Check out this author spotlight for Nathan Tudor!
You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his 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! Thank you for having me. Be forewarned, I talk kind of strangely when I need to give my bio.
Nathan Tudor has researched ancient religion at Oxford, traveled the seven continents, and mastered the art of speaking in the third person. His debut novel The Empire’s Lion tells an epic story filled with action, identity, and the struggle to do what is right in an upside-down world.
See what I mean? I get all meta with the third person voice thing.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Morning or evening?
My biology and temperament are absolutely for the evening. I’m a natural night owl; my ideal day is something like 10AM-2AM… though at certain points in my life, I’ve had far more extreme sleep patterns. I also just have a much stronger affinity for the moon and stars than I do for the sun. The night is serene; the day is loud.
I can actually talk for a while about how ridiculous it is that our society is generally organized around morning people. Some of us are genetically predisposed to stay up and wake up later—and that’s for survival reasons! Night owls in industrialized societies will often have more health problems due to how we’re forced to ignore our circadian rhythms and suffer sleep deprivation.
All right, I’ll get off my soapbox haha. If anyone else is interested in the subject, I highly recommend the book Why We Sleep by Dr Matthew Walker.
All that said… ironically, I do most of my best work toward the start of the day, and I feel incredibly demoralized if I haven’t started writing by sundown. I say ‘most of my best work’ because sometimes I’ll get a lightning bolt of inspiration at 3AM, and those usually hand me some of my best scenes. I’m tired the next day, but it’s worth it J
Library or museums?
All right, this choice is borderline impossible because I adore both. I’m that guy who walks around the library taking photos of every book he might eventually want to read, so I have the titles for future reference. However, I will ultimately have to go for museums. I love walking through history and seeing glimpses of all these different cultures. Museums are inspiration central for me—I can guarantee I will get ideas for a story any time I set foot inside one. Something about the physical presence of objects that have traveled through time and space, intersecting with who knows how many lives along the way, it gets me excited and activates my writer brain!
Plotter or pantser?
I see plotting and pantsing as a spectrum, and I’d say I fall about 80% toward plot… maybe 90% haha. I learned years ago that I need an overarching structure in place before I start drafting, or else I’ll run out of steam a few scenes in. I’m a huge fan of the Story Grid methodology, and I always recommend it to other writers thinking about studying plot structure.
When I’m pushing through the beginning and middle, I need to have the finale already in mind, because for me the ending payoff is everything. For my process, I’ll usually come up with an awesome ending and then figure out how to set that up.
That said, I’ll always leave some room for sudden inspiration to take me down another road, and every book I write ends up with a few scenes that came about as spur-of-the-moment ideas. Some of my favorite scenes happened that way!
Pen and paper or computer/phone?
I have a romantic dream of writing an entire first draft with a fountain pen (I love my fountain pens!) but right now that sort of thing just isn’t feasible. My day-to-day writing relies on momentum. I’m always hunting that flow state where the words are just pouring out of my unconscious, and I have the most success when typing.
I’ve used Scrivener for years and it’s absolutely essential for my process now. I write in composition mode with a smaller notes window floating off to the side, so there’s nothing on-screen except the document and my outline for the scene.
My Notes app is filled with scraps of character details, plot ideas, reminders for revision—and that’s all in the cloud, so I can write those on my phone while I’m out and about and then have it easily accessible on my laptop at home. Keeping cloud backups of my Scrivener projects is also essential for my peace of mind.
All that to say, I’m cripplingly dependent on technology for my writing haha
Hero or anti-hero?
This sort of question is on my mind a lot actually. Every day I’m pondering why certain types of stories and certain types of characters appeal to people—and why the overall preference of readers seems to shift over time and in response to what’s going on in the real world.
I can’t deny the appeal of the anti-hero (I’d like to write some anti-hero protagonists someday!) but if I had to choose one or the other, I will always go for the hero. At the core of my beliefs is the tenet that the most meaningful thing a person can do is willingly and lovingly sacrifice oneself for another—to me, that’s the heart of the heroic archetype. I could talk for hours on the topic because it’s one of the foundational pillars of why storytelling matters to me. The Hero’s Journey has been criticized plenty—and some of that is genuinely insightful critique—but I don’t think we’ll ever be able to stop marveling at the person who steps out into the realm of danger and the unknown, the person who descends into the underworld and dies (literally or symbolically, depending on the story) and does so not out of selfish desire, but out of genuine goodwill for their fellow human. I think you can really see how these ideas play into my writing when you read the climax of The Empire’s Lion.
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
I have pretty eclectic interests, so it’s hard to pin things down. If it’s a fantasy, I’m looking for a really interesting world—especially one that partakes of inspirations and influences from beyond medieval Europe. Right now is such an exciting time to be into fantasy because the genre is constantly expanding—there’s Asian fantasies, African fantasies, Slavic fantasies, the list goes on!
I have a strong preference for competent characters. There’s just something deeply satisfying about seeing someone who’s a master of their craft. That’s not to say I don’t like the classic story of a novice building their skills and growing—it just needs to be really well done to hold my interest until it gets to the ‘master of their craft’ bit. (Will Wight’s Cradle series is absolutely incredible in that regard.)
I also really like things with a literary or intellectual bent. Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun for example, I consider that to be a masterpiece of not just sci-fi/fantasy but English literature, full stop.
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
To paint with a broad brush, I write epic fantasy! To be more specific, right now I’m working in the historical fantasy/military fantasy subgenres. My debut series is The Imperial Adept, and it’s set in a world inspired by Mediterranean antiquity. So far, I’ve released a prequel (which is free on my website nathantudor.com) and the first book in the series, which is titled The Empire’s Lion. I’m at work on the sequel, though I haven’t settled on a title yet.
At the core of The Imperial Adept will be a trilogy of novels telling the story of Reiva, a young woman with immense magical power who grows not just in strength but also in character and spirit. Aside from the core trilogy, I would like to write some additional books like the prequel, which are not necessarily required reading but flesh out the characters and world. Also, the core books are doorstoppers with many POV characters (The Empire’s Lion is 220,000 words!) while the prequel is more like 95,000 words and focuses on a single character—so those shorter books are less intense from a planning and execution perspective.
Beyond that, I have many more plans—enough plans to keep me writing for years—and I look forward to going on that journey with readers. For now though, I’ll keep my focus on The Imperial Adept!
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
The Empire’s Lion is my debut novel and it came out January 21st! It’s an epic military fantasy set in a war-torn, magic-filled world inspired by the empires and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean. As for the story…
She left a slave. She returns a conqueror.
As an Adept, Reiva blasts fire from her hands and leaps over walls. But when her first solo mission leaves her half-dead amidst a heap of massacred allies, she gets just one chance at redemption.
The Empire orders her to crush the one kingdom she thought she would never see again: Talynis, the land of her birth, the land she left in chains.
Standing in her way is the Wolf, a vicious assassin hellbent on killing Adepts—and a single cut from his cursed blade will destroy Reiva’s magic forever.
Even if she can survive, victory may come at a price too high to pay…
Right now it’s available from Amazon, Apple Books, and Kobo, with paperbacks on the way! This link will always have the most up-to-date store options:
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!
So, I take inspiration from a lot of places. My undergraduate degree is in Religious Studies, and for part of that I spent a term at the University of Oxford, studying and researching ancient mythology and religion. I tend to read a lot about ancient history and cultures, but even more than that I love to read primary sources—the myths and religious texts themselves, rather than just what some modern academic has to say about them. When you’re reading The Empire’s Lion, you’ll notice inspiration from the ancient Near East, Greco-Roman cultures, and more! (You might even catch some hidden meanings if you’ve studied ancient Hebrew or Greek…)
In terms of fiction… I also have so many different sources of inspiration haha. One of the most important is Guy Gavriel Kay—his historical fantasy is second-to-none, and his prose is absolutely beautiful. His book Under Heaven is one of very few books that I’ve read more than once in a single year.
William Blake’s visionary poetry is just astounding. The term ‘mad genius’ gets thrown around a lot, but I’m convinced Blake truly was one. Long before fantasy was anything approaching a proper genre, Blake was inventing his own mythology and giving it terrific expression.
Venturing beyond the realms of fantasy, Fyodor Dostoevsky is a genius of literature whose work I will forever gape in awe at. I’ve never read anyone who cuts so honestly and precisely to the heart of the human condition, weighing the different ways we try to make sense of ourselves and the world. Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov are essential reading.
Steven Pressfield is another giant—not just his historical fiction but also his non-fiction. If you’re interested at all in pursuing a creative calling, I cannot recommend enough his book The War of Art.
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
I write in sprints (usually about 15 minutes per sprint) and I take a longer break about every hour or so. I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to measuring performance, so I keep a spreadsheet of daily output, as well as my average speed. I try to keep that rate above 2000 words per hour. If that sounds impossible, believe me, I used to think it was too! I recommend Chris Fox’s 5000 Words Per Hour and Rachel Aaron’s 2K to 10K if you’re interested in increasing your writing speed.
I also used to think that fast writing = trash writing, but what I’ve found is that writing at speed keeps me in the flow state, attuned to my writing and nothing but my writing. I leave editing for afterwards, once I’ve dredged the story out of my unconscious. Some people find that it works best to write slowly and very cleanly, but if I did that, I would hardly get anything finished. Find what works for you!
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?
Build your writing habit sooner! One of the hardest things for any aspiring author is learning to put the work in, day after day, without external reward. But once we learn to see the work itself as its own reward, once we harness the discipline to write as a habit, then everything else starts to fall into place.
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!
The best place to find me is nathantudor.com! That’s where you can get your free copy of Adept Initiate, the prequel to my series. I also blog there occasionally, so if you’re interested in more rambling, half-insane thoughts like those above, that’s your best bet!
On social media, you can find me on Twitter @NathTudorBooks. I also have a Facebook page, facebook.com/nathantudorauthor. You can also find me on Goodreads!