Name Nathalie M.L. Römer
Age Late forties
Where are you from I was born in the Netherlands, grew up there and later on Curaçao before moving to Britain for 25 years of my life. I now live with my partner Anders in Sweden.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve just updated the covers for my book series The Wolf Riders of Keldarra. E-book version of the cover is live, the paperback version will happen on 14th and 15th of May. I’m soon finished with the third book in this series, and after that will work on the second book in The Utopus Series which is my futuristic/dystopian thriller.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing as an author in November 2014. In a way it was because I got fed up with the rejections for jobs I was applying for. I had the dream to be an author for years really but personal life got in the way of doing it. In the end I decided to just get on with it because I was starting to rebuild my life with my partner. He didn’t know I was writing my book until I was almost halfway. But once he knew he became very encouraging and hasn’t stopped being like that ever since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess once by first book was finished. I have the view that you can say you want to write, or be an artist, or sing, or do anything in life, but until actually do it you’re not it. And in the case of writing you can call yourself one when you treat it in a serious way, which you prove by having done it at least once. I see so often the criticisms in reviews on Amazon where the person doesn’t think a book is good. I ask myself when I see that if that person has ever written a book. If they can criticise another person’s book so much why then are they not doing any writing themselves. I thought of writing as easy before I did it but it’s a steep learning curve and the more you do it the better you get at it, so I’ll call myself a writer when readers say “She’s a good writer.”
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The direct inspiration comes from the MMORPG computer game called World of Warcraft I play. I actually always chuckle when I tell the it’s the fact that the “non-player characters” (NPCs) in the game riding on a bunch of wolves themselves who inspired the idea of “Wolf Riders” in my book. I already had the general plot worked out but not the antagonist. When my character in World of Warcraft almost got run over by those NPCs that’s when the idea occurred to have my “bad guys” riding on wolves. The idea for the “Stone of Truth” that Marrida uses actually in part comes from my own Pagan belief where it’s more accepted to deal with the past and future in a spiritual way.
The rest of the inspiration for my stories, if you can call it that, comes from real events, cultures, histories, and political situations in our own world. If I see something in our history that works as the basis for something in my story I’ll adapt it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I think this review I got recently explains my writing style beautifully:
What I like about it most is that it is a slow reveal. The characters don’t really know the history of their world and we get to learn that history, step by step, clue by clue, as they do. I like the literary device of a stone of truth as a way to find out the truth of the past as well as a way to plot a better future. Such a magic is more passive than action based and, as such, requires intelligence and a certain flexibility of character in order to be effective.
Ray Simmons at Readers’ Favorite wrote this. He was spot on with what I was trying to do with my writing style. I think a lot of people are shying away from the book because they see “epic fantasy” and immediately think it’s all about spells and so on, but I write, or at least try to write, in a way where the reader ends up being able to think about what they read.
In terms of technique I learned from my editor Alison Jack (www.alisonjack-editor.co.uk) how to write in first person, but the parts where Marrida uses her Stone of Truth are written in third person omnipotent, or as Ray Simmons states “the literary device to find out the truth of the past and plot a better future”
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The series title is already explained above, but I’ll explain the individual book title now. The Stone of Truth is the first book in the series, and in the whole series (which is seven books long) each title refers to a key moment in the unfolding story. This first story revolves around Marrida discovering more things about the gem she uses for her skill as a Keeper. It is the introduction to what the gem does. The Stone of Truth is a device used by Keepers to look at the events of the past to find answers there for why things are the way they are. When I was searching for a right title for the book I wanted it to reflect this skill Marrida has and put an emphasis on the title being related to that.
Similarly, the title of the second book Second Elder of Ruh’nar (pronounced as Roo-naar) is not simply a number but a honorific too. The story explains why this Elder is so important in the unfolding story.
I’m in the process of finalising the third book in the series, and its title is South Spires of Achellon. Achellon (pronounced as A-sheh-lon) is a city state on the eastern coast of Keldarra where the skill that Marrida possesses originates from. But it’s a city shrouded in mysteries and danger that neither Marrida or Alagur is aware of when they set off from her home city Ruh’nar.
I guess I’d have to do a “part two” of the interview when the other four books are out.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes there is. I was always told the following by my late grandfather: “It’s easier to tell the truth than to tell lies. If you tell the truth you only need to remember it once. If you tell a lie you need to remember who you told what and when.”
The premise of the overall story is that everyone has been lied to, and this has been going on for at least a thousand years but as you read the books you’ll discover there’s even more involved than just one simply lie. I think I cannot explain it in full without ending up doing too much spoilers. I’ll let the readers discover more about the message being told in the book.
The other message that I also tell is relating to what I said earlier where I mentioned that the inspiration comes from real stuff in our world. When I don’t write books I’m an human rights activist and the general idea behind how I write my story is that a world is easily divided by war and strife and that it takes people working together to solve that and to fix it. It’s true of our world. It’s true of Keldarra as well. I also got other books I’m writing that have a similar tone to them, the first book in The Utopus Series, Subject 37, puts you on a path set in a distant future of our world with a similar sort of underlying message. In addition there’s future stories I’m working on that will also have a similar tone.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I have actually based a lot of things on our own world so I personally refer to it as “epic fantasy with a realistic storyline”. For example in the story you could say that the Wolf Riders are Keldarra’s version of terrorists. In the city they occupy, called City of Wolves, there are boys abducted (or “snatched” as the term is in the book, and the whole situation with them comes from two separate real life instances. In Africa you have the so-called “boy soldiers” in Somalia and other places. You also have the situation with the Chibok girls who were abducted. The boys in my book, such as Bergas, Ebagar, Kayzor, and many others reflects these two situations directly. I watch a lot of news and am very aware of what goes on in our world. I see something that interests me or disturbs me and I’m likely to use it in some form as a way to tell my stories.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
As a child I’d say I was influenced by books by Isaac Asimov. He has a no nonsense way of writing I’ve always liked. I guess I try to do a similar version with my own writing. As for mentoring I get that at the organisation I’m a member of called the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and I would highly recommend it to all indie authors as something to join. I’m an author member, and so that they know who raises awareness about them, I hope I’m allowed to leave my personal link here in case people reading would like to check them out: http://allianceindependentauthors.org/?affid=4231
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I cannot simply pinpoint one author and say they’re it in terms of who has grasped my interest. I think I’ve found a whole community of interesting people out there. But if I do need to give a few names I’d say Harper L. Jameson ‘Spirit’, Jessie Costin ‘Ghost Storm’ and Susan Kaye Quinn ‘Open Mind’ are all current being read because they’re stories that fascinate me.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I would say that those who are becoming my friends in the indie author community qualify in equal measure as people who are supporting and encouraging me. With friends around who understand how tough this industry is you feel less alone.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes I do. My income from writing is my sole income. I guess that the income will grow as I become more established with more books (I have six to date).
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have searched out a better editor before getting my first book published. It’s a mistake I made. I had to learn from it. But in terms of what story I wrote, no that’s the story I wanted to tell.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve been interested in the idea of story writing since childhood, but because of personal life I couldn’t start until late in life. I guess I now make up for “lost time”.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Yes, currently I’m finalising the third book in the series The Wolf Riders of Keldarra. It’s South Spires of Achellon. And as a sneaky “spoiler” I’ll tell your readers that in this story Marrida actually starts to discover the truth about the origins of her Order of Truth. But truth in my story is never easy to uncover… Well, I guess I now have to say “Spoilers” like Dr. River Song from Dr. Who.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
For me the most challenging part seems to be plotting the book initially. But I’m getting better at it. I guess like with everything else it’s a skill you learn over time.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t travel that much but I have travelled often in the past, plus I’ve lived in four different countries to date. I am going on a trip to Italy which will help with two of my future books.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The covers were just updated for The Wolf Riders of Keldarra and I designed them. But I have designers I commission for work and their covers will show up once the books they designed for are published. Shout out for Steven Novak of Novak Illustration, Lee Ching of Under Cover Designs, Daqri Combs of Covers by Combs, Harper L. Jameson of Dark City Designs, and Mignon Mykel of Oh So Novel. The book I’ll be working on after Code Word Indigo (The Utopus Series) written and published is a cover by Steven Novak. A cover designed by Lee Ching and Harper L. Jameson can both be seen in the third quarter of this year. Updates on what books come out are available on my Facebook page.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My story involves violence and by nature I detest violence.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
The most important lesson for any budding author reading this interview. Get a good editor, and one that’s reliable, trustworthy and who is recommended by other authors. The editor I use, Alison Jack, is vetted by ALLi and they make sure that those they vet offer the service they say they give.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead (starts swooning)
Sam Heughan. He looks just like the way I picture Alagur in my mind. There’s a number of actresses who might work as Marrida. The covers of The Keldarra Series are drawn by me and my version of what the characters look like. But any reader can suggest in my Wolf Pack Book Club (my reader group!) who they feel would be the best people to play these characters. So my question to your readers. Name a tall, black-haired, brown-eyed actor with good muscle structure to play the villain Samur. Answers in my book club and I’ll have a gift code for the best suggestion to give away on 1 August 2017 (so if you’re a reader and my books interest you head over to my group to join).
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Listen to as much advice as you can cope with. Every ounce of it makes you better at your skill. And get a decent editor and book cover designer for your book.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Spirit by Harper L. Jameson
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I was eight years old when I got given a big thick book with the fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. That’s one of the earliest books I can remember.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I am quite empathic so when something sad happens I will feel upset and when something nice happens I do laugh a lot.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I wished I could have met Nelson Mandela. In terms of anyone alive I’d want to meet right now it would Ban-ki Moon. I find him an inspirational person.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Stubborn in life, Stubborn at the Pearly Gates, Arguing right now with Grim Reaper.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Photography, doing crafts, painting, stitching, travelling and cooking are a few of them.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
science fiction or fantasy, though I also love weepy stories. Mostly watch news though when I have time to watch anything on television.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Chinese food or pasta dishes. Very dark red is my favourite colour. I got a wide ranging and rather eclectic taste of music except for metal rock or jazz.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would an artist instead, though another dream as a child was to be an archaeologist.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website?
If so what is it? My website is being redeveloped at the moment but it’s http://www.nathaliemlromer.com however you can find out latest information on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nathaliemlromer/