Flash Question Session---> Author Nathan Squiers

Flash Question Session
Author Nathan Squiers

1. What makes your stories different?
Like many-a-Blues musician I've made an unholy deal with the Dark Lord at a crossroads for a golden quill pen. . .

Anyway, all joking set aside, if I had to put my finger on something unique about my work I'd have to say it's the stories themselves--both the material and the overall intended purpose. When I decided to approach a future in paranormal/fantasy writing, I wanted something that was inherently mine. George Lucas has the amazingly complex Star Wars universe, Edgar Allen Poe had foggy-yet-eerily-detailed worlds and his fondness for dead women, and I wanted something that was mine-all-mine. Before anything else, I decided to invent my own world; a world that would make readers wonder if vampires and other such creatures could REALLY exist in our world; lingering on rooftops, lurking in alleyways, and biding their time for the perfect opportunity to strike. A year-and-a-half of research was spent adapting, modifying, and (*ahem*) revamping the legendary beings of lore from all over the world and cultures across time to make a rich world that was set in a foundation of the here-and-now.

However, while the complexity of the world is something that I'm personally proud of, in the end it's the stories that I'm conveying to the readers that, I feel, they'll find a tad more personal than others. I DO love my vampires and werewolves and other gnarly beings, but I don't like writing stories that don't serve as some sort of motivator to readers who may need it. I know from experience that the world can be a painful place, and I do what I can to convey messages of hope that are laced into the pieces. Those who are looking will find them, and those who aren't won't lose out on a fun story.

2. Who influenced you when you were starting out in writing?
I soaked up inspiration from EVERYWHERE! I've always been a reader (enjoying titles like Goosebumps and Animorphs as a kid and rapidly moving on to newer, darker, and more "adult" literature that only furthered my fascination with mythological creatures and adventurous stories). Steven King, Isaac Asimov, Nancy A. Collins, Rob Thurman. . . anything and everything I could get my hands on. It didn't stop with novels, though; the exciting and complex stories from comic books, the stylized and complex imagery from Japanese anime and manga, the cinematic view of all my favorite movies, and, of course, music.

Lots and lots of music.

3. If you if could meet any of your own characters, who would it be and why? 
Oh this question is unfair! I call shenanigans!

Okay, if I could only meet one of my characters I guess I'd have to go with Xander Stryker from my Crimson Shadow series. I know this sounds like an easy open/shut question (after all, of all the characters I've created I only have Xander tattooed on myself), but, in a lot of ways, every member of Bloodtones from my novel Death Metal would be an exciting meet-and-greet, and Takeshi from my comic Night Tide: Chronicles of a Vampire Vigilante would be enlightening. Despite my fondness for every character I concoct, however, Xander strikes me as somebody that I could really have some decent dialogue with.

That, and the boy needs a friend in the WORST kinda
way lol.

4. What are your current and past projects that you have you done?
In the near-decade I've been working I've written three manuscripts of my Crimson Shadow series as well as a slew of short stories involving Xander or centered in his realm (book #4 is half-written and waiting patiently for me to finish it), as well as Death Metal (a musically-driven paranormal piece that I turned to in a moment of writers block with CS #4 that has since been published). Outside of these I've done some short stories, and scripted three separate comic book concepts (seven 22-page issues of a vampire comic called Night Tide, three issues of a post-Apocalyptic demon-takeover piece, and one lonely issue of a supernatural detective piece).

Currently I'm in the midst of outlining Death Metal's sequel and doing some final edits on book #2 of Crimson Shadow (working title: "Sins of the Father").

When I've got those projects off the list, I need to finish book #4 of CS, then get #5-7 (the themes/plots of which have already been planned out) written and edited, a second series (at least five books) related to Crimson Shadow but centered on a different character (with close ties to Xander), and then some one-shot books: a book set in a future where vampires have taken over and humans are nearly extinct, a werewolf-hunter & werewolf romance piece, a demon-possessed romance, and a semi-comedic "zombie" story (not mentioned - any new short stories or comics book scripts [new or pre-existing]).

5. How personal is your writing?
I'd say it's personal enough. For me, while there's a decent amount of creativity and elaboration, a lot of my work is an extension of my thoughts and experiences. Characters in my pieces are often nervous, scared, or tormented from a number of sources (family, peers, etc. . .) and a lot of that is mirrored in what I write. I think every artist feels a sense of helplessness when they put out a piece for the world to encounter, and when the characters a writer depicts go through their story, it's an author's emotions being exposed not only to everyone they know, but anybody who picks up that book. It's a double-edged sword in a lot of ways: I would never dream of cheating a reader out of a rich and in-depth story to keep myself safe from judgment, but, at the same time, putting myself out in the open for the world to see is a very vulnerable position to be in.

In the end, however, I feel a reader understands and recognizes that effort and sacrifice and will enjoy the piece more for it.

6. What weird thing do you do: quirks, odd habit?
Every other day, exactly 13 minutes prior to sitting down to write, I set the coffee maker to brew a fresh batch and slip into a custom-made three-piece suit made from strips of bacon and don an aluminum-foil hat to keep the squirrel spies that wait for my defenses to drop from their treetop perches from looking into my head. I then climb out onto my roof and lie, facing South-East, to consider my lot in life.

Then, with a cup of coffee or energy drink (anything caffeinated, really) and a sandwich or other such sustenance, I plop down behind my computer, set my music to a Japanese playlist, and get to work.

(Note to readers - please disregard the first paragraph; I don't want to let the squirrels know I'm on to them!)

7. Are you a pantser writer or an outline plotter?
 -After a few too many "Oh, I forgot to add this. . . Oh look: now I have to rewrite seven chapters to make this all work right" moments, I decided to save both time and sanity by having a rough outline to organize my thoughts prior to writing a story longer than 10K words.

8. What do you do to help you write? Do you down the energy drinks? Eat junk food? Consult your cat? Blast the tunes? Do tell.
 -Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

I've got a mean caffeine addiction (and potentially a minor case of narcolepsy) that has me chugging energy drinks and coffee every other hour to avoid passing out at my desk. I am a proud and content fatty (punk-rock Buddha ova' here!) and can't get a good groove going without some good eats within reach. My cat, a loyal and loving little guy named Trent, knows when it's time to get comfy nearby when I start to work in case I need somebody to bounce dialogue off of. Finally, because English lyrics easily distract my writing, I have to switch my tunes over to my foreign playlist (consisting mostly of Japanese bands like Dir en Grey, Gackt, L'Arc en Ciel, Malice Mizer, Alice+Nine, and many others).

9. Early bird or Night Owl?
 -I usually don't operate too well in the morning. I'm pretty much useless in any way, shape, or form until sometime past noon.

10. Where can we stalk you online?
-If stalking like our forefathers once had--daring ascents up rickety trees with a pair of Grandpa's binoculars and a Polaroid camera (do people still use Polaroids? Oye ve I'm old. . .)--is too much to handle I can be easily and safely found at www.nathansquiers.com (where you can find links to a multitude of my pages: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Vampirefreaks, and many more). I can also be found on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7170264-nathan-squiers (though I'm still "young" there, so be patient with me).