Interview with Natalie Case

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is different things to me on different days. Some days it's the fire that gets me going. Some days it is the burning need to get the words and images out of my head. Some days it's the only thing there is. Not a day goes by that I don't write something. It may be just a hundred words that I throw away when I'm done, but a day without writing is like a day that has no air.

Maybe the best thing in the world is seeing someone who read my work recommending it to someone else. Or asking me serious, thinky questions about my characters or situations. It means I got something right.
What do your fans mean to you?
I still find the word "fans" strange. I think I'd rather think of them as friends. Okay, maybe I don't know them, but they certainly get to know a lot about me when they read my work.

I think that's kind of amazing, honestly. It's one thing for me to sit and write out those hidden pieces of myself...but when someone else, who isn't my mother or my best friend, wants to read those pieces, takes the time to read them? That's kind of awesome.
What are you working on next?
So many stories! There's a few that are vying for the next place in line. I'm not sure which will win. I can promise only that they will have an element of fantasy, a taste of darkness, and more than likely very strong characters that take on a life of their own inside my head.
Who are your favorite authors?
That's a hard question! I've been a voracious reader since I was very small. I was reading before kindergarten and before I was nine I had read my way through all of the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley, and the Nancy Drew books and the Hardy Boys books, and just about everything else in the kids and young adults section.

That was the summer I discovered Sci-Fi and fantasy. I had a strong love for some hardcore sci fi in my teen years: Asimov and Heinlein, and others. Tolkien was my first taste of fantasy, and I devoured his works and moved on to Raymond Fiest and Roger Zelazny, Katherine Kurtz is among my all time favorite fantasy authors. In my mid teens I found horror, and John Saul, Steven King were my two favorites there. I love historical fiction that mixes in magic and such, and Mary Stewart's "The Crystal Cave" is one of my all time favorites.

There are just too many brilliant authors to name them all!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
To be fair here, I currently have a job I love with people I adore. I get to work from home a good amount of time and even when I need to be in the office, I look forward to seeing my coworkers.

Not everyone gets to say that. Plus, I have a deal with myself. If I get up when the alarm goes off, and get ready for work right away, I get a half hour to an hour to write before the work day starts, whether I'm working from home or not. There's nothing like spending the first part of your day with characters you love.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a photographer as well as a writer, and I can often be found with a camera in my hand when I'm not typing my fingers away on a keyboard. I love to travel, and my photography tends toward finding beauty in the mundane, trying to see things from a different point of view, exploring age and decay. I also love music to an absurd degree, and live music more than breathing...so if you can give me a chance to shoot a live performance I'll be your best friend forever....just ask the musicians who I shoot regularly.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The very first was probably something in the very early grades. I was always telling stories and writing them down and giving them to people. The first that was maybe passable? There was a series of short stories I wrote as a teenager with black unicorns in them. And pieces of "Forever" actually started when I was a teenager as well.

My first "novel" was pounded out on an old manual typewriter I got for Christmas when I was 15. It was horrible. A rip off of every sci-fi movie and book I had ever encountered. But, my friends loved it and it gave me my first brush with "fans".
What is your writing process?
I'm not sure what I have can be called a process. I have all of these characters that live in my head and when I sit down to write, I mostly just invite them to tell me their story.

It might pick up at the beginning, or somewhere in the middle. Sometimes I know where it ends before I know where it starts. Sometimes I know the first line and everything after that is a surprise.

For me the important thing is to make time every day to write, to listen when the voices get insistent, and above all, to let my heart guide me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Words have always been such a part of my life that I'm not sure I can remember the first story I ever read. I remember reading "The Black Stallion" and really falling in love with the characters, the boy AND the horse. I was horse crazy for a while after that. I remember reading "The Hobbit" when I was nine and my poor little head was just blown off. I never realized words could transport you like that to a whole other world.
How do you approach cover design?
To be honest, for someone who is both a writer and a photographer? Well, cover design sometimes stumps me. Occasionally, something in a story will stick out for me and I'll know right from the start that it belongs on the cover. Most often though, I spend hours throwing words out that I think represent the over all tone of the book and have friends offer me back ideas.

In the end, I tend to like simple, evocative images and a clean design.
When did you first start writing?
I think I've always written. I remember telling stories when I was very small. It would start out based on something on the TV or some person I had seen and my mother would ask me questions and I would just...spin this story out.

Then I learned to write and realized I could right that stuff down. I made up stories about my teachers and the kids in school and the guy at the bank...anyone and everyone. I think I started to get serious about it at 12, making a conscious effort to improve my writing. I wanted to make worlds the way my favorite authors did. I wanted to make them come alive.
Published 2014-01-02.
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