About The Author:
Nick Cole is a working actor living in Southern California. When he is not auditioning for commercials, going out for sitcoms or being shot, kicked, stabbed or beaten by the students of various film schools for their projects, he can often be found as a guard for King Phillip the Second of Spain in the Opera Don Carlo at Los Angeles Opera or some similar role. Nick Cole has been writing for most of his life and acting in Hollywood after serving in the U.S. Army.
The Savage Boy by Nick Cole
Publisher: Harper Collins Imprint: Harper Voyager
On-Sale: February 26
Amid the Wasteland remains of a world destroyed by a devastating Global Thermonuclear Armageddon, barbaric tribes rule the New American Dark Age. A boy and his horse must complete the final mission of the last American soldier. What unfolds is an epic journey across a terrifying post-apocalyptic tribal America gone savage. Jack London meets The End of the World.
1. What inspires you as a writer? I think I’m drawn to destruction. I always have been. I like thinking about the end of the world or survival situations. I like empty spaces and places where you can tell there might be some unseen or unknown story lurking amongst the weeds and wreckage. Places often inspire me and sometimes even clothing or time periods. It’s usually never a character. That comes later. But starting anew, amidst hardship, that sort of thing gets my attention.
2. When did you have that ah ha moment when you knew you were a writer? Bypassing the “I always wrote and knew I wanted to be a writer” stuff which is sort of a given for anyone who wants to write, I would say just after my earnings began to justify the writing life. Now, having said that let me say this: Before that could’ve ever happened I had to have the faith that it was possible to one day sell something. Yes, I knew I was a writer every time I received a rejection letter from a SciFi magazine or a website. I knew I was a writer when I finished a manuscript to completion one hot summer afternoon on the second story of a house deep in the sweltering Central Valley of California and it felt good, like I had actually done real work. I was still a long way from submitting it to anyone, but all by myself, at that moment I felt like a writer. And, when my current agent initially rejected me, suggesting a rewrite and to submit again, yes, I felt like a writer. I felt like a writer when he accepted that manuscript and still has not to this day managed to sell it through no fault of his own. And there are many other small and quiet moments of feeling like a writer at any given point. I give these examples to illustrate that most of these moments could have been taken as either some form of acceptance or conversely, rejection that I was indeed not a writer. So we arrive at this truth: We decide whether we are writers or not writers. Don’t let any other human being have that power over you because they won’t take responsibility for the consequences of the decision to be or not to be. I won’t lie to you and say that I lived in a world where I was as constant as the northern star in my belief that one day someone might buy something I had written. I was filled with doubt. I would wake up at 3 in the morning and say, “what am I going to do now?” And yet, like the Biblical Abraham, I hoped for a city not yet seen. I continued through the desert of rejection. And yes I still felt like a writer, but there were many times that the feeling was not altogether good. I think that’s part of the process. It separates those that see it through from those that don’t. For so much of my life I felt embarrassed to admit I was a writer especially because I hadn’t any success to show for my efforts. But when that success did come, then yes, at that moment also, I felt like a writer as I had all those other times. I just wasn’t embarrassed or melancholic about it. I was grateful and, surprisingly, I was afraid.
3. What is your writing process? The day to day process is simple: It’s generally six days a week in the afternoon and evenings in a variety of places, i.e. desk, car, opera house, streets of LA. I write on a laptop and my wife is a very busy opera singer. We go everywhere together so I’m not fussy about location or rituals. I do like to write on a computer but I’m not tied to it, so I guess if I ever end up in prison I’ll write on paper, though my hand does have a tendency to cramp up and I might be a bit busy what with all that prison stuff. The actual writing process consists of me praying to God to bless my work and use it, and then writing or editing one chapter or section for the bulk of my time. I try to work section to section ending at good stopping points where I’ve completed a particular bit and have a good idea about what needs to happen next.
4. Tell us about your favorite character and why you chose to write about them? The Old Man from my books is my favorite character. I generally like older, interesting people who’ve lived a lot and have very specific knowledge. I can generally get interested in just about anything, which is a good skill to have when writing and talking to people, as most people enjoy talking about themselves. Not because they’re self- obsessed, but because it’s generally easier for most people to talk about what they know: themselves. So I listen and occasionally learn a thing or two. The Old Man is like that. He’s old, he’s a bit of a rascal and he’s not finished. Along the way he thinks about the past and what it all means. He has some regrets, but, like the rest of us he’s hoping things will turn out alright. He’s not crabby or cranky and he likes to help others which lends to his likeability. The main thing I go back to about him is this: he’s not finished with life yet, and I find that interesting.
5. What are you currently working on? All three Wasteland novels are done and now I’ve got a zombie triptych in the works, of which one novel is done and I’ve been told good things about. There are two more books to complete and I’m planning those out right now. For the past month I’ve also been editing a military SF novel I wrote a year ago and I’m alternating between that and a Wind in the Willows-esque fantasy-cozy about murder and cheese. I also just informed my wife that I would like to master Chinese cooking. Oh, and I prestiged on Black Ops 2.
6. Any upcoming events? Harper Collins’ version of The Old Man and the Wasteland came out in January and the sequel The Savage Boy comes out on Feb 26th. After that, the final Wasteland novel will be available this fall.
7. If you could be anyone you like, who would you be? I would like to be like Jesus. Most people have a misconception or confused second hand information about Jesus. Jesus was a really loving person who spent time with regular people and tried to make their lives better. He had a real heart for people. He would come into your house and eat and talk with you. He listened to what people were really saying. I think he made people feel that they had his complete attention, that what they were going through really mattered to Him. I think I need to be more like that.
8. Do you have any advice for new writers and something that a seasoned vet can learn? The best advice I can give during what I feel is a revolution-in-progress right now in the world of writing is this: Take the time to do your best work. It’s very easy with Amazon and the other outlets to get your stuff up there as fast as possible and make a bad first impression. It’s one thing to write a novel. Great job. Now it’s time to edit. Edit for four months straight, five days a week. One thing I suggest is editing out loud. Read the manuscript to yourself as though you were an audio book actor (I like to pretend I’m either Garrison Keillor or Michael Beck). Then find and pay a good editor. Then edit it again and again until you can’t edit anymore. Then, maybe, you can release it. It’s too easy to listen to Amazon stories of “Gold in them thar hills!” There is. But if you release a poorly written and badly edited manuscript, you might never have another chance to do it again. There’s a great quote by Vince Lombardi, “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.” This is so true in what has become a golden age for writers to get their work out there. It’s never been easier to get your manuscript in front of a paying public. But don’t expect them to sift through all your chaff for a nugget of gold. They will be merciless if you haven’t done your absolute best. And sometimes, even if you have.
9. Where can your followers find you? Swing by and say hi @nickcolebooks on Twitter or leave a message on my website at nickcolebooks.com
10. Any last words? If writing isn’t fun, do yourself a favor and go find something else to do. You will be much happier. It probably means that what you were made to do is still waiting for you to discover what it is. So get rid of needing to write for any other reason than that it’s fun. It’s not going to make you rich or make someone love you more. It’s not going to give you dignity or status. But if it’s fun then who cares what happens... you’re having fun doing what you love.