Hi, Nathan, how are you today?
Doing pretty well. In the midst of planning my wedding for this Halloween, so things have been frantic in the household.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m never too good at these; I guess because I’m never sure what—if anything—people will find interesting. I’m 29, engaged (about to be married) to my sweetheart and colleague of over 10 years (that’s right, my soon-to-be wife is also an author and graphic designer), and I’m a comic and anime geek with an addiction to horror. I guess all that will give at least a rough idea of what I’m about Lol.
What is your favourite movie?
Oh man… too many to choose from. I’ve been a die-hard fan of The Matrix trilogy since ’99, but I also love the Underworld and Blade movies (though I can’t say that any of them are necessarily my favorite). I CAN say that Guillermo del Toro is my favorite director and a major inspiration to my writing, so there’s always that.
Are you a action, horror or Romance movie type of person?(movie)
Yes (to all). There’s a special place in my heart for horror, but I believe in providing a bit of “fight” to my horror, which inevitably draws me into the action realm. Then there’s the part of me that’s a hopeless romantic—I don’t believe any story is complete unless there’s a touch of romance to drive the characters forward—so I’ll never so “no” to a good love story. Honestly, I think there’s a place for all three in any story, so I typically target movies that offer that balance.
Blood red: color of passion… and death.
What star sign are you?
What is your ring tone on your phone?
Not sure. My phone is always silenced lol
What do your family think about you writing and have they read any of your work?
Most of them love it, others just shrug at it, a few seem to hate it. A few of my closer family have read my books, but most had a hard time dealing with some of the darker themes because they knew that a lot of it mirrored my own history.
Are you any good in the kitchen and what is your specialty?
I’m decent in the kitchen. I used to work in a few different restaurants before I decided to pursue my writing career—prep cook, pizza maker, specialty salads, Wok chef at a Euro-Asian noodle bar, stuff like that—so I’ve learned my way around a meal. However, since getting in a committed relationship over a decade ago I started cooking less and less (the future wife is more of a picky eater than I am, so I was getting shooed out of the kitchen more often than not). When I do cook, though, I tend to excel at poultry (so I reign supreme on Thanksgiving lol) and beef dishes.
What is your favourite food?
My readers and colleagues will already know part of this answer: anything with bacon. I also love sushi and spicy food as well as Cajun food.
What is the most romantic thing you have done for someone?
I can’t say for certain. I can say it’s been for my soon-to-be-wife—I’ve been with her the longest and had a greater budget and imagination to work with in that time—but I think the decision on what has been the most romantic gesture is really her call to make. My guess is it’d be one of my spontaneous vacations out of town to enjoy some time alone in a new place with a day planned for various attractions and such.
What's the kinkiest thing you have done?
I’m not sure I should say. Use your imagination and I’m sure you’re not far from something true lol
There is a lot of BDSM books out now have you ever read any ?
I’ve perused a few stories with BDSM themes, but I can’t say that I’ve read any specific book that would be considered a BDSM-themed book (it’s usually just a present theme, not the driving one).
Have you ever entered in to the BDSM world for book research or personal reasons?
Yes. Technically speaking anything I do can be considered research for a book—if I experience something new that I feel suits a scene, I’ll use it—but my experience in the world of BDSM hasn’t specifically been for writing purposes.
When you write hot scenes in your book does it affect you?
Kind of. I’m a method writer—I put myself into my characters when I’m writing—so the short answer is, yes, I AM affected because in that moment I am them (so to speak), however, when the scene’s over and I’m on to a new part, the part of me that’s… well, me is no longer thinking about that part anymore. A better question is whether or not I’m affected when I’m re-reading those scenes during editing ;-)
What's the best reaction you have had from your partner after they have read a hot scene in your book?
I got laid.
Do you have any tattoos or body piercings and what are they and where?
I have a few less piercings than I did a while ago. I’ve had my lips pierced over 20 times in the past 11 years, and at the start of this year I had five lip piercings—a dual labret and a set of lip-venom on either side of my lower lip and a Medusa piercing on my upper frenulum. I had a septum piercing in my nose, as well, and a few dermal anchors in my temples. I’ve also got my ears stretched at 19mm (3/4”).
As for tattoos: I’ve got a scroll-style tiger and an infinite-loop Oroboros on my left forearm, a werewolf on my left shoulder, a vampire portrait on my right shoulder, Xander Stryker (the main character from my Crimson Shadow series) on my right forearm, and a vampire skull with a red-feather quill pen stabbing through its eye on the back of my right hand. I’ve also got Deadpool from Marvel Comics on my left leg and a pair of tigers tattooed on either side of my head.
What do you think of tattoos on women?
What is the wildest thing you have done?
No way to narrow it down to just one. Not all of them were done in happy times, either, so some of them I can’t boast with any pride, either.
Great meal at a fancy eatery, awesome movie, visit to the adult video store for some new toys, and a long, late night of playing with the new toys and watching more movies on Netflix.
What is your drink and do you have a favourite cocktail?
Neither the future missus nor I drink alcohol, but I’m down for anything tasty and caffeinated. I do a homemade concoction with a few cans of Nos (my favorite energy drink), a can of mango Venom (another favorite energy drink), and some lime juice.
What music would get you up on the dance floor and what would your wife/girlfriend say you danced like? (Are you like a grandad dancing or do you think you have moves when you don't)
I’m not much of a dancer, but if the beat is right I’ll do anything from snapping my fingers on rhythm like a beatnik or, for the more heavy tunes, possibly even headbang. I’m sure my better half will say kinder things about my dancing (based on the few times she’s convinced me not to be so withdrawn about such things), but she’s probably just being nice.
Are the stories old ones you have saved
A bit of both. I’m constantly writing new stuff as well as reviving/updating old stuff.
What is your favourite genre to write?
I’d say the genre is best categorized as ‘Dark Urban Fantasy,’ but there’s always elements of romance and horror. I just write what I like to write and worry about what genre it fits into later lol
Which one of your books was your favorite to write?
That’s like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. I mean, certain books certainly presented more challenges than others, and other books presented challenges I’d never experienced before, but I could never identify just one as a favorite. I CAN say however, that the songs I wrote for ‘Curtain Call: A Death Metal Novel’ certainly gave me an appreciation for songwriters that I wouldn’t have had without writing it, and none of my other works ever presented me with that challenge.
I’ve always loved telling stories. Before it was through writing it was with bad crayon drawings or action figures. As I grew I learned newer/greater ways to depict the scenes in my head; it’s all just been one steady evolution for as far back as I can remember.
When did you first consider yourself
When I realized that I liked it lol
What inspired you to write your first book?
That’s a bit of a darker story, I’m afraid. My teenage years were rough and I was deeply depressed and carrying a lot of troubled history. My first book was originally a short piece of fiction that was supposed to be a sort of impersonal suicide letter. In that moment I created Xander Stryker and, after deciding I wanted to go further with him as a character, the story became longer and longer until I’d written the manuscript that would become ‘Crimson Shadow: Noir.’ By that point I’d found the strength to live and decided that’s what I wanted to do with my life.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and filmmaking, so I tend to write my stories with a very cerebral and cinematic approach (something that’s both felt and seen). It’s harder to describe as a technical method, but it flows organically—the way thoughts/emotions do in your head—and plays out in a way that people claim they can “watch.”
Who was the easiest character to write for and why and hardest and why?
I think the absolute easiest character for me to write was Will, the vampire drummer, from ‘Curtain Call: A Death Metal Novel.’ Though, like a lot of my characters, he’s a non-human, he had this sort of crude-yet-realistic outlook on things that mirrored my own attitude most of the time. Xander Stryker from the Crimson Shadow series is also pretty easy to slip into the mindset of, but he’s a bit more reserved (especially with his romantic dealings) than I am. Usually the characters I have the hardest time writing—that is to say the characters that take the longest to write and polish—are the ones that are more quiet and reserved. I like to “free the beast” when I’m writing, let out my aggression and whatnot, so the times when I have to close that valve (so to speak) are the moments I have to slow down and work more carefully.
Which lead character is your personal favourite and why?
Definitely Xander Stryker. I attribute the creation and writing of him as a character as what saved my life and pulled me out of my suicidal thoughts, and I find that as I write his stories we continue to learn/grow from one another (sounds weird, I know, but writing the Crimson Shadow series has always served as a sort of therapy along with everything else).
If you could pick one of your books to be made into a movie which one would you choose and why?
I think any of the books from the Crimson Shadow series would work best (obviously the first, ‘Noir,’ if we’re going in order), because so much of its visual elements are inspired by movies already that I think it’d translate from book-to-film quite nicely.
Who would you cast for the movie ?
Probably somebody who’s never been seen on the big screen before. I like the idea of a totally new face getting their start from my work.
What was your favorite book as a child?
I LOVED the Animorphs and Goosebumps series as a kid. I think that might say a lot for the sort of stuff I like to read and write now, but I’ll leave that up to the readers lol
How did you come up with the title?
I originally came up with “Crimson Shadow” for a concept I’d been playing with before that (when I still only wrote short stories and comic book scripts). At the time I liked the idea of a vampire who viewed blood as something relaxing and soothing (the way a person on a hot day might view a shady area), but there was always this underlying aggression and mystery that sort of stole that morbid calmness element. Later, when I developed the character of Xander Stryker, I realized that it all just sort of fit; not just the morbid calmness, but the mystery and the aggression, as well. When it came time to publish I called the first book ‘Noir’ after the French word for “black” as well as a dark and gritty genre for film—there were just a lot of components that fit and made for a multifaceted title that was simple-yet-bold. Other titles in the CS series (“Sins of the Father,” “Forbidden Dance,” “Dance with the Devil,” etc…) typically have ties to songs or song lyrics (as did ‘Noir,’ originally, but there has to be more depth than just “I like the song”) that reflect some key point to the book’s plot. For ‘Curtain Call: A Death Metal Novel,’ I had to come up with a new title when republishing what was originally just ‘Death Metal,’ and a rather determined reader told me that if I didn’t write a sequel to the book they were going to murder me. I’m still not sure if they were kidding—their message seemed rather sincere, but I won’t hold it against them either way—but I decided then that a sequel sounded pretty damn good and agreed to their terms; since ‘Death Metal’ was to become at least a two-book series I decided that I’d call the first ‘Curtain Call’—typically the start of a show—and the second book ‘Encore’ (forthcoming) to reflect the demand for more.
How much of the book is realistic?
More than many people would care to admit.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some. Others are based on others’ lives as well as stories and articles I’ve read. There is an ugliness to humanity that I like to use as an ongoing theme in a world of non-humans to show that, even in a world of vampires and werewolves and the like, human beings are typically the most cruel and awful. I play off of these themes, show how one side can make things better/worse for the other. I’ve taken a lot of flak from readers who get upset that I’ll write these things with no real shame or shadowing, because I think it’s unfair to people who have been abused or attacked to have these very real issues swept under the rug just so somebody can feel a little more comfortable. For the most part people seem to appreciate and draw upon the scenes as something that moves the story rather than assuming I’m just trying to be vulgar or upsetting. I know that, growing up, I had plenty of problems that people didn’t want me discussing because it was deemed inappropriate or upsetting, and those silent moments ultimately allowed things to continue. While not all of the experiences portrayed in the books are my own, I feel that “breaking that silence” will allow for others to rise above issues in their own lives.
Have you ever binned a book when half way through thinking it wasn't good enough?
Only once or twice, and only because I was REALLY displeased with where the story was going and knew there was no retribution for it.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I tend to look for something in anything I read, even comics and manga, to further my technique. However, the most influential book, to date, has actually been a collection of short stories and poetry based on The Crow graphic novel(s) (by James O’Barr) and movie(s). The collection is called “Shattered Lives and Broken Dreams,” and not a single piece of work in the entire anthology didn’t inspire or expand upon my methods in some way. The collection itself was edited and includes original work by O’Barr, whom I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year at a book signing, as well as a bunch of new authors who are sure to become new favorites if you pick it up (and I highly encourage you to if you can find it).
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I had to choose a mentor I’d probably choose somebody other than a writer. I love to read and extract what I can from what I read, but if I had the chance to take on an actual mentor to expand upon my craft I’d want to pick somebody who would help me approach writing in a way no other writer does, and the best way to do that would be to be mentored by somebody who isn’t a writer. If I had my pick, I’d want to work with filmmaker and director, Guillermo del Toro. In some ways, I suppose, he is a writer of sorts, he tends to write his own films and he co-wrote The Strain with Chuck Hogan, but I’d be more interested in learning more about he approaches his craft and find a way to work those lessons into the written word.
What book are you reading now?
I’ve actually been trying to start a new book for the past few weeks, but with the wedding planning and such keeping me on my toes I haven’t had a chance to get much reading done (I think I’ve read the same first page, like, a dozen times now). Ask me again after the wedding lol
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
None who I haven’t already been into, I’m afraid. In the Fall I tend to re-read a lot of my old books (not sure why, just a habit), so I’m catching up with some of my old thriller and horror books (especially horror, given the season).
What are your current projects?
My fiancé just finished a novella tied to a trilogy we put out a while ago (the Scarlet Night series), and I have some chapters I need to add as well as edit the piece for publication. I’m also working on the fifth book in the Crimson Shadow series (Xander Stryker’s finally getting married!!) and beginning to flesh out some new projects that I’m not quite at liberty to discuss just yet (stay tuned for updates on those).
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I couldn’t say.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I don’t like to share unedited excerpts, but I can say that in the fifth book of the Crimson Shadow series, ‘The Longest Night,’ Xander Stryker is finally marrying his lover for most of the series, Estella, his childhood friend, powerful witch, and recently-turned vampire. Throughout the series thus far things have been rough for the pair—both on their own as well as with their developing relationship—and this wedding represents a great deal of hope for future stability. However, things in the Crimson Shadow world are rarely so cut-and-dry, and more of Xander’s history begins to unravel and readers get to see a bit more of where Xander and Estella’s friendships developed. Just as much as the wedding represents Xander and Estella coming together, I want this book to show a union between the two that shows the characters blossoming even more as a unit as they come together to fight an even greater, stronger monster (a rather heinous female creature hellbent on taking Xander as her own personal pet).
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’ve struggled with depression my entire life, and what’s hardest for me sometimes is just being motivated. In my time as an author, I’ve had the chance to meet with a lot of others in the industry, and I find that this is not an altogether uncommon issue for many to have, so I take a bit of comfort in knowing that I’m at least not alone in that struggle. Once I get to typing, however, things some rather quickly.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
One of my favorite series is the Nightlife books by Rob Thurman, and I find myself always referring back to her as my favorite (yes, “her,” Rob clarified a while back that “Rob” is short for “Robyn”). While I can’t say exactly what it is about Thurman’s work (which is part of the magic, I suppose; I’m usually pretty good at identifying what I like/don’t like), I can certainly say that she’s done a fantastic job of genuinely making me feel a kinship with her characters.
Who designed the covers?
The Crimson Shadow series’ covers are digitally painted by the Deviantart user, Shiny Shadows (great name for the series, isn’t it?), and my fiancé and fellow author, Megan J. Parker (of EmCat Designs) designed the cover for ‘Curtain Call: A Death Metal Novel.’
Do you have any advice for other writers?
The best advice I can offer is to never stop writing. There seems to be an increase in the number of people who LOVE the idea of being writers but who can’t stand to buckle down and actually write. One of the most common things I’ll hear from the aspiring authors is “I almost wrote a book once,” and I can’t help but wonder what an “almost” book looks like. Truth is, an “almost”-book is really no different than having written no book at all; you can START anything—writing your own software, making your own movie, creating your own charity, etc—but until it’s a finished product you haven’t really done anything. If you want to be a writer, then you have to write and keep writing. There’s always a million reasons to quit, but it’s up to you to find and hold on to the one reason NOT to.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If nothing else I’d want to thank them for being readers. It’s because of them that I’m able to do what I do. It’s a great thing to be allowed into somebody’s life as a source of entertainment, and I’m always flattered when somebody grants me that opportunity.
Do you have any funny quirks or stories you would like to tell us about yourself?
I’ve got plenty of oddball quirks, I suppose, though I can’t think of anything specific to offer right now. I’m basically a kid with a dirty mind and a broad vocabulary who’s never caught up to his age.
Do you have any secrets you would like to share?
I’m not sure what sort of secrets you want to hear. Anybody with specific questions (however random) can contact me through my website at nathansquiersauthor.com
What do you like to do to keep fit?
I don’t think anybody that looks at me would accuse me of “keeping fit.” I do, however, intend to get into boxing and Tai-Chi in the near future (the Tai-Chi more for meditative purposes).
What do you like to do when you’re not busy working and writing?
I’m a seeker of constant entertainment. If I’m not doing the writing thing, I’m watching movies or reading, or going out to buy new movies or books or comics. I tend to get about one tattoo per year (give or take), so when the need to get under the needle gets to be too great I’ll pull whatever idea I like most from my idea bin and head over to a shop to get inked.
Are you a car or motorbike kind of guy?
If I had my way I’d own a motorcycle, but until the day I get a license for one I’m fine with my car (probably gonna be a while since a family’s never too far behind a marriage, right?)
What is your favourite car?
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I can’t say exactly WHERE I see myself, but I can say I’m certain I’ll be up to my same old antics. I’ll be ten years wiser and ten years prettier, but I think I’ll still be writing and looking for thrills wherever I can find them.
Thank you for joining me today you have been awesome.
No thanks necessary, I loved having the opportunity (and I can only be as awesome as the crowd I’m hanging out with ;-) ).