed college. I learned a lot and had fun. But then it was time to head back to the real world and earn a living.
Post Education - I guess one would think that after all the schooling I'd get a job teaching or at least doing something that would utilize my education. Nope. Not me. I did teach for several months at a secretarial college. But it paid next to nothing. I was in debt from school loans and really wanted to get the loans paid off. So, back to the blue collar world. I worked for about eight years for the United States Postal Service as a letter carrier. Neither snow nor rain nor... ...ah, never mind.
I do remember once trudging through four feet of snow (kind of like a zombie) to deliver mail during a monster snow storm. Truth is, no matter how bad the weather was, we always delivered the mail. But a career as a letter carrier just wasn't in the cards. Something I'm eternally grateful for. One day I hurt my back jumping backwards off our dog house. End of Postal career. And no, sorry, I'm not going to explain what I was doing atop the dog house. Use your imagination.
While I was working as a letter carrier, I had begun taking classes in hypnotherapy. After my injury, I continued taking classes at the Utah School of Hypnosis and eventually became a Certified Hypnotherapist through the National Guild of Hypnotists. Yup, a new career path. Though I didn't actually take the classes to become a hypnotherapist. I had little interest in a career in hypnotherapy. My interest was in self-hypnosis. And I used my newfound skills to help heal some personal issues from my childhood. I also used them for self-improvement. Programming or reprogramming the subconscious mind is where it's at if you want to make changes in your life. And while I had no interest in being a hypnotherapist, one thing lead to another and I began creating self-hypnosis mp3s along with a website to sell them on. But now that I've made the transition to full time writer, the mp3s on my hypnosis sites are free. I'll include links to those sites in the "Odds and Ends" section below.
Personal - Ahh, relationships. I got married while I was working for the postal service, and after five years, we had a beautiful baby girl. After seven years of marriage, we divorced. C'est la vie. My daughter has lived with me since she turned twelve. I've always been a doting father which my daughter has always enjoyed immensely (God help me!). I'm not saying she owns me, but, well, you get the picture. She'll be leaving the nest this fall and heading to college. What will I do without her? Hmmm.
Writing - I can recall the first time I ever thought about becoming a writer. I don't recall the novel I was reading, though I suspect it was a Frank Yerby novel. I was into his novels when I was in my early twenties. He wrote historical novels with strong male protagonists. A nice mixture of adventure and romance. He was quite popular in his day. Anyway, I was reading one of his books, and I thought to myself, "I could do this. I could write a novel." Of course, back then I didn't have the motivation or focus to follow through on the thought. I'd have to wait quite some time for that. As a side note, I just looked up Frank Yerby on Amazon and noticed that one of his novels, The Dahomenian, sells (a new paperback) for a whopping $2,420.43. And don't forget the $3.99 for shipping. Now that's funny.
My favorite genre has always been mystery. I read Agatha Christie novels when I was a teen and these days I read Raymond Carver, Dashiell Hammett, Michael Connelly, and James Lee Burke. Something old, something new. For my money, Raymond Carver is head and shoulders above all other mystery/detective novelists. Love his concise and descriptive prose. Almost every sentence is a labor of love.
In my college years, I read lots of literature. My favorite writer during those years was Dostoyevsky. I liked Hemmingway too. Another great technician. But Dostoyevsky topped my list. I Read all of his novels. My favorite was The Brothers Karamazov. A tale of murder and so much more. Adventure, romance, mystery. A great psychological and philosophical work. A fun read too.
So where does the zombie genre come into play? Thank my daughter for that. She has always loved the fantasy and horror genres. Books and movies alike. She would have me watch all the fantasy and horror movies with her. We both enjoyed the zombie movies, but there were so few good ones. And that's what gave me the idea. Most of the zombie movies we watched were dumb gore-fests that made little sense. I thought to myself, "I could write an intelligent zombie novel." Sound familiar? Only this time I had the motivation and focus to follow through on the thought. And that's what got me started. Then Google came out with its Penguin algorithm update and my website hypnosis business was toast. And then I became a full-time writer.
I like to think that my diverse background has prepared me well to write interesting and meaningful novels. Time will tell.