Interview with Jonathan Nichols

What is your writing process?
To me, writing is more of a process of discovery than creation. I don't like outlining because I think it limits spontaneity. Several times during writing sessions I would finish a chapter and be like, "Wow, I didn't see that coming." On the flip side sometimes I would try really hard to include something and the section just wouldn't work until I took it out and tried something else, as if the book already existed and it was telling me "You're doing it wrong."
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't know about the first story but in sixth grade I discovered the work of Edgar Allen Poe and was instantly hooked. I remember reading The Masque of the Red Death and just being blown away by the imagery and the twist ending. The Pit and the Pendulum gave me a real sense of pain, claustrophobia and despair and showed me how a story can really transport you somewhere and even if it's a place you wouldn't ever want to be, like a torture chamber, as long as you care about the characters in the story you will stick with them.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
In no particular order I'd say: The Running Man by Richard Bachman, A.K.A. Stephen King. I probably drew a lot more inspiration from this book then even I realize. The characters in the book are real and cynical and are primarily focused on trying to survive. I wanted my characters to be ones that people could really relate to, and not just cookie cutter archetypes that could easily fit in a hundred other stories.
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks. This is another one I read as a child and it taught me that you can make a story as fantastic as you want as long as you make it relate to the reader.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. How they made this story into a PG-13 kids movie I'll never know. The book is extremely intelligent and equally dark. The characters are shady and you never know who to trust. I definitely drew inspiration from this while developing my style.
The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway. I found this book in a box of my older sister's high school stuff read the first page and ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting! I have never seen a writer who immerses you in the detail of a scene while being careful not to drown you in it the way he did. As I read that book I could practically smell the ocean air and I hope that someday I can write a book that makes people feel like they are part if it the way that one did for me.
The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Yeah you heard me right. In the 90's i used to get every new book as soon as it came out and I'd usually finish it in one night and by the time I was done I had a whole shelf full of them. I always loved the way the author would make the chapters short and usually end on some kind of a small cliffhanger that would urge to keep reading. That style was a big influence on how I structured my book.
When did you first start writing?
My dad actually has a picture of me about three years old sitting on the floor using a stool as a desk scribbling on a piece of paper and according to him I said that I was writing a story. That continued all through school but I really started coming up with my own original stuff in high school. In fact some if the characters in Elemental Touch were created while I was in high school but I never used them in anything before and obviously they underwent extensive revisions from their original forms.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Well I always wanted to be an author but I guess it was the unfortunate corporate red tape that has hopelessly wrapped itself around traditional publishing companies that pushed me to become an indie author. I do like the idea of maintaining creative control over my work but I'd be lying if I said I'm not hoping to release my book on a large scale someday.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Well I'm still just getting started but they definitely made getting my book to the public not only possible, but a reality. I'd say Smashwords is for authors who aren't afraid to step outside their comfort zone and make a mistake or two. Most authors aren't editors. For me the technical aspect of writing was always my weak point but the Smashwords formatting guide really helped me learn. You really get out of Smashwords what you put into it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I'd say the greatest joy is writing something that makes my wife smile. She has always been my biggest fan and when I write something and her reaction is "What happens next?" it always makes me happy.
What do your fans mean to you?
I value their input and I want to give them a great story that will keep them coming back for more. If this book really catches on I plan to read comments, reviews and emails and do my best to give them what they want.
What are you working on next?
I am already working on the story for the next book in this series. Without giving anything away it'll pick up a few months after the end of the first book and I plan on it having an even darker tone while answering some questions raised by the first book and raising some new ones.
Who are your favorite authors?
Edgar Allen Poe. I've already mentioned what an impact his work had on me. Stephen King. He always brings a realism to his stories that I really enjoy. Ernest Hemingway. I've already talked about how his work is equally detailed and accessible to everyday people which is a one-two punch few authors possess.
Published 2016-10-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Elemental Touch
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 43,180. Language: English. Published: May 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Elemental Touch is the first of a new young-adult fantasy fiction series. This book follows four ordinary people as they get caught up in a world of mystery and elemental magic. As each of them have to decide what to believe and who to trust the lines between villain and hero begin to blur while the simple act of survival becomes a quest.