Meet author Nathalie M.L. Römer
Hello, everyone, my name is Nathalie and I’m a expat Brit who lives and works In Sweden (the country not the American city). I originate from the Netherlands originally where I was born, and I grew up in Amsterdam. (Fun fact, walking to school involved walking past the daytime versions of the “Red Light District” windows). My journey to authordom began originally with my ferocious bookworm addiction of devouring as many books as I could as I was growing up. My advice immediately is for kids to be as interested in reading books as early as possible.
I would typically read at least TEN books a day, and I’m not talking children’s books here though I’d read them too, but books by such authors as Isaac Asimov (still my favourite author and I’m excited for the upcoming Foundation movie), Tolkien, Georges Simenon and Jules Verne (I’d read the adult edition rather than the children’s edition of his books). My imagination was ignited by reading about so many different worlds and places, though circumstance caused me to only begin writing in 2014 (pesky bad marriage, annoying ex-husband getting in the way of creativity and all that sort of stuff). But when I began writing I realised that I had never forgotten any of the many stories I’d been dreaming up in my mind. One such story is the story in my series of The Wolf Riders of Keldarra, though the original premise did change somewhat as time went by…
I glance over at the suggested questions Silver Dagger Book Tours sent me and the first one is to tell something unique or quirky. I’ve often enough in my life been told I’m an empathic person who cares about others. I guess that’s not a unique thing but when I think back at what I’ve done throughout my life my mind settles on one event that has made me who I am.
The event is something that could have ended up tragic if I hadn’t acted as fast as I did. I knew I cared about others when I made an effort to rescue a toddler who got washed out to sea. I rushed to the child, got her from the water, and was already administering CPR and all necessary actions to save her. Her parents realised then what was going on. I still remember the mother’s words to this day, “Never forget what you did here today. You were a hero. You showed you cared for a child you never met before.” You need not do something massive to stand out from the crowd to “shine.” You can do a simple thing to show everyone you care about others. Though in Book 2 of my series, Stolen Truth, I decided to reverse the event somewhat, making the “rescue” spiritual rather than physical, there a scene in the book (available for pre-order on Amazon) that is a direct reflection of what had happened to me.
Well, even someone supposedly empathic can have her pet peeves. The biggest pet peeve I have is when I see people not wanting to get along with one another. I see us all as connected as we have one world to live on (so far and for the foreseeable future) and therefore we should all act in a way like we’re the hero. The best example of an explanation for this sort of behaviour comes from Melissa Benoist (never met her but she’s definitely on my bucket list of a “hero” I’d like to meet one day), who has said – and I’m not quoting verbatim: “We all are the heroes of the world. Girls come to me telling me that Supergirl has made them realise they matter no matter who they are.”
I kind of have the same approach with Marrida in The Wolf Riders of Keldarra (and had the approach before I knew of what Melissa Benoist said; she said it in 2019). Marrida in my story goes from a naive girl who knows very little about her world to someone who becomes an inspiration to others, i.e. a hero, and tells the people she meets they matter. A real hero, therefore, is ANY person who tells others they matter no matter who they are or where they’re from. So that means you can be a hero by simply being kind and loving to others, which then makes you my hero.
The drive to be an author comes from something a teacher once told me: “You’ll either be an artist or an author.” Before I became an author I did freelance work creating advert graphics (I guess that’s the artist part of the teacher’s statement fulfilled). As I decided in 2014 to embrace the other part of the statement that’s when I became an author. But whatever the creativity is, you become creative the moment you think about something you want to create, whether it is art, stories, music, movies or YouTube videos, theatre acting, costume design, or any other creativity. The ancient Homo Sapiens with their cave paintings teach us that by nature humans are creative. We invented writing. We invented mathematics. We invented engineering to create tools and later machines. It’s the first time you think: “What if I create…” that’s when you are a creative person. For me the “What if I create…” was when I was just four years old, created a drawing of a girl with a skirt (I still own the drawing) and then went into a lengthy tangent explaining to the girl beside me how drawing her art with just four fingers, opposed to me doing it with five, was likely the moment my storytelling skill was born. I may have begun writing my first novel over decades after that day as a toddler but I began being a creator of stories on that day in late 1973.
This leads into what I watch for added inspiration. I love movies that have a larger than life setting, which I commonly have in my books too, especially fantasy or science-fiction. When I write I have the movies of Lord of the Rings in my mind, where both the books and the movies offer the ultimate “hero’s journey.” Which coincidentally, right now, is my all-time favourite movies. But that may get eclipsed if either the movie Foundation, the reimagined Dune or any other movie comes along. I watch science fiction movies as they present to me the chance to see an imagined future. I watch fantasy movies for escapism. Personally, I’d like to see The Wolf Riders of Keldarra on the television screen though.
And finally, I’ll end this essay that gives you an insight in who I am with telling you that my “muse” is the plush doll of a WOLF that sits on my desk. Wolves are my spirit animal, and I have a high belief in such things as a Pagan. I’m someone who feels connected to nature, which is why almost all my stories always will feature animals in one fashion or another, especially wolves…
I support the Wolf Conservation Centre (https://nywolf.org/) as my chosen charity because of my love of wolves. Maybe you can show them your support too.
Nathalie is a published author, based in Sweden, and born and bred in the Netherlands, with roots squarely planted culturally in Britain and Curaçao. She primarily writes epic fantasy, futuristic science fiction, mysteries, romance with a twist, and is now venturing into fairytale retellings, dystopian stories and much more (just keep visiting to see where stories take you and the author alike). And Nathalie describes her style of writing as unapologetically wordy, because she has discovered that the best part of writing is weaving a world that’s interesting to explore, to discover its back story, to meet its people, and find out what makes them tick. Nathalie weaves each world with her own experiences into the stories, and will touch on various causes and situations that speak to her…
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
Of course, I don’t do anything simple. I generally come up with ideas all the time. Most of the time they don’t belong to a story in particular, so those ideas get written down and thrown into a slush pile. When I’m stuck for an idea, I just start plucking out of that pot until something sticks and I write it into the scene.
The ideas that I have for a particular series also goes into a folder. Once I’m finished with whatever I’m writing currently, I pick what folder is the biggest and start working on that story.
First, it’s all about putting the ideas into a coherent order – and this is really hard especially since I like to throw timelines all over the place.
Then I write an outline and revise it several times. If I write from multiple character’s perspectives, then each character gets their own timeline, and I somehow merge them all together to form a book outline.
Then the draft. This is nothing to sneeze at. Drafts are horrible writing but for some authors their natural talent makes it look like a polished piece. I am not one of those writers. My drafts are full of notes, comments, repetition, emphasis, etc. because I’m telling myself the story.
I do countless re-writes until I’m happy with it and then the editor’s round starts.
So the process is long and it’s nothing short of hard work but if I skip any step, I end up writing myself into a corner. Which all writer’s know, is not fun to navigate back out of.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Rules! Too many writers say learn the rules but then can’t determine what the rules are.
Of course, there are grammar rules, spelling and punctuation. These are a given. But writing rules? Are they suppose to be on content? Use of language? Expression? I never found out.
Instead, I ignored all the generalized advice and rule talk and put my head into a book to figure out what exactly does a novel consist of. Thousands of articles will tell you to skip that step, but I needed to learn the hard way so I knew it for myself. Learning something for myself made me in control of those
What is your writing Kryptonite?
No outline! I’m not someone who can write a book from cover to cover. I have to have a plan. Too often, I write the plan several times before I start constructing scenes. Then I draft the book several times over before I start the re-write. It sounds like a lot of work but it’s a process that allows me to dive deeper, search harder, explore more.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I haven’t a clue what people want to read and this is really a no-no in the publishing world. I have certain stories that I must get out of my head and onto paper. If people want to read them, then great! But if not, that’s fine too, but I must write them. Every time I watch a movie or read a book, my mind wanders and I find myself seeing a deeper picture than the story was meant to go. That’s where I find my content – the layers that are so deep and shine the light on what’s hidden in the darkness.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Never give up.
Everyone thinks they have the answer – but it’s only relevant to their lives, not yours.
The yellow brick path has been tracked too many times – don’t follow the dirt path either – create your own.
There is no such thing as the wrong answer when you are asking about life.
Creativity is life.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Actually, I find writing males so much easier. It’s women I find hard. I grew up with so many boys and never any girls. They’re less complicated and talk at face value. Women don’t. They hide things and have a level of expectation thinking it’s written on their face. I can’t deal with that! So I jump into a man and follow him. I’m more comfortable doing that.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
How long is a piece of string? No idea. Some very quick, others years. It’s a matter of what the story requires, needs from me, etc. I let the work dictate itself. If I try and put limitations on it, then everything goes out the window.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and reader’s block too! Neither is fun. But it’s all about the mindset. If you are not creating – don’t blame the craft. Something is going on in your life that is impacting the creative muscle. Health? Stress? Toxic person in your life that you constantly thinking things will get better? It does once they’re out of your life! And you’re creating again.
By day, wizards rule the world. At night, warlocks seek to destroy it. Now, one boy will challenge them both.
In un mondo oscuro in cui la magia è illegale e gli elfi sono schiavi, una giovane elfa maga scappa dalla casa del suo malvagio Custode per salvarsi la vita. Inseguita dai suoi uomini e dal corrotto Ordine dei Cacciatori di Streghe, deve trovare un rifugio. Mentre i trafficanti di schiavi si muovono per i territori, rubando elfi da quel che resta delle loro case ancestrali, i Cacciatori di Streghe chiudono un occhio davanti alla tragedia, e una storia di potere, amore e terribile vendetta prende forma.
Madam Giry se ve envuelta en la tragedia desarrollándose en la Casa de la Ópera; misterio y asesinato acechan los corredores y, se dice, que un fantasma embruja el lugar. Giry sabe la verdad, pues recuerda al joven enjaulado que conoció tantos años atrás. Esta es su historia, la historia de ambos.
Cuando misterios y asesinatos comienzan a ocurrir en la Casa de la Ópera, una mujer sabe quién está detrás de todo, y lo que realmente hay detrás de la máscara. Secretos, mentiras y tragedia cantan una poderosa canción en esta reimaginación de la mítica historia.
Una corta y trágica historia basada en los personajes del Fantasma de La Ópera.
1: Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I don’t have any stories fleshed out quite yet. But I do envision a future where I’ve finished this trilogy and am working on my next series, whilst perhaps publishing the odd short story here or there that fill out the world of the Rive. The first story that immediately jumps to mind would be a prequel-esque story covering how Turiel and Kwah first met in the Shimmering Isles. I already touched on it in book 1, Child of Destiny, but I think there could be a fun story to tell there. It would also allow me to expand on the worldbuilding for the Shimmering Isles, as they haven’t really be explored yet within the story. Other than that, I can think of one or two other ideas that could be written as short stories as well, but I won’t talk about those as they spoil parts of Book 2!
I think short stories can be beautiful additions to fantasy worlds. If you want some prime examples, although they’re not short in the slightest, you should look to Joe Abercrombie’s standalone novels that are set between his initial First Law trilogy and his new trilogy. They build out the world wonderfully, introduce us to a whole host of great characters, and help us understand the world-state as we find it in the sequel trilogy.
I would also consider writing short stories based on reader feedback. If the readers fell in love with a specific character that I wasn’t really expecting, then I would definitely consider fleshing them out with backstories and “side-stories” in the future.
Here Be Trolls
A reclusive young woman ventures out of her library to meet her identical twin, a twin she never knew about. How many more secrets lie in her past?
A fallen mage believes he’s reached sanctuary. But when three ingots vanish from the vault he protects for a troll warlord, his search for the thief once again thrusts him in harm’s way.
A troll shaman calls from her deathbed, sending her heiress on a quest to return their people’s magical gemstone to its place of origin. If she succeeds, she becomes the leader of her tribe. If she fails, there will be no tribe to lead.
A wise old auntie and her kin must defend their remote homestead against a marauding troll of old, a fearsome beast bearing great fangs and claws—and gripped by a hunger for human flesh.
An agent of the Society for Magickal Heritage must find the source of an occult disease decimating Britain’s troll enclaves—and fix it. Simple in theory, tricky in practice, for the only place that might hold the information she needs is the ancient and inconveniently lost enclave of Farringale…
A princess faces war on two fronts: demons outside in the forest and hidden enemies in the caves of home. If she loses either battle, everything is lost, even though she’s a badass warrior troll.
From nightmare monsters who enjoy dining on children to spiritual mystics in tune with the natural world, from gritty champions to peculiar cooks, from shy hermits to paladin mages—greenskins, trolls, and orcs feature as heroes or as villains in these 10 tales of magic, myth, and mayhem.