Women In SFF Author Spotlight: Natasha D. Lane
Natasha D. Lane is a friend of most things caffeinated, a lover of books, and a writing warrior to her core.
As a believer that “the pen is mightier than the sword,” she graduated from Juniata College in 2015 with hopes to become a journalist. Instead, life took her on a different path and Natasha found herself digging up a manuscript from her childhood.
This dusty stack of papers would become “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone.” With one book under her belt, Natasha went on to release “The Woman In the Tree: The True Story of Camelot, “The Pariah Child: Sarafina’s Return,” and her upcoming work “The Pariah Child: Serwa’s Descendants.”
Welcome to the Hive, Natasha. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
Recently I finished Docile by K.M. Szpara. It was my first book by him and I highly enjoyed it. The story takes place in a futuristic world where the “Next of Kin Law” has been put in place. The passing of this law causes generational debt to be passed down, resulting in millions of debt on single individuals.
Our main character, Elisha, registers himself for the Docile program where for his life-long servitude, his family debt will be erased.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. My next read is The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
I’ve always been one for magic, so I’ll go with a sorceress wielding a dagger. Simple, straightforward, and to the point but a dagger can be quite handy in a tough spot or if my magic is weakened.
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, how do you like to work? (In silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit?)
So many great questions! I’m definitely the type of writer who prefers working in silence. Of course, I’ve written in cafes and libraries, particularly on the days I’m feeling a bit more poetic. But sitting on my bed typing away is my favorite pastime.
To answer the second question, I’m a former gardener, converted architect. When I began writing, I was very whimsical with my process and writing schedule. As I’ve grown in my professional writing, I’ve learned whimsy doesn’t work for me, not if I want productivity. I research, outline, and develop back-stories before I even start writing my story.
Tell us a little bit about your writing method!
Oops! I touched on this a bit above but am happy to elaborate.
Research is the least favorite part of my writing process but a necessary evil. Usually, I start with a simple Google search. I keep the search general and take notes as I read. The more I learn, the more questions I ask, and the more specific my searches become.
From there, I start brainstorming, combining my concept with my research. I use that information to build a backstory, then an outline. My outlines are pretty simple. Previously, I’d use hierarchy layouts to outline a story/series. Now, I craft and follow a very simple bulleted list.
What (or who) are your most significant female fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
Author Jenny Nimmo of the Charlie Bones series. I’m not certain she is the most influential but I devoured her books as a youth, so I’m sure they affected me.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
Uncut Gems with Adam Sandler. Adam Sandler is literally the only reason I watched this movie. I’ve loved him since his animated hit Eight Crazy Nights.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
Probably sleep or read.
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
I’m actually wrapping up my first series!
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
“Just create a Facebook page!”
Marketing is so much more than creating a Facebook page.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
Maybe this is bad advice but sometimes I just don’t write. I take the day off, clean my apartment, order some takeout, or play catchup on my favorite shows. I believe I write my best when I’m at my best and I’m not at my best if I don’t take some self-care time.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
I’m a huge anime fan, so feudal Japan would be my choice. If for some reason feudal Japan isn’t available, I’d head west toward Ghana (along with several other west African countries) during the 13th century to meet my ancestors. I’m sure they’d have some great stories to tell me.
Who are your favourite female characters in literature or pop culture? And do you have a favourite type of female character you enjoy writing?
Oh, so many! Jo from Little Women, Anne from Anne of Green Gables, and Suzie from Rugrats. What can I say? I’m a 90’s kid with a love for the classics.
Jo March is one of my absolute favourites.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
Rescue by Susan Aylworth. I’m not certain how I found this book. I think it was some recommended reading on a newsletter I receive. It’s a survival adventure story and something I usually wouldn’t read but I’m glad I did.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
You should check out my work if…
You want to follow the story of a girl who falls down a well and wakes up in a world full of creatures she was always told didn’t exist.
You want to know what Gwynevre was doing to save Camelot while Arthur was gallivanting off on an adventure. I’ll tell you now, she wasn’t waiting in a tower.
And if you love underdogs, complex heroines, fantastical worlds, and a good sword fight, you should check out my work.
Thank you so much for joining us today Natash!
The Pariah Child: Serwa’s Descendants is available TODAY – good luck on the release!