Friday, February 1, 2013

Fallen Angels: An Interview with Nephylim

Nephylim writes some of the most psychologically revealing stories I’ve read. She has a gift for tapping into the inner lives and feelings of her characters and pulling out raw emotion for readers to see. Naturally when I got the chance to interview her, I jumped. So let's jump right in ourselves and read what she had to say to my penetrating questions...

1. First off, tell us about your latest release, Fallen Angel. Am I correct that it’s a male/female paranormal story?

I have a total fascination with fallen angels. It’s a long story but they crop up in many of my stories. The whole world of Otherkin, ie people who believe that their human bodies contain non human souls. Weres share their bodies with the souls of animals with whom they merge.

The whole idea of humans sharing their bodies with animals, or taking on the attributes of animals is very ancient. Shamans used to call down animal spirits to assist hunters and warriors. Celtic warriors drew pictures of animals on their bodies to attract their spirits.

Vampires have wholly inhuman souls which is why they need to feed on prana, or life force. Some vampires (sanguinarians) take in prana through blood. Others, (psychic or psi) take it in through energy. I have my own theories, which are explored in this book.

Essentially the book is about Isobel a were panther who meets a Arran, a vampire as she walking past a graveyard on her way home one night, as you do. They don’t exactly hit it off and things deteriorate when she introduces him to her Otherkin friends.

However, whilst Isobel is busy being annoyed, frustrated and embarrassed by Arran she starts having memories of a time when she felt a lot different. They begin to share flashbacks of a time when they were on the run from a battle, a time when Arran had wings.

As their bond strengthens, Arran backs away and Isobel comes up with all kinds of crazy ideas as to why he’s cooling on her, none of them come close to the truth which, when she finds it hits her like a fist in the face.
In the meantime they join the rest of Arran’s family, trying to solve an ancient puzzle that will lead them to an artifact that will make them the most powerful vampires in the world and will reveal, once and for all, the true nature and origin of vampires.

The secret, when they find it is something none of them could have dreamed of.

2. It’s no secret your work often includes beautiful boys. I’ve sometimes wondered if the outer beauty of these characters represents more than window dressing; perhaps they also serve as a kind of symbolism. How do you view your use of beautiful young men as characters?

On one level, I love beautiful boys, simple as. I love to write them because while I’m writing them, they live in my head, and who doesn’t want a beautiful boy inside their head?

On another level, the beauty on the outside represents the beauty of the inside. My characters are lovely all the way through.

Another thing I often explore is that the beauty being described is as reflected through the eyes of their loves ones. For example. Silver is beautiful. End of. Simple as. He’s the most beautiful man, inside and out I have ever had the pleasure to meet. River is a lovely, lovely man but he’s not particularly attractive and no one but Silver ever says he is.

In The Runaway, Ciarrai is very beautiful and has to be because he’s a supermodel. Jack is plain and it causes him some insecurity sometimes. However, for Ciarrai his beauty is not a gift but an absolute curse. He is the flawed one, the broken one and good old plain but strong Jack is the one who holds his head above the water.

In The Unfairness of Life neither one of them is particularly beautiful. They’re striking and that’s for sure and they’re beautiful to each other. Gabriel not only considers himself to be unattractive but finds it impossible to bear anyone telling him otherwise. He becomes angry when Laurie tells him he’s beautiful and it takes a long time to allow Laurie to say it and himself to hear it. It’s part of the journey he goes through.

I’ve just realized that the more beautiful my characters are the more flawed they are. Maybe there’s a message there.

3. Your blog is filled with images of your characters or inspirations, many created by artist Maria. Could you explain your special connection to her work?

Maria is a very good friend of mine. I absolutely adore her and I’m totally blown away by her art. She’s just incredible.

She is also crazy in love with my darling Silver and she produces wonderful drawings and paintings of him so how can I not love it?

The first time Maria did a drawing of my characters it was Haze and Ace from The Face in the Window (to be released this year by Featherweight Press). It was the first time anyone had produced a visual representation of my characters and it was SO exciting. To see the people I create in my head being given life is an experience that can’t be repeated in any other way. It’s better than seeing your book in print.

She then fell in love with Silver and has produced some of the most beautiful artwork of him. I shiver every time I see a new one.

4. You have readers following your blog stories [I’m a huge fan of “In the Arms of an Angel”, currently running on her blog] and demanding sequels. Have you ever tailored your writing to a particular market, or do you write only for yourself?

I have written since I was a child. To say that my family were not supportive would be a huge understatement. I was constantly hassled by my mother to ‘stop the foolishness’ and ‘get my nose out of that book’. She never understood my passion with words and she never read a word I wrote. None of my family or friends ever read a word I wrote and it wasn’t for want of trying. Most of my early writing went in the bin along with a lot of tears because no one was interested in it.

Then I stumbled upon GayAuthors.org an online story site and submitted a story. It was well received so I wrote another one, and another one. I received so much support, made so many new friends, and found a new cause.

Gay Authors is filled with thousands of members who are gay or like to read/write gay stories. The quality of the writing is extremely variable but it really gave me a kick to help new writers find the confidence to express themselves through their writing, simply by reading what they wrote and giving them some ideas of how to make it better. That was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

I realized early on that young gay people are desperate for gay stories. They need literature that contain characters that are just like them, that overcome obstacles and find love. I truly think it fulfills a need.  So I wrote gay stories. To that extent I wrote for the audience, and for the cause. However, the more I wrote the more I realized how much I love writing gay characters and I was totally gripped. From then on I wrote for myself.

5. You are truly one of the most giving authors I know when it comes to supporting other writers. You retweet generously, make your blog available to those of us who want to share new releases, and leave insightful comments on blog entries and stories. What has your writing journey been like?

As I’ve discussed above, my journey was a rocky one. I spent so long without validation for something that is as important and natural to me as breathing, I feel it’s important to do as much as I can to help others get that support. Okay, and there’s a hugely selfish reason too, I get such a kick out it. It makes me feel good to help.

I’m not a very confident person and definitely not about my writing, neither am I a very technological one so promoting myself and my books has been a journey of absolute terror. I was a total nervous wreck when I set up my blog and Twitter had my head spinning. A facebook page, a goodreads profile…sheesh!!! I’m too old for all this.

On the other hand, I’ve had bucket loads of fun and met some amazing people – like you. You are an amazing writer and it’s very much an honour for me, to be hosted on your blog. [Aw, thanks. <blush>]

6. My favorite of your books, at least those I have read so far, is The Runaway. That’s also the first book for which I ever saw a book trailer. Do you have one for your newest release, Fallen Angel? Do you foresee using trailers for more of your books?

I don’t actually have a trailer for Fallen Angel I was supposed to have but it just never happened. I had an amazing time making the trailer for The Runaway with artist Mika Star and I had big plans for Fallen Angel. It’s disappointing but hey!  I would like to use trailers in the future but I have zero technical skill and everything is so expensive. So far I’ve spent more on web banners and promotions than I’ve made in royalties. A lot more, in fact.

It’s fortunate I’m not in it primarily for the money or I’d have starved. For me, though it really isn’t about the money, it’s about the satisfaction of seeing my work ‘out there’. There is nothing more exciting that to see someone talk about my work or comment on my blog etc. It’s such a rich, rewarding part of my life now.

7. Can you tell us about your next project?

I have several.

I’m in the process of editing and releasing a series of 8, possibly 9 Young Adult books with Steph Danielson, through Romance First Publishing. Upstaged 1 – Opening Act has already been released and Book 2 Upstaged 2 – Waiting in the Wings (or it could be Behind the Scenes I need to check. I know shame on me ). They’re a real roller coaster following  the rocky relationships of a group of friends over a period of five years. There is so much darkness in it, dealing with subjects like suicide, mental illness and abuse. But there is also an equal amount of light and beauty with surrogacy, marriage, fulfillment of dreams and a lot of love.

Another Young Adult book, The Face in the Window, is currently in second round of edits with Featherweight Press and will be out later this year. This is about a young albino blind boy who has been kept a virtual prisoner by his parents’ over protectiveness and his brothers’ vindictive jealousy. He meets a new arrival to the area who rescues him from his attic room and unfulfilled life and shows him the world outside his front door.

Haze gives Ace new experiences like walking on the beach and swapping his pink Disney phone for a state of the art model designed specifically for those with compromised sight. Ace in his turn shows Haze his braille computer and teaches him to tame the all-consuming rage that has threatened to tear him apart for years.

Together, Ace and Haze face prejudice, fear, jealousy and ignorance. They discover there are far worse ways to be blind than being unable to see.  They also discover a love that liberates them both.

I have other works that are completed or in the last stages of writing that I’ll be subbing out this year.

I have been considering the future of Rune and Luke and In the Arms of an Angel and I’m thinking I might try developing one or both into a full novel. Who knows?

I’ve just finished Enigma IV and I’m hoping to be able to find the money to get III and IV edited to be released.

Gosh. I have a lot of projects.

~~~~~~~~~~

Bio

Nephylim was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Nephylim has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Nephylim became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Nephylim lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and her two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. The part of her that needs to earn money is a lawyer, but the deepest, and most important part of her is a storyteller and artist, and always will be.

Here’s where to find Nephylim’s stories and books:



Enigma I

Enigma II

The Unfairness of Life




Hump in the Night (anthology of shorts)

Wicked Watchers – Looking at the Lads


2 comments:

  1. Gosh you sure do have lots of projects - but I'm in awe of your talent and ability to write so much, so quickly so well. And sell a kidney if you need to but get Enigma II & III in print or else I'll bite you for a change. 0:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Tali for this awesome interview. it looks lovely. Andy, my body is knackered enough as it is. If I lose a kidney the whole think is likely to fall apart. I've been looking for an editor for Enigma III forever but no one is interested. I can't afford a professional right now. So go ahead. BITE ME ;)

    ReplyDelete