This last week I have sharing with you the thoughts and practices of a few up-and-coming Barnsley based writers. In this, the last of three interviews, I chat to Nat Gosney, a local author of horror fiction. Nat chats about her novel Wolf Born, getting published and where she goes now.
When did you start writing and how did you get into that? And how did you develop that interest throughout your education?
When I was very young my mother taught me to read. I’ve got a home video somewhere kicking around the house – I’m four years old and reading the newspaper. Now I have absolutely no recollection of being interested in the news at four, more than likely it was just lying around and I decided to read it…just for the sake of something to read, but I do remember being a complete bookwork as a child.
I took The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in to school when I was in Reception class. It was one of my favourite stories at the time and I could read it perfectly well. Rather irritatingly though my teacher wouldn’t accept that a five year old was capable of reading C. S Lewis, and instead insisted that I stick to Spot the Dog books. Needless to say, I only spent one year in that school before my mother decided to pull me out and send me to a different one that wasn’t quite as narrow minded!
From then on I pretty much devoured books. I would get in awful trouble reading at the breakfast table and as a result being late to school. I found it so captivating getting lost in the amazing words created by the authors’ imaginations. Some of my favourite were the most fantastical – The Neverending Story, Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree stories, and so on and so forth. I wanted to be just like the writers of those amazing books – creating worlds…it’s almost like a superpower in itself!
When I was around nine my mother bought me an old fashioned manual typewriter for Christmas. It was just about the most wonderful thing I’d ever received. However I quickly discovered that applying tippex is not as easy as it looks, and trying to type a story on a manual typewriter inevitably results in pressing multiple keys at the same time and having the hammers all stick together, which is incredibly annoying. Most of the time I reverted to writing by hand.
When I was thirteen and in high school, I had a poem published in a Young Writers book of Poetry. We were given a title, “Spellbound”, and we had to come up with poems based on the title. Some people wrote about witches, others wrote about being fixated by a football match, etc. My poem was about drifting in space, being at one with the universe, or something like that. It was quite surreal and open to interpretation, but that was the whole point. That was the first time I’d had anything published and I still have a copy of the book kicking around in my attic.
When I went to university I chose Creative Writing, and Writing Short Stories as two elective subjects in addition to my main degree course. It was a little intimidating at first because I was surrounded by mostly mature students who seemed to have so much more to write about, but I quickly realised that we were all in the same boat – all aspiring to tell the world the tales we have floating around our heads.
Tell me about Wolf Born?
Wolf Born is a supernatural / horror novel about a twenty-two year old young woman, Carly, who finds herself thrown into a world she never even knew existed when she gets scratched by a werewolf. The plot thickens when she joins a pack of other werewolves but suspects that there may be a traitor among them.
I was really interested in the Native American take on werewolves, in particular their descriptions of skinwalkers, so I incorporated that element into the novel, but I put my own twist on it.
There are hunters, there are deaths, all the gory stuff you’d expect from a werewolf story, but the plot itself is intriguing and leaves both Carly as a character, and in turn the reader, guessing about certain things right until the end.
Do you plan for a series or further novels?
Indeed I’m currently working on Wolf Witch, the second book in the Wolf Born saga. This is due for release within the next few months. Then will be Wolf Blade, which I hope to have out in paperback late 2015 / early 2016, followed by Wolf Bane which will be released at some point next year.
The entire series has been plotted out already, so it’s just a matter of putting the words down on paper. At the moment I don’t foresee there being any further books after Wolf Bane – the Wolf Born saga has been drafted as a four book series. However if demand calls for it, I may be open to spin-off novels or prequels in future.
My daughter has been asking me to write a children’s story at some point because she’s too young to read Wolf Born, so that’s another avenue I might explore.
What kind of person is going to like Wolf Born?
Ah you see this is one of my favourite things about Wolf Born, the fact that it caters to a wide range of tastes. Generally speaking in books or films of this genre, the werewolves are one of two types. Firstly there are the traditional monsters which are subject to the curse of the full moon. Most of the time they’re normal human beings, but once a month they suffer the cruel excruciating bone-cracking shift into a huge terrifying beast.
Then there are the more modern werewolves – they don’t seem to be cursed at all, but rather have the ability to change their shape into the form of a wolf.
There are die-hard traditional werewolf lovers who prefer the monster, and there are those who enjoy reading about a more up to date version of the werewolf myth, and Wolf Born has something that both types of readers can get their teeth into!
I don’t think the book is purely for werewolf lovers though, or even readers of the supernatural or horror genre. I recently had somebody remark that they usually prefer crime dramas but they decided on a whim to try Wolf Born and they were surprised by how much they enjoyed it. The plot twists and piecing together of the clues grabbed their attention. It gave them the kind of challenge that they really enjoyed.
How did you go about getting that published?
I decided from the get-go that I was going to bypass traditional publishers and enter the world of independent publishing instead. These days with the technology we have at our fingertips and the millions of people we can reach ourselves at the click of a button, it seemed like a fantastic opportunity.
Independent authors are very popular these days, just look at the astonishing success of Fifty Shades of Grey!
I first brought Wolf Born out as an ebook, and then due to high demand I progressed to having it published in paperback format which is proving a great hit. A lot of people like to feel a physical product in their hands. I think even with the growing market for ebook readers, there’s just something about a tangible book which is immensely satisfying, and many other book lovers agree.
Crowdfunding is becoming for common in the arts. Do you see that, or maybe self-publishing as something that appeals to you?
I think both have their positives and negatives. The publishers are quite inundated with submissions, so if you hold out for a publishing deal, you could be holding out forever. So many publishers aren’t even looking for new submissions as they are so swamped with the ones they’re already wading through.
On the flip side, self publishing does mean you have a few start-up costs, such as purchasing your own ISBN number, paying for cover art, hiring an editor, etc.
It’s up to the individual but personally I’ve found being an independent author quite straight-forward. I would recommend IngramSpark to anybody thinking about self publishing their own novel.
In terms for career, is there a writer out there, whose career you wouldn’t mind emulating or you particularly admire?
I think James Redfield is a huge inspiration for me. He sold 100,000 copies of The Celestine Prophecy (one of my favourite books) out of the boot of his car before being picked up by a traditional publisher. His book series became a huge bestseller, and there was even a film made of his books.
Of course those were the days before the internet was as widespread as it is now, and being independently published is nowadays just as viable as being traditionally published, but his sheer determination was just fantastic. It just goes to show what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.
A lot of people don’t realise, but being a successful writer is about 10% writing and 90% perseverance! When you start out in the writing industry, absolutely nobody has heard about you, and that’s the biggest challenge you’ll ever face. Even traditionally published authors face the same problem, as publishers these days don’t do a great deal to promote the books they publish – that’s up to the author.
Find out more about Wolf Born at the official website www.wolfborn.co.uk
Wolf Born is available from a wide range of online sites:
Waterstones | Blackwell’s | WHSmith’s | Book Depository | Wordery | Oodals | Play UK | Amazon |
Nat Gosney will be a guest author at Yorkshire Cosplay Convention 7 on 4th April 2015 at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, where she will be selling and signing books and other Wolf Born related merchandise.