Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Nicholas Austin, creator of the Civilands series. Along with being an author, publishing my books in e-book and paperback, I also have a dramatic audiobook podcast of the series called Tuesday Night Fiction.
The first three books in the series (#1 Crimson River, #2 Crystal Eyes, and #3 Crescent Heart) are all available now. The fourth, Cryptic Kingdom, will be released late June 2019 and the fifth and final book of the series is scheduled for some time in 2020. As for the podcast, it’s three episodes in so far, with new episodes every Tuesday.
For more on where to find the books and/or podcast check out www.nbaustinbooks.com !
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
The Civilands series is a fantasy western adventure, however, the stories behind it are very much character-focused and centered on finding your place in a large, at-times overwhelming world. I started writing the series shortly after a college experience in which I was on a journey west of my own, so I think what I’ve taken from my experiences has been translated to the page in some ways. Themes of family, justice, morality, religion, and personal growth are what make this series what it is, without going to much into the story itself. If I was to summarize I’d say Game of Thrones meets Gangs of New York meets Manifest Destiny.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Besides the experiences mentioned above, I’ll add I was also inspired heavily by the rise of fantastic television shows. Since I didn’t know much about script writing/composition, I decided to translate the story in my head to book form. Some favorites at the time were Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and Fargo, however, I was also inspired by shows I wasn’t as crazy about, such as The Walking Dead. My criticisms of shows like TWD played a big part in getting me to do my own creating instead of continuing to rip the hair of my head in frustration.
How do you deal with creative block?
As soon as I’m feeling creative block I just stop what I’m doing and work on something different, even if it’s just for a short period of time. I’ve found that if you put an idea away for a little while and explore whatever IS on your mind at the moment, the current thing can help develop ideas for what you were working on before. Also, when the lightning eventually strikes and you figure out what was missing it’s the greatest feeling in the world!
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Not getting an editor. Having an alternate set of experienced eyes is a must. Because when you write there WILL be mistakes, it’s just a matter of finding them all which you really can’t do on your own.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
For a series, be consistent in the brand from book to book. Also don’t over think the cover. Simpler is probably better.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
If they don’t like it, it’s not for them. I’ve had enough good reviews and gotten enough joy out of the writing experience and how much it’s bettered my life that nothing anyone says could ever take away the value of the words or story for me. Not everyone’s going to like your work in the same way not everyone will like you as a person, and both of those things are okay.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
Editing, editing, and editing. It’s the best because you get to see how much your word child can grow and feel the pride of it becoming the best version of itself it can be. It’s the worst because reading the same thing 100+ times over and over isn’t fun no matter what it is. Surprising because you never expected to see so much red anywhere other than a battle field.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
Personal satisfaction. I wouldn’t find the passion in it if I wasn’t telling the story I wanted to and/or needed to tell. So in that way I don’t really balance the two at all. Personally I also prefer consuming stories that surprise me, rather than stories where the writer writes what they think I want them to write.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
I want to say a big part, but I’m also right brained and think there is art in math too. So it could be a very methodical process or completely emotional. Depends on the person and the timing.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
As a musician, mixing music with writing is great. Especially for the podcast where I’m writing backing scores, mixing it up between the two mediums helps me to get the juices flowing. Music tells stories itself too so the combination creates a full picture.
What are your plans for future books?
As soon as I put the finishing touches on book four (in the process now), I’ll be starting on the final book shortly after! Following that, no idea. Whatever story is next to be told will blossom when it blossoms.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I once had a picnic with a bear, which may or may not have influenced the content and cover of my first book.. I like to think it did! I also have a Border-Collie x Lab mix named Luna, am a big hockey and college football fan, and have a reputation among my circles for eating maybe too many (no such thing) beans.