Nathan Squiers Interview with Ambrosia Arts!!
Ambrosia Arts – Tell us when you started writing and when you knew it would become a career.
Nathan Squiers - The "start" point is a bit hazy. I've always told stories in some way or another--enacting scenes with action figures or doing stick-figure drawings as a kid--and the fondness for writing grew as I learned how to. I never really considered the prospect of the career as a possibility until I realized that the piece that would become book #1 of the Crimson Shadow series, "Noir", started to become a novel-length project and the possibility of publishing became a notion.
Ambrosia Arts – That's awesome. So how many books do you currently have out and what do you have in the works for us? Anything you can share?
Nathan Squiers - While I'm no longer with my publisher there's nothing immediately on the market, but I'm working on re-releasing books #1 & #2 and a slew of shorts tied to the Crimson Shadow series as well as book #1 of my Death Metal series, "Curtain Call". Past that there's my comic book series--which I'm currently deliberating on with some artists--as well as a treatment for a TV series tied to the mythology that all those titles are set in.
Ambrosia Arts – Very nice. Do you plan to self-publish or are you interested in looking for a new publishing home?
Nathan Squiers. While I'm not quite ready to disclose the juicy details, I can say that my work will be featured with a publishing house.
Ambrosia Arts - Fantastic. I know that your work can really paint a picture, one of my personal favorite parts of your writing are the fight scenes for how incredibly entertaining and detailed they are. What is your muse, and can you share with us the method you use to create these types of scenes, I know a lot of writers have trouble with that type of thing.
Nathan Squiers - I'm thrilled to hear that you enjoy it (it's certainly not without a great deal of effort lol). If I had to attribute anything for the visuals and combat scenes, I'd have to lean towards more visual storytelling mediums. I grew up on comic books and action films, and, while I was in high school I started to get into Japanese anime and manga (featuring over-the-top visual scenes and choreography). The process of writing these scenes is more a trick of balancing detail with pacing (too much detail will deter how time flows and too little detail will make the fight seem like a blur--which isn't always unwanted, but if a character KNOWS how to fight it serves to reason that they'll see attacks coming).
Ambrosia Arts - A career in writing is certainly not for the faint of heart. It can be a real roller coaster for anyone involved in the literary world. Can you tell us how that's influenced you or your writing? And what have been some challenges for you in your writing?
Nathan Squiers - I think anybody who knows me or my work knows that I very rarely let the "typical" practice influence me or my work. For as long as I've been writing, I've known what I wanted to write and how I wanted to write it, and a combination of visceral detail, vulgar dialogue, and a cast of characters that have a tendency to put a spotlight on aspects of humanity that most don't like to see have made a lot of people attempt the ever-popular "you can't say/do that". The standard for certain themes to be breezed over makes a lot of people feel that I cross a line with my work. One of the hardest things to get past in that regard is showing those with the industry that not only is a reader capable of handling these subjects, but they usually feel more drawn towards it.
Ambrosia Arts - Can you give us any examples to this type of prospective contraband? *laugh*
Nathan Squiers - Absolutely! But, before I do, I'd like to clarify that these elements are utilized not strictly for shock value (I'll admit that it's shocking, but it's not the sole value of the themes); the elements that horrify and turn readers off are the same elements that make characters who they are. One of the most controversial scenes that have impacted readers (and understandably so), is the gang-rape and murder of Xander's mother in the Crimson Shadow series. Since the beginning, Xander was developed to be a tortured and heart-broken young man, and I needed a truly heinous scene that would define the path his life took. To witness the assault on his mother firsthand--to be forced to stand and watch while his abusive stepfather and a group of men ravaged his only living parent--and to, like Xander, see every scene and act unfold, creates a mindset that allows the reader to feel closer with Xander as he struggles with that memory. In my opinion, true horror is in the face of the victim. As a storyteller, my job is to present a character to a reader and do what I can to have the reader understand WHY they are who they are. If I'm going to tell a story of a young man that wants to die and has to struggle with his own pain to push on and be a hero, I need to have the reader know his pain enough to say "Damn! That IS an achievement, and I can say I would do the same."
Ambrosia Arts - That is actually a wonderful way to put it and certainly a powerful method to connect your readers to the story. A big question not just agents but every reader must as while reading the story from the very first word, is why is this worth my while? Why do I care? - So you mentioned you write not because of being fearless but for knowing what it is you fear. In regards to that comment, what challenges have you personally faced in your writing? Has there been anything that has affected you emotionally with your work?
Nathan Squiers - Oh most definitely! When I originally sat down to write what would later become "Noir", I was dedicated to writing a short story about a suicidal young man (Xander Stryker) and his struggle with self and past. The original intent of this piece was to serve as something that I could leave behind; a "creative suicide letter" so to speak. However, as I fleshed out more and more of Xander's story, I felt compelled to keep writing, and, as I did, I felt compelled to make him live; to overcome his suicidal goal and become something great. As this effort persisted, I ended up doing the same to myself and, by the time the book was done, I had not only decided that I wanted to live, but that I wanted to help inspire others. Because of a lot of themes in "Noir" that were tied to personal history and emotions, the project took about 5 years to finish and, in that time, I ended up in the hospital 3-4 times each year due to anxiety attacks during the writing process.
Ambrosia Arts - That is really incredible. A powerful story indeed. I find the best books in the world are the ones that are truly a part of the writer, not just an idea the sketched out on paper but something straight from their soul. Obsessiveness is the most passionate form of expression we have emotionally to physically. And when you say inspire, I often times ask writers if they could say anything to other writers what may that be? In general it's never give up, keep reading and writing. What would you add to that given your intense experience?
Nathan Squiers - I'm certainly an advocator of the "keep on writing", but, for me and those like me who are driven to purge their soul on the page for an enriched story, my advice is this: brace yourself. Some of the most terrifying--and inspiring--moments as a writer are the moments when you learn something new about yourself, and it's not uncommon for this to happen A LOT. While an aspiring writer should always write, it comes with some very intense revelations. Bearing your inner-most thoughts and feelings for the world to see will be an emotional kick to the groin every time, but if you can ride through the worst of what your mind has to offer and see it through to the end, you'll never feel more accomplished and your readers will love you all the more for the effort.
http://www.nathansquiers.com - official site
http://www.goodreads.com/Literary_Dark_Prince - Goodreads & author bio
https://www.facebook.com/Nathan.Squiers - Facebook author site
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Legion-of-Nathan-Squiers/329543403767153?ref=ts&fref=ts - Nathan Squiers "fan" (hate that word) page (newer)
https://www.facebook.com/CrimsonShadow.Legacy - Crimson Shadow series page on Facebook
On Twitter - @Lit_Dark_Prince
Crimson Shadow #1 Synopsis:
Xander Stryker wants to die.
Ever since witnessing his mother's murder at the hands of his abusive stepfather when he was a boy, he has spent every day trying to reach that goal. But every night he's denied the death he craves.
When his eighteenth birthday approaches, an unforeseen chance for change is offered when his life is plunged into chaos and he's dragged into a supernatural world of vampires and other creatures of darkness. Caught in the depths of this new reality, mysteries of his supernatural lineage begin to unravel and Xander is given the ultimate choice:
Continue on with his wretched life or begin a new one as the vampire he was always meant to be.
Unfortunately, the supernatural world can be just as unforgiving and brutal as any other and Xander's choice is met with disastrous consequences. Now, with the chaos of the new world pressing down on him, his past reemerges and once again threatens to crush him. Will Xander be able to use his new strength to conquer his fears, or will he succumb to his own bloody darkness...
... and allow it to finally destroy him.