Hey everyone! I know I haven't really posted much book stuff lately but I have been in a reading rut this year (seriously, I've read less than 20 books this year). So today I have an interview for you! John Nelson, author of Against Nature was kind enough to answer a few questions for me so sit back, relax, and get to know a new author!
1. To get started, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm a retired Air Force Master Sergeant and former Special Ops Medic--Air Commando. I now work as a healthcare executive in Utah. I'm married to a beautiful and brilliant woman and I have three kids and a sweet dog named Dexter.
2. What inspired you to write Against Nature?
From fact comes fiction. The news headlines were filled with some disturbing stuff like secret prisons, torture, wars justified through public deception, and so much more. I kind of thought we were heading toward a dystopian society. I also wondered what would happen if some of the stuff our government was doing overseas washed up on our shore. The end result was a dystopian thriller. Most dystopia fiction is about the future. Mine is about the present and how we get to that dystopian future.
3. I really like that you take the present and show how we could get to the future. Most dystopian novels start off with everything changed already and just briefly mention how things changed. Interesting! From idea conception to completed work, what was the hardest part during the whole process for you?
I love the writing process. I never know where the story is going to take me until I get there. I think the hardest part is cutting and editing when the ride is over.
4. During the research, what was the most interesting or the weirdest thing you found yourself reading about?
I knew most of what I wrote about. I can't say I had to do too much research. I did take facts of the past decade and expanded them to create a dystopian society. That was certainly the scariest part.
5. If you could sit down with any author, past or present, who would it be and what would be the first question you'd ask them?
Voltaire. I'd ask him to rewrite Candide for our times.
6. You knew this was coming, favorite books and authors?
My favorite books are Candide by Voltaire, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I like books with social value. Books that make you think.
7. In the last year, what has been your favorite release?
I recently read Hunger Games and enjoyed it. I read it on the beach in Mexico....sea, sun, sand and a decent book. Life elevated! What makes Hunger Games a good book and not a great book, in my estimation, is the lack of social criticism. I didn't see a clear reflection of our own society. Lots of young adults are reading it, but they're not learning anything in the process. Is the book a critique of our growing violent society, our thirst for voyeurism with reality TV, and our acceptance of inequality? Are we on a path to that world? What are the road signs? All that was missing. It was still an enjoyable read, but not a classic.
8. Is there a question you wish people would ask but either forget to ask or just don't think about asking?
I think fiction writers have a goal for the reader. Just as a comedian's goal is to say silly things to make us laugh, a conservative talk radio host says inflammatory things to make us angry and outraged. The question people should ask me is: what was my goal for Against Nature? My goal was to make the reader think and reflect. And be entertained too, of course. But beyond the simple pursuit of entertainment, I think a dystopian novel has to do a little more than that. It needs to make you think and reflect. You should see your own world in the reflection of the book's fantasy world. I tried to do that. It's up to the individual reader to judge whether or not I succeeded.
9. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'd like to thank you for hosting me and for creating an on-line community where readers and writers can come together. I'd also like to thank you for your work to help your neighbors following the devastating tornadoes in your area. It's so wonderful to see people act selflessly and not just in their own self interest.
Thank you John! It was a pleasure getting to know you and hosting you here on my blog!
You can purchase the Kindle edition of Against Nature here.
What do you think about Against Nature? Is there a question you think I should have asked?