Artificial Light, book three in the Evolution of Angels series. Welcome Nathan!
Well, I’m from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I’m married with two kids. I’m in real estate development. That’s great because it allows me to work from home a lot which means I can write more often than most other indie writers. I tend to do most of my writing in the morning before my family wakes up. After I take my daughter to school I’ll usually write for another hour and then get on with my day.
I wouldn’t say I’ve always been a writer, but I’ve always been a story teller. When I was younger I would make elaborate shows with my action figures. Where most boys would just make pew-pew and ‘raaarrr’ sounds with their toys, I would act out massive plots with gruesome twists. When my brother and other friends would play, I had to try extra hard to be nice. It was frustrating watching someone else screw up the story. I’d have to explain how the events were supposed to unfold and why there needed to be a sense of tension between Batman and Joker before rescuing Robin and Batgirl. I think they were good sports about it and let me act out the role of director, but really everything just went over their heads. We were 6 and 4 after all.
Around the age of 10 or so I wrote my first short story. It was about these robbers who got stuck in a flooded town. I think that plot was later stolen and turned into a really bad Christian Slater film. I remember seeing the trailer for it when I was in Jr. High and I was pretty peeved. In high school I wrote a story because I was challenged by a friend. It was an action-comedy-horror piece based off our school. Nearly every character died and then later came back with super powers. That’s when I really started to find my voice. That’s why I love writing cross-genre pieces. I hate labels. In a realm where we’re supposed to be creative, writers, readers and wanna-be’s spend a lot of time trying to fit works into very finite boxes. That doesn’t really compute with me. I mean, I sort of see the need for it from a retailer’s perspective. But in the online community, where we rarely search for books based on what’s available in a genre but more so through keywords, I don’t see why we’re forced to label our work when really just about everything produced now-a-days crosses lines.
Whatever. I’ll leave the debate of true Sci-Fi vs faux Sci-Fi to the snobs who never get past procrastination, and just continue to write.
What was this question about again?
What was your inspiration for ‘Artificial Light'?
The series premise for my Evolution of Angels universe in a nutshell, in which Artificial Light is the 3rd book, is that mythological gods of ancient religions (Zeus, Thor, Osiris, Vishnu, etc…) were all part of a supreme species called angels. Angels were assigned sections of earth to watch over and protect. When the Archangel Azrael, a reaper, defied orders to collect an innocent soul and instead restored it to life, a second war broke out. Even though the catalyst for the war was whether or not Azrael’s actions were justified, the real argument centered around angels having supreme power but no will of their own, and humans having limited power but free reign to do as they pleased.
That conflict led to faction lines being severed with the main “Corners” of Heaven splitting off in alliances. These factions came to earth and procreated with each other and sometimes with humans. A hybrid race called half-breeds or “Descendants” resulted from angel-human unions. Many of them were gifted with special abilities like telepathy, healing, teleportation and so on. Some of the angels even did experimentations on humans, turning them into human-animal hybrids known as changelings. This is what gives us mythological creatures such as werewolves, satyrs, centaurs and the like. The result is a constant blending of mythologies to create a new story allowing the legend of demigods like Hercules to coexist with the Biblical lore of Nephilim.
There’s also a whole host of mythological lore and archeology mixed into a very Sci-Fi explanation with shit tons of action.
Artificial Light is the 3rd book in my Evolution of Angels universe. It’s the culmination of entirely separate plotlines and casts in ‘Evolution of Angels’ and ‘The Descendants’. In Artificial Light, we see characters from both books interacting on the pages for the first time. Really, this is the book I couldn’t wait to get to before putting words to a page for E.o.A #1. Both book 1 and book 2 could be read out of order. There are nods to what is happening elsewhere in the world in each book, and when you read both books you have those “aha” moments where you notice what the other book was referencing. However, Artificial Light directly plays off what happened and what was established before it. In a sense, it’s the first TRUE sequel of the series. Yet, there is so much about it that doesn’t rely on what came before. I’m not talking about bringing Dr. Malcolm inexplicably back to life like what The Lost World did, but more so that I try to write everything as close to a standalone as possible. Think of it as not having to watch Thor in order to enjoy the Avengers.
In Artificial Light, we’re introduced to whole new characters. It’s just as much an origin story for Horus as it is continuing the journey of Jarrod, Lian and Austin from Evolution of Angels and Athena and Madame Patricia from The Descendants. In fact, at one point, the scope at scale of Artificial Light was so daunting that I decided to cut a whole storyline and save it for a parallel novel. So readers looking for a payoff on Zeus will have to wait and those in love with fan favorite Oreios won’t be happy that he’s not in this novel. But I didn’t really want to publish an almost 200k word novel. In the end, I think Artificial Light is much better off because of this move.
Oddly enough, in a series titled Evolution of Angels, it’s the first book of the series that actually has a large involvement of angels as main characters beyond the Prologue. To steal a line from a 5-star review for book one: The title “Evolution of Angels” is quite deceptive, as this book is not really about angels. Not in the form or from the point of view you would expect, anyway.
What three words would you use to best describe your novel?
Smart. Action-Packed. Shifty.
The hyphen means I get away with cheating. Doesn’t it?
Can you tell us if you’re working on anything else at the moment?
I’m always working on multiple projects. I have varying percentages finished on the follow up books to Artificial Light. Since I had to cut a huge chunk of this novel to make it digestible, I’ve got some shifting to do for my series outline. Books I thought I would publish next year will be delayed. It’s possible a direct sequel to Artificial Light doesn’t arrive until early 2018 even thought I have 3 more novellas planned.
I also have two other standalone books with no connection to outside works. One is completely written and the other is in early draft mode. I would very much like to publish them, but I wanted to get enough of Evolution of Angels’ universe out and ready for consumption before I started chasing squirrels. There’s that and the fact I can only budget SO MUCH for proper editing and cover design.
What was your very first book that you wrote?
As I stated earlier, I’ve written a lot. Most of them connected short stories. The first real novel—intended to be such—was a first person comedic-thriller. It’s about a young man looking to punish himself for past situations and outcomes beyond his control. The story leads to a shot at redemption and a chance for happiness eerily similar to what sent him towards the dark side in the first place. I haven’t published it yet.
Other than your own, what are your favourite books?
I like anything with large casts that keep you guessing, or superheroes. I really don’t like Young Adult novels.
When you are writing do you like to listen to music? What is on your playlist?
No. It’s distracting. I have certain songs that I’ll listen to while driving, walking home after taking my daughter to school, or riding my bike, which pump me up and shoot visions of action across my brain. But there’s nothing that I’ll listen to WHILE I am writing. I find I need to focus since I’m very much detail oriented.
Some songs that pump me up are No Leaf Clover by Metallica, Weak and Powerless by A Perfect Circle, Battlecry by Celldweller, SuperMegaDubstep and Fallen Angels by Ra.
I’ve even written my own theme song for Evolution of Angels and had it developed.
Who is your favorite character in your books?
In all of my books, it would be Wyatt Cooper from the previously mention, unpublished comedic-thriller. He’s simultaneously the perfect combination of what everyone would like themselves to be and everything they hate wrapped in an arrogant yet insecure shell.
In Evolution of Angels, I have the most fun writing Oreios, Jarrod, Lian and Set.
Do you ever take characteristics or nuances from close friends or family when working on character development and if so has that friend or family member noticed and what was their response to it?
All the time. It’s the best way to create realistic characters. Sometimes it’s more blatant than others. I’ve had friends notice aspects which were reflected in them, but most often characters my friends and family like the most are either characters which embody large amounts of their personality or are completely opposite of what they are. For instance, my wife loves Oreios but she’s nothing like him.
What’s your favorite treat?
What’s your Favorite place to read/write?
I like to write in my office with the lights off. Reading I like to do in front of the TV.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
My wife and I are addicted to House Hunters International. I used to live overseas when growing up. I even did my first year of University in Brussels. I took my wife over there for our honeymoon. She became addicted. We’ve discussed this often about what we’d like to do when the kids are in college. In House Hunters International, you often watch people look for places to rent all over the globe. Our favorite ones are Europe. If I had to choose one place to settle, it’d probably be Italy because of the nice weather and food, or Belgium because of the beer and how quickly you can get to other places in Europe that you want to see.
However, my wife and I agreed that we’d be super rich when we get to this point in our life (this is a fantasy after all) and that’d we’d spend the Football season (and subsequently the Holidays) in America and the rest of the year spending no more than 2 months in any given city, immersing ourselves in everything it and the surrounding area has to offer. So, the real answer to this question is everywhere.
Connect with Nathan on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook
Thank you Nathan for taking the time to speak with us here on Genuine Jenn!
~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~