After reading The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist and The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan as a teen, I just KNEW I had to be a writer. I started immediately on my first novel, which was terrible. Sometime later, I started on my next novel, which was less awful, and in late 2017 I started on what would eventually become An Altar on the Village Green, book one in The Chained God.
I’ve spent several years as a freelance fiction editor, working with authors like Sarah Chorn and Michael Wisehart. I’m also known for my reviews, ramblings, and writer Crash Course series on my website.
I live in Indiana with my wife, two cats, and one sassy bearded dragon.
CONNECT WITH NATHAN
Welcome to SPFM, Nathan! Since we already have your bio, describe yourself in three words.
Introspective, empathetic overthinker.
Summarize your book, An Altar on the Village Green, using one gif.
If you could recommend three self-published books, which would you choose and why?
Of Honey and Wildfires by Sarah Chorn starts a glorious, beautiful, heart-wrenching, and heart-healing series that frankly I’m still trying to recover from.
A Dragon’s Chains by Robert Vane has a protagonist like nothing I’ve ever read. He does a fantastic job balancing humor and palpable tension, and I fell in love with how the characters at once grew and remained the same people.
The White Tower by Michael Wisehart kicks off a series that constantly reminds me why I fell in love with Epic Fantasy. A large cast of compelling characters, a colorful world, and stakes that are always rising. It’s familiar without feeling stale. It feels like home.
What is your favorite part, and your least favorite part of self-publishing?
My favorite aspect is the sense of community. It’s surreal to not only talk to these authors I’ve heard great things about (and in some cases, whose books I’ve already read and loved), but to be friends with them. To grow a space that feels like I belong, with people who understand each other and care about each others’ success.
My least favorite is doing everything myself. I have anxiety, which makes every choice a trial. Having a thousand choices to get the book from written to published is not something I’m built for. Thankfully I’ve gotten a lot of help from friends who know a lot better than I do. Otherwise, I don’t know how I’d have made it.
Why did you decide to self-publish?
Altar would be very difficult to publish traditionally, for many reasons. It belongs in both Horror and Fantasy, to the degree that trying to sell it as just one would feel dishonest. It’s heavily inspired by video games, and it’s a 1st Person novel with 3rd Person perspectives scattered throughout. It’s a WEIRD book, to be frank. And WEIRD books have a lot of problems finding a traditional home.
How do you approach worldbuilding?
One of the most important elements to worldbuilding, to me, is incomplete knowledge. There is a lot of stuff about my world, how it works and its history, that my characters don’t know or only THINK they know. We are redefining our own history constantly based on new information. I think that my characters should be, too.
What’s your process for creating fully fleshed out characters?
I start with three things, all of which are typically related to some degree. What do they want? What do they fear? Why are they hurting? These usually get me a long way to a compelling character.
If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick and what would it be about?
Fortunately, with Altar, I get to write a lot of spin-off stories within the book. That’s built-in. But if I had to choose one to tell more adventures of, I’d probably pick Ai’Gatka. She’s a character torn between peoples, torn between beliefs, and someone who is always going to have to make hard choices. But there’s a strength at her core that makes her so compelling as she makes those choices.
Which one of your characters would win in a lightsaber fight?
Either Chorin or Opit. I’d rather Opit won, but I think Chorin has the better chance.
If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your MC(s)?
I don’t know who would play the hero. But I’d love Paul Bettany to play the villain.
Tell us what lies ahead for you.
The Hanging Tree is a more traditional Epic Fantasy that I actually started before Altar. It’s a story of a young man who accidentally kills a person whose members are famously invulnerable. While he’s on the run, everyone’s scrambling to figure out how and why he was able to do it, whether he will be able to do it again. And he’s trying to figure out, if he has to, whether he’s willing to.
About An Altar on the Village Green (The Chained God #1)
“An Altar on the Village Green enthralled me from the start. This is an amazing debut . . . one of my favorite reads this year.”
– Clayton W Snyder
“If one suffers, I suffer. If one is chained, I am chained.”
My faith called me to become a Lance. My compassion drew me into one of the fallen lands. Through my connection with the Chained God, I alone can find and destroy the Horror that stains the land.
Death can no longer chain me.
But I couldn’t have imagined the madness waiting for me in this village. I’m not sure my faith can withstand the secrets I’ll uncover. Or that my compassion can survive the violence to come. This Horror may swallow me whole.
Death can no longer free me.
A creature stalks in the dark. Buildings burn. People die. An altar has been built on the village green.