About Athan Noel:
Who is Athan Noel?
Some would say I was born looking for trouble, but the truth is I never had to search for it; it always knew where to find me. An overdeveloped sense of adventure can transform youthful exuberance into a toxic addiction, so my rambunctious quest to harvest an epic experience of life has more often than not ended with catastrophes of varying proportions.
Yet they say true wisdom is the offspring of failures and mistakes. By that measure I'm a sage. My provenance is not a product of the geography of my birth, or the course of my education (both of which are mundane), but the culmination of my experiences. Nature may provide the clay, but nurture is the sculptor.
But where I have digested the anguish of defeat and felt the sting of disaster, I have learned to harness its power and transform it into furious love and exquisite contentment. All too often we are defined by our screw ups, but it's the worst moments of our lives that unveil our true character. Our failures define who we are, not by their realization but by our reaction to them.
And that is why as an author I only write about emotional states I have lived, felt, experienced and understood. It is only by sharing the distress of prior calamity that you can acknowledge your learning of its causality, and thereby earn the fruits of this wisdom manifested as subsequent successes. Only then can you fully understand who you were, who you are and who you want to become, a choice which always lays at our feet.
Who is Athan? I'm just like you.
What inspires you to write?
I believe awareness is the critical catalyst to harnessing true value and harvesting every emotion humans have been inspired to enjoy from the experience of life. Being aware of the world and every element of our daily, sometimes mundane existence is the key to feeling rather than ignoring the things we witness, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential.
Recognition is the key to awareness, and writing is my process of analyzing each element of life; philosophizing, considering and understanding it better in order to provide a greater degree of emotional, cerebral and spiritual appreciation of not merely the beauty of life, but its uglier facets in equal measure.
Writing has been the process by which I have mastered my own alchemy of life. A mystical force to turn darkness into light, weakness into strength and disenfranchisement into contentment.
What my characters endure or enjoy echoes in my reality……and vice versa.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
I am both a romantic and a fantasist and while I can respect the viewpoint of pragmatist, I enjoy living in a world where anything truly is possible. My preference for authors has always veered towards the extreme and dramatic, the epic struggles and insurmountable odds being conquered.
Robert Ludlum was the master of mystery, the creator of so many epic odysseys illustrating the power of courage and hope vanquishing Goliath conspiracies and unbeatable circumstances.
Daniel Silva and Nelson Demille have a very different approach to heroes and adversity but both do so with extreme panache and an addictive style.
In a similar way Conn Iggulden and Christian Cameron do the same thing with the ancient world and transform events of antiquity into modern day adventures which truly inspire the senses.
It’s not often someone can claim “reading saved my life”, but in my case it’s a literal fact, a bizarre and frightening set of circumstances where a diet of five novels a week nourished my soul and fed me the things I needed to survive and thrive. In that time I’ve travelled the literary kaleidoscope from Dante to Jackie Collins each one creating a very different flavor but each and every one as valuable to me as the previous, or the next.
I think it’s frustrating and unfair when pretentious literary arrogants look down their noses at commercial or simple fiction and praise the great works of intellectual giants. I think you can learn as much from any and all books if you are smart enough to look carefully.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have been both blessed and cursed by a set of experiences whose diversity has transformed my life beyond the realm of normal. Yet rather than consider my circumstances abnormal, I prefer to think of them as extraordinary for they have afforded me an encyclopedic set of references from which to create my material.
In my case the genesis of any writing must always flow from inspiration born of actuality. I have elected only to write about factors I have (either in whole, in part or in spirit) enjoyed or endured. Accordingly plots, characters, events, tragedies and triumphs stem from an incepted reality.
Albert Einstein famously said , “ If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough” and if your aim is to create believable fiction, nothing is more important that recognition of your world (real and fictional), and an appreciation of the intricate sensitivity of detail.
This inspiration creates the foundation, the platform of a story which can take a thousand different directions. I personally like to draw this platform as a diagram, an illustrative representation of events, characters, relationships and events all creating a chain of causality culminating in a potential plot.
I treat every storyline like a military engagement, a strategy of how things will transpire, and in every case this process manifests a visual representation of a total plot or storyline; a strategic battle plan.
However as several famous generals throughout history have opined, “No plan survives its first engagement with the enemy” and so every plot created in diagram will always take a divergent course as inspiration evolves relationships and events.
A great plan is critical, but it is just as important as recognizing it is merely a stepping stone to the final plan, a journey of unknown steps. Flexibility and adaptation is key, and even though I always know where my story begins and where I want it to finish, the path in between is a journey of discovery for me as much as the characters.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Neither, I live them. In a twisted and I suppose somewhat perverted but always honest role play I like to imagine my feelings, desires, emotions and influences as if I was each and every character. I treat this process as an evening’s entertainment, laying on the couch, turning off the lights and with my eyes closed trying to manifest their reality.
It doesn’t always come easy, but when I am able to synchronize my state of being with the fictional reality of a character, I can walk in their shoes and feel what they feel irrespective of age, gender or background. This process can generate an almost sexual excitement, a euphoric state of experiencing life devoid of personal consequences, a factor which fundamentally alters the orbit of possibilities for each character.
The result of the process is a vivid and candid glimpse as to the best and worst attributes of each character and a clear recognition of their hopes and dreams, fears, morals and even egos.
From there you have an intimate understanding of who they are and can therefore easily explain their being or chart the trajectory of their decisions.
What advice would you give other writers?
Live in your books. Don’t try to “tell a story”, live it from the inside. Create a fantasy, role play it out in your imagination unleashed from the dictats of decorum or morality. Be honest about what motivates and drives a character and do not be afraid about being judged for a characters twisted ways being translated as your own.
Never hold back and never give up. If life is painful then creating life (which is what you are doing by writing a novel and manifesting characters and events into existence) is also painful. But it can be beautiful. It’s not easy and it’s not quick, and cannot be rushed or forced. In some ways you do not pick the story but the story picks you, and when the time is right, it will flow from you with clarity and veracity.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
The road to conventional publication is fraught with delays, politics, budget, political correctness, competition and a thousand other demons that can kill your dreams. It's like a horde of hungry travelers all travelling along a long, mined road at the end of which awaits an immaculate meal for a few. For those fortunate few who navigate the dangers great…..for the rest? Well, I never liked convention.
I chose to publish my book with an independent boutique publisher, TriMark Press because I could control the content and direction of every element, and still work collaboratively with book publishing experts.
Sure, I want my book to be widely read, and a positive financial outcome wouldn’t suck either, but I wanted the success (or not) of my story to be judged on the merits of the writing, not the proficiency of a big budget marketing campaign. I’ve read entirely too many books published by big firms which I felt were sub-standard but successful as a result of publicity and circumstance, while many independent or self-published pearls of wisdom never reach the mass market. It's a cruel reality, but I didn't want to contribute to it.
I decided my book would live or die based on its truth, and if its message and entertainment value was worthy it would survive, thrive and dissipate based on the purity of having accomplished my personal goal.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
In a world where technology changes things every day, I do believe the industry will eventually completely leave behind conventional publishing. Not however in our generation.
I'm only fifty years old and quite comfortable with technology, yet when it comes to books, I’d rather pay a hefty premium and do it the old fashioned way. But I don’t think future generations will feel the same. Having been breastfed social media and screentime from the earliest of ages, eventually they will see paper as an antiquated symptom of previous generations technological inadequacies.
Much like the horse and buggy had its place in history, I’m pretty sure the written word will transform into ones and zeros, travelling the cosmic ether in an instant and allowing the furthest reaches of the world to read the same story in any language, at the touch of a button.
I’m pretty sure that’s a foregone conclusion.
What genres do you write?: Thriller, Suspense
What formats are your books in?: Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.