About N. M. Rudolph:
N. M. Rudolph was born in Baltimore, Maryland and grew up in Bonn, Germany. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and teaches a great range of subjects at Gamut Academy. He has dabbled in music, painting, programming, and more. He is the author of such books as Meadowvale, Untold Tales, and Rumination.
What inspires you to write?
There is a constant nagging in the back of my brain, telling me I need to write. It's definitely partly just my favorite pastime, but I think it's also just in my blood.
With that in mind, so many things inspire an idea or scene: people I meet, songs I hear, a feeling I need to express, some movie that did a crappy job of delivering its story, and more. My first book was inspired by Brian Jacques' novels. One of my stories has some Viking hints to it because Vikings are just epic (at least as far as I know them in watered-down depictions). One of my stories is like Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones. One of my stories is the exploration of what it means to be a complete human: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. One of my stories was just a mind-bending outlet for all the emotions I felt throughout the years I spent writing it.
I've been inspired by simple quotations, painful losses, witty challenges, and beyond. One of my favorite sources of inspiration is asking "What if?"
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
C. S. Lewis forever. I love the worlds he created as well as how much content he packed into so few words. For example, his most famous novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was only just over 38,000 words. For the rest of that series even, the maximum word count stops short of 65,000. I'm not saying that a shorter novel is necessarily better, but Lewis managed to do extraordinary things with so little space.
I also adore Brandon Sanderson. He uses a far higher word count (383,389 in The Way of Kings for example), but he also packs in so much vivid content. He manages to make each of his characters believable and relatable.
There are so many other great authors I've read, but none stands out so boldly as those two.
Tell us about your writing process.
More and more, I am finding a balance between "planning" and "pantsing." I used to craft most of my work from scratch. It felt authentic, but I think I was sacrificing a lot of skills and resources just to pretend it was more real. I'm learning that I can find inspiration—and even general plot formats—in others' stories without abandoning my own style.
For my most recent project, I wanted to write a story about a lonely boy who escapes his loneliness. I decided to use The Iron Giant (a favorite childhood movie) as my starting outline. The tale quickly pulled away from the original idea, but having that crutch of sorts in mind made it so much easier to get started.
Now, I continue writing the book with a healthy mixture of letting my feelings take over combined with deciding ahead of time what scenes need to happen to get my main character where he needs to go.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I am my characters. With rare exceptions, I am simply infusing some fictional being with facets of my own heart. In that sense, most of my literature consists of me talking to myself. I am constantly asking, "What is going on inside my heart today? How can I be vulnerable about that while still packaging it in the format of a boy at a military camp? Or a jaded high-ranking official who belongs to an evil empire? Or a girl who discovers she has magic powers she can't control?"
What advice would you give other writers?
Stop whining. Keep writing.
The life of the writer has become a meme, a joke. The writer's reputation consists of finding excuses not to write. It won't be easy. Marketing is a female dog. The work never ends. Some people won't like what you write. You don't understand grammar well enough. Your story has already been written. AI might take over the world.
None of that matters.
Work harder. Be more vulnerable.
Working harder means being diligent about the actual craft. Don't be lazy. "Language is always changing" is just a cheap excuse not to know writing rules. Know how to use punctuation (or at least know exactly how YOU use punctuation). Practice different styles. Try writing a poem. Maintain some kind of blog. Carry a pen. Write everything down that pops into your head. (There's no lack of digital space.) Don't wait for "inspiration." Inspiration is bullshit. Good feelings don't write books. Good feelings provide flavor, but hard work writes books. Sit down. Push through your angst. Stop complaining. Aim for a specific word count every time you sit down to write. Sit down to write more often.
Being more vulnerable means letting your own issues show through your work. Even more so, use your issues to fuel your writing. Readers might not be able to identify how or where, but they can sense when a writer is faking it. In contrast, even if your grammar is a bit shoddy, a vulnerable story will capture readers. There are always other variables of course like marketing, accessibility, language barriers, etc. However, if you're just trying to sound good, it'll backfire. Instead, write as truthfully as you can. Even—perhaps especially—in fiction, be as honest as you can. Take your own experiences and emotions and just reskin them according to your genre.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Traditional publishers seem more and more clogged. Also, they seem more and more bent on publishing trendy themes instead of quality literature. Plus, a friend of mine had self-published two books before a publishing company reached out to her based on her success. The biggest appeal for me, though, is being able to control the process almost every step of the way.
In the midst of publishing my first book through KDP, I thought I'd never do it again. It was a draining process. I decided to commit to it and wrote a whole new book primarily for the sake of practicing the publishing process. That one was hard work instead of misery. Since then, I've published two more, and the process is becoming smooth, enjoyable even.
Marketing is still a female dog, but I'm confident my creations are worthwhile. Getting them noticed is just the next exhausting step in the overall process.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
At its core, it will stay the same. People love reading. People love writing. It used to be handwritten. Next, it was a printing press. Then, it was automated printing. Our technology expands, and some worry that AI will take over. It'll jam up the process for a bit, but we can't help loving the reading and writing of words.
Beyond that, thinking of AI again, we're thirsty for depth. AI can churn out grammatically clean sentences whose plagiarism is well hidden, but the dryness of it shows through.
We will always want deep, believable stories.
What genres do you write?: I've dabbled with all of them, but my main two pillars are fantasy and science fiction.
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print, Both eBook and Print
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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.
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