Russell Newell is a Massachusetts native who spent his summers exploring the bogs and beaches, woods and bike paths spread across Buzzards Bay. With an Irish mother by way of Roscommon, this proclivity toward wildness and wandering was inevitable.
Newell also inherited from the Irish a love for storytelling. His writing career began at the tender age of eleven when his short story, The Fox’s Hard Life, was published in the Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle.
After this early triumph, Newell entered his teen years and a period in the wilderness. He emerged after a decade with a brief turn as a sports reporter for the Salem Evening News and later as a journalism graduate student in Boston University’s Washington, DC program where he covered Congress for local Massachusetts papers.
Bored with covering campaign finance reform, he decided to become a speechwriter for people who talked about things in which he was interested.
He began his speechwriting career writing for Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security. This was followed by chief speechwriter jobs with Florida Governor Jeb Bush and two Secretaries of the Interior.
Newell then served at the U.S. Department of State, where he continued writing speeches and led a worldwide art contest that brought international acclaim to three young artists – and Mickey Mouse to the State Department.
At this time, his Irish rover gene kicked in and Newell moved to Iraq to – like Thoreau at Walden – live more sturdily and Spartan-like and front only the essential facts of life. He served for 14 months as the Senior Media Advisor for the Spokesman for Multi-National Forces-Iraq, traveling throughout the Middle East.
Newell returned home, married his wife Karoline – an Air Force captain he had met in Iraq – and packed up for California to work in the oft-times equally treacherous entertainment industry, where he luxuriated in the generous garden of Disney magic as the director of executive communications for Disney|ABC Televison.
Russell finished his first novel while at Disney. The critically acclaimed The Boy and What Might Have Been is about a kidnapped child, a cult, and a parent’s tormented response.
Russell plunged into the world of Ironman in 2012 at Lake Placid and has poorly tried to balance family life with continuing to race these torturous, bank account-sucking, narcotic-level addicting affairs. His next book will explore how poorly.