About Nathan D. Maki:
When I was in my mid-teens I entered a short story in a writing contest for a Sunday School curriculum handout. In it, a young man who was raised Christian and then lost his faith was sent into the catacombs to ferret out the Christians, but ended up fighting to defend them instead. I never heard back from the contest, but that seed of a story began to germinate.
Years later, as I went through Carleton University taking a double major in Journalism and History, I met a man named Xenn Seah and ghost-wrote his biography/testimony of how God delivered him from drug addiction in the gangs and prisons of Singapore. By the time Cross Over was completed and published in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin the writing bug had bitten deep. What I really wanted to write was historical fiction.
Over the next 4 years I worked on my first manuscript, which I titled A War Within. The story of Antonius’s fall away from God after family tragedy and his eventual march back to faith grew out of that first seed planted years before. That book grew into an entire series, culminating in A War Within: The Healer.
Now writing is in my blood, and I’ve been writing a new book every winter for the past 4 years now, in the off season when I’m not running my landscaping business. My next book, The Keeper’s Crown is already in the works!
What inspires you to write?
As long as I can remember I’ve loved historical fiction. Whether it was the dramatized account of the battle of Salamis in the Children’s World Book Encyclopedia, or the gripping accounts of victory in Stories of Great Battles, I would listen with rapt attention as my parents read to me. Later, I’d stay up late at night with my flashlight reading under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep. I would read by the headlights of the car behind us while we were on long road trips. I would have my nose in a book while walking down the street. And somewhere in the midst of my passion for reading I decided that the only thing more incredible than reading would be to write books myself!
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m generally an orderly person (though my writing desk would beg to differ). I do my plotting on the same computer I write on so it’s easy to flip back and forth. When it comes to writing I like to form a pyramid, starting with genre at the tip, then theme, then a one-sentence summary of the whole book, then one-sentence summaries of each chapter, then in-depth summaries of each chapter which can be a page or more long. By the time I’ve hashed out this outline over days or weeks along with developing my characters I’m fully immersed in the story and ready to write.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters constantly surprise me. They’ll say something, decide something, or do something that I never would have considered, but when it happens it’s so natural for them that I can’t see how I failed to predict what they would do ahead of time. I love when my characters become some real they take over the story. For instanct, after I published The Legionnaire Antonius and his friend Theudas let me know that their story wasn’t done yet. Antonius needed to recover from the horrors of war and build a life for himself and the woman he loved, and Theudas wanted to find the mother he was torn away when he was sold to become a gladiator. And so “The Praetorian” and “The Healer” were born. There Antonius and Theudas’s stories have found resolution.
What advice would you give other writers?
Writing is rewriting. As wonderful as I may think my first draft is the second is always better, and the third even more so. Of course, when you get to the point that you’re waffling over single words for long minutes at a time, changing it, then changing it back repeatedly, it’s time to send it out to an editor for further review. Always have a non-biased, skilled editor review your work and give you honest criticism. It’s the only way to turn out a high-quality product. I’ve been fortunate to work with Suzanne Neubauer of Ready Pen Editing. I certainly wouldn’t want to write a book without her expert assistance.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I finished my first book I didn’t even know about indie publishing, so I pitched my book to a number of traditional publishers. A small publisher called Word Aflame Press picked up my first book, A War Within: The Gladiator, and I stayed with them for the next two books in the series, The Legionnaire, and The Praetorian, before striking out on my own with The Healer in order to pursue different advertising avenues that WAP was reluctant to explore. So far I’ve reached a much wider audience through indie publishing, and I enjoy the higher level of creative control.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
People will always read books. There’s something so immersive about a book, and a book can provide a level of intimacy with the characters that no TV show or movie can provide. It can take you into the character’s mind and heart. With the growing desire for instantaneous gratification I think there may be a decline in book publishing in the long run, but there will always be those who love to bury themselves in books.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Christian, Historical Fiction, Action/Adventure
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and 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.