Interview with Nate Walis

What do you read for pleasure?
It's a fairly trite and common thing to say in answer to this question, but in my case it certainly is true that I hop around between a great number of genres and subjects depending on what piques my interest. That can be fantasy, historical fiction, a little science fiction or non-fiction titles on a particularly intriguing historical subject.

Though I do have a distinct like of re-reading stories by authors such as H P Lovecraft that have stayed with me over the years because of the excellent tone and genuine ability to put the wind up the reader. I'd challenge anyone to read "The Whisperer in the Darkness" and not be far more disturbed by it than the experience of watching almost any modern horror film.

Also I tend to choose a new book for the sake of pleasurable reading based on the author as opposed to the subject matter, so Bernard Cornwell, Dan Abnett, K J Parker and China Mieville are more likely to be next on my list over a newcomer who just happens to have come up with an original idea.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I held off embracing e-reading for quite a while, but then I was given a second-hand Kindle as a birthday gift and soon discovered the wonder that is Project Gutenberg and all of the other places where classics can be had for free and in your hand within moments.

That sturdy old Kindle is still my constant companion when travelling anywhere, but my partner splashed out on a Kindle Fire recently, and now I'm in the habit of using it to download magazines that I previously had to turn out to a certain newsagents in order to buy each month.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Hard to say, as I'm pretty new to the whole affair of actually trying to sell my work on a platform such as Smashwords. But in the past when I have posted stories in places like DeviantArt, word of mouth and the ability to appeal to like-minded individuals was virtually the only means that I had to make my presence known to those who might want to read it.

I can't overstate the importance of connecting on sites that are aimed at the same genre in which you are writing for the chance to get noticed by the kind of readers who will want to actively seek out your kind of work. In this sense it helps also to have at least some form of niche appeal rather than being just another face in the crowd that produces generic fiction.

Being focussed on a particular genre or kink within it can be a very powerful USP.
Describe your desk
The easiest answer to that would be to say that I really don't have one.

I'd like to be able to say that I retire to a study with antique wood panelling and bookcases filled with leather-bound volumes, but I tend to have to work where and when the opportunity arises. Mainly I work on a laptop that finds itself atop a table, if it's lucky, and more often than not on my lap.

But this kind of fits in with the philosophy I have that too much ritualising and reliance on things around you being just so is really an excuse for not getting down to the business of actually writing. I try to write whenever the chance comes and thus far I've found that concentrating on doing what needs to be done is infinitely more helpful than fussing about the environment in which I find myself.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the former industrial powerhouse of Sheffield, City of Steel, so there was always the stereotypical image of grim Northern England to contend with. But to counterbalance that we lived on the edge of the city limits in an area that ran out into the Peak National Park, and so there was a feeling of the industrial kind of blending seamlessly into the natural that was almost too subtle to be noticed at times.

Even to this day I feel an influence of this in my writing as I have a compulsion to mix the very real and familiar with flights of fancy and escapism that for some would not sit well together. For me they seem to compliment each other and one can always lead naturally into the other when the course of a narrative demands.
When did you first start writing?
The first time that I can recall actually sitting down to write something that was fictional in nature was back in middle school (elementary school, if you're in the US), when we were given pencils, paper and told to come up with about five hundred words for what I think was nothing more than busy work.

I wrote a fanciful tale about drinking a magical potion that dyed my hair a strange colour and gave me the ability to fly and hurl fireballs, which proved useful when I later flew to a cave in the mountains and was forced to save myself by using the latter ability to roast a wolf alive.

What can I say, I was seven years old...but I think I've improved a little since then, whilst retaining the ability to spin a weird tale.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I seem to be working on many things at once, but the title that I'm currently preparing for Smashwords is a collection of erotic stories that are banded together by a character known only as "The Man in Black", who has a predilection for quietly abducting those women who take his fancy and placing them in the middle of his imaginative and most often bizarre fantasies, from which they awaken later without a trace of evidence for what happened save for their own memories.

The scenarios are drawn from my own imagination, and whether or not they have actually taken place in reality in any form is a question that will have to remain unanswered. But the nature of "The Man in Black" as almost a character without identity is intended to allow the reader to better inhabit his role and intensify the account of the protagonist's contact with him. "The Man in Black" could be anyone, as his face and other distinguishing features remain hidden. He could even prove not to be a man at all...
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The honest answer to this is the sheer number of discouraging accounts that a person hears from writers, agents, publishers and almost everyone else involved in the act of getting a book of any kind from the stage of an idea to a finished work. While they may be true, they do serve to trample the enthusiasm out of you when there's been the dream of seeing your work in print via more conventional means.

Self-publishing, to me at least, seems a logical antidote to that issue, giving aspiring writers the chance to put themselves out there and see if there's a market for what they're doing. If you sell well, then great. But if not there's the chance to dust yourself off and try to discover what you might do to about turning your fortunes around rather than having professionals writing you off for not becoming the next J K Rowling overnight.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The short answer is that, so far, it hasn't!

But that's just because I'm starting out down this road and haven't really taken the final steps to publishing much as of yet.

Seriously though, Smashwords offers a great platform from which to launch yourself as well as sound and genuinely helpful advice for the purpose of turning a raw manuscript into a saleable ebook. In addition the statements they make about being committed to helping authors and promoting their rights in areas of piracy and copyright theft are one hundred percent genuine, a matter on which I can speak from personal experience.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I always say that writing is the best job in the world, and the most fun that a man can have on his own (there may be other things that come close, but they don't last as long and you generally have nothing to show for it afterwards either), as well as the most rewarding.

But the greatest joy that I can find in it is to bring something to life that previously only existed in my own imagination and then to subsequently hear from readers who genuinely enjoyed the experience of sharing it. In that way you can touch another human being on the other side of the world, someone whom you may never meet in the flesh, but know that you have shared with them a truly unique thing in the shape of a particular story, scene or character.
What do your fans mean to you?
The ironic thing about the relationship between a writer and those who read his work is that few people actually realise what a solitary and often isolating pursuit writing is by its very nature, so knowing that there are those out there who your work reaches is one of the things that really keeps you going.

Numerous times I wondered if I was producing work that would appeal to an audience other than myself and if I hadn't discovered that in fact I was, I might never have kept on with it and persevered.

Knowing that you're not alone in being interested in these characters and the stories that they inhabit is what keeps me interested in the prospect of writing more and every time I hear from a reader who enjoyed a story or wants to know that there'll be more in a particular series, I feel a renewed commitment to creating those stories.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
The great thing about having a young family is that you seldom need to think about finding a means to occupy your so-called free time as it quickly becomes taken up in the act of simply getting them up in a morning and attending to the job of being a parent until bedtime comes back round again.

It'd perhaps be more accurate to talk about some of the things that I'd like to do with my free time, such as getting out to a decent pub to sample the delights of real ale, watching the occasional film or TV series that takes my fancy or sitting down with a book that I've been waiting literally years to read (i.e. hurry up, Mr Martin).
Published 2014-08-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Of Wolves & Winter: A Tale of Rakki Silverthorne
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,430. Language: British English. Published: September 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(5.00 from 1 review)
As a slave, the boy had not even as much as a name. The only thing that he did have was his life, short and hard as it had been thus far. But the wolf was a creature not moved by human pity, and in seeking for its prey, intended to take away even that from the boy. So as his life flashes before his eyes, will he accept his fate or fight for the slimmest chance to change it?
Love the Doll
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,120. Language: British English. Published: August 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » General
When Jemima learned of her partner's most secret and enduring fantasy, she took it upon herself to bring it to life and surprise him at the same time. He had always harboured a desire to make love to a sex-doll, but not any old piece of rubber filled with air. He wanted to make love to a living, breathing doll that was capable of returning his affections, and so that's just what she became.
The Man in Black Omnibus
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 87,920. Language: British English. Published: August 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
The Man in Black possesses outrageous fantasies and the unlimited resources with which to indulge them, but all that he lacks is the subjects required to bring them to life. In the course of these six stories, he plucks unsuspecting women from their diverse backgrounds and makes use of them to fill this gap in his plans. Each is transformed in a very different manner and not simply in body alone.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,490. Language: British English. Published: July 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
In the world of exotic performance art, the greatest spoils go to those who are prepared to push the boundaries and make the greatest sacrifices for the sake of their art. Sophie Higgson would very much like to reap such rewards, but is it worth the cost of exchanging her legs for the sensuous curves of a mermaid's tail?
Riding Magenta
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,670. Language: British English. Published: July 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM
(5.00 from 1 review)
Magenta Jackson had played many roles in her short and successful career as an actress, but none could have prepared her for the one that she would be forced to take on when abducted by mysterious and silent agents of the reclusive yet powerful Man in Black, coated from head to toe in latex rubber and literally transformed into a human plaything.