Kindle Author Interview With Nathan Wall

Monday, 1 February 2016
Next up to be interviewed is Kindle author Nathan Wall. Join us as he talks about his inspiration for writing and his new book which will be released and available on the amazon kindle store on the 10th of February.

Be sure to check out Nathan's Book trailer at the bottom of this page.

Why do you write? 

At the end of the day, it’s just fun. If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t do it.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I didn’t decide to become I writer, I was chosen. Yet, if I was chosen, then why do I have the free will to procrastinate? Am I actually plagiarizing a higher being’s work by writing what I was called to write, or was I called to write but completely have free will to write what I want? And if I write what I want but not what I was meant to write, am I really being called to write or am I just pissing off the higher being by not writing what it wants me to write?

I’m confused. 

Shinerbock, please.

What genre are your books? 

My Evolution of Angels series takes different mythologies and mixes them in a Sci-Fi/Action bowl. 

What draws you to this genre? 

I like to see myself as developing stories for thinkers. Sci-Fi is very much an involved genre. When you have a wealth of fables to pull from like in Greek Mythology or Mayan and Judeo-Christian beliefs, being able to stir them with a Sci-Fi spoons is quite thrilling. Really, many of the mythologies are strikingly similar, so when I’m able to hit a technological thread that connects each of them, the hair stands up on my neck. 

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I’m a story teller by nature. Whether I was playing with action figures as a kid, telling bedtime stories to my daughter, or watching a TV show or movie I really enjoy, my narrative brain doesn’t shut off. I also see it as a way of challenging myself. I may drive somewhere or take a shower and have witty debates or awesome fights circulate in my head, but what good does that do if no one else ever gets to witness them? I didn’t want to be someone who gets to the end of his life and realize they missed an opportunity to share their thoughts with the world.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Part-time. I write more often than most part-time writers, but I’ve not gotten to the point where I can just write all day and not suffer the consequences elsewhere.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

Mostly, especially towards the end of a novel, I write whenever I can. If inspiration strikes, I shut everything else down and get to it. The end of the novel really needs to hit home and feel natural. If I neglect the creative juices when they’re flowing at that point in favor of notes for a later writing session, then that does my readers an injustice. 

If I’m just writing, usually I do my better stuff in the morning.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

When I was younger, I mistook an unfiltered narrative that revealed every shocking detail as raw and real. I saw those who pulled back on the reigns in graphic scenes as censoring themselves and not true to reality. Now, I comprehend a little better when it’s nice for the reader to fill in their own blanks. My writing can still be brutal and graphic, but it’s more selective about it as well.

What have you written?

A few years ago I wrote a series of Fantasy Baseball books called Money Ball for Fantasy Baseball. I made corresponding videos for them as well. I got a lot of predictions right, and then later saw those same methods and tips surfacing on fantasy sites. So, I stopped. Now, I have a fiction series called “Evolution of Angels.” Book 3, “Artificial Light” will be released February 10, 2016. It’s available for pre-order now.

It’s not book 3 in the traditional sense that you would think it’s the 2nd sequel. Book 1 and book 2 can be read out of order. They involve totally separate plots and casts of characters, save for 1 or 2 holdovers who played a minor role in book 1, and take place at the same time. Think of it as watching Thor and Iron Man, but ignoring Captain America and then moving on to watch the Avengers. 

Alternatively, I’ve had some ARC reviewers who’ve rated “Artificial Light” 5 out of 5 stars without having read the first two books. To that, I say, how many of you watched The Avengers without watching the lead up films and enjoyed it just fine? That’s my goal. 

What’s also great is that each individual book has a solitary plotline and theme that finishes in each book. So, if you read book 3 and realize some people may have died in book one, you’re not necessarily putting yourself at an enjoyment disadvantage if you go back and read the earlier books. 

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?

As with most writers, I’m a mix of both. I think of writing like driving to work. I know where I want to go. I know where I have to start. I know the way I have to get out of my neighborhood. However, once I leave my town, then everything is fair game. 

Yes, when you drive and when you write you always want the fastest and most direct route. But sometimes, the traffic/ other cars (or in an author’s case, the characters) have different ideas. There may be a wreck. Or perhaps there’s a protest that decides to shut down the highway. Being the good driver I am who is very well in tune with his Metroplex, I know many different routes to work. 

Is Interstate 20 shutdown? Well, I can hop up 161 and take I-30 over. And if that’s no good, take a parallel side street. 

Writing a book is like driving with Google maps. When a red line shows up, navigate around it. If I was bullheaded and stuck to my route, I’d get frustrated and be late for work.

The same thing applies to writing. I think authors who ignore a character that is screaming to change your story in favor of their rigid plot are doing themselves, their book and their readers a disservice. I’ve had many characters decide they were going to live and fight harder to stick around and then do something crazy and kill someone I intended to have live. And it makes sense. And you know what? I always get to work on time. 

How do you market your books?

Author interviews (like this one, please buy my book!), begging for ARC reviews, Facebook, Book trailers. I’ve seen a large uptick in book purchases and Kindle Unlimited reads over the last month leading up the third book. I think people are starting to take me seriously. Hopefully, anyway. I’m getting good reviews and not taking 5 years to churn out the sequel. I just turned 30 and have young kids to live for, so there’s also the hope that I actually finish my series before I die.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?

This is the millon dollar question everyone wants answered. There are some authors out there who claim to sell 2000 copies in their first month, or several hundred over a month, but when you ask them to share how they either ignore the question or drop off the face of the earth. I sense they’re either lying about their success, or completely greedy with the knowledge.

What’s worked for me recently is upping my social media game, giving back to other authors, hosting giveaways or reviewers of other people’s work on other people’s blogs, posting in kindle groups 2 or 3 times a week, and just producing entertaining content. I invested in my cover art and book trailer to be different, and then set aside $15 dollars for a Facebook campaign. My sales and KU reads have gone up. They’re not self-sustaining, but it’s a start.

Honestly, it’s a crapshoot. Just do your best to write a book story and then worry about the heavy marketing later on when you’ve got several installments completed. 

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future?

Yeah, when I was brand new to this thing I got sucked into a review swap. I sold on the premise that it’s what all authors do to get reviews. I did a swap and hated the book. I wrote a very polite and constructive 2 star review. I was swiftly given a 1 star bashing review by the other author and their friend. I was then emailed and told if I took mine down, they’d take theirs down. 

I was pissed. I actually don’t even think that word does my attitude then justice. My book at the time had maybe 6 reviews, all independent or from respected blogs. They were all 5 star and then there were those two BS 1 star reviews. 

Now it’s fine if you don’t like my book. I will completely take an honest 1 star review. And until I received that email offering to take it down if I took mine down, I was actually shocked and hurt. I felt like the shittiest author in the world, despite the very positive reviews I had otherwise. 

So, I declined their offer. My integrity wasn’t worth negating any false review. In the end, I think the one star review actually drew more attention to my book and leant credence to the positive reviews I received. I’ve had loads of reviews since, and none have been lower than 3 stars. The vast majority of which average 4.5. Meanwhile, the other author has had many more reviews, most of them negative, and is languishing somewhere with a low 3 star rating while mine is in the mid-4’s. 

I’ve since learned that review swaps for that reason are bad. I don’t do them, and I encourage others to not as well.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Don’t do review swaps. Pick out a release date and then add 2 months to the date to allow for marketing, revisions, ARC reviews and so forth. 

For the love of God, find 3 or 4 awesome BETA readers and cherish them. Research the best questions to ask.

Get a nice cover. Poorly photoshopped crap sends the wrong message—that you don’t have enough confidence in your work to bet on it. 

Get on Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter—in that order. Don’t use your private accounts for these platforms. Set up a page and an author Twitter and Goodreads account. Understand you may love Donald Trump or Obama and think the other party is full of shit, but your potential readers will probably disagree with you. These platforms are your face to the world. 

Most of all, remember that the people you see on your climb up will be the same ones you see on the way back down. 

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?

Well, hmmm, this is strange. The main character(s) change in each book. Book 1 and 2 had different casts of characters. 

In fact, I wouldn’t so much as say as there is a main character as there are central characters who propel the plot and story. Many of them die. You really shouldn’t read any of the books and just assume a certain character is going to make it, just because they’re on the cover or mentioned in a blurb. 

Jarrod, the character on the cover of Artificial Light, is a cloned angel. Since he’s both angel and human at the same time, given that the egg he was grown from was human but the DNA was angelic, he has access to abilities, dimensions, wave lengths, whatever have you, that normal humans, angels and half-breeds don’t. I can’t really say much more without giving too much away. 

However, I’ll have you know, if you don’t find him to be the protagonist you’d hoped, then that’s fine. You’ll more than likely identify strongly with some of the other characters in the book. I won’t lie; I molded that concept from Game of Thrones. Some people like Ned, others swear by Jon or Tyrion. 

The books Jarrod will appear in are based off the hero’s journey wheel. He doesn’t really complete a full turn in any of the books, yet a lot of the characters around him do. Instead, he’ll complete his journey over the course of the novels in which he appears. 

This is why Jarrod is usually listed as someone’s top-3 choice, but never the main preference. By the end of the series, as a whole, I’m sure that will change.

Where do your ideas come from?

My head, silly.

Actually, I’m really into mythology and I love superheroes and action movies. When I noticed striking parallels between the many different religions and mythologies in the world, I decided to craft a story which would combine them all. I then took it a step further and added scientific concepts. 

Somewhere, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos is saying “Aliens.”

Think about it. How many different cultures built pyramids but never had contact with other cultures? How about gods of war, the sun, moon, hot-n-steamy-sex, lightning and thunder… All of them, just about, had these gods. I mean, isn’t that a striking coincidence? 

I had the idea of combining these concepts with angels because the Bible talks about angels that watch over specific nations. For instance, some Christian and Jewish theologians claim Michael is the star of Israel and watches over them. 

When Daniel prayed for God’s wisdom, it took a long time for him to get an answer from God. Finally, an angel showed up saying he was entangled with the Kings of Persia until Michael got there and sorted shit out. That means there were forces fighting this angel. Could it be the gods of Persia, or fallen angels who acted as the gods of Persia? Who knows! But it’s kind of cool to think about and gets real freaky when you think of it from a scientific point of view.

I’ve done a lot of research into genetic manipulation, time dilation, quantum theory, biomechanics, quantum computers, black holes, nuclear energy, dark matter and dark energy, and the list goes on.

I’m not an uber-smart scientist. I write fiction. So I learn just enough to understand the concepts and basics in a way that the average reader could grasp them, and then embellish with fiction because in 20 years I don’t want my technology being obsolete. In other words, how stupid was it that Jeff Goblum and Will Smith took down an Alien mother ship with what pretty much amounts to an 8-track player in current technological standards?

In my story, angels are beings with a triple-helix, where as humans only have two. So, you can see how some breeding between the two groups could cause some very unusual alterations with the offspring. It gets even more interesting when the Bible talks about fallen angels fornicating with the daughters of man and producing giant offspring known as Nephilim. Maybe Hercules was a Nephilim? If it’s one thing we know, most problems in Greek Mythology start with Zeus putting his man-junk inside some chick. Sounds like a winner to me.

My wife and I were watching Ancient Aliens one day, and there was a show about the Pillars of Hercules. Turns out, there’s a bunch of egg-shaped rock carvings with three squiggly lines etched onto them that this ancient civilization near the rock of Gibraltar used to worship. At first, they thought these lines were snakes. Then, they compared it to a helix structure and it was identical. My wife looked at me with wide eyes, because in the book series the angels’ armor (The aurascales) is powered by something called a starstone that is in the shape of….you guessed it…an egg. She was almost as impressed with me as I was when I thought of it.

I have a lot of nods like that which are engrained into the text but not called out so obviously which, in my opinion, adds a rich flavor to the narrative and has a little something for everyone.

For those of you worried the novel will be preachy and just put everything into a Christian paradigm, don’t be. The series is science fiction, and there’s nothing sci-fi about real world religion. I’m not making a statement about any of that with my writing.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Knowing when to stop.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

The last book was meant to have an additional plotline and associated characters. As it is, the current 6x9 print version is over 450 pages long. This additional plotline would’ve added about another 35-45k words to the novel, bringing it to around 175k words long.

As an indie writer, that’s just too long. Most audience members aren’t going to invest that much into a narrative, and the print versions would’ve just been impossible to print or sell because of their size. 

So, I cut the plot and the characters altogether. I then added about 5k words to the novel to account for loose ends and the change, and sewed it up. I now have another shared world novel to publish. Yay.

Which writers inspire you?

I draw from a lot of different story elements. For instance, the Descendants (book 2) was written as a paranormal mystery where-as Evolution of Angels (book 1) is more of a military thriller. 

Think of it as Ant-Man and Captain America being very similar, but one is a political thriller and one is a heist film. 

What do you do to get book reviews?

Things like this (interviews) and beg. 

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?

I’ve seen some people with 75-100 reviews and wonder how they do it. Their marketing strategy doesn’t seem to be anything more than posting in a Facebook group and maybe having a tweet once in a blue moon. 

I have more reviews than most, but not enough to be taken seriously. The ones I do get are good. I guess that’s worth it.

What is the current book you are promoting? 

Sometimes you risk becoming a villain in order to be the hero.

Artificial Light, book 3 in my Evolution of Angels series, comes out February 10, 2016.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

In my books, I always have the most fun writing Jarrod, Lian, Oreios and Set. Oreios isn’t in this novel, which I’m sure will be a big disappointment for many readers since he was by far the most talked about in reviews for my previous books.

Jarrod is fun to write because there’s so much that went into creating him. All the research I do, most of it is embodied in him. Yet, I can’t be heavy handed with it either. That would turn readers off. So there’s a balance to strike with his snarkyness, confidence yet with a sense of fear and anger. 

Plus, he gets all the best fights. I love action.

Lian is awesome because she makes things happen. We’ve all had that chick friend who just does it HER way. Lian is timid underneath her thick, hard outer layer. So that manifests when she comes off pushy and hard-headed. Yet, she’s also the complete overreaction to her environment while growing up.

Set is this brutal agent of chaos who seems borderline homicidal, yet you can’t help but feel he’s got a point. He’s so good at being bad that there were times when I ended up actually believing him. And the scary thing is he might actually be the good guy, despite his despicable actions, at the end of it all. 

Oreios is simply fantastic. He’s the red on my Google map, forcing me to go somewhere else. Just when you think he’s going to realize the error of his ways and show his loving heart, he backstabs you just to get what he wants. He’s the type of guy who goes whichever direction the wind is blowing him. Completely selfish, yet not without blowing you away with an unexpected tender side. 

Who is your least favorite character and why? 

I don’t have a least favorite character. That may seem like a copout. If I don’t like someone, I get rid of them. If I need that someone, I focus on a different character and follow from an outside POV. 

If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast? 

Love this question. Who doesn’t think about it?

Since there are so many good choices, I’ll just stick with characters who appear in more than one book (so far).

Sam Underwood would be Jarrod. His acting from the Following was brilliant. Plus, for Artificial Light, he’d nail that split personality.

Kimiko Glenn from orange is the new black would be Lian. 

Oreios would be played by Joseph Gordon-Levit. That cocky-ass anti-hero/villain would be great to see from him.

Liam Hemsworth has the reserved sense of humor to play Austin, yet that whole-heartedly good to the core aura about it.

What is your next project? 

Finishing up the new Oreios-Zeus centered book that split off from Artificial Light. I don’t have a title for it yet, but it’s gonna be awesome. POV characters include (and you can Google them to get an idea of what mythologies I’ll be pulling from) Oreios, Anubis, Hel, Skanda, Awilix, Khepri, and Thrud.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

I’m going to assume this isn’t limited to my creations.

Batman. There’s so much going on with his inner character, and that rogues gallery is something to be envious of. Plus, I was Batman at Six Flags. 

What one person from history would you like to meet and why? 

Tom Landry. I want to ask him why the hell he stuck with that nickel package on that now gut-wrenching famous drive in the 1981 NFC Championship game. Dude!!!

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?

Is this where I’m supposed to say establish world peace? 

How do you write your books? 

On Microsoft word, composing whatever scene is in my mind at the time, only to later come back and rearrangement so they make a narrative sense.

Who inspires your writing? 

Everyone. There’s bits and pieces of people I know or briefly met in each of my characters. It creates a more realistic dynamic. It’s also funny when someone hates a character totally based off them and they have no idea. I just tell them “Yeah, that personality trait really irritates me too!”

Where do you come up with your stories? 

In the shower, when driving or while pooping. You could probably have done without that last bit of information.

Who is your favorite author? 

Bob Kane and Bill Finger

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?

To know when the story is over and it’s time to move on.

What is one thing you hate about being a writer?

No one reads my shit yet everyone has an opinion on it and what I should do. This mainly goes for “friends” and “family.” 

Tell us something unique about you

I graduated High School in Europe and did my first year of University in Brussels. The terrorists that planned the Paris attacks lived in apartments not too far away from where I did my freshman year. Of course, I was there about 10 years before they got there, never the less it’s kind of chilling to think about.

Check Out The Book Trailer For Artificial Light:

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Twitter: @NathanKnwSports


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