Today we’ve got the awesome Nessa L. Warin playing victim to the Random Interview. She talks about shifting priorities, her ideal worlds, and her once-a-year problem with chocolate, salty balls. Plus, she’s given us a great excerpt!- Reesa
Tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to write? What’s your latest release about? What have you read recently that knocked your socks off?
Wow. That’s a lot to put into one question. I’ll take them one at a time.
I am a fantasy-loving wine aficionado learning how to make reality as enjoyable as the fantasy worlds inside my head. Currently, I work in Corporate America, but I’m breaking out of that and changing my career so what I do better reflects who I am. Writing is part of that, obviously, and the rest of it is moving out of Corporate America into a job where I’m happy and appreciated. I collect faerie and dragon art (though I fail at putting it up on my walls), love dark chocolate, and would spend all year at Renaissance Festivals and fantasy conventions if I could.
It will thus come as no surprise to anyone that I love reading and writing fantasy stories. Most of my stories are fantasy or science fiction of some sort, and the novel that isn’t either is a contemporary romance set at Dragon*Con, a science fiction, fantasy, and pop culture convention. My passion is world building, and I’ve done that with all of my stories. In Sauntering Vaguely Downward the world was Dragon*Con, in The Stars are Brightly Shining, it was a spaceship and a Christmas Tree farm planet, and in Stamp of Fate it was the modern world as it would be with the existence of mythological gods.
That trend has continued with my latest release, To Dream, Perchance to Live. It is set in a world where there are people called as Dreamers who can enter and manipulate other people’s dreams. This is actually a mostly positive thing in this world as these people are known to exist and have jobs, etc. that use their abilities. There are also psychic bonds that form between people in a relationship and bonding is the equivalent of getting married, except without the divorce rate. One of these Dreamers, a guy named Wyatt, has been illegally owned by a corporation since he was 16, kept asleep and forced to participate in corporate espionage for them. Something goes wrong with one of his assignments, the person whose dream he’s in dies, and he’s left for dead. He’s found by Aidan, who takes him in, nurses him back to health with the help of some friends, and tries to figure out what happened to him. When he wakes up, they start to bond, and the story revolves around finding the people who had Wyatt and keeping him safe from them while Wyatt learns to function in the real world and Aidan and Wyatt fall in love.
I got to build two whole worlds writing To Dream, Perchance to Live—the real world and the dream world—and it was the most incredible experience to write. I spent months working on this, but the experience of world building was worth every bit of effort I put into it. The only other story I wrote that was as much fun (and as much work) as this one, was my story coming out in January/February, Storm Season. That’s another fantasy with an entirely new world built, and I’m so excited about it.
My favorite authors are people who excel at world building—Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Sharon Shinn, Dianna Wynne Jones, and David Eddings, to name a few. I really haven’t had much time to read lately between the Evil Day Job and the writing, but I can always pick up one of their books and know that I’ll be whisked away to someplace fantastic, and that’s what I look for in a story.
What would you tell yourself ten years in the FUTURE?
That’s a loaded question. I think I’d go with make sure you’re happy and don’t be afraid to take chances to get there if you’re not. As I mentioned above, I’m in the process of transitioning jobs, and a lot of that is because I realized I’m not happy with my current day job, and that stress has bled into the rest of my life. It’s taken time for me to understand I can’t live like that, and I would just remind my future self not to lose track of what’s important.
Do you cook or bake? What kind of food?
I make candy, actually. My specialty is buckeye balls, which are a regional candy treat. Most people who live outside of Ohio and the surrounding area have never heard of them, which is a complete loss for the rest of the world because they are phenomenal. Basically, they’re candied peanut butter rolled into a ball and dipped in dark chocolate to look like the nuts of a buckeye tree (http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/Ohio/state-tree-ohio.html). I only make them at Christmas time because it’s so time consuming, everyone wants them, and I want to be able to enjoy peanut butter and chocolate for at least part of the year. After a day making buckeye balls, I have no desire to put any of them in my mouth.
Yes, there are a lot of ball jokes inherent in rolling 400 balls of peanut butter and dipping them into chocolate. Only making them once a year means the jokes don’t get old either.
Have you ever eaten raw squid? Did you like it?
I don’t think I’ve eaten raw squid. I cooked squid is one of my favorite foods, when it’s prepared correctly, though, so I’d be willing to try it raw if I was confident it had been prepared right. Actually, there isn’t much food I won’t take at least two bites (just one doesn’t always give a fair assessment of the food) of so long as I’m confident it was prepared safely. Raw squid definitely falls into the category of willing to try. I love sushi and I love cooked squid, so I’d say chances are fairly high that I’d like raw squid.
Do you prefer tv or movies? What’s your favourite?
I don’t really know that I can pick between them. I watch more television simply because it’s more accessible, but I love going to the movies as well and appreciate both for what they are. Both movies and television are visual media, but the formats are different and they both offer different strengths. There are stories that work better when told in a serial fashion like television, and stories that work better when told all at once (or perhaps broken up into just a few pieces) like movies, and more than anything else, I’d like the story to fit the method in which it’s being told. What I can say is that I prefer the stories to be continuous stories rather than a procedural type show that has a new story every episode.
How do you come up with people or place names to use in your writing?
Name generators on the internet, mostly, and occasionally from friends on Twitter or Facebook. I am terrible at naming things, which sucks because I can’t write until I have character names and I have literally spent hours agonizing about it before. Places are easier, mostly because they don’t matter as much to me, and I can often use a placeholder until I pick a name and come back to it. People, though, I need to name before I write them unless it’s a truly minor character that doesn’t necessarily need a name, like a server at a restaurant the main characters won’t be going back to. I used to write a lot of fanfiction and I still occasionally dabble in it, and I often say the best thing about it is that everything is named already. I’m pretty sure I’d get a lot more written if I didn’t have to agonize over names, so if anyone has a way around that, please tell me.
Check out the blurb from Nessa’s latest book, and an excerpt under the jump!
Wyatt Mettler is a Dreamer. While asleep, he can insert himself into people’s dreams and manipulate them, watch their fantasies, steal their secrets, and change their minds—all without their knowledge. For eleven years he’s been Lumoinnovations’ secret weapon, illegally enslaved, all in the name of the bottom line. But when an assignment goes awry and results in the death of the subject, Wyatt’s handlers leave him for dead.
When Aidan Donecoff stumbles across Wyatt’s unconscious body in an alley, he is struggling to get over a failed relationship and has almost given up hope of forging a true Bond with anyone. He has known Dreamers in the past, but none like Wyatt. When Wyatt truly wakes up for the first time since he was a child, it is Aidan who helps him find his way in the world. They grow close as Wyatt gains confidence, and life is good… until Wyatt’s handlers discover he is still alive and decide they want him back.