Interview With Author Nathan Ritzo
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m an Army combat veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and 2007. I joined the Army when 27 because I needed to pay off my student loans. I’ve always been interested in how people interact. Hence I got a Communications B.A. and wanted to work in the media, but writing screenplays was always my passion. I was a writer who had no real-life experience to draw from. Working in radio and television post-college wasn’t cutting it bills-wise, so I joined the Army Signal Corps to round out my “personal education.” During my two deployments, I gained a wealth of knowledge that lent itself to my writing in that it gave my stories teeth that sink into a reader and don’t let go. I published a novel a few years ago on Hellgate Press entitled “Tower 13” and have many scripts I’m writing and turning into novels.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest is entitled “Jeff the Incubus.” It was inspired by no one in particular, as I’ve never known an incubus, especially one who was recalled to Limbo. I was watching a lot of classic car chase movies at the time, such as “Race with the Devil,” “Cannonball Run,” and “Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry,” so that factored a lot into the pulp of my book. Adrenaline is a major component of this work, and also the will to be a beautiful human with a love for life as opposed to being chained to either a desk or the lower realms. The beauty of being human and love of his sons is what inspires my main character to beat Lucifer in the quest to stay mortal with his newfound lover.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I employ a lot of dark humor to round out scenes that otherwise would be harder to swallow. Tarantino is an influence there. I like looking at an everyday scenario, like someone accidentally scratching a car with a door or shopping cart, and building a storyline. Maybe that car belonged to someone who could ruin them, but they will forgive them if they do someone a favor. Good stories can be built from anything with a creative outlook.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I read Jack London and Stephen King a lot as a kid. Scenes from “The Talisman” still resonate in my head today (Wolf!), and the natural world’s beauty is always to be appreciated in any literary work. My favorite form of literature is Contemporary History and World Events. I read very little fiction, to be honest. The truth is always more exciting and can inspire far more than a fictional idea. Every fiction writer should read one non-fiction book a week. Anyone who has seen a movie that was “Based On True Events” knows this is true. “Alone At Dawn” is a book about an Air Force Combat Controller who was left behind at the battle of Takur Gar in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11/01. I would do a backflip if I got the nod to write that script.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a romance novel about two people at four different stages of life through four short stories. Short story writing has become a passion of mine. It’s called “Seasons.” The guy loves her at all four stages of their lives, but he can never ask her to interrupt her passion in life to be with him. I’ve given away too much, but I love the concept of a man who waits in vain, like the old Bob Marley son.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Getting it out there is the best way to promote your books! Anything works if it works. Social media, sites like this, media appearances (I’ve done podcasts and radio interviews to promote my works in the past.), or anything else you can think of. Starting from zero, you have nothing to lose, but you must grow leather skin. Don’t expect too much; it’s a snowball effect that increases larger and larger. Think of an algorithm you must hack in the exact, correct way, and once you learn how to hack that algorithm, push it to the limit! But don’t quit until you can do it, and then, learn how to do it better. That’s when it gets fun. (I’m still learning.)
Do you have any advice for new authors?
What I said about growing leather skin is essential. Learn to handle rejection. Learn to accept that you haven’t sold anything and make it better instead of quitting. These stories are like Hera, and you are Zeus. These tales will bash inside your skull until they break out of you and onto your computer monitor. Don’t deny them, and learn to market them. The internet is chock full of ways to do that; this site is an example. When I was your age, we didn’t have any of this.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Don’t take it too seriously.” – my dad before I left for Basic Training
What are you reading now?
“My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla” by himself. He’s always fascinated me as one of the most tragic and heroic figures of Western Civilization.
What’s next for you as a writer?
As I mentioned, I plan to write “Seasons” for my next piece, but I have an idea for a series involving a werewolf. I also have a bunch of other ideas that I’m developing, but my main focus is building a self-marketing strategy that works.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
“Dune,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” “Democracy in America,” and “The Autobiography of Miles Davis.”
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