Interview with Nicholas Trandahl

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing, for me, is being afforded the opportunity to create ideas, characters and places and forging something tangible out of those intellectual constructs. The idea of crafting a story with well-developed characters is intensely satisfying to me. I feel privileged beyond measure to be a writer and share my fiction with others. When it comes to poetry, however, the greatest joy stems from being able to purge any sadness, depression or sorrow that I may be consumed with the simple act of writing prose. For, me writing poetry is the ultimate form of self-medication.
What do your fans mean to you?
I am utterly humbled when somebody reads my work and can engage in discussions with me about what they liked or disliked. For me, reading something is a thought-out process. I'm quite picky when it comes to reading and I carefully choose the books I'm going to read and invest my time in. So when somebody takes their own cherished reading time and uses it to read my books I feel extremely honored. Writing is something that I do for myself and being able to share it with others is icing on the literary cake.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors are without a doubt Henry David Thoreau, Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, William Butler Yeats, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and J.R.R. Tolkien. I also hold a special fondness for the books of the late Michael Crichton because his novels were among the first novels that I started to explore when I was 10 or 11.
I'm a huge fan of the Transcendentalist movement of nineteenth century Massachusetts. Such beautiful writings came out of that era of literature. Also, I view Ernest Hemingway as the pinnacle of literary fiction. To me, Hemingway is the ultimate novelist in history. The best somebody like me can do is to try as best as I can to follow in his deep heavy footsteps.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Each day I burst out of bed for the singular purpose of getting my two daughters, Lily and Holly, up for school, fed and to just be around them. They are such amazing little people with a tremendous amount of individuality and talent, and I can't believe that I get to be around them so much and teach them about the world and about books, nature, art and writing. I'm a very fortunate man.
I'm also inspired to get out of bed to be able to read and write. My day is encompassed by reading and writing, being the best and most attentive father that I'm able to be, and being allowed the chance to love those that are close to me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I write books and poetry, but I also write for my day job at the local newspaper in the town in which I live. So, writing truly does encompass most of my time. But aside from that, I am consumed by reading books that I deem personally worthwhile. I also love to play with my children and read to them, I love to go camping and hiking. I also enjoy meditating, drawing, collecting and smoking tobacco pipes, collecting vintage buttons, listening to black metal and ambient post rock music, playing the guitar, cooking, and watching the news.
What is your writing process?
When I write poetry I am usually emotional or in a grim mood, and hence I usually isolate myself and write alone. I always write poetry in blank poetry journals with pens that I collect.
When I write fiction I'm not as moody, emotional or picky. I typically write on my Chromebook and set a limit for myself of no less than 2,000 words a day. Usually, however, I get in the zone and write several thousand more. I keep my story outline, character descriptions and other notes in a separate document that I can refer to and add to often. I usually don't do any editing or rewrites until the first draft of the novel is completely finished.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing my own little illustrated stories when I was 4 or 5, typically about animals and dinosaurs. That continued throughout my life, evolving up to short stories, poetry and then full-fledged novels.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm very excited at my latest book. Inspired by my current avid reading of as many of Ernest Hemingway's novels as I can get my hands on, I wrote this work of literary fiction (my first time writing anything contemporary and realistic as opposed to fantasy fiction) in only about three weeks. The writing of it completely consumed me and I view it as my best work to date. It is much more character-focused than plot driven.
The story, entitled 'Clark's Turning Leaf' details a year in the life of a successful Seattle-based romantic poet named Clark Grant. Clark is an sensitive man recovering from a suicide attempt a year ago and he often is overcome with loneliness. He is a divorcee and the father of an idealistic 17-year old girl. Early on in the novel, Clark leaves his life behind in Seattle and he moves to the picturesque environs of the rural Berkshires of western Massachusetts. He kind of starts over there, finds friendship and true love, and is forced to face suicide and depression again head on, but this time watching mental illness overcome a dear friend. It's a story simply about life and people, writing and nature.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My childhood was completely enveloped in countless children's books, history books and encyclopedias. But the first real story (or novel) that I read and truly had my life changed was J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. My mother suggested that I read it at a young age. It completely rocked my world. The Hobbit revealed to me that my stories didn't have to be limited by anything. I could do anything that I could possibly imagine, even set my fiction in new worlds and kingdoms of my own devising! It's only very recently that I started setting my fiction in our contemporary real world.
What do you read for pleasure?
For pleasure I read anything by my favorite writers that I mentioned above. I'm especially consumed by anything written by Ernest Hemingway and Henry David Thoreau. They're the most talented and important writers in American history, in my opinion. I also read a lot of fantasy novels (some good healthy escapism) and any manuscripts that my friends or contacts send my way for proofreading. My favorite books and writings are the essay Wild Apples by Thoreau and the novel Islands in the Stream by Hemingway.
Published 2013-10-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Cocktails & Other Stories
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 41,510. Language: English. Published: August 19, 2015 by Swyers Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Cocktails & Other Stories is the debut collection of Nicholas Trandahl’s contemporary short fiction. Within these pages, the reader will follow Trandahl’s delicate and vivid prose through fifteen tales that are focused on the beauty and tension of human interaction and the drama of modern relationships.
An Uncomfortable Life
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 60,690. Language: English. Published: October 10, 2014 by Swyers Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Adventure » General
Five years after a successful debut novelist vanishes, a literary journalist and the brother of the missing writer embark on a search to find and locate him. Confrontations ensue with the vanished novelist, with the unpredictable elements of nature, and with a literary mystery that stretches back across time to the 1940s and beyond in a story of mystery, literature, lies, family, and love.
Clark's Turning Leaf
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 53,430. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2014 by Swyers Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Classics
Clark Grant, renowned Seattle writer of romantic poetry, has fallen into a literal and literary darkness. Depression, grim dark poetry, and a failed suicide attempt tarnish his recent past. In an effort to turn over a new leaf and make some much needed changes, Clark relocates to the rural Berkshires of western Massachusetts. In the forested hills of Massachusetts Clark relearns...
Lost Yellow
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 13,210. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2013 by Swyers Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
This collection of poetry was written during dark times of my life as a form of self-medication for anxiety and depression. While I was deployed in the Middle East as a soldier in the U.S. Army these ailments overwhelmed me with such savagery that I was overcome and consumed by them. Being able to treat myself with writing and creativity kept me sane and functional.
The Azure Wizard - A Legend of the Fallen Baronies
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 81,600. Language: English. Published: February 17, 2012 by Swyers Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Wizardcraft is dead. It is a part of the ancient past of the realm known as the Three Baronies. However, that is about to change. A young storyteller of a mountainous land in the north travels into the heart of the baronies to make something of himself. The storyteller finds himself in a tale of his own, one enveloped in adventure, danger, duty and love.