Check out this author spotlight for Natalie J. Holden!
You can find all her links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
Hello. Thanks for having me! My pen name is Natalie J.Holden. I’m a beginning author who just published her first full-length novel. I’ve been suffering from worldbuilding disease for years, but only recently managed to figure out a decent story to make use of it.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 (or more!) of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
Hm, that’s difficult. I guess spring and autumn because the weather is bearable and everything is colorful. Winter is drab and cold and summer can be too hot.
Cat or dog?
Cat. Dogs are too loud and stinky to my liking.
Tea or coffee?
Why not both? Coffee in the morning, tea – or rather, herbal and fruit teas – through the rest of the day.
Morning or evening?
Evening. After waking up I need a few hours before I’m good for anything.
Library or museums?
Museums, my social anxiety is too strong to read in public.
Hunter or gatherer?
I like meat, but with my pathetic coordination, I better stick to gathering…
Witches or wizards?
Incredibly stunning sorceresses!
Ninjas or pirates?
Another hard one! Pirates seemed to have had more interesting lives, but ninjas were cleaner. And they haven’t been done to death. I think I’ll go with ninjas.
Mountains or beaches?
Plotter or pantser?
Pantser, but I’m working on it.
Pen and paper or computer/phone?
Computer. Pen and paper seem so inefficient in comparison! (Although with all the distractions computer offers…)
Standalone or series?
Series, but can be read as a standalone.
Book or ebook?
Ebook. Paper books are nice, but I have no space to keep them and I mostly read during breaks at work and for that phone is the most efficient.
Hero or anti-hero?
Both can be interesting and both can be obnoxious. It’s all about execution.
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
I prefer adult characters with mental struggles, be it neurodivergence, depression, trauma.
I also like good LGBTQ+ representation.
But most of all, I love love love travel between worlds. Portals, machines, supernatural beings, I don’t care, just give me those green skies, cyclopean ruins, and giant mushrooms!
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
My writing is rather unusual since most of my stories take place in a different universe – and I mean actually different, with flat worlds floating in a sea of chaos and connected by a web of natural portals. There’s magic, but many societies advanced to a level comparable to what we have now. So there’s a democracy, people walk around with magic mirrors in their pockets and there’s a raging debate about carrying wands in public.
But many of my characters come from different cultures and I love exploring the differences. They are outsiders, nonhumans, third-gender people, neurodivergent, people with unusual experiences, and usually some kind of trauma.
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
My first full novel is finally available! I was really struggling to get it out, had problems with finding good editors, then with formatting, cover, and whatnot, but it’s finally out.
It follows Aldeaith Tearshan, a second-generation immigrant and soldier with social anxiety, in the wake of the war between two of his homeworlds. It includes fight, treason, friendship, and magic, and explores themes of belonging and loyalty.
It’s available at Amazon: https://mybook.to/TheOutworlder
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
Currently, the biggest inspiration is my own life. I started writing because I noticed there were no people like me in fiction and set out to change it. Aldeaith is anxious, awkward and struggling to find his place. Some scenes in The Outworlder were even inspired by events in my own life. And the feelings were defintely all mine.
As for literary influences, Lovecraft with his unhindered imagination, Zelazny (“The Chronicles of Amber” are one of my favorite books ever), La Guin (different cultures!), and Sapkowski (the English translation of his works is a travesty, but I could read it in Polish, so you have to take my word that the writing is brilliant).
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
Smashing keyboards at random intervals until something comes out of it.
Currently, I’m taking a break, because I took over too many projects and I feel burned out. But even apart from that, I was never good with routines.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?
Don’t give up. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s an important one. I used to write a lot when I was younger, but then my life got complicated, I got some harsh criticism, and I gave up. Only recently I picked that up and I feel like I lost a few years of my life. That may not necessarily be the case, as the publishing scene is much different now than it was a few years ago, and I don’t think I’d have any chance in trad publishing. Still, if I didn’t give up, perhaps I’d have a few books ready to publish today.
Another one would be to focus on the characters. Write people you want to write, not people everyone else writes. I think right now that’s my biggest strength (other than worldbuilding).
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!