On behalf of The Yodeling Dwarf, I’d like to offer a warm welcome to Nathan Petrie, 14 years old and published! Nathan has agreed to endure an interview about his debut book, Whispers Out of the Darkness, a collection of short stories which I regrettably haven’t read yet.
Nathan: Thanks for having me Jacob! I’ll see if I can endure ;)
Jacob: First off, tell us a little bit about Whispers Out of the Darkness.
Nathan: Well Whispers Out of the Darkness is a collection of fourteen short stories, mainly fantasy and mainly Christian themed tales. The stories have no collaboration with each other aside from the fact that they contain a common theme.
This theme is deliverance therefore giving WOOTD its subtitle, Fourteen Tales of Deliverance.
A little interesting tid-bit about the book is that all save two or three were written for school. They’re all homework assignments. And I find that a little bit funny.
Jacob: Now that’s how you make lemonade! We’re dying to know; how did your collection of short stories get into print?
Nathan: Haha, yeah. I think it’s some pretty delicious lemonade if you ask me ;)
To answer your question, I never sought out publication, per say. Let me try to explain, getting this book published was really a major God thing.
There’s a bunch of groups on Facebook for writing, and for Christian Fantasy in specific. I posted the beginning of a series of novels for tweens that I’ve been wanting to write and suggested that others post their stories as well. I received many an encouraging comment as well as one from the editor of a small publishing company, Jeremiah Press (JP).
The note was not directed to me personally, rather to the whole group. He had some kind things to say about my writing, yes, but he basically gave the contact information for JP. He said that if anyone had something that they’d like to see published to send it in to them for consideration. I hopped on board.
Long story short, I sent in every single short story that I had typed up. I receive an email in a few days asking me for more of my writing and telling me that they wanted to publish a collection of my stories.
So that’s that. From there JP worked extensively with me on editing the stories and made them much better than I ever could have on my own.
Jacob: Let this be a lesson to all of us: Work hard on your homework!
Nathan: Hmmm let’s not go that far yet lol
Jacob: What are some of the biggest influences on your writing?
Nathan: Well, I get asked this a lot, and I’m never sure how to answer.
My dad got me into writing; we’d spend hours discussing the processes of outlining and dissecting tales such as the Lord of the Rings. I remember these times very well.
The LOTR was probably the biggest literary influence on my writing, it’s what got be started. I sort of copied off of it to begin. The LOTR still remains my favorite series and Tolkien’s mind in general has always fascinated me. But if you want living influences I’d have to say that Bryan Davis, Wayne Batson, and many others of that genre have influence me very much.
Jacob: What project is next on your horizon?
Nathan: What’s funny is that the “next” project has been my main one all along. I am currently working on what I hope to be a four or more book series entitled "Redemption’s Journey". I started seriously writing it in the fourth grade. My dad was telling me about a novel he’d always wanted to write and so I figured I’d try my hand at it.
I sat down, and started writing. I based my story off the LOTR and started creating characters and scenes just like those of the trilogy. Over the next four years those stories have been shaped, molded, and transformed into a much more original idea.
The first one, The Sword of Fire, has been in the works since and I’ve been rewriting all this time.
Hopefully we’ll see it soon ;)
I hope to see it finished early fall and published late spring or early summer. High hopes, but stranger things have happened, right?
Jacob: What advice do you have for other teenagers and young people aspiring to publish a book?
Nathan: Interesting question.
The best I can do is pass on the information that has been given to me. What’s the number one thing?
The more you read the better your writing will get. Read something difficult, like the Siliamarillion which will make you better. Or read something similar to what you’d like to write. Dissect it. Discover what makes it so good.
For example, I think my current writing style is a cross between Bryan Davis and JRR Tolkien (major differences there right? But that’s who I see myself as). So I am constantly rereading their works.
And just don’t give up. Work furiously on one project at a time. If you’d like to work on many, like I’ve always done lol, at least set one as your main focus.
If it’s what God wants for your life, He’ll make it happen.
Jacob: Very wise. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for your time, Nathan, and may God use your books to reach the wide world of fantasy for His glory.
Nathan: That’s the plan Jacob, that’s the plan. Take care! And God-bless!
Jacob: You can learn more about Nathan and his work at NathanPetrie.com.