Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Nate McQueen

N T McQueen head shot
N T McQueen

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Nate McQueen.


1.      What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?
Usually, simply discussing the book with someone leads to interest. However, I’m not the best at selling myself to a reader but I know others who are great at making the novel look intriguing and worth the money. Also doing readings and seeing people want to buy your book are also very rewarding. They’ve heard your work and are intrigued enough to buy a copy. That is probably the most satisfying means of marketing. There is the downside that they may hate the book after they’ve read it but, at the moment, you have a glimpse of hope.
2.      What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?
I actually went both routes in publishing my novel. My dad and I created City Hill Publishing and released my book under that label. We didn’t know exactly what we were doing but we continue to learn and discover new ways to promote our books and those sort of aspects. It is rather fun following a book from idea to paperback and, most importantly, I have creative control on pretty much every aspect of my books content and design.
3.      What do you have under your bed?
Dust, junk, probably kid’s toys. A diaper or two from my 3 month old. When you have three children, your house really isn’t yours anymore. It becomes a storage unit sort of situation.
4.      Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?
I plot but it usually never goes the way I planned it. Characters change course and the events change along with the characters so I am often left with fragments of my original idea. Writing is a maddening experience sometimes. Not a great hobby for the obsessively-compulsive organizer.
5.      Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?
Opinions are invaluable. Especially from different types of readers. My wife is my main critic and her advice, good and bad, improves my work and allows me to see things I am blind to while writing. Especially on the empathetic levels. I’ve heard that you are to write for one person and not for a multitude so I try to take that approach. Your writing is never going to appease everyone. A Nicholas Sparks fan would hate Kurt Vonnegut and vice-a-versa. It simply is a matter of subjectivity. I try to let a variety of people read drafts just to find common issues I may have overlooked.
6.      When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?
To be honest, I am not a diligent note taker when it comes to ideas. I have a tiny notebook but I rarely keep it with me. I jot down stuff in there when it comes to me but, most the time, it is scribbled on business cards or bulletins or shopping lists. Ideas come whenever. I haven’t noticed a pattern or specific task that generates ideas. It is sporadic. Another maddening aspect of writing.

  7.    What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

I have a PC so it is Microsoft Word for me. My professor in college always handwrites his work and fills notebooks with words. Honestly, I could never do that. Between handcramps and the hours spent trying to decipher the hieroglyphics of my own handwriting, it just isn’t worth it. Some will argue the act of writing aids in the creative process and that may be true. But I manage with my fingertips.
I know about the handwriting er penmanship, mine is so bad I ask others what they think I wrote.
N T McQueen head shot
N T McQueen

N.T. McQueen is the author of the novel, Between Lions and Lambs, and the children’s book, Moses Jones and the Case of the Missing Sneaker. He received his MA in Creative Writing from CSU-Sacramento under the direction of Douglas Rice. He has won two Bazzanella Literary Awards and his work has appeared in issues of the Calaveras Station, Burning Daylight, and Eleven to Seven. He lives in Northern California with his wife and three children.

Twitter: @NTMcQ
Between Lions and Lambs cover art
Between Lions and Lambs

Ezekiel Clemens is the worlds most notable evangelist. At his side is Gerald Lambough, who serves as janitor in hiding the sinful secrets of this righteous man. On the day of one of their largest televised meetings, the two encounter a mysterious stranger that rattles their teetering lives and sends them both on a journey of revelation and repentance where dark secrets are revealed, faith is tested, and lives are forever altered. Simple yet complex, Between Lions and Lambs is a compelling and provocative examination of the fallibility of man and the necessity of truth, questioning religions purpose and those who use it. A story that speaks to both religious and irreligious with profound insight and veracity till the last page.

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Though he stood illuminated in white light, he was surrounded by darkness. He gazed into the sea of faces forever expanding into the darkness in front of him; faces and torsos climbing the giant walls and flooding the space of the stadium like a swarm of singing locusts. The fruit of his labor sang before him and he clutched the cross that hung about his neck, concealed under clothes.  After years of travel that took him to four continents, he had experienced a power of insurmountable capacities and his minions bellowed praises in his name with deference for his stature.
The choir sang behind him, bellowing the glory among a score of finely tuned voices of all octaves and styles.  The piano and guitar’s gospel groove energized the song through a melodious engine.
Upon the platform, he stood in his finest black suit, pressed and immaculate with shoes that shone like the idiom claimed. His slick black hair glistened atop his slender frame. The stage was ordained with the most sparkling of golden ornamentation: a large golden cross imbedded with jewels, a pulpit made of dark and glossy wood, banners hung from lights and uttered exclamations of rejoice and exhortations. Fellow ministers stood to his left, clapping out of rhythm, singing, weeping, raising hands and speaking in bizarre tongues; vocally and physically worshipping for all the Lord has done in their lives. The sound seemed to envelope him in a surreal dream. Witnessing in a vision how He is walking and talking alongside them in the garden the song spoke of.
He raised both his hands toward the sky, eyes closed, swaying softly left to right, portraying an absorption of the presence of God. He listened to the crowd’s tangle of voices as if a wave was ebbed and flowed over him. The ministers’ mouths scrambled under some invisible force. The words battled back and forth among choir and crowd in a swell of sounds and moans and invectives. The chorus bobbed and swelled once again as the choir ends in unison with the band’s engine. A great applause propelled toward the stage, the clapping hands bringing a visual life to the great sea before his eyes. He claps as he walks to the decadent podium with the gold crucifix. He placed his skinny hands at either side of the stand; his worn leather Bible displayed before him, marked and tagged with notes for the evening’s sermon. The uproarious applause continued as a man, dressed in modest attire with his wavy brown hair, approached from the side of the stage and comes to his side in the spotlight.
“They’re in place on the bottom floor. Two guys and an old woman,” he says into the preacher’s ear with a grim voice, the warm breath tickling the canal of his ear. “You give the signal and they’ll be ready and then say the diseases and they’ll come up at the right time. Just like we’ve been practicing. We paid them pretty good so they shouldn’t be like the last ones.”
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Thank you Nate for being my guest this week.  Come back next week to see my next Writerly Wednesday guest.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.