Sam Baahuhd, Hero of The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy by Sandy Nathan

Character Interview for Pat Bertram, written by Sandy Nathan:
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy by Sandy Nathan
Sandy Nathan | Writing Inspirational and Visionary Fiction and Nonfiction : http://sandynathan.com
Buy Sandy’s Books: http://sandynathan.com/buy.htm
Synopsis of The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy: Tomorrow morning, a nuclear holocaust will destroy the planet. Two people carry the keys to survival: a teenage boy and an intergalactic traveler.

This is a spoof TV interview of Sam Baahuhd, headman of the village on the Piermont estate in The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy. The year is 2199.

From the station’s advertising:
WNYC’S STAR REPORTER MEREDITH CARLISLE INTERVIEWS VILLAGE HEADMAN SAM BAAHUHD.
Join Meredith at Piermont Manor in the Hamptons! Our favorite investigator visits one of the poorest areas in America and one the USA’s greatest and oldest stately homes. Tune in at 3 PM for a view of life in the 22nd century.
WNYC––NEW YORK CITY’S ONLY NETWORK

At the shoot on the estate:
“Meredith, I don’t like it here,” my stylist says, backcombing my hair furiously. I sit at my dressing table on the estate’s lawn. I’m Meredith Carlisle. But everyone knows that.

“Did you see all the trees driving out here? Weird,” he whispers.

“It was very weird.” I turn to the rest of the crew. “Everyone: This is the country. They have trees in the country. We’ll do the show and get back to New York.”

“They don’t have that in the country,” Alfred, the director, points at the stone mansion stretching as far as we can see. “I’ve been trying to figure out how to get it all on camera.”

I stare at the enormous structure. The mansion is like a wedding cake made of granite. Breathtaking. “We’re at Piermont Manor. It was constructed in the 1800s, four hundred years ago. Nobody gets in here. We had to agree to interview this idiot to be allowed in. Who is he? Sam who?”

My crew edges toward the van. They’re freaked out by the acres of lawn and all the trees. The lack of skyscrapers. I take control.

“Alfred, where is the man we’re supposed to interview?”

“I asked those guys over there,” Alfred points to a group of very large men standing on the other side of the lawn. He cowers a bit.

“What did they say?” My crew’s undue nervousness is irritating.

The whites of Alfred’s eyes glint in the sunlight. “I don’t know what they said. They speak a foreign language.”

“Great. Why didn’t anyone find that out? Alyssa, you’re the production manager. Do we have a translator?”

“No, Meredith. I’ll try to find one.” Alyssa looks around helplessly.

“Oh, wait. Someone’s coming.” My jaw drops. I can’t stop looking at him. He’s the same as the mansion. Breathtaking. A huge man. Shoulders like forever. That chest. He strides out forcefully. Something wafts from him. Manliness.

My jaw drops farther as he gets closer. Also, my nostrils twitch. He’s dirty. It’s real dirt, not something applied by the makeup department. He appears to be sweating copiously. He takes off his hat. His graying hair is matted where the hat’s brow band pressed it tight.

“Hello there?” I extend my hand, despite my disgust at his grimy paw. “You must be Mr. . . “ I search for Alyssa and she mouths the pronunciation. “Baaaaah-huuhd.”

“Mr. Baaaaah-huuuhd.” I smile broadly.

“Ma name i’ Sam Baahuhd. A’m th’ headm’n o’ th’ vil’ an’ o’ersee’er o’ th’ big house.” He nods at the mansion.

“Oh,” I say. “Who?”

He repeats what he said.

“Do you have anyone who speaks English? I don’t speak your language.” He’s very appealing close up, if filthy. My heart flutters.

“Ah fergot tha’ yer not o’ th’ Hamptons. Been out here s’ long, we got our own way o’ talkin’. Ah’ll pretend yer th’ hooch man out at Jamayuh. Ah always speak proper English when ah’m w’ him. Canna make a deal otherwise. Can ye understand me?”

“Yes, Mr. . . .”

“Baahuhd. Ye say i’ like this, with th’ air comin’ from here.” He presses my belly, forcing the breath out of me. I feel faint. Something comes off of him, like a force. It’s wonderful.

“Baahuhd. I see. Well, we’re set up for the interview,” I indicate a couple of club chairs set on the mansion’s front terrace. “Any chance of us getting a peek inside?”

“Nah. Jeremy’s got ‘er wired up. Get any closer ‘n’ ye are an’ ye’ll nah go nowhere again.” He smiles, showing surprisingly white teeth.

“It’s electrified?”

“Yeah. An’ more. D’ ye know Jeremy Egerton?” I shake my head. “He’s the lady’s son, Mrs. Veronica Egerton. Ye know of her?”

“Oh, yes. Veronica Edgarton is famous. And rich. And beautiful. She’s the general’s . . .”

“Aye. She owns th’ big house an’ the village an’ all th’ rest around here. An’ me, too.”

“She owns you?”

“Might as well. Ye know why yer here t’day?”

“Yes. To interview you.” My cheeks tremble from smiling so much.

“Nah. Yer here because Jeremy Egerton sent word to let ye in.” He looks me in the eye. It’s terrifying, though thrilling. “If Jeremy hadn’t tol’ me to let ye in, ye woulda been chased back to th’ city th’ minute you set foot on this place. That was three hours ago, out on th’ road. Jus’ so we get straight on it.”

“Certainly, Mr. Baah . . .”

“Baahuhd.” He walks to one of the chairs and sits down. “OK. Le’s get this goin.’ Ah got work to do. What ‘er yer questions?”
“I thought that the natives of the Hamptons didn’t like to be asked questions.”

“We don’. Usually, we shoot before we get t’ askin’ questions. But ah figured this was a chance t’ say some things we don’ get t’ say.”

“And what’s that?”

“That we’re not animals. We’re in th’ Hamptons because we was born here, jus’ like ye were born in th’ city. Weren’t our fault. Weren’t our fault that we don’ have schools an’ have to work like we do. Weren’t our fault that we got nothin’.
“We risk our lives seein’ that the lady keeps that,” he tosses his head toward the mansion. “An’ we get very little thanks fer our trouble.”

“You risk your lives?”

“Yeah, lass. Th’ Hamptons is a dangerous place. We get th’ people who run away from th’ cities. Th’ people escape from th’ torture camps––there’s one o’er at Jamayuh, th’ next town down. We got the hooch runners an’ them that deal in the weed and mushrooms. An’ th feds. All of them is dangerous, an all of them want this place.” He smiles. “Coupla times a year, they come t’ get it.” The smile broadens. “Ain’t got it yet.”

“You fight to keep the estate for Mrs. Edgarton?” I’m shocked, but I shouldn’t be. The Hamptons are like the Wild West once was.

“I got plugged three times so far. Not countin’ the nicks.” He rubs his chest where he’s been shot. “Ah’m scarred up lak an ol’ bear. It’s war out here. Jus’ like in the cities.”

“We don’t have war. What are you talking about?”

“Whad’ya think th’ smoke runnin’ along the horizon is? There’s a war.”

“There’s no war. If there were, the government would have told us about it. President Charles says everything is fine.”

He nods his head and smirks. “When ye drove in, did ye happen t’ see big round bowls cut out o’ th’ ground,” he uses his hands to indicate large depressions, “all lined with cement? An’ wi’ long pointy things stickin’ out of ‘em, aimed at the sky?”

“Yes. They’re all over the place. President Charles said they’re satellite dishes to help our screen reception.”

“No, lass. They’re atomics. An’ they’re set to go off t’morrow morning. Early. All over th’ world.” He’s looking at me steadily. He’s so magnetic I almost believe . . .

No! I can’t believe what he’s suggesting. The president would lie? There’s going to be an atomic war? That’s treasonous. We’re in the Great Peace. Everyone knows that. A niggling thought about my daughter’s third grade teacher disappearing comes up. No, she took a leave of absence.

“I’m not going to listen to this.” I turn to Alfred. “Pack up, we’re going back.”

“No,” Sam says just a little bit louder than normal. Everyone freezes and looks at him. “Yer gonna get ev’ry thing ah say, an’ yer gonna play it on the tellie today. Tha’s why Jeremy let ye’ come out here. You gotta tell the people wha’t happenin’.”

“A nuclear war starting tomorrow? The government would have told us.” I’m shaken. For some crazy reason, I believe him and know that I’ll do what he says. “What will we do? Where can we go?”

“Yer gonna go back an’ show ‘er on th’ tellie,” he says to the others. Then he turns that million volt gaze on me. “Fer ye, there may be a way out. Yer a pretty thing. Ye could be one ‘a’ ma wives.” His smile is mesmerizing.

“Wives?” The idea seems worth considering.

“Ah got four. Ye’d be ma fifth, but we gotta big house. The stable, yon.” He points to a barn.

Fifth wife to . . . His dirty hands make up my mind. “No. I’ve already got one ex-husband. I don’t need to be married.” I regret the words as I say them. There’s something about him.

“OK. Ye’ll take th’ camera back t’ the city an’ play ‘er today. Ye need t’ tell the people to . . . to run. Or t’ stand. They’ll die, either way. But they d’serve a warnin’. Tis only fair.

“Tha’s what ah got t’ say. Now git. Ah’m done wi’ ye.”

I watch his back as he heads toward the stable. Broad shoulders. Easy gait. Powerful.

I feel drawn to him. No. I made the right choice. We have to get out of here.

“We’ve got the van packed, Meredith.” I hop in as it pulls away from the mansion.

“We can’t play what we got,” Alfred says as we jolt down the rutted road. “It’s treasonous. Everyone knows that the Great Peace is baloney. We’re in a war. But it’s covered up. This will blow the cover. The feds will kill us.”

“Yes, we can. Sam said to,” I’ll do what Sam told me to do no matter what. “We have to give people a warning.”

“Why, Meredith? There aren’t enough bomb shelters in the world to save everyone. We’re going to die.”

And then it sinks in. If what Sam said is true, we’ll die tomorrow.

I should have taken his offer. He wasn’t scared about what’s coming. He must have a shelter or something. “Turn around! We need to get back to the Piermont estate.”

The van shudders to a stop.

“What’s that?” There’s something in front of us. A vehicle across the road. Another vehicle pulls up behind us. Black figures are moving toward our van.

“What is it, Alfred?”

“They’re feds.”

“Open the door,” a black-clad commando yells. “Give me the cameras.” We give them to him.

“I’m Meredith Carlisle of WNYC. Those cameras are the property . . .”

“I don’t care who you are.” He uses some very rude language, and tosses something in the van, slamming the door. It clatters on the floor. I see a digital timer counting down.

“No!”

After the explosion, the commandos gather near the flaming remains of the van. “We got the treasonous materials. Should we look at them?”

“Nah. The president said everything is all right. That’s good enough for me.”

 

Sandy Nathan, Author of Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

What is your book about?

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could tells the true story of a baby horse that was born too soon. Human babies can survive and thrive when they’re born prematurely, but young horses need all the time they can get in utero. A foal born only two weeks before his due date usually won’t survive. When Tecolote was born ten days early, the chances were that he wouldn’t make it.

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could tells the touching story of a young colt who beat the odds. For not only was he born early, his mother died when he was five months old. Alone and lonely, Tecolote searched for friends among the horses of Rancho Vilasa, his home. He needed humans who understood his special needs.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I stood out in the field on the windy, freezing night that Tecolote was born. I saw him struggle to stand and fail. In shock and pain after giving birth, his mother attacked my husband, daughter and me. She bit my husband badly. I can still hear the “click” of her teeth.

From the start, Tecolote’s life was so vivid that it shouted, “Make me into a book!”

But my grandchildren, Cara and Jarrett, are the real reason I wrote the book. I wanted to share the story with them. And with everyone’s grandkids. It’s a book for children, though everyone can read and enjoy it.

What is your goal for the book, i.e.: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I’d like to foster compassion and understanding for those with who suffer from illness or disability. I have had experience with children with learning problems and mental illness. I’ve had to deal had my own shyness, which almost crippled me as a child.

I’ve seen some people with disabilities mangled by the system in which they found themselves. I’ve seen others with very severe disabilities get what they needed and fly.

I’d like Tecolote’s life to serve as a beacon for those with special needs letting them see that a life with a hard beginning doesn’t have to end badly.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

A great deal of myself appears in the book. I identify with Tecolote. When I was a young child, I was so shy that I hardly spoke. I had few social skills, and yet I wanted to have friends and belong just as much as Tecolote did. I saw myself as he struggled to be part of the herd.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Since it’s nonfiction, the characters in Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could are real horses. Horses have their own personalities, which are almost as unique as human personalities. I didn’t have to develop my characters; I just had to capture the animals’ essences so that readers could experience them.

Tecolote is the main character, of course. He starts out as a helpless infant. Through his own pluck and determination, he survives and negotiates all the jobs a young horse must in growing up.

Rosie, Tecolote’s mother, is probably the purest of heart horse I have ever known. She was beautiful and good and kind. Except for that one night . . .

Shambho is Tecolote’s “bad boy” friend. Born a week or so after Tecolote, Shambho had a hard a time learning his “young horse lessons,” struggling as Tecolote sailed along. He’s another special needs boy.

Tio Eddie was Tecolote’s grumpy “uncle” who came to love him.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it?

The research for this book was the “sweat equity” type. I lived it. I started riding when I was ten and got my first horse when I was 13. I was in a junior drill team and exhibited in California’s Bay Area. That’s when the horse show bug bit. I showed all summer when I was a junior rider. I ended up a pretty tough competitor, placing in most of the classes I entered. I liked the AHSA stock seat equitation and reined stock horse classes best.

After a few years away from horses––when I went to school, worked, married, and had kids—I decided at age 40 that it was time to get back in the saddle while I still could. I went to a friend’s open house and rode a Peruvian Paso horse for the first time. They have a special smooth gait that didn’t aggravate my bad back.

I HAD to have one of those horses.

We ended up with 22 of them when our ranch was at its largest. Our family got into Pasomania: riding, showing, breeding, helping to train, and raising Peruvian Paso horses. We exhibited uninhibited addictive behavior. We’re now in retirement mode, down to a mere six horses.

By the time Tecolote came along, fifteen to twenty foals had been born on our ranch.

Where is Tecolote now? What is he doing? Does he have friends? Enemies? Any quirks? Tell us about him.

Tecolote will be ten years old on May 3rd 2011. He’s doing great. He’s sound, healthy and very happy. He lives in a pasture with two mares and another gelding.
When he’s not hanging out with his buddies, Tecolote is my personal riding horse. I rode him yesterday. Teco’s very easy to catch and handle––I note in the book that the foals that have had early veterinary problems are very easy to handle because of all the human contact they had while babies.

Tecolote has one enemy: Leon Gitano BSN, our stallion. The enmity goes from Teco to the stallion. Whenever my husband and I ride together and Barry rides Leon, Teco pins his ears back and acts like he wants to bite and kick the stallion. I have no clue as to why Teco dislikes Leon so much. Leon doesn’t do anything.

Teco’s other quirk is that he hates having a bath. He’ll stand in the wash rack, but he wiggles and paws and expresses how much he hates it.

Why are people so enamored with horses?

This is a big question with a multi-part answer. For me, probably the most rewarding thing about being around horses is the bond that grows between the horse and rider or caretaker. It’s a real connection, an indescribable union that’s stronger than most human relationships.

Did you know that horses have energy flows just like people? I’ve seen charts of equine energy currents. We’ve had equine acupuncturists over to treat horses, with amazing results. When I’m working with a horse or riding one, I can feel that energy flowing through both of us. I almost feel like my horse is part of me.

That’s the spiritual side of horses. Spirit, energy, bonding. Huge topics. I’ve had almost enlightenment experiences showing horses in the Peruvian Paso national championships. I know other people who have had similar experiences.

Mastering fear. I’ve always been afraid of pretty near everything, including horses. I was very shy as a youngster, as I said. Learning to work with horses brought me out of that. It changed my life. Why? If you can’t assert yourself with a horse, you won’t leave the barn. It’s fundamental.

That’s the short answer to why people and horses go together so well.

Have you always lived on a horse ranch?

No. When I was a kid, my family boarded our horses. My husband and I bought a horse property about 1988. We started caring for our horses at home then. Going from taking riding lessons to having a horse is like going from grade school to college. Going from boarding a horse to caring for it full time is like going from college to a PhD program. The changes require huge jumps in what’s required of you.

What does living on a horse ranch teach you?

Multiply what happened in Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could by 365 days a year, by however many years you’re a rancher. It’s intense. Emergencies happen all the time. Things break. Horses get out. Horses get hurt. People get hurt. You have to feed twice a day, no matter what you’d rather be doing. It’s a demanding lifestyle, very disciplined and very much in the moment. I treasure it.

Do you have other books about horses planned?

Yes, I have a thick file of experiences like those in Tecolote. More than half a century of horse tales. My literary agent wanted me to write this book years ago. She said she rocketed between hysterical laughter and biting sadness when she read the file. But much of the material is very personal; I wasn’t ready to tackle it. Now, I’m realizing that the time to write the book is coming.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

Yes. I write for readers who are interested in making a difference and growing personally and spiritually. My readers also want a well written, fast paced, and extraordinary read that takes them to places they never imagined.

Do you have a mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

I’ve got completed drafts of books more than outlines of ideas. I started writing full time in 1995, banging out a series of books. I completed drafts of maybe nine books in The Bloodsong Series. The first book, Numenon, has been published. My publisher and I are hoping that the second book will be out in 2011.

A second series, Tales from Earth’s End erupted from me a few years back. my new sci-fi fantasy series. The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy is the first book of this series. I’ve got drafts of two more books in that series completed.

And there’s “the horse book.” I will write it one day. Soon.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

My editor gave me the best advice I’ve heard: “You can write garbage in hopes that it will sell or you can write what your heart burns to write. Your choice.”

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

You’ll make more money as a brain surgeon.

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

“Do good, avoid evil.” But St. Thomas Aquinas already said that.

 Have you written any other books?

Yes, I’ve written three other books.

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice A spiritual companion for modern spiritual seekers. Covers issues like handling eBay addiction that modern spiritual seekers face.

Numenon (Bloodsong Series) The first book of the Bloodsong Series, Numenon tells the story of the richest man in the world meeting a great Native American shaman.

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy (Tales from Earth’s End) Set in a future world on the edge of collapse, the enchanting and angelic Eliana comes to earth on a mission that can save her planet. She must find Jeremy, a revolutionary and outcast. They begin a quest to save two dying planets . . . and save each other.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My web site: http://sandynathan.com
My publisher’s site: http://vilasapress.com
Search for my name on Amazon or Google.

Sandy Nathan, Author of Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could and The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy

What is your book about?

I actually came out with two new books at once. Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could is a nonfiction kids’ book about a premature baby horse born at our ranch. He had so many problems that it’s a wonder he lived. The story is warm and uplifting––Tecolote not only lives, but grows up to be a great riding horse. The book is illustrated with photos we took while the action was unfolding. I’m not going to concentrate on Tecolote for this interview. Perhaps I could do another on the little horse’s story later.

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy is my new sci-fi fantasy. In the tradition of 1984 and A Brave New World, The Angel occurs on the eve of a nuclear Armageddon in the late 22nd century. The world has degenerated into a police state. Eliana, an angelic visitor from another world, arrives on a mission which can save her planet. She has to find the “Golden Boy.” He turns out to be a 16-year-old tech genius in a world where technology is outlawed. Jeremy is also a revolutionary and the FBI’s most wanted. Together, Eliana and Jeremy begin an adventure that can save both of their planets. The story has a cast of engaging characters and an explosive ending.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

Almost no time at all. I was busy working on the sequel to my first novel, Numenon, when The Angel burst into my mind. The energy behind this story was so compelling that it knocked my other work aside.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

My brother died unexpectedly and tragically three years ago. He was my only sibling and, though a grown man, my “little darling.” I reeled in grief, trying to make sense of what happened. About three months after he died, I had a dream in which a glowing figure appeared, hovering over my bed. She was beautiful and totally good. The physical pleasure of being around her was wonderful. As the dream went on, the “angel” hovered closer, eventually merging with me –– so that I was the angel. It was quite dramatic. I hung out in that state for a couple of hours and then drifted back to my regular self. Over the next few days, the plot for The Angel came to me.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

The Angel is an allegory about my brother and I. Many of the themes relate specifically to the two of us. My life is threaded throughout the plot.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

The main characters are Eliana and Jeremy. Eliana is the angelic visitor from another world. Jeremy is a teenage genius who has almost single-handedly brought technology and the Internet back to a world where it’s banned. Jeremy has probably the most dysfunctional family in the universe. He needs to get over his issues with them to develop farther. But he’s a sweet kid, and endearing. My favorite character is a relatively minor one in this book: Sam Baahuhd. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but I’ll say he’s a primitive person living in extremely constrained and difficult circumstances. He is the hero of one of the sequels to The Angel. Why do I like him? He’s a hunk and a very masculine man. He’s complex, sensitive, smart, and a true leader.

Who is your most unusual/most likable character?

Eliana, the angel, is undoubtedly both most unusual and most likable. She’s beautiful, graceful, and utterly good. A dancer better than any the world has seen. Everything she touches is charmed and made better. I’m very pleased with the job the book designer did on the cover. It’s a flying ballerina, which captures Eliana perfectly.

How long did it take you to write your book?

The outline of the plot came to me in 4 or 5 days. It took me 5 weeks to write the first draft, then 1 ½ years to go through the editing/rewriting/editing/proofing process.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

I had the outline of the story in mind. Refinements came to me as I wrote the draft, and still more plot and refinement occurred in the editing process. Usually a plot comes to me in a pretty complete chunk. Then I have to fill in the blanks and write it out.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I mostly did research on the Internet. Researched nuclear proliferation, nuclear war, global warming, rising oceanic levels. Stuff about nuclear Armageddon. Thank heavens for the Internet!

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

As I noted, I have sort of large, internal experiences where my unconscious or soul coughs up a whole book. But the characters are fleshed out as I write them. Sometimes they go their own ways and change. Mostly they just get deeper and more articulated with writing. I pay attention to who they are and what they want.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

Not really. I have a sense of a beginning, middle, and end and I honor those. If I get carried away, FOR SURE my editor will knock back anything that isn’t right. She’s not shy about saying what she thinks.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

Again, it’s that gestalt thing. It feels right in my gut. However, I have been doing this a long time. I’ve been writing full time since 1995. I was in one writing group 9 years, another one for 2. I’ve worked with the same editor ever since. I’ve improved, and my writing has improved.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I’d like them to be charmed and moved. I’d like them to look at the world around us and realize that it’s fragile. I’d like them to look at our economic and political systems and realize that we need to work together to solve our problems in the Great Recession. The Angel isn’t implausible a future, given our current reality.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

“Do good, avoid evil.” St. Thomas Aquinas

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

Keeping myself going. Doing the work. Overall, this was the easiest book I’ve written. When I finished writing its first draft, I had a sequel clamoring to get out rattling around my brain. So I wrote it. And when it was done, the sequel to that wanted out. So I got three books of a series from one dream. Not bad.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Losing my brother. That was the spark that ignited the book.

What has changed for you personally since you wrote your first book?

I realized what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life.

How has your background influenced your writing?

I have two master’s degrees, one in economics and the other in counseling. Both of those impact my writing a great deal. In writing The Angel, part of my unconscious was grieving for my brother; the other part, the economist, was looking around at our society going, “How on earth are we going to get out of this recession???” That’s why The Angel occurs on earth’s last day. If we don’t solve our current problems, we could get something like what I write. That’s scary.

The other part of me, the counselor, shows up in interest in how people’s heads work. Some of my earlier stuff was like doing depth counseling with the whole cast of characters.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

It colors it a lot. In my early writing and my first three books, horses figured heavily in plots. Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could is about a horse, period. We live on a horse ranch and have bred Peruvian Paso horses for twenty years. I’ve ridden all my life. So that colors what I write about. And my novels are a rehash of my early life, often very modified. But the details and feelings reflect my experience.

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

I write every day. I’ve got the two new books out now, so I’m doing a lot of correspondence and copy writing for marketing materials. I’m also preparing the sequel to The Angel for publication. I’m always writing something. I go for a feeling of satisfaction: I’ve gotten something finished, written a scene that I like, gotten a piece finished for a press kit. I don’t write to satisfy a word or time count. I usually work almost all the time.

Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

No.

Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?

Any time.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on Lady Grace, The Angel’s sequel, as I noted. When I get that edit finished, I’m jumping to Mogollon, the sequel to my first novel, Numenon. People have been emailing me asking where it is. It’s written, but needs a big edit. That will occupy me for a while. A few days ago, I looked at draft of Sam & Emily, which is the sequel to Lady Grace. I’ve got two books lined up after The Angel. Phew.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

I want to reach an intelligent reader who’s not afraid of light or dark. A lot of life is pretty stories and light. Some of it is horrifying. I like to write in a way that reflects both.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Marketing and sales.

What is the easiest part of the writing process?

Doing that initial core-dump of ideas and plot that is the first draft. That’s glorious.

Does writing come easy for you?

Once I get the inspiration. Getting the inspiration for Numenon, my first novel, took me fifty years of hard living and a lot of pain. The idea and plot erupted in a torrent. The first novel in the series and then a bunch of sequels burst from me the way The Angel did.

What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

How much I like it.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his or her creator?

Oh, yeah. My first novel, Numenon, was published in 2009. I had the draft of the sequel done and anticipated getting it out right away. It’s still not out. Why? Because it’s huge. It’s a 23 million page novel at this point. What’s driving me crazy is figuring where to cut it. Which subplots have to go entirely? Which characters? I’m in love with them all. That’s the problem. But I’ll get over it and sharpen my scalpel.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

I have drafts of 10 to 15 books written and sitting on my hard drive.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?

Lady Grace, the sequel to The Angel, is swarming in my brain. That’s because I’m in the middle of an edit of the manuscript. The rest are on my hard drive.

What do you like to read?

Pretty much everything. Just finished the Decker/Lazarus series by Faye Kellerman. I’m starting the Stieg Larsen books.

What writer influenced you the most?

Leonard Tourney. He was a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, now retired. He has written eight or nine very good novels. He also led the writing group I was in for a couple of years. I can hear his voice correcting my work when I sleep. He had a huge impact.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

The Outlander (and series) by Diana Gabaldon.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

“Don’t give up, Sandy. You’re going to succeed. It may not be the way you imagine, but it’s coming” That was from my editor.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

“Don’t give up, (fill in your name). You’re going to succeed. It may not be the way you imagine, but it’s coming.”

How have you marketed and promoted your work?

I’ve done book readings at local bookstores, gotten coverage in the local newspapers. I did an Amazon Bestseller day. I’ve been on a number of radio shows. I’ve entered book contests with my books. (My first two books won a total of 12 national awards.) I’m entering contests with the new ones, too. I do some chatting it up on forums on-line. I’ve got a blog to help writers stay sane: http://yourshelflife.com

What are your current writing goals and how do you juggle the promotional aspects with the actual writing?

I’d like to get out two more books in 2011, Mogollon, the sequel to Numenon, and Lady Grace, the sequel to The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy. Juggling that with promoting the two new books? Prayer is my only hope.

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Do good and avoid evil.

Have you written any other books?

Yes, three other books. To learn more about my books, Please see my Amazon page: phttp://www.amazon.com/Sandy-Nathan/e/B001JS6VMI/or my web site: http://sandynathan.com

See also:
Excerpt from:
Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could by Sandy Nathan
Excerpt from:
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy by Sandy Nathan