Interview with Nastasia Peters - Author of the YA Fantasy Novel Altors.
Nastasia Peters is part Dutch part French, currently residing in France. She speaks both languages and English on top of that. Nastasia has been illustrating for almost 9 years and nearly 4 years ago she started to write fantasy genre stories. She works as a reviewer on a graphic website and does some freelance illustrating and tutorial writing on the side.
Nastasia recently published her first book on Smashwords, called Altors. It is the first installment in the trilogy called Zinc. The second and third installments are currently being edited and formatted for publishing.
Interview with Nastasia Peters
|Author Nastasia Peters|
Nastasia Peters: A large number of baby steps that were made across a big portion of my life. It started out with small notes I would write secretly behind my pencil case during the first year of high school, fold into a paper plane and let fly towards my friend who wasn't allowed to sit next to me anymore because we were so chatty. We would imagine how our crushes would ask us out to the dance. We wished hard it would turn into non-fiction.
Eventually, I had a history teacher that often made us write essays, taking a small part of a historical event, research it and then write our opinion on it, or imagine we ourselves were in that time period and write a story as to how it would unfold. Usually I did very well, other times I ran towards historical inaccuracy and added dragons and sword wielding super heroes.
It was a couple of years later, when my family moved from the Netherlands to France that I emerged myself in books (which I had never really done before besides the occasional one for school) and couldn't stop reading because not only were the stories amazing, all those Authors were teaching me so many things about the written language. As I learned, I started writing short stories to accompany my illustrations.
Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
The Neverending story by Michael Ende is probably my absolute favorite. It's not that I didn't read before, I did, but this is the first story that really marked me. The world Michael Ende made is so incredibly detailed, sometimes I'd read it, finish it and then start over again from the beginning.
The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis. At first I had a hard time getting into it mainly because the way he wrote in english was very classic and I wasn't yet very advanced in english. It is actually why I love the series so much, it taught me the language throughout an adventure in situations I wished I'd have imagined.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman. One dreary Sunday afternoon I turn on the television and the movie was playing. I turned it right off because it was very strange to hear Robin Wright Penn's voice dubbed in French, but I really wanted to see it, so I looked it up online, loved it and bought the book the following day.
As for my writing influences, all three mentioned above are what made me dream of writing fantastical tales with lands never before seen. Video games too, actually. I am (was, no more time!) an avid gamer and especially love fantasy genre RPG.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I never actually knew I wanted to write up until four years ago. I was completely focused on my illustrations and the notes I wrote down on pieces of paper beside them to remember the character's personalities or other small details, I didn't realize I was writing stories until a good friend of mine pointed it out and challenged me to make sense of all the notes.
"I prefer to write when it's rainy outside rather than sunny and hot..."
Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
I prefer to write when it's rainy outside rather than sunny and hot, so I'm not all that productive during the summers. Night time is my favorite to as it's quiet and everyone is asleep, so it allows me to enter the imaginary world with more ease. During the day it's a lot like; "She swung her sword-" And I have to go buy groceries before the store closes.
What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
There is nothing easy about writing a story (for me). When your plot isn't trying to take control, it will be the characters and when it isn't the characters, it'll be something more technical such as redundant use of words. Which is what makes it complicated rather than hard. But when you really want something, or love something and you have to do a certain thing, be it writing, drawing, playing music or anything really; It's okay if it is complicated or hard, because in the end it's worth it and when something is worth something to you, the hard stuff becomes easy.
Please tell us a little about your novel 'Altors'.
Altors takes place in a world called Zinc where an underground war is taking place. Only certain people know of it and try their hardest to keep it under lock and key. The story takes off when two friends, Solenum and Calycanthus get separated from one another after their guardian is murdered. While Calycanthus is held captive amongst the Altors, Solenum tries to find her way to him, running into some dangerous situations and uncovering secrets that will show her what is truly going on in Zinc.
The war kept underground by a number of carefully constructed facades shaped with lies, is suddenly on the brink of crashing into a million pieces because two young adults happen to be opening the right set of doors to unveil the truth. While neither Solenum or Calycanthus start out wanting to tip the balance into the favor of those they deem worthy to win the century old fight, the more they learn about what was kept from them and how deeply implicated they are, the further they dig and the further apart they are pulled.
|Click to Read an Excerpt|
What inspired you to write the book?
The song 'We're in this together' by Nine Inch Nails. Usually when a song inspires me, I draw, this time I wrote. The music in that song had me imagine a battle, then I saw the characters faces and it just took off from there.
Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
Young adult, but not limited to. As for where you can buy it. Right now it is available as an ebook on smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/285346 and soon it will be available (ebook as well) through many major retailers, not only that though, it will be out as print via amazon too. There's a fifty percent discount running on the ebook right now when using the following coupon code: HV65F
How would you describe the success of your book so far? (Sales, Awards, Reviews)
I published it barely two weeks ago, so I suppose I will have to get back to you on that one.
" I spent roughly a year writing the entire trilogy..."
How long did it take it to write the book?
Altors was actually meant to be one book at first, but then I scrapped the initial ending I wrote and attached two more books to it. The thought of publishing hadn't gone through my mind yet, so I wrote the trilogy as one big story, rather than a three part tale. I spent roughly a year writing the entire trilogy and then I used another entire year to re-write, re-evaluate, push some stuff around, give some areas the extra attention they needed and finally, editing.
Please, tell us where you self-published the book.
Smashwords for ebook and Amazon (createspace to be precise) for print.
"Think ahead and really try to not get blindsided by things."
How smooth went the self-publishing process? Any issues? What are things to look for when self-publishing a book?
It actually went a lot smoother than I thought it would. When I researched self publishing, I was crazy overwhelmed and actually wanted to run and hide and never come out. Eventually, I sucked it up and tackled self publishing. It is a lot of work, but again, when it's worth it to you, you do it. The main issue I ran into with self publishing was the formatting of the books, both ebook and print to be honest. It took several times before I got it right, and it wasn't lack of information or tutorials, because those were available. It's just so much details, that sometimes one slips through and it messes with all the settings. I think when it comes to self publishing, you want to make a very solid plan of how you are going to approach and do things. Think ahead and really try to not get blindsided by things. Also, re-arrange your sleeping cycle because you'll need the extra hours of awake time to make it all happen.
Did you hire an editor and/or Cover Designer for your book?
Neither. Yet I do have an amazing editor. She's a great friend and we met shortly before I started the second draft of Altors. Amber really pushed on areas of the book that needed attention I would have never thought about covering. Without her support I may never have finished the Trilogy, to be honest.
I made the cover myself.
"[...] authors should write for themselves before writing for anyone else."
Can you give some tips for other Indie Authors regarding the writing and self-publishing process?
I'm pretty sure it has been said before, but I really think authors should write for themselves before writing for anyone else. If you are passionate about the story, the passion will push through and show itself to people on the outside. If the author isn't passionate about what they are writing and don't believe in the story and/or forced themselves to adjust the plot or character for the benefit of an outside opinion, it will show and it will put off.
As for the self publishing process. I'm still quite new at it myself, so I wouldn't know where to start as I'm uncovering many things to this day. I think it is wise to take the time to research thoroughly and read whatever tutorials made available. Don't be afraid to contact people who know more and can give you the answer you can't find by yourself. Once I get through the first large wave of the self publishing craze and I can surely tell it worked in one way or another, I will make sure to create a blog post on my website containing useful links to websites that helped me in publishing the book and promoting it.
Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
I am currently working with my editor on the second installment in the Trilogy titled, Regius. It is in the final editing stage and once we are both satisfied with the manuscript, we will publish. After this comes the last installment, which is actually in its first draft stage and needs a lot of work still. I haven't thought past the world of Zinc yet. There are some characters there that I'd like to give some more attention, so maybe short stories to accompany the main books.
Are you planning to move forward as an Indie author or are you looking forward to have one of your next books to be traditionally published?
Right now I'm planning on self publishing the next books. Although it's a lot of work, I quite enjoy self publishing. Who knows though, maybe I'll try traditional publishing in the future.
Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
Video killed the radio star. It's hard to avoid. While I am completely for ebooks and do like where the book market is going, I'd be very sad to see bookstores go. They offer a certain atmosphere that is hard to replicate. How different would that scene in Beauty in the Beast be if instead of him guiding her into a grand hall filled with an ocean of books, he walks her over to a table that holds a digital object in which an ocean of books is contained?
Do you write full-time or do you have a day job?
I don't, actually. I am a freelance illustrator and work as a reviewer on a graphic media website. I can't wait for when cloning becomes available!
How can readers connect with you?
Via social media sites and Zinc's official website! The website has a blog that is regularly updated where it concerns Altors and the trilogy, but it also features other great Indie Authors every Saturday and Illustrators every Friday who would love to help self publishing Authors with them their cover.
Thank you very much for the Interview, Nastasia.
About the Book Altors
While Solenum and Calycanthus change the lives of so many, their new environments forces them to grow, come face to face with danger, death, family connections and just a touch of magic. New friendships are made and love is found as the two best friends work hard on finding their way back to one another throughout a world they always lived in, but was a mystery up until now.
Links to the Book
Link to the eBook Altors on Smashwords with Excerpt-Sample