Saturday, July 30, 2011

Author Spotlight: Nathan Robinson

Posted by LD Keach on Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nathan Robinson lives in Scunthorpe, England with a patient wife/editor and adoring one year old twin boys. So far he's had six monthly winners published on Spintinglers and five stories published by Panic Press His story, “Top of the Heap” appears on Pseudopod as episode 225, where it was adapted into a free to download story podcast and released to rave reviews with fans demanding a sequel. His cautionary tale, 'Eat your Heart out Lorena' was recently included in Frightfest online magazine as past of StoryBook, a new feature from the people at Film Four Fright Fest to showcase young and upcoming horror writers. He can be contacted through Goodreads or via Facebook  where he loves to chat to readers and writers alike.

DM: Tell us a little more about your writing style and the kinds of stories you publish.

NR: I started writing properly last year whilst my wife was pregnant with twins. I felt that with impending fatherhood looming, I should really do what I always wanted to do. Become a writer or never at all. So I jotted a tale down called "The Chicken in Black", partly based on a miserable three months I spent working in a chicken factory when I was 18. I'd never read/seen anything with Zombie Chickens in before, and they already seem so mindless and mentally challenged that I thought something needed to be done using Zombiefied Chickens. It turn out okay, sort of a parody homage to early Peter Jackson, Return of the Living Dead and The Evil Dead trilogy. I found a website that accepted unsolicited stories called Spinetinglers and sent it in. A month later I found out that I'd won first prize! A cheque for £100 came a month after that. I'd never been so proud. I've won five more times on Spinetinglers, and each time I great feedback from the readers and the members of the forum, which is always encouraging. I even welcome criticism, in fact I love it as it shows me where I 'm going wrong, enabling me to hone my craft even further. The stories I write do vary, I've mentioned Zombies, a staple of modern horror, but I try to create my own monsters, human or otherwise. But since dealing with undead poultry, I've written about the worlds first vampire, baby eating demons, a paedophile that meets a grisly end. I like making monsters, then I like to destroy them...sometimes.

My thriller, "Top of the Heap" which was adapted into a podcast by Pseudopod,  is completely different from anything else I've done as it's set firmly in the real world based on an article in the paper regarding Mexican drug gangs and how they dispose of their enemies. The scary thing was that it happened again three days after the podcast went live. Big time.

I tend to write about anything that inspires me, usually it's something that stems from the news, a snippet of conversation I overhear, sometimes a single word can explode into an entire story within seconds. Then it's there, and the only way I can stop thinking about is to write it down, then the voices tend to calm down a little.

DM: What was it like working with Spinetinglers, Panicpress and Psuedopod?

NR: I love working with publishers and editors alike, it's just nice to have some professional feedback about a silly little idea I've had. The folks at Spinetinglers really got the ball rolling with me, and it makes a difference to be showing my silly little stories to somebody who isn't a friend or family member, who'll tell you it's good even when you've got doubts. Sammi Cox over at Panic Press is also a brilliant little gal, so far she's accepted five stories from me and I can't see myself stopping anytime soon. The guys at Pseudopod were also brilliant. I'd heard it was really hard to get pieces accepted by them so I was overjoyed when they accepted my second submission to them, and the amount of feedback in terms of editing and ideas I got was overwhelming. A truly professional outfit. I've heard that there are a few unscrupulous sharks out there, but so far I've had nothing but positive experiences. A few other good guys I'd like to mention are Stephen W. Roberts over at the Dark Fiction Spotlight and Mark Goddard at Snake Bite Horror, they've looked after me so far.

DM: What's the best piece of advice you've ever heard/given out for aspiring writers?

NR: The best advice I've read was “Murder your darlings” a phrase first coined by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (or Fitzgerald or Faulkner or Nabakov or even Stephen King), which pretty much means when your going back over your work, if anything stands out as good and you like it a little too much it's probably self-indulgent rubbish. Delete. Delete. Delete. Also, you can write too much (as I probably have). Stephen King also said that he likes to put in little details about a characters profession, even if it has nothing to do with the story. A flourish such as this takes you a little further into the characters world.

But the best advice I could give to any aspiring writer, is to start small. A few years before "The Chicken in Black" was accepted I'd send manuscript after manuscript off to publishers, always with no luck. Know your market, and sub, sub, sub. Even if it's for 1/4 a cent a word or even 4theluv start there and work up, that way a publisher is more likely to consider you if you've a few decent credits to your name.

If you want your published work to get some time in the spotlight, email [email protected]!