Nathaniel Swift interview


A little introduction:

Hi, I’m Nat! In addition to BLUE SKIES (my short story for the ACCIDENTAL TIME TRAVELERS COLLECTIVE), I’m writing a time travel novel, a science fiction series about kids who move to Mars and save the universe with some help from Winnie-the-Pooh, and haiku for my kids. I’m a K-8 drama and video arts teacher, and I’ve been a professional actor, director, and theatre producer in Chicago for over twenty years, with a long and successful run as the Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre Company. I live with two fun kids, a sweet cat named Sister Agnes Grace, and my very supportive wife, on the north side of Chicago within walking distance of Wrigley Field.

When did your love of books begin?

My love of books began earlier than I can remember; my parents were avid readers and some of my earliest memories are of sitting on a lap listening to the adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, Peter Rabbit, and many others. 

When did you start to have the wish to become an author?

In second or third grade, I remember writing a story for a class assignment about a couple of kids who somehow get transported inside their favorite pinball game and have to find a way back to the real world while dodging balls and flippers. I remember the pride of having written what I thought was an awesome story, and thinking this was something I wanted to keep doing forever. 

How have you found the process for becoming an author?

It’s been… strange. I kept that elementary school dream alive until college, and then stopped writing for a long time. I spent twenty years trying to make it as a professional actor/director/producer of live theatre, and had a pretty successful run — I was the Artistic Director of a great non-Equity company in Chicago, and won awards for acting and directing, but that journey got put on pause when I had two kids and the pandemic hit. After a year of virtual teaching and learning, I decided to revisit my old dreams of being a writer. 

I started writing a science fiction story that my daughter loved — if all goes as planned, it’ll actually be the first book in a ten-book series about a group of kids who move to Mars and save the universe, with some help from Winnie-the-Pooh. Writing that led me to create a Twitter account as an author, and that allowed me to stumble into a daily prompt for time travel authors to share their work. I thought it would be fun to participate, only there was one little problem — I hadn’t written a time travel story. 

So I asked if I could play along, with the idea that I will have written a time travel story in the future, and I’d respond to daily prompts with that future book in mind. It turned out to be a brilliant idea; I’m discovering a bit more of SEVENTEEN MINUTES OF RAIN every day, and after a month of this foolishness, one of the other authors invited me to contribute a story to a new anthology of time travel authors. So here I am, a 47 year old author making his publishing debut because of a Twitter joke.

What would you say to those wanting to become an author?

Don’t take advice from me, mostly. But if you’re going to anyway, I’d say read a lot, write a lot, and have fun with both. Trust yourself, challenge yourself, and take pride in the idea that you’re creating something out of nothing. It’s kind of magical, really.

Tell us about your book/books:

The story I wrote for THE ACCIDENTAL TIME TRAVELERS COLLECTIVE is a fast-paced, fun time travel story about a middle-aged dad who goes skydiving for a friend’s birthday party, and ends up transported to a dark and dystopian future where a group of time travelling rebels are fighting to change their past.

I’m also working on a MG/YA science fiction series about kids who move to Mars — so far I’ve finished writing the first book, THE FIRST KID ON MARS, and I’ve got the story planned out for ten books total. 

And there’s the book I will have written in the future — I’m discovering more of it every day, but I know it’ll be called SEVENTEEN MINUTES OF RAIN, and it’ll be about Hannah and George, two 8th grade geniuses who accidentally create a time machine when they combine their science fair projects. They’ll use that time machine to meet Hannah’s dad (who left her and her mom when she was a baby) and to help the Cubs win the 2016 World Series.

Oh, and I’ve been writing a lot of haiku for my kids, and sharing it with everyone on Twitter and Instagram.   

What do you love about the writing/reading community?

I feel like I’m just getting started, but in the last year I’ve found an amazingly supportive, generous, and fun community of writers and readers on Twitter. I’ve found myself caught up in conversations about great books, debates about the Oxford comma, and lots of sharing of brilliant excerpts. I wish I had known about this years ago. 

If you could say anything to your readers what would it be?

Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. 

Where can people connect with you?

Twitter: @WriterNatSwift and @haikuformykids

Instagram: @haikuformykids 




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