Today we are very lucky to have Nathaniel Sewell, author of ‘Fishing for Light’, join us on Terraverum. With intriguing ideas and interesting answers, this interview promises to be both enlightening and thought-provoking.
Your book is a very interesting genre, one that I don’t often come across. What made you choose to write for such a genre?
In part I guess my sense of humor was heavily influenced by Monty Python, Terry Gilliam, Blackadder, and my favorite comedian, Steve Martin, and then add a dash from Salvador Dali’s surrealist masterworks. Satire allowed me to let my creative process run wild, and at the same time I could write about rather serious themes. Fishing for Light is intended to express the 21st Century societal swirl of good versus evil that has enveloped an entire generation or generations, if you will.
Where did your ideas for ‘Fishing for Light’ mostly come from?
I grew up Southern Baptist, and my grandfather was a minister, so I have a rather interesting view of organized religion and the concept of God. And I think the current, Political Caste, has strangled western life. I think two words should not go together, ‘political’ and ‘career’. And with that said, I have an amateur interest in genetics, epigenetics and quantum physics. The satire’s idea is that the current generations do not understand the growing Political Caste is working to control the population, and by extension they are literally going after every aspect all the way down to our genetic code. The character Ms. Prosperina represented that hidden force that is literally sucking the life out of humanity. And, by the way, Prosperina comes from Greek and Roman mythology, and the story of Pandora’s Box. And another detail, the book setting is Nashville, Tennessee, and not because I am a country music fan, but because they have a full scale replica of the Parthenon.
In short, could you tell us a little more about ‘Fishing for Light’?
How do you take your coffee? I recommend you take it black, as the evil Ms. Prosperina intended to alter humanity in part through her Starry Eyed Coffee Hut franchise. But Professor Quan, who accidentally created her, was one step ahead by spreading pure love to an army of children. Unfortunately, Eddie Wilcox, one of his special children, experienced a life trauma, and the trauma had blocked his destiny. So Professor Quan had to risk his life to lure him back, fix him so he could lead the fight against Ms. Prosperina.
With your writing process, is it a slow, gradual progression or more flooding of ideas and writing?
Both, it really depends on the day. I sometimes get up really, really early when I’ve got a lot in my mind that I want to express. I have to continually write notes but I believe in two writing techniques. I follow John Irving’s idea to write the last sentence, I think he’s amazing. And Hemmingway’s advice was to stop writing before you have all your thoughts down on the page, the idea being to allow your subconscious to allow the story to grow. I think both writing techniques allow for a full creative process.
When creating a character, what main things do you think are most important to incorporate or remember to make this character really stand out and be relatable?
The character can be strange, wacky, or unusual, but their dialogue has to be real. I think the key is to NOT make fun of someone else’s life choices, make them human, real, and allow them to express themselves naturally.
Could you tell us a little more about your main character?
Eddie Wilcox represented the Millennial Generation or Generation Y; I hate the labels our PC Police gave entire generations. I think that nonsense had better stop, or we are all in for trouble. He was discovered by Professor Quan because he was born at the exact moment of the Winter Solstice. But his father died from a hidden genetic defect, a massive heart attack. The trauma altered his genetic code; in part this comes from epigenetics. He has magical DNA, but he lacked the one key trait to be special, passion, motivation to succeed.
Does he in some way relate to you, is he based on people you know or pure imagination?
I think to create a character for the reader’s enjoyment; they have to come from your own life. Even Ms. Prosperina, a shape shifting chimera with Nazi DNA does come from a combination of real people and a bit of stereotype. But the main character, Eddie Wilcox does relate to me, and by extension personal tragedy. I was the kid in school that the teacher’s couldn’t figure out. I had a lot going on in my head. So take a person that by in large was an underachiever, even though he had the brain power, and take the character forward to represent an entire generation not paying attention.
Do you have specific books or authors that your draw on for inspiration?
Ray Bradbury because I loved his novels, C.S. Lewis, because he was well – C.S. Lewis, Kurt Vonnegut because his novel, Jailbird, opened my eyes to another world. I got a copy of Jailbird at a summer class my high school guidance counselor recommended for me. It was a class for slow-starters – that would be me. And a recent novel I read, I love, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
When writing, do you prefer to sit in a quiet place with no distractions or do you enjoy to be surrounded by people and noise as you write, say in a café?
I write at home, in my office. I might take notes being out and about. If people read Fishing for Light, I might not be welcome in franchised coffee cafés in the near future.
What is the main message you wish to get across to readers?
To pay attention and to seek your passion and that if you have hope – you can have love. And if called upon, don’t be afraid to express you opinion and if necessary, fight. I think there is a light, a fire, in all of us.
Are there any more of your works that we can look forward to? If so, can you tell us what is next for you?
My first novel was Bobby’s Socks. It was a tough story about Child Abuse and the epigenetic link to suicide. I had a tough childhood. So, I’m not sure you can ‘look forward’ to that one. But it had a serious purpose, and from that novel it allowed me to let go of my fear, and so I wrote Fishing for Light. The next novel I am writing is title, Fifth & Hope. It is about a middle-aged man discovering who his grandfather really was, and I’m writing a follow up to Fishing for Light. I have a lot of short stories and poems that I occasionally share on my blog at www.nathanielsewell.com.