Monday, November 28, 2011

An Interview With: N. D. Wilson

Hello everyone!  In honor of my giveaway and in an effort to promote as many great authors as I can, I'd like to start out this week by introducing to you my favorite author - N. D. WILSON!!!!

You can find N. D. Wilson at the following places:

Hi Nathan!  Thanks for joining us here at Yearning to Read!
To start off, can you give us five fun facts about yourself?
Can I go with plain facts, or do they all have to be fun? Let's see... 
Uno) I'm 6' 4". 
Dos) I have five (yes, five) kids.
Tres) For our honeymoon, my wife and I foolishly (though enjoyably) ended up on Bogota, Colombia.
Cuatro) I've been sneezed on by a hippo.
Cinco) I once grabbed a hammerhead shark.

What are five books you think everyone should read?
Well, the Narnia Chronicles count for 7, and they're definite must-reads.

How has writing and being published affected your life?
When something has so massively affected you, it's tough to describe. Stories are what I do. They're my focus when I get up in the morning, and they're even what my subconscious works on while I dream. Of course, that was true of me before I was published, but now when I drift off into some imaginary world or start shaping a fictional character, I'm actually doing my job, not being distracted from it. Being able to write and publish has also settled my life down a little. I wasn't able to get a full-time teaching job out of grad school (my plan at the time), so I pieced part-time jobs together to make ends meet while I worked on my first couple novels. Now, when I teach, it's for fun (and so that I'll get out of the house).

Who is your favorite character that you have created and why?
Trick question. I love Cyrus Smith, because I know him so well right now (and he's easy for me to connect to). But I love Antigone at least as much. And Tom Hammond in Leepike Ridge. And Henry York in 100 Cupboards. And Henrietta. And Anastasia. And Uncle Frank for sure. And I desperately want to sit in Aunt Dotty's kitchen while she's baking. How's that for a non-answer?
I find that you often incorporate legend and myth into your works.  What inspires you to do so?
The legends and myths themselves. But I'm especially prone to grab things that I believe were real. For example, the jaculus vipers (winged vipers) in The Dragon's Tooth are described independently by multiple ancient historians. I think they really existed. Other times, I simply shoplift something from the myths that I find creatively compelling or that resonates (on a fundamental level) with human stories in all times and all places (the struggle against mortality, for example).
As he is one of the most chilling villains I've ever come across in literature, I have to ask:  What (or who) was the inspiration behind Dr. Phoenix?
A mix of influences pushed me into creating Dr. Phoenix (real name, Edwin Laughlin). When I was first imagining him (before the writing phase), I started with a little chilling reality. I made Edwin's father a real guy who pioneered the eugenics movement in the US pre-Hitler, a guy who actually helped get an appalling number of people forcibly sterilized. Then I drew on an idea that C.S. Lewis develops in his Space Trilogy. He says (and demonstrates in his fiction), that the pursuit of power through raw (morally unfettered) science, always devolves into dark devilry. It can't stay theoretical in a laboratory. Then, to tip my hat to my literary predecessors, I looked at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (by Stevenson -- I'd already borrowed from Treasure Island) and The Island of Dr. Moreau (by H.G. Wells). Of course, that kind of inspiration/research will only take you so far. Ultimately, I had to put all of that away and study Dr. Phoenix on the page until I knew what made him tick, what he feared, how he moved, and the cadences of his speech. Now, he simply is himself, and I sneak around behind him describing what I see.

Is there a specific place (city, town, or building) that sparked the idea of or the layout for Ashtown?
A couple, actually. St. John's College in Annapolis, MD. Blenheim Palace in the UK. And a skootch of Christ Church, Oxford.

Where do you come up with such great and unusual names for your characters?
Ha! I start by finding names I consider interesting, and then I chew on them. If I like how they taste (rhythm and texture), and I like how they shorten, and I like what they mean and imply about the character, then I go with them.

What about Cyrus and Antigone made you want to write their story?
Honestly, it was about the two of them. I love their relationship, and how they've survived hardship through hanging onto each other, and the fact that they can still dish out humor. Their banter is how they assure each other that they are both still there, and they are both still strong.

How many more books do you plan to write about Cyrus and Antigone and their adventures in Ashtown?
I have five planned. And I'm wrapping up the second soon. So only three more...

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Watch out for Big Ben Sterling.


Again, thank you tremendously for joining us!  So looking forward to whatever you have in store for your readers!! :D

Want to win a copy of his newest book, The Dragon's Tooth?  Well, I'm giving away three - that's right, THREE - copies!!  2 US, 1 INT!!

(Review coming tomorrow!!!  Be on the lookout!)


  1. Thanks for posting this wonderful interview. I loved The Dragon's Tooth and am looking forward to the second book already!

  2. The dragons tooth is awesome, Great interview!

  3. Thanks so much! :)

  4. No problem, always a pleasure. :) I know, me too!  Be on the lookout for the review tomorrow! :D

  5. Great interview and thanks so much for the chance to win The Dragon's Tooth. I am a huge fan of dragons so I will keep my fingers crossed.

  6. Very good interview. I enjoyed it. Thanks.