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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Interview with Nathan Squiers, the Literary Dark Prince

Hello friends and lovers. Today is another awesome day of the Blogger Book Fair. We get to sit down with the Literary Dark Prince himself and learn more about his writing and life. May I introduce Nathan Squiers:
When and why did you begin writing?
            I’ve been a storyteller of some form or another for as long as I can remember, but I’d say my focus on writing became genuine when I was about 13. At first it served as a creative outlet for venting my teenage angst and depression, but, when I was 15 and going through some hard times, I started to write a “creative suicide letter” about a boy named Xander Stryker. What started as a short story, however, compelled me to write more of Xander’s story and, in my efforts to have him find the strength to live, I found my own. The first book of the Crimson Shadow series, “Noir”, is the product of that original intent, and I’ve been writing ever since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’d have to say my early teen years when I first discovered the escape it offered.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Pain and depression.

What is your current book(s) about?
“Noir” is being re-released in the near future and marks the first book in the Crimson Shadow series; a saga that centers on the tortured and self-destructive young man who, after discovering his vampiric lineage, chooses to be turned so that he can fulfill the legacy he’d been destined for. However, as new truths of his dark past begin to surface, his chosen path becomes harder and harder to follow.

How did you come up with the title?
When I was originally conceiving the idea the prospect of being “trapped in darkness” and perpetually drawn to spill one’s own blood motivated the phrase “Caught up in a crimson shadow” was something I came up with.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes – some of what I write is, in some way or another, tied to something that I or a loved one have encountered and conveys the view/impact that lies therein. These, however, are not exactly things inherently exclusive to my life, so I convey them in a way that allows others who can relate feel a deeper connection with the character(s) (ex – I was suicidal, I do struggle with internal conflicts stemmed in depression and rage, I often fear for the wellbeing of loved ones and how my actions/nonactions can impact them, I do find a great deal of magic and power in love and romance, and I feel resentment over the ongoing conflict between what I want to do and what I need to do).
No – a great deal of details that define the particular plot in my work—characters, integral events, revelations/life-lessons—are nothing more than a product of my own personal insanity (ex – I’ve never bore witness to a group assault, I’ve never smoked or drank, I’ve never known a prostitute or served in a military or handled a firearm, and I’ve certainly never met any gnarly non-human creatures [unfortunately]).

What books have most influenced your life?
I loved reading the Goosebumps and Animorph books as a kid, and, even to this day, I think the elements that drove those stories have inspired my own work. Since then, however, the “Sunglasses After Dark” series by Nancy A. Collins and the “Nightlife” books by Rob Thurman have motivated a great deal of my approach to writing. However, while I am an avid reader and lover of novels, I’m more influenced by comic books, Japanese anime, and horror/action movies over other writing.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I suppose I’d go with the likes of Rob Thurman (if nothing else I feel that she—yes, “Rob” is short for “Robyn”—would be fun to converse with). Having said that, though, I’d sooner mentor under my favorite filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro (director of Blade II, the Hellboy movies, Pan’s Labyrinth, and a slew of other truly epic flicks).

What are your current projects?
I’m currently in the process of re-releasing books 1 & 2 of the Crimson Shadow series, “Noir” and “Sins of the Father” respectively, as well as the first book in my Death Metal series, “Curtain Call”. Past that, I’m working on polishing book 3 of Crimson Shadow, “Killing Loneliness”, and negotiating with a few artists to get my comic book series, “Night Tide: Chronicles of a Vampire Vigilante”, put out. There is a far grander plot in the works, but The Literary Dark Prince is not at liberty to publicize them just yet (stay tuned ;-) ).

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
One of my ongoing efforts is to create a visual scene for readers—something I’ve come to refer to as “cinematic literacy”—and the process of juggling visually descriptive language without bogging down the pacing of a scene is often a struggle (I’ll often find myself asking if I’m being too descriptive and making things move too slow or if I’m moving too fast and creating a scene that’s difficult to envision).
With “Death Metal”, because I write song lyrics for the featured band to perform, I’ve found that writing lyrics is incredibly time-consuming and demanding.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
With “Noir”, due to the nature of the content—in which a lot of dark and painful was driven—I found myself hospitalized more times than I care to admit due to panic attacks and breakdowns. It wasn’t uncommon for me to wind up taking several months off from writing the piece so that I could recover from the previous breakdown.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
“Noir” originally started off as a “creative suicide letter” and was only supposed to be a short story; I’d never intended to turn it into a book or anything more than a momentary “legacy” to leave behind. However, as I wrote the piece I found myself compelled to tell more of Xander’s story, and finally felt compelled to make him fight and survive. In doing this, I was forced to find the strength to overcome my own suicidal tendencies.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never stop writing. There’s going to be ups and downs, and there’s going to be A LOT of criticism and rejection (and, with it, a lot of self-doubt). Through it all, though, if writing is something that you love to do, then you owe it to yourself and your potential audience to continue. The truth of the matter is that there is no such thing as an “almost” book. I’ve met a lot of people who will say that they “almost wrote a book”, and, though it’s an admirable effort, “almost” does not mean a thing. You can’t publish an “almost” book, so it truly amounts to the same as NO book. If your dream is to write a novel, then the first threshold to get past is to have something finished.
Though there’s many motivators to quit, it’s those that find the strength to keep on writing that get their work out.

Thanks Nathan. And not a little about the book.

“Crimson Shadow: Noir” (re-release): 
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.

After surviving public school, where he spent most of his days locked away in the AV room watching old 80s movies on Laserdisc and planning out his next video project, Nathan began a shaky college career. A love of inventing and telling stories was motivation enough to pursue an education in English, and, as luck would have it, a series of phenomenal professors were presented to get him pointed in the right direction. It was in his first years of college that 

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