Conversations Between Writers

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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 http://nathancrowder.com/ 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