Monday 28 October 2013

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sandy Nathan @sandyonathan

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sandy Nathan

I’m not a well-known author, so you probably don’t know much of anything about me. I’ll fill in the blanks.

1. I am old. This may seem like a suicidal thing to say in an industry that considers authors kaput at thirty-five. I’m pushing seventy. I’m supremely happy and comfortable in my skin, more than I’ve ever been. I couldn’t write what I do when I was younger. I didn’t have the depth of understanding or the ability to immerse myself in a story. I for sure didn’t have the writing skills. I’ve spent about eighteen years in two writing groups and being coached/mentored by my editor. My creative mind is as sharp as ever, though my short-term memory is a bit wonky. (Who did you say you were?) And––I just got a new horse, a gorgeous gray Peruvian Paso mare. We’re in love. So don’t fear aging, it’s not so bad.

2. I was born in San Francisco and lived either there or on the San Francisco Peninsula most of my life. That area came to be known as Silicon Valley. My dad was the President and CEO of what was the 9th largest residential construction company in the United States in its heyday. I know what powerful, successful men and women are like, and I know their energy. I also know how social systems work in very prosperous places. They’re brutal. This knowledge is most relevant for my Bloodsong Series, which takes place in the late 1990s to the contemporary era, but it’s also relevant for the Earth’s End Series. The economically segmented world, in which Jeremy Edgarton and his friends live in (in The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy) is drawn from my childhood.

3. I lived in a golden bubble of prosperity until I was eighteen years old. When a drunk driver ran into my father’s car head on, my wonderful life was ripped from me. My dad was horribly maimed and died after three days of agony. I went from a golden princess to someone living close to poverty level. Boy, was that ever a character-building experience. I developed myself as a result and learned to stand on my own feet. I’m very different than I would have been had my dad lived, but I do miss the bubble sometimes.

4. I went to school a lot. I love learning and it was part of my salvation after my father was killed. I’ve got an MS in Economics and an MA in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. (I was doing a career change.) I also spent a year at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in their PhD program. This convinced me that I did not want a PhD in Economics, but it opened the door to a twenty-year gig coaching negotiations for one of the professors. I loved this: just me, a video camera, and two MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) students in a small room. There, I bludgeoned them into being able to listen non-judgmentally. The skill probably lasted two minutes after they walked out of the room, but I consider it my contribution to making the world a better place.

5. I have worked a lot. I’ve worked three gigs as an economist. I was project economist on two studies—one a year long and the other a year and a half. The studies were managed by the Planning Department of Santa Clara County (southern part of Silicon Valley). The second one was a big deal, funded by the National Science Foundation and jointly conducted by the SCC and the RAND Corporation. I got to play with the really bright boys there. Later, I was the Economic Analyst for Santa Clara County. I gave it all up to get my MA in counseling––and to be a mom. I had my two daughters right about then. I’ve done other stuff, too. We owned a furniture store. I went back to school (again) and studied interior design. I worked as the principle designer in our store for ten years. Out of the blue, our family was consumed by a horse addiction. We were all smitten by Peruvian Paso horses and ended up breeding them for twenty years before retiring. So, be glad if you’re old and not lazy, you can cover a lot of ground.

6. I had my first visionary experience as a young teenager, riding my horse through the redwood groves of the Coastal Range down the spine of the San Francisco Peninsula. Much later, getting my MA in counseling, I learned it was a “unitive experience.” The redwoods with their motes of light and the soft dust of the trail, the gurgling brook surrounded by ferns, my warm horse with his gentle breathing, and I merged. I couldn’t tell one from the other. It was a glimpse of the way the world should be, or could be. Peaceful. Ecstatic. Sacred. I’ve had those experiences ever since, usually when something rotten happens.

7. Because of the tendency for tragic and traumatic events to throw me into ecstatic states that turn into books, I say that I write “literature through disaster.” The Earth’s End Series came to me after a transcendent experience following my brother’s death. You can read more about it the Author’s Note at the front of the book. Something even worse produced the Bloodsong Series. (It’s in the Author’s Note of that series, as well.) These glimpses of the divine that give me my books punch a hole in the universe and allow me access to higher realms of being. The hole stays open after I’ve spit the initial book out. With Earth’s End, I wrote The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy at warp speed. When I was done, Lady Grace & the War of a New World was there. When I was done with The Lady, pop! The Headman & the Assassin flowed in. The way I get my books is through a gestalt of meaning, I don’t have trouble finishing them. Whereas before the experience of creating the Bloodsong Series, I couldn’t finish a limerick to save my life; afterward, I finish pretty near everything, eventually.

8. I’ve always written, whether academically or professionally. I thought I was a good writer. I was, for those fields. That means nothing in terms of writing publishable fiction. So I participated in two writing groups and worked with my editor, turning into a pretty good writer. I’m tougher on myself than anyone else is, which is a good thing. Clean up those participles! Sponge those redundant phrases!

9. My primary purpose in writing is to raise my readers to that higher plane I touch every so often. Do I want to change the world? You bet. Do I want to save the world? If it’s possible. No matter how grim, grisly, violent, bloody, sexy, or beautiful my writing is, every word is there for one reason: to wake people up and get them to think. To inspire them. Life is so short and transitory; we need to savor every minute. As my father’s death showed me, everything can be gone in a moment.

10. You don’t have to know all this stuff about me to read my books, but it will fill in the blanks and give you an indication of what shaped my words.

I hope you’re moved to read my work and I hope you find it valuable if you do. Thanks so much for walking this way with me. It’s been a privilege to share my life with you.


Buy Now @ Amazon


Buy Now @ Amazon


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Metaphysical Science Fiction

Rating – R

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