We love any opportunity to get to know our favorite authors better. So a lightning round of questions sounds like a good place to start. Here, we ask five quick questions (with one wildcard) about books, genres, reading preferences, writing style, and their secret to success.
Emmy Award-winning reporter Luke Russert was a rising star at NBC when he surprised his colleagues by stepping away from the cameras. For years after the sudden death of his father (Tim Russert of Meet the Press), he felt unmoored and alone. In his bestselling memoir-meets-travelog, Look for Me There, Russert shares how taking a break from his own journalism career allowed him to embark on a multi-year exploration around the world, with each destination helping him grieve, bringing him closer to his father’s memory, and revealing his life’s purpose.
Here, Russert shares his favorite summer reads, what he likes to listen to on road trips, and the travel destination he thinks his father would have wanted him to visit.
4. What’s your writing routine or process?
Luke Russert: It starts with a large pot of black coffee and a lit candle. The candle symbolizes the burning desire to get the words out. Then I sketch out the goals for the day on a legal pad and write out long-form how I’ll organize those goals. Then it’s opening up the word processor and typing, “try.” After I type “try,” I let it sit attached to the blinking cursor for about 30 seconds, then I delete it and start writing. Most writing is done in an easy chair or at the kitchen table. Some days there’s nothing there and I just try to outline. Other days I get into a groove and write for hours on end. Most days, it’s a slog — shorter periods interrupted by dog walks, jogs, and reading sports blogs. When the candle is blown out, the writing is over for the day.
5. How much of your writing success is due to hard work, talent, or luck?
Luke Russert: Writing is hard work. It’s inherently lonely and filled with self-doubt. At times, a sense of deep self-loathing can creep in. You have to navigate that. It took me four years to get my book finished. That allowed me a chance to develop my talent. What I put out was very polished because it wasn’t rushed. Luck is really timing. I was blessed that my book came out at a time when its themes of wanderlust, grief, and self-discovery really resonated with readers. That’s a sign of the times.
Wildcard: If you could have coffee/tea with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Luke Russert: I think the sentimental answer would be my late father and we’d go to one more baseball game together. However, he’d probably tell me to choose Jesus Christ and interview him at the Sea of Galilee and ask if he could walk on water.