Friday, March 8, 2013

Author Spotlight: Interview with Nathaniel Stewart

What motivates you to write?

My love for it motivates me. I’ve been writing since I was twelve and haven’t looked back since. Words have power regardless of the intent of why they are set to paper, and I think it is awesome how books can affect people.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

I think the main challenge for me is staying true to myself and my voice. I’m young, so in the beginning of this process I had doubts as to whether I had enough experience or developed my craft enough to where I did indeed have my own voice and style as an author. There are writers who don’t find themselves until much later in life, and while I know that as I go along and live life my writing style is going to evolve and change, I was very worried that my work would come across as me trying to emulate or sound like authors that I admire. But I trusted myself, I wrote what I wanted to write, said what I wanted to say, and I believe that my book is very much me and no one else.

What was the hardest part of writing “The Last Alignment: Book One?”

I think that the hardest part about writing was getting over the obstacle that is my own mind. This is my debut novel, so I stressed over everything from my use of particular language, to characters, to certain events, but this is where trusting yourself comes into play. If you are afraid to take risks and express yourself as purely as you can, then that is when you mask yourself and your talent to try and fit in to something, and I didn’t want to do that. You only get one first impression and I let that get to me and pressure me at one point, but I got over it and knew that the best way for me to get through writing TLAB1 was to allow my mind to flow and not have a filter.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

It was never my intention to have a bunch of themes and messages in my work; the goal was simply to entertain and produce the best story possible. But given the type of tale that I am telling, even I have gone back and read and picked up on things that I didn’t even know were there. Some say that you can tell a lot about an author just by reading their work, and I must say that I am surprised how certain things bled their way into my story. Perception is everything, and everyone perceives differently. Some things will be crystal clear and others quite opaque, but at the end of it all I hope that readers are able to be transported and get lost in my story. I think that’s all I necessarily want. Anything else is unintentional, but messages and motifs are still present and it will be interesting to see what is picked up on and what isn’t.

How did you develop as a writer?

Writing is how I developed as a writer. The more you do it the better you get. Not only did I write on my own but I also wrote with other people. A huge vehicle for me as far as my development has been online literary RPG (role playing) communities where you come up with characters and then you post from their point of view with other writers and their characters, and then you all work together to tell a story. I think it’s a fun way to sharpen your skills and practice your craft without realizing exactly what you’re doing. It definitely helped me to figure out how to put myself into different mindsets in order to accurately and consistently portray characters, which was a priceless lesson learned.

Is there a specific time of day where you feel you write better?

Oddly enough, I do believe that I write better in the early morning hours, and by that I mean at like three or four in the morning. There is just something about that time of day that really gets my mind going, so if I’m running low on inspiration during the day I just wait, and that almost always works to help me get over my writers block.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I think the toughest criticism that I’ve gotten so far has been pacing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I feel something like that is dependent upon the reader and their taste. When you are writing a series you obviously have to explain things, setup stages and situations, and you have to lay the groundwork for the bigger picture. But thankfully I haven’t gotten too many comments like that.

The biggest compliment I’ve received has been on the characters and the story itself and how it keeps you guessing and the unpredictability factor, which is a bit bizarre. As an author of course you want to try and surprise your audience but there are times where you think, “Who is this going to fool,” or “They’ll be able to figure this out straight away probably.” So the fact that I was seemingly able to not make certain things clear or too obvious is plus for me.


Salt or Pepper? Pepper.
Peanut Butter or Jelly? Peanut Butter.
Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.
Amazon or Ebay? Amazon.
TV shows or Movies? TV shows.
Pen or Pencil? Pencil.
Phone Call or In person? In person.
Video Games or Board Games? Board Games.
Shower or Bath? Shower.
Rain or Snow? Snow.
Rock or Rap? Rock.
White or Wheat? Wheat.
Love or Money? Love.
Movies or Reading? Reading. Though a good number of movies are excellent.
Car or Motorcycle? Car.
Michael Jackson or Elvis? Michael Jackson.
France or Italy? Italy.
Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew? Mountain Dew
Eat in or out? Eat in.
Car or Subway? Car.

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