Monday, July 1, 2013

Introducing Nathan Squiers: The Literary Dark Emperor

We are spotlighting the AWESOME and VERY talented Nathan Squiers on our blog today! He has a release coming soon and we wanted to know what went on in his mind when he was writing. Without further ado, The Literary Dark Emperor:

 Born in Massachusetts in 1986, Nathan Squiers (The Literary Dark Emperor) grew up in Andover, where his affinity for story-telling flourished due to a love of books and movies as well as an overactive imagination. At the age of 13, Nathan and his mother moved to Upstate New York to be closer to their family.
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 weaving tales and telling stories was motivation enough to pursue an education in English, and, as luck would have it, a series of phenomenal professors were available to get him pointed in the right direction. It was in his first years of college that Nathan began to actively pursue a writing career, starting his first literary journey with a piece that would later become "Noir", the first book of the Crimson Shadow series.
Like any good story, a chaotic turn of events brought Nathan from the very brink of insanity and loneliness to the warm, comforting embrace of Megan, his best friend, lover, kindred spirit, and--more often than not--personal handler. It was with Megan at his side that Nathan was able to continue his writing (sometimes solely motivated by the young lady's threats of dismemberment if he tried to stop). With Megan's help, Nathan was able to see Death Metal, his fourth manuscript, through the publication process.
Nearly ten years later, The Literary Dark Emperor (now a multi-award winning author and co-owner/manager of Tiger Dynasty Publishing) continues to invent stories and put them into a literary sequence that he hopes will be somehow decipherable by other readers. As a lover of all things creative, he works in both novels, novellas, short stories, as well as comic book scripts (just don't ask him to draw something if you don't like stick figures and poorly-executed shapes).
If he's not submerged in the realm of fiction or burning out his retinas with horror movie marathons, Nathan is planning/getting a new piercing/tattoo or enjoying life with his lovely fiancé and fellow author, Megan J. Parker.

1. When writing, what is the one MUST HAVE thing that keeps you in the groove to finish the part you are working on at that time?

I’m pretty much touch-and-go with my projects if I don’t have my writing playlist blaring. Having music/noise in the background isn’t enough, because any lyrics or dialogue in English intermingle with the words in my head and I end up re-writing what I just heard or some weird hybrid of the two. Because of this, I have a playlist that’s comprised of almost entirely Japanese rock and metal (though there is a bit of German stuff in there as well).

2. If you could have one attribute of any of the characters you've created, which would you choose and why?

While I’m compelled to wish for a sleeker, more action-hero or metal rocker’s body over my marshmallow-y own, I think I’d want to have Xander Stryker’s red right eye. Given the sort of attention I seem to get on the streets already, having a blood-stained eyeball would be nothing less than gory icing on the cake :-p

3. If you were offered a movie deal on your books, who would be your dream pick for director?

Without a doubt I would opt for Guillermo del Toro! Aside from being the mastermind behind A LOT of my favorite movies (and major inspirations—Hellboy and Blade 2 FTW!!) the man’s got not only an eye for making a film truly entertaining, but one for applying elements of color, shot-angles, transitions, and soundtrack to optimize how the movie is received by the audience (a technique that I try to recreate in my writing).

4. If you were a food, what would you be and why?

Everybody who knows me sees this coming, but I’d definitely be bacon; meaty, fatty, and despised by vegetarians.

5. Do you make an outline or just write?

Little bit o’ both, actually. For the novel-length pieces (or something that is heavily reliant on a crucial plot element that needs to be delivered “just so”) then I have an outline set up to make sure that I don’t make a mistake that’ll force me to go back and try to seamlessly fit important parts into the piece. However, for short stories and the like I tend to let the sequence play out in a more organic manner.

6. Do you ever base your characters on real life people?

While EVERY character I write is based on people I know/have witnessed in my everyday journeys, no single character is ever based on one single person. A lot of the time, when we meet new people, we tend to associate some role or trait to somebody we’ve met before. We’ve all had that moment of “Oh, that guy reminded me of my cousin” or the like, but nobody is ever EXACTLY like anybody else. Because I want my characters to always feel organic, I sort of mix-and-match traits from people I know to create what I need. For example, Xander Stryker’s vampire mentor, Marcus, is a fusion of my uncle, Jim Morrison, Johnny Depp, a stereotypical 80s punker, and a healthy dash of yours truly.
Each and every character I write has a mixture like that.

7. Do you keep any writing in notebooks or just in your head?

For the most part I’ll think something up and, if I’m not readily at my computer and able to write it down, then I’ll write a note or text message myself from my phone so I can refer to it later.

8. If you could have any powers from your characters what would it be?

I think it’d be pretty cool to have abilities of an auric vampire. To be able to read minds or lift and move things without touching them would be useful (not to mention a GREAT way to scare people).

9. How did you come up with the mythos for your Crimson Shadow series?

The mythology was actually co-created by myself and my fiancĂ©/partner/fellow writer, Megan J. Parker. I’d started writing Crimson Shadow about a year-or-so before Megan and I started dating, so I’d already developed a great deal of the base species from several years of research into cultural mythology, but after we got together we began refining a lot of what I’d come up with and working other creatures into the mix.
     Most of our creatures are based on actual myths or were hybrids of various legends. The term “theriomorphs” is actually the generic term for any creature—werewolves, werecats, werebears, some forms of vampire throughout history, etc—that changes its shape; therio- being a Latin root word for “beast”. Our vampire species (yes, there are more than one) vary between the more popular Westernized blood-drinkers and a fusion of various psychic “breeds” to create our auric vampires. Other creatures (such as the cat-like nejin and or gerlins, winged gliders) were things that either Megan or myself came up with that we decided we wanted to work into the world for some reason or another.

10. Why is your Crimson Shadow series so important to you?

Though it might sound corny, I owe the Crimson Shadow series (and, more importantly, the series’ central protagonist, Xander Stryker) my life. Originally, the project was supposed to be a short story—a “creative suicide letter” of sorts—and I had no intention of it going any further than that. I wanted to portray a character who, like me, had given up and felt that there was no point in going on because of the pain in his past and felt no way of salvaging those “failures”. Even then, though, I’d been too bored by myself and my own life to have it be autobiographical, so Xander got a decorated history, a more shocking routine, and more than just a little magic (‘cuz, y’know, magic’s cool).
In writing that short story, however, I felt driven to create more of a story for Xander, and the short story became a chapter, and soon chapters became more. Before I knew it, Xander had become somebody that I genuinely wanted to see succeed—to achieve what I couldn’t; to do what I felt I never would: persevere—and, before long, I wanted to see Xander win.
Funny thing about writing a suicidal character who decides to live: you have to explain it.
And I wound up feeling it.
So it was that in writing Xander’s story of survival, I taught myself how to survive. By the time the project was done (what would later go on to become “Noir” and the first book of Xander’s series), I had overcome my self-destructive desires and found my path in life.
It’s because of that series that I’m here today and doing what I do for the awesome readers of The Legion.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to give us a little insight into what makes The Literary Dark Emperor tick. We appreciate your time and hope to see you back sometime soon. :-)

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