Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Author Nathan Lee Christensen: The Sake of Honesty

Nathan and his wife, Courtney
Please join me today as I welcome ‘new-to-me’ author Nathan Lee Christensen to Thoughts in Progress to talk about writing and the sake of honesty.

Nathan’s current release is CEDARDALE COURT, a neo-gothic murder mystery with enough fools and old flames to keep you happily mixed up for most of a long weekend. When Canner Connelly and his daughter, Chloe, move in with their Uncle Henry, and a simple drainage problem turns a normal Sunday morning into a slightly darker affair, it's not easy to tell where everyone might end up, or if they'll even make it at all.

Nathan share your take on writing and the sake of honesty.

It’s a constant struggle for me when defining the lines of my own fiction, to find the balance between poetry and clarity, and how to color the truth, all while telling a story you hope someone wants to hear. I’m sure I’ll go my entire life as an author without fully understanding it, simply because overly powerful prose can seem so right in the moment. 

The next morning however, lots of things have a funny way of sounding completely idiotic, and often need to be completely erased; that for which I spent an entire night of my life, fleshing out the bouncing, bubbling intricacies of the human heart, and fell asleep in ecstasy marveling at my own genius, has somehow lost all its purpose in the daylight, and am left with the crushing feeling that if I’d ever had any talent in the first place such blunders would not need be endured. All I can do then is thank God for being clever enough to catch it in the rewrites, but even now, as I’m rewriting this, I’m hoping it isn’t over the top and that it’s going to mean something, to someone, tomorrow.

It’s such an absurd thing to do, to write something down. To blog, to post, to answer that which no one has even asked us yet. Most of the time, I feel like the best writers are just those have guessed the questions better. 

519jHGB-r7LThe thing of it is, we’re all little bundles of information. We know things and want to share them, but we’ve each found them all out in such wildly different ways that it’s absolutely impossible to know what everyone wants to hear, or how they want to hear it. Choosing from opinions and convictions, uniqueness and what’s mundane, what we find special and who is obsolete; it’s all so intimidating because it starts forming in each mind the moment we step into the world, and it is so scary to try and relate something important to someone when their understanding of things has evolved so differently. 

There’s a huge chance that what I’m passionate about is outside your realm of reality, unimportant to your lifestyle, or just so plain old news that you couldn’t care in the least. So, the temptation, the defense mechanism, is to build the thought up with my sweetest elaborations, my fanciest tempo, and every frill and thrill I have in my bag, for fear that if you, dear reader, are uninterested in what I have to say, at least you might be impressed with my poetic rhythm and ability to use spell check. 

And then there’s the plot. Oh Dearest Lord, the plot. How can I possibly know what will entertain you? What will inspire you. What vehicle to use to convey all my deepest darkest secrets without losing you in the middle. It’s the same battle all over again. 

I write unholy murder mysteries and tell people that I do it because it’s easier, even appropriate, to say what I have to say when life and death are on the line, but the truth is, I’m scared shitless that if I haven’t come up with the most insanely creative and beguiling plot, the likes of which that lends itself to that kind of tale, you might not want to listen to me at all. 

And here we are at the end. The purpose. I’ve confessed to you my lie, and in doing so, unveiled my truth. To me that is the entire point, and nothing will ever sound so sweet. No prose will ever be more powerful where there’s no enhancement necessary. You may not see the world that I see, and you might even be offended by the means of my presentation, but there’s a good chance you’ll appreciate someone’s honesty. Even mine. And honesty, simply for honesty’s sake, is worth doing every time. 

Nathan, thanks so much for guest blogging today. And yes, thanks for your honesty. You are quite right, honesty is worth it every time.

Now for a little background on Nathan. He was born and raised in Oregon's Willamette Valley; an existence begun in the vineyard laden wine country of Dundee, and finished somewhere in the grass seed fields of Linn County. Now, he is a stay-at-home parent for his beautiful daughter, merely a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean in Northern California. 

His early influences range from the Nate the Great books and Harvey's Marvelous Monkey Mystery to Batman comics and Murder, She Wrote; while his favorite contemporary authors are William Goldman and Christopher Moore. He hopes to continue writing, at least as long as he is capable, and has committed to creating more mysteries, due out every October 7th. 

For more information on Nathan and his writing, find him on Facebook and on Twitter @writedaddywrite.

CEDARDALE COURT is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

What are your thoughts on honesty, for honesty’s sake? Thanks so much for stopping by today.


  1. Mason - Thanks for hosting Nathan.

    Nathan - You are so right that what the author feels and wants to tell about may be very different from the reader's world. It's the author's task to draw the reader into another world - the world that the author has created. And doing it honestly is the only way that makes sense.

  2. Nathan, thanks again for sharing you thoughts on honesty and writing with us. Wishing you much success with your book and your writing.

  3. Margot, thanks for stopping by. I always look forward to the new worlds and adventures authors are going to draw me into.

  4. I recently watched an interview with Angelina Jolie about her latest film, one she wrote and directed. They asked her what part was the hardest and she replied 'the writing'. She said it was because she bared her soul in her writing and she wasn't sure people would like it or get it. (I think that's the gist of what she said anyway...)

    Writers do that, we put pieces of our hearts and ourselves out there for all to see and it's hard. Will they like it? Will they understand it? It's a hard life.

    Great post!

  5. The best writers have guessed the questions better - now that is profound!

  6. I apologize. I did not expect comments and now, as late as I am, I'm going to be totally lame and pull one of these:
    Margot, it is so hard, ridiculous even, and I'm thankful that you feel the same way about the (what I have translated from your statement) "world sucking." I'm going to forever call it that now and credit you in future interviews.
    Mason, you have a very beautiful thing here. Thank you so much for allowing me to play.
    Clarissa, I read an article in Vanity Fair that captured practically the same thing from her. Made me like her just a little bit. And who said that? Writing is easy, you just sit down and open a vein... It is a hard life. I stopped trying to figure out why I enjoy it so much.
    And Alex, I had hoped. Thank you so kindly.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.