Conversations Between Writers


Nathan Crowder

Nathan is directly responsible for my finally knuckling down and submitting stories. Turns out you actually have to do that if you want to get published (weird, I know…). I ran into him at a reading thirteen years or so after we’d both worked the same service job and gamed together. After his reading he mentioned was seeking submissions for an anthology and since I knew he actually gets my wacked out sense of humor, I felt comfortable sending him a story where I destroyed the world with tiny unicorns. And then I kept submitting… and that’s how babby, I mean books get made.

Nathan is a genre writer, small press publisher, and architect of the Cobalt City Universe. You can find out more at his website or follow him on Twitter 



Minerva Zimmerman: How are things?

Nathan Crowder: Good! Feels like the calm between storms, but I’ll take it.

how are things down your way?

MZ: A little drizzly with a side of weird.

NC: Yeah…this weather. It was 60 the last few days. My co-worker thinks it’s the end times.

MZ: It’s been that nice here too, today it finally greyed up today

We got a weather station attached to the house after christmas, so I’ve been linking my house weather to people on the East Coast.

NC: That’s…let’s not gild that lily and just call it “evil.”

MZ: oh yeah. Totally. 😀

NC: As long as we’re on the same page, then.  🙂

MZ: No one was fooled that I was just showing off our spiffy weather station.

NC: I’ll be honest, I see the blizzard on the news and I feel a little cheated.

MZ: I wondered briefly if I could call in, “other people are snowed in” this morning. Somehow I didn’t think my boss would buy it. “I live on a steep hill, weather is worse here… on the opposite side of the country from where the snow actually is.”

NC: no. Most likely, no. How are things at the Museum that is Almost Certainly Haunted?

MZ: It isn’t haunted, it just has boiler heat so it has those old clanky radiators

NC: All museums are haunted. This is known.

MZ: It is pretty gosh darn scary to be there in the dark, by yourself. but not haunted.

NC:I remain skeptical, but you’re the expert on the place. But if I come to visit, I’m totally bringing my pendulum and ghost hunting gear. You working on anything fun these days?

MZ: Oh, I’ve got a couple things going on.   Working on a draft of my madcap Rural Fantasy

NC: You’ve mentioned the Rural Fantasy idea to me before, I think. I love it!

MZ: Yeah, I’m having a lot of fun with it. It’s set up in the mountains near Snoqualmie Pass.

NC: Have you zeroed in on a likely length yet?

MZ: Eh, probably less than 90k it moves pretty quick, but I have a few scenes I need to go back in fill in. What are you working on?

NC: Excellent! Best of luck wrapping it up! I just finished edits on a pulp sci-fi novel I need to get sent out, and deciding if I want to do edits on something else or get back to writing the next epic fantasy novel.

MZ: Ooo, I didn’t know you’d gotten into writing epic fantasy.

NC: Yeah! I have this triptych. The first one is done, called Of Rooks and Ravens. About a young academic forced to flee the destruction of her college and home town who throws her lot in with a crusty tactics professor / probable spy.

MZ: Oh cool! Is it out, or are you shopping it?

NC: I will be shopping it.

NC: The idea is to tell about the fall and rescue of this city from the POV of 3 different groups of heroes. Each has their own part to tell.

MZ: I love that technique of storytelling!

NC: And in a perfect world, the 3 covers will form one complete picture. assuming, of course, that someone publishes it.

MZ: Oooo, well, it sounds like a great project.

NC: I’m excited about it. Early word from beta readers is very positive.

MZ: I wish you good hunting with it.

NC: Many thanks!

MZ: I read your Fringe Candy entry for today, sounds like you’re about doomed with a new specialty candy store.

NC: My one hope for rescue is that their hours seem, at best, random.

MZ: ooo a magic candy store

NC: Absolutely. And the fact that the candy is also mysterious…it’s the kind of shop you’d buy a Djinni lamp in if it were a Harlan Ellison story.

NC: Like, I KNOW candy. A good 80% of the stuff there? Never heard if it. Chances of me getting cursed or selling my soul for rare, Fringe Candy is kind of astronomical right now.

MZ: It might be worth it though…

NC: No doubt!

MZ: What else has been burning up your brain of late? Any new horrors creeping up your spine?

NC: I need to do a few more Fringe Candy posts before I go all Agustus Gloop. Ooo new horrors! My last few horror pieces are also kind of fringe. Like, is it supernatural or is there something else going on? They’re the stories I want to tell, about young women turned into pop culture princesses to be sacrificed to benefit the industry, or a brutal revenge piece about pageant princesses that takes place entirely during a small town parade. Most of my horror lately is informed by horrors I’m seeing in the real world, how we treat each other in this culture, what we value. And I try to exorcise that in my fiction.

MZ: yeah that does seem to be a real problem in the last while

NC: It’s hard to confront. Sometimes hard to read. “Hell is a Parade” might be the meanest story I’ve ever written. And I kind of love it for that.

MZ: Mean stories are weird to write. Like, you feel so much better for writing them… but then people worry about you more. 🙂

NC: Looking forward to reading that at Norwescon Oh yeah. “I’m perfectly normal, folks! It’s just a story!”

MZ: I worry more about people who never write that kind of thing.

NC: same. Bottle it up and you’re bound to go nutty.

MZ: Yeah, horror writers are the nicest people you could ever meet. It’s kind of odd.

NC: we have a great understanding of just how BAD things can go. It recalibrates our expectations.

MZ: I think it makes you a little more optimistic on a weird level. “Well, at least there aren’t earwigs eating my brain.”

NC: yeah. Like “Well, it’s a long line and my boss is a dick, but he’s not exactly wearing anyone’s skin for a mask”

MZ: …no that’s a Thursday only thing. Is there anything you want to make sure we talk about?

NC:The only thing that comes to mind would be the “That Ain’t Right” anthology that Mad Scientist Journal published last year. Great collection. PLUS it has my football/Cthulhu story “Goat” in it. Just in time for the Superbowl