Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

Author Interview Nathan Hystad


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Nathan

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I do most of my writing in the morning, but after a shower. I get up just after 5 am and get an early start at the day. It energizes me, and gets my brain and body going. I find that by doing this, I can go to my day job and be extremely productive. If I’m on a push, or am doing NaNoWriMo (writing 50K words in a month) I’ll write right after work as well, before dinner. I am not a late-night writer.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

I don’t get writers block. I have very specific projects, and for the most part they are outlined, at least as bullet points, with the tighter plot in my head. I made writing part of my daily routine last summer, and when you do that, you get trained to need that time. But if I have to choose something, I’ll say golfing. In the summer I love to go golfing once or twice a week, and that can end up taking out some desk time.

The Event

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

My novels are all currently under my real name, but I do have a series coming out late this year that will be using a pen name. It’s a collaborative project, and it works out better that way.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I’ve been lucky enough to make a really close-knit group of author friends that I talk to on a daily basis. Without them I wouldn’t be the same writer today. I also interact with a wide net of amazing indie science fiction authors. Being able to bounce ideas off them, whether its marketing or cover ideas is priceless. They are all virtual friends, but I’m heading to a 20bookstoVegas event this November where I’m going to meet a bunch of them.

New Threat

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I’ve written two stand alone’s so far. Sleepy Grove is a supernatural thriller about a woman who works at a cemetery and see spirits. It was a great experience but I don’t think it will see the light of day. Red Creek is out May 18th, and is a hometown horror. It may be my best novel to date (according to me) and I had such a great time writing it.

That leads to what I’ve done with my Sci-Fi series, The Survivors. It starts with The Event, and so far it’s a three book series with the first two out, and book three out May 29th.

They say splitting genres isn’t ideal, but I have so many stories to tell, that I will break conventions to get them out there if necessary.

New World

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Covers and editing. A book needs professional editing, and when I was publishing my first Explorations anthology, I found the artist many of the top selling SF authors were using and had him custom make the cover. I’ve used him for nearly all of my Woodbridge books, and all 4 of my own novels. Tom Edwards is amazing!

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I was a reader from a young age. My mom claims to have taught me to read when I was 3, and I loved to read. I remember winning the book award in grade one, which was basically a construction paper bird travelling around the room on a scale of books read. I still have little stories from grade 3-4 I wrote.

Explorations

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I read a lot of books, mostly fantasy and science fiction. I also have read a ton of indie stuff, so I could name far too many that are under-appreciated.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I’d be a duck. Calm on the surface, but flailing around under the water.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have Sleepy Grove sitting there, and me and my writing partner are working on a 3 book series to release this fall. Book one is done, and I’m currently writing book 2.

Explorations 2

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

I’ve never wanted to write that masterpiece high school students read in a hundred years. I want to write books people can enjoy, and move on to the next one. My first book only came out two months ago, and I still have a best-seller tag on Amazon, so I’ve already surpassed any life-time goals on that front.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Depends on the project. I use google maps a lot, and to be honest, I try to write what I know. You’ll see a lot of New York in my writing, and that’s because I’ve been there on vacation four times, and love the place. I find that life experience is the best research for writing you can find.

Red Creek

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I write almost every day of the week, and would say I spend at least 20 hours on book stuff a week. (Plus the time thinking about it…)

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Some of the names are nuggets for people I know, and some are random. I try to fit a name with the vibe of the character or location. Not a lot of science to it for me.

The LAST cITY

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

I’ve written some heavy scenes. The Event has a particularly emotional one. The main character’s wife died a few years before the book, and I have a few flashbacks of them together at the start of the book, which are relevant to the plot of the series. Here’s an excerpt:

Janine was in bed sleeping soundly when I stepped into the room. The hot soup cup was burning my hands, and I just stood there with the pain. I felt like I needed the distraction, like the burning would make my other pain go away somehow. Even though we were in our own house, the smell of the hospital still stuck in my nostrils, and I wasn’t sure if the chemical scent would ever be gone.

It was time, and Janine demanded to come home for the end. How could I deny that beautiful woman’s wishes when she was so small and frail, her life slipping away in hours and minutes instead of decades and years like someone her age should have left?

I put the soup down, sat at the foot of the bed, and just watched her breathe. The sounds lulled me, and I felt my own eyes getting droopy. I lay down and curled up beside my wife like I always did when we went to bed. Even if it was too warm, I needed to feel her body next to mine to fall asleep. I’d become dependent on her in so many ways, and I had no idea what I was going to do when she was gone. As I closed my eyes, I thought about dying and wondered if we would be together in some sort of afterlife if I ended my own life when she was gone. My last thoughts were of a bottle of whiskey and a vial of pills before sleep took over my exhausted body.

I woke to her touch. A soft kiss on my lips; her hair cascading down on my face. I cried and felt shame in my pain. She was the one dying and I was the one crying about it like a baby constantly. The worst part was, it seemed like she was okay with having a husband who couldn’t stop blubbering.

“Janny, I love you so much. I’m so sorry this happened,” I blurted between sobs.

She looked me in the eyes, and for the first time in weeks, I saw her own eyes well up. A single tear fell slowly and splashed on my cheek. It mingled with my own, and somehow, I felt better for it.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I love science fiction, and always have. It was natural for me to write there. I also have a long-time love of horror, and needed to write in that genre too. My main focus will be in Sci-fi now that I’ve found success there, but hope to still do some passion projects.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I used to dabble, but really only for the last 4 years. I started to write, and the floodgates opened up inside me. There was no turning back.

cRIME

  1. What inspires you?  

A lot of things. The outdoors, trees, green grass, the smell of autumn, the energy of a big city…so many things inspire my thought process, and I take them all and use it in my writing.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

Routine. I get up early to do it. No excuses.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working on my final final final proof read of Red Creek, and about to send New World (Survivors book 3) to my formatter.

Baby

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I’m going to be releasing a 3 book pen name series this fall, as well as book 4 of The Survivors. From there, I have many plans for 2019!

  1. Share a link to your author website.

You can follow along at www.nathanhystad.com I haven’t been around it to blog much lately, but you can follow my newsletter from there, and see what I’m up to. I also run www.scifiexplorations.com with some friends where we promote the best indie authors and their deals and new releases. Follow along there for some amazing promotions.

Bio:

Nathan Hystad is an author from outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He lives there with his wife, dog and piles of books. He runs Woodbridge Press, and is the series editor and creator of the Explorations series of anthologies. 

 

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


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Writing:

It may be a day late but I hope you enjoy this Halloween themed story. I wrote it 3 April 2011, when my writing career was starting.

A Glimpse Through a Window

It started with a glimpse out of the corner of her eye. A movement passing the opened window but when she turned there was nothing there. Dismissing it as possibly a bird or a butterfly floating in the warmth of summer sunshine, she turned back to her work.

Just one more chapter and then she would treat herself to a walk to ease and stretch her aching muscles. Janice had woken bursting with inspiration at five o’clock, now six hours later a major part of the novel was complete. With a flourish she hit the keypad and straightens up. There in front of her was a beautiful face peering through the window.  Instinct made her jump and involuntary utter a gasp.

“Hello, who are you?”

The lady smiles but does not answer just reaches out her hand to beckon Janice outside. Her dark shape and long ebony locks float as if in water, it is surreal. Fascinated Janice opens the patio door and enters the warmth of the day time sun.

“Come follow – you will find.”

“Find what, where are we going?”

Without waiting the lady turns toward the rose garden, the oldest part of the cottage garden. The floral scent permanents the air as they approach the blooms.  The dark lady stops in the center of the path and points. Janice’s eyes follow her fingers direction – there blooms an ebony rose so dark it gleams.

“Write its story, Janice and release me.”

“Release you – I don’t understand?”

“My spirit resides within the bloom I am relying on your gift of words to free me forever.”

“What shall I write? Tell me what to write.”

“You know my story it is deep within you.”

Janice’s mouth opens to ask another question but the dark lady has disappeared. Was she dreaming? Everything seemed so real, so tangible – the warmth on her skin, the grass beneath her feet. Janice returns to her desk puzzling thoughts race through her mind. There she finds a dark rose petal lying upon the laptop keys. It was real?

A blank page faces her and her fingers begin to type – a story unfolds.

Esmeralda’s roses were well renowned even as far away as London. Each bloom was perfection itself due wholly to her unwavering commitment to their care. After years of trial and error with combinations of manure, egg shells and herbs, Esmeralda had found her ‘secret’ formula. Each season demanded another ritual before the first buds appeared in April. With careful attendance each bud was nurtured to its full potential. Every flower show saw Esmeralda take first place much to the dismay of her rival, Vanity. The competition between the two women was fierce.

During the sixth annual London show Esmeralda was summoned by the Duke of Suffolk. He commissioned her to produce a truly black rose – something never achieved before. With a deep bow Esmeralda had thanked him for his obvious confidence in her abilities but felt she would not succeed. The Duke took her hands and solemnly stated that if anyone could succeed it was indeed the Rose Queen herself.

Upon her return home Esmeralda began researching the deepest and darkest strains of rose. Using grafting techniques and cross pollination she grew several young plants. As they grew and flourished she waited patiently for the first blooms. She achieved deep burgundy and the darkest crimson but never ebony. Three long years past each new bloom took her a step closer to her goal but never close enough. Then in the fourth year a tiny shoot grafted to the main plant produced a bud unlike any Esmeralda had ever seen. It was the darkest green she had ever seen. She tended to this special bud as with all her charges and waited in anticipation for it to blossom.

Sunday 14th April would be a date Esmeralda would never forget – for that morning she witnessed the darkest most beautiful ebony bloom gleaming in the sunlight. She would send word to the Duke that she has succeeded in making his wish come true. However, Esmeralda died that day at the hands of her arch rival, Vanity. It was a dagger to her heart as she breathed sweet words to her special bloom. Vanity took the plant and professed it was her own creation. She became famous over night and revelled in the adulation.

As for Esmeralda her body was buried beneath her rose garden- a place she had loved above all others. Her spirit lived on in the multitude of blooms until one day it rose up and made its presence known. She was the Rose Queen and the ebony bloom her creation.

The words flowed so quickly Janice could not read them quickly enough. At last her fingers ceased their frantic tapping and she realized who her visitor had been. Janice would make sure the real creator was acknowledged for her Black Rose.

Most of my writing for the next couple of months is going to be my freelance project – I have to keep to the deadline! If my brain needs refreshing I will return to my YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria, I have maybe 2-3 chapters to complete now. Then I can send the whole manuscript to my illustrator with ideas for the chapter header images.

What projects do you have planned for the winter months?

Books:

I am reading this novel by a young local author. She has created her voice and a wonderful cast of characters. Review to follow.

chronicles

Writing Tips: Hashtags for writers.

#amwriting: Commonly used by writers to indicate they’re generating pages.

#amediting :  a writer is going through his or her pages, revising.​ 

#writingtip or #writetip
Writing coaches, editors, and others whose livelihoods depend on authors will offer up their tweety pearls of wisdom, marked by these hashtags.

#writingprompt
This hashtag is used when writing coaches give a suggestion about what to write, an idea to get the writer going and help to stimulate the flow of the pen on the page.​

And good luck to all who are participating this year.

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#nanowrimo
National Novel Writing Month (November) helps create solidarity among those toiling on their magnum opuses

Other tags:

#book
#novel
#nonfiction
#fiction
#paperbacks
#short or #short #story or #shortstories or #shortreads
#litfic (for literary fiction)
#histfic and #histnovel (used for historical fiction)
#womensfiction
#scifi or #science #fiction
#romance
#paranormal
#crime
#suspense
#kidlit
#cookbooks

What hashtags do you use?

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


Writing:

Well what can I say but that our road trip resulted in some spectacular revisions, editing and increased word count 72,674 for The Twesome Loop. We left just after work on Friday and made our way to Red Deer, got checked in and made the room our own! This actually means setting up laptops on the table/desks, selecting beds (usually Linda has the one near the window) and then we went for supper. Delicious meal with the chef’s specialty Bulgogi, amazing flavor.

The word Bulgogi literally means fire meat in Korean, and is derived from the Pyongan dialect. It refers to marinated meat, (generally beef if used without a qualifier), cooked using traditional grilling techniques such as gridirons or perforated dome griddles that sit on braziers, unlike deep frying or boiling in water.

15073509_10207622558337301_1573629241843353787_nThe Twesome Loop

Saturday morning after a leisurely breakfast we spent the morning writing in quite companionship for the most part. Then as the sunshine was too glorious to miss, set off for a drive to enjoy the afternoon and surrounding scenery. Back for wine and salad and more writing. As we have a late check out at 1 pm we utilized the time to write after breakfast and set off on a tour of the historical sites in Red Deer. At one site where old buildings have been sited we delighted at two surprise guests – a buck & doe walked in through the gate and calmly grazed just feet away from us.

Our trip home was of course the longer route (common practice for us) and took us to Sylvan Lake, through Lacombe and Clearwater counties up to Rocky Mountain House through Wetaskiwin  and Braznea counties and to Leduc and home.

Linda (as my publisher) kindly completed the update of my fantasy romance, The Rython Kingdom with its new cover and ordered proof copies. So it will be soon. I had the idea of having slip covers made for the editions I have at home so the new cover can be attached. I am so pleased with how the new cover looks.

rythonfinaltitletext

Have you changed a book cover?

Did you write over the weekend?

Do you escape to write? Where do you go?

Books:

uninvited guests

I finished The Uninvited Guests – my Goodreads review:

What a delightful and surprising book. I had an inkling about the visitors (I will not reveal) three quarters the way through the book but it was skillfully written, wonderful prose and immersed me in Edwardian life.
Sadie has a remarkable story telling talent and I recommend you read this story. Love lost, love gained and love thwarted with touch of revenge served cold.

The beginning of The Faraday Girls gripped me from the start – a great first sentence! The story is endearing, surprising and intriguing so far.

faraday

Writing Tips:

Diana Athill: Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out – they can be got right only by ear).

Margaret Atwood: If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick. (I know this from experience after loosing over 5K in the midst of NaNoWriMo – not funny!)

What are your writing tips?

Good Luck to NaNoWriMo Writers – I’m Not Participating This Year…


nanowrimo

For those of you who have made the commitment to this mad, exciting, panic-inducing challenge – I say good luck, may your muse always be at your shoulder and your words flow smoothly upon your page.

To find those extra minutes in the day to write is tricky to be sure but it is a mindset. Do you have a lunch hour? Can you slip away whilst your family is watching TV? Does it really matter if the slow cooker is the only means of cooking for the month?

I know I become totally possessed during NaNo and write several paragraphs while the meal is cooking, skipping lunch so I can address a characters next move or ignore my eyelids closing as I write into the early hours. NaNo may seem like a daunting assignment to undertake, but there are incredible benefits too. It can be a personal challenge to see how you manage under a deadline, an outpouring of ideas, character development or finally beginning that wished for novel.

Writing to a deadline, for me anyway, results in almost complete novel length stories. These can be revised, added to and edited at my leisure in the following months. Even if you do not manage the fifty thousand word total, you will have laid down enough words to forge ahead with your own narrative. It can be the start you have avoided for months or years.

Knowing there are many, many writers around the world absorbed in the same challenge is not only exciting but a companionship of sorts. The NaNoWriMo site has a buddy system and you can connect with other participants, giving and receiving encouragement and support. Whether you use a pen and notebook or type your story, it is the words that matter.

This month will see thousands of stories created, their characters forging forward and overcoming obstacles. Some will be happy, some will be sad, but your story will be told.

Enjoy the process, scary as it is – the result is so very rewarding.

The Giving Thief cover

This year I will not be participating as I have to revise and edit last year’s manuscript The Giving Thief. I thought I would get this manuscript completed by now but other projects took precedent and it was pushed to the side. My western romance, Willow tree Tears was edited, revised and submitted to Harlequin and a Steampunk short story contracted to a publisher, so time was slim to say the least.

Now I can concentrate on the Thief manuscript and find a possible outlet for it. My hope is that once it is completed I can return to two other manuscripts that have been languishing in their folders for some time. A romance with a reincarnation twist, The Twesome Loop and a speculative fiction story, Life in Slake Patch.

Twesome Loop 002

Life in Slake

Good luck to you if you are embroiled in National Novel Writing Month. 2015

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