Today we travel to south Alabama, USA, to chat with Nathan Bush about how the Army, having five kids, Tolkien, Dungeons and Dragons, writing for his high school newspaper, coffee, music, the American Bald Eagle, spending time outside, and feeling connected to the people he has created are a part of Nathan’s past and current life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
–Hey, hello there! Thanks so much for inviting me over, Camilla. Whew, I wasn’t expecting such a large audience. I sure hope I don’t make a fool of myself in front of all these people.
–A brief intro, huh? Well, I guess that’s why we’re here. So these fine fans can get to know me. Oh, where to begin. Simple is best. My name’s Nathan Bush, but some call me Poppa Nate. Most assume it’s because I’m old and have grandkids (we have 2, for now, hint hint), but it actually stems from the time my wife Tammy and I spent working with the teens at our church, which lasted for ten years (and can definitely make you feel old). Oh, yeah, I’m s’posed to be giving my intro. Let’s see…I’m an indie author living in south Alabama, US. I’ve lived here since separating from the Army in ’97. During the last 23 years I’ve met my best friend, and married her, increased the family from two kids to five (our oldest is about to turn 30 and the youngest is almost 6), worked my butt off for others and myself, and basically lived a life that I wouldn’t change for any reason.
In which genre do you write?
–Hm, my genre? My flash fiction, which I put on my WordPress blog, is all over the place. But my main work, The Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District, is dropped into a tiny niche that I’ve dubbed faith-based crime, with an attitude. Basically, I have taken crime fiction and tossed in a bit of the thriller, action, humor, a fraction of romance, and religious genres for a little extra oomph. And while my writing is clean, it’s by no means G rated. As fans of my work can tell you, I go into some detail describing the murders in my stories, as well the crime scenes, and most importantly, why my antagonists do what they do (which is where the attitude comes from – well, that and one of my detectives is not your run of the mill goody two-shoes).
How many published books do you have?
–Currently I have 4 books out in The Foley Chronicles series, as well as 1 short story in another series that’s called The Foley Chronicles: Dark Side of Foley (kind of like having side stories that will give extra information on certain characters that doesn’t get into the main books). I’m also working on book 5 for the 8th District series and number 2 in the Dark Side series, not to mention the innumerable ideas floating around in my noggin’.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
–I would say that reading Tolkien, King, Burroughs, Anthony, and tons of other amazing authors sparked the kindling for my writing. Also, playing Dungeons and Dragons and Dark Tower (if anyone remembers that awesome electronic game bonus points for you) as a kid helped, as well. Most of my early writing was in the fantasy genre. Actually, my first complete short story was fantasy (in the 8th grade). I started writing in middle and high school, all short stories, and flash fiction (of course I didn’t know what flash fiction was back then, so I called everything a short story). I wrote for the high school newspaper and literary magazine, so technically I’ve been a published author since the 80’s 😉.
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
–Well, I don’t know if it could be called a writing quirk, or even interesting for that matter, but I don’t overload myself with research for my books. Not that I’m saying I wing it, either. I like to get just enough crime scene science, and other pertinent information, into the stories to make them believable, without becoming overly tedious with details. For example, I’ve picked the brain of my Pastor to make sure the Scripture I used wasn’t out of context. And I’ve picked the brain of a FANmily member who’s a lawyer and contacted a line manager of a forensics tools company to make sure I used their equipment correctly (for my current WIP). I also have four things that go into every book (if you don’t count the use of Scripture): coffee, music, specific medical facts, and there’s always some unrelated misdeed being brought to light because of the murders taking place (that’s my little way of showing that there are no secret sins, they will always be found out).
What would you choose as your mascot, and why?
–Finally, something simple to answer! I use the American Bald Eagle for my “publishing” logo, which is plastered on the back cover of my books (not a real publishing company, but it looks impressive, I think). I chose the Eagle because my life verse is Isaiah 40:28-31, which basically says that God’s got unlimited strength and power that He gives to the weak and weary when we need it, so we can carry on.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
–Well, my ideal writing space would be neat, clean, comfortable and inviting. What do I have? A jumbled up desk covered with books, photos, papers, and assorted bric-a-brac, and an impossibly uncomfortable chair, all crammed into half of our guest bedroom. But I can’t complain too much. The desk and chair were free, the books are my published works and assorted research reading material, the pictures are of my family, and the room is so crowded nobody ever stays in it when they do come home to visit. So, it’s basically mine…all mine! Hahahaaaaaaa.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
–Where they all come from…out of my…no, no, JK. My current WIP came about while writing book 4, Preying Games. I threw in a non-related murder scene for two of my detectives that weren’t critical to book 4, just to give them something to do when their current case ended (can’t let these guys languish – there’s no telling what kind of trouble they’ll get themselves into if left to their own devices). It is actually making the current WIP a little more difficult, since it has to coincide with the last one (the timelines of the two books overlap – a first for me).
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
–Marketing? What’s that? Ha ha. JK. Nope, not really. Who’s got time for that? So, when I’m not writing I’m working or hanging with the family. Both activities keep me busy. I work full time outside the home ☹. Now, now, don’t be too sad, it pays the bills…mostly. After work, the majority of the afternoon/early evening is spent helping take care of our youngest daughter, who’s been diagnosed on the Spectrum (ASD). She’s a challenge and a handful, but I wouldn’t trade her for anything. Not that I’d give up any of my other kids, either. We spend quite a bit of time outside, since she loves swinging, jumping on the trampoline, and playing in her pool. Once she’s down for the night, the wife and I usually veg out in front of the TV, and sometimes talk during commercials (if we aren’t too tired, that is).
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
–Probably that I can affect/entertain other people with what comes out of my head, and not just me. And the fact that I can feel so connected to people that I’ve created. Getting emotional while reading or watching something someone else made is one thing, but to feel those emotions for my own characters…WOW, certainly never expected that. I still get misty eyed when I reread my first book, Written in Blood.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?
–This goes back to the quirky writing question where I mentioned my Pastor. I actually used him, via email, to create realistic conversations in two separate chapters of book 3, Twisted Christian. One chapter was between the Christian detective and another nonbelieving detective. The second was between the Christian detective and the [Twisted]Christian antagonist, who’s scriptural interpretations were slightly skewed (hence the name of the book). I wanted the scenes to be genuine and spontaneous. I set up the scenes, then we just conversed. I think it worked perfectly.
What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?
–There you go, making this hard for me again. My youngest daughter coming along. She is truly an inspiration to me. Her arrival in our home was a game changer and showed us that God answers prayers in His own time, and how He chooses. The fact that she perseveres through difficulties, grows daily in her abilities, and has come so far in such a short time, brings a lump to my throat and pride into my spirit. She has a long way to go, and probably won’t ever be classified as “typical”, but that will never diminish who she is, and what she’s meant to be. And if you want to learn more about my thoughts and ramblings on what life on the Spectrum is like, you can catch it on my blog, www.nathanswritingagain.wordpress.com, in the Unexpected Spectrum folder.
Sorry if I’m rambling too much. Shall we end on a few simple questions, then? Shoot, I’ll do my best to entertain.
What do you miss about being a kid?
–Oh, that’s easy. No responsibilities. And no responsibilities. And…yep…no responsibilities.
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
–I could try, but there really aren’t any.
If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?
–Whoo boy, you opened a can with this one. I’d probably have to say Berg Anderson. Aside from John Filcher, the great Christian leader, he’s the next favorite character. Mainly because he doesn’t give a single hoot what other people think about him. He’s who he is and won’t apologize for it, regardless of how many times it gets him into trouble. And though he’s had a turbulent career, he gets the job done. As for what I’d do, it certainly wouldn’t be what Berg does. Not if I want to have a clean conscience. I just think it’d be such a change to be able to just be, without the worries of who it affects. Truth be told, I kinda live vicariously through him. Just don’t tell anyone I said that, cause I’ll deny it 100%.
A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?
–Hey, first of all, a penguin in my tub is really no ones concern but my own. However, if you must know, he was returning my sombrero. Secondly, he wanted me to know that Paula Barr misses me. Paula’s from the South Pole, if you couldn’t tell.
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?
–Funny you should ask that. I don’t have any pets.
One more? I suppose so. Go ahead.
Tell us about your most recent book.
–Okay, I guess this is a good way to end things. Well, Preying Games, book 4 in my series, was just recently published in July of this year. It took way longer to complete than I wanted, due to some medical setbacks with my wife. I usually average about a book a year, but this was one two years from start to finish. It’s all about a woman (Amy) who’s tired of being trampled on by the men in her life, so she sets about to get even. She creates a profile on a dating site to lure in her would be victims, then chooses those she deems to be high profile targets, because she wants the world to see just how jacked up the rich and powerful men of Foley really are. She wants to rid the population of their presence, but more than that, she wants to humiliate them in death. Lucky for her (and me), she’s a tech wizard, so tracking her down is no simple matter for the crime fighting detectives. You can find out all about Amy, the other degenerate killers hiding out in Foley, as well as an assortment of colorful characters, and follow the lives of the Eighth District Homicide Detectives by going to author.to/NathanBushAuthor. You can also become a FANmily member by following me on FB @ Nathan Bush-Author; www.nathanswritingagain.wordpress.com.
Well, it’s been a blast being grilled like a suspect. The polygraph didn’t help. Thanks for having me over anyway. I think I learned a lot. Like, maybe next time we do this through Skype. See ya round, Camilla. Thanks for joining us everybody.
It was great to have you on MTA and to learn more about you and your writing style. Wishing you all the best, Nathan! – Camilla
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