Review Fix chats with author S.D. Nicholson, who discusses the creative process and goals behind his first novel, Mischief and Mayhem: Part One of the Faerlands Chronicles.
Review Fix: What inspired this book?
S.D. Nicholson: My inspiration stemmed from childhood games that my friends and I would play. I always had a vivid imagination and could always see a fantastical version of any situation. After graduating college and entering into the corporate world, I realized my day to day life had grown dull and I felt myself losing the “magic.” The Faerlands Chronicles was born in an effort to keep my imagination flowing in my free time. I instantly felt better writing and creating and knew I had to commit my time to it if I wanted to turn a fun story into a novel. That was when I left my corporate job, refined my story and took the next step.
Review Fix: How is it different from your previous work?
Nicholson: I went straight from college into commercial real estate as an industrial real estate agent. I worked on tenant leases, and buyer and seller representation on warehouses and office/flex spaces in Hampton Roads, Virgina, specifically Virginia Beach. I would say as this is my debut novel, it is drastically different from writing leases or sales agreements. I love using my imagination and I know I am blessed to have the opportunity to exercise my creativity daily. I definitely think I found my calling and I hope others enjoy my style of writing and story.
Review Fix: What makes this book special?
Nicholson: Although there is a significant main character throughout the story, I believe I write in a way that each character has the depth to them that warrants consideration of being the protagonist. I want people to fall in love with more of the characters and experience their journey through their eyes. I feel as thought most fantasy novels use the standard races of humans, elves, orcs, or dwarves, and correct me if I’m wrong, but faers (fairies) are often forgotten. In my opinion, they are one of the coolest fantastical races because they are naturally mischievous; they have the ability to fly, which makes for incredible fights and additional world building; and they have this strange sense of beauty without being elegant. I hope to open some people’s minds and accept that fairies hold a place in the fantasy world and not be stereotyped.
Review Fix: What creators do you think have influenced you the most?
Nicholson: There can’t be any other answer than Tolkien here. In my freshman and sophomore years of high school I was part of the speech and debate team where I did Dramatic Interpretation. I won first place at an event by acting out the storyline of Frodo, Samwise, and Gollum/Smeagle. I think I knew all of the lines even before I printed them out. I also really enjoy the video game World of Warcraft, where you can play as any number of fantasy races in a massive, beautiful world that the developers built. Playing such an expansive game gave me a whole new appreciation for world building, and I tried to keep that in mind as I started writing The Faerlands Chronicles.
Review Fix: How do you want it to be remembered?
Nicholson: Hopefully without the words, “I can tell this guy’s new.” As a young author, who for the record was an economics major in college, I can feel my approach constantly improving as the storyline develops. I went into this first book with the idea of creating a world like no other and I think I did a pretty good job at building it and letting the reader learn and see it through the character’s eyes, rather than just be told location “a” is here and location “b” looks like this. I wanted my characters to develop on their own throughout the story. I look at characters like this: regardless of who they were the day before the storyline starts, it doesn’t effect how they respond and learn and react throughout the book. I want people to feel that the characters they come to follow have developed organically.
Review Fix: Who will enjoy it the most?
Nicholson: I hope everyone! I wanted a magical, fantastical world that still held the dark, frightening nature that some people shy away from. It isn’t so gruesome that it will be a turnoff to anyone, but I think it has a healthy balance of realistic violence, dry humor that only happens in random occurrences, all while reminding you that these things are happening while using mystical powers. Honestly, in life, we have our dark moments and negative thoughts. I believe these need to be accepted, and even embraced, to move on from them. Our characters are forced into horrible situations with many unpleasant circumstances but have to make the best of it. Everyone should be able to take something away from it and I think most people will be able to relate with the emotion.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Nicholson: For you guys who are going to check it out, Part Two! I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had writing it. I told myself that I wouldn’t force myself to type if I wasn’t feeling it, because I believe that my state of mind can be reflected in my choice of words. From everyone who has reviewed it or have downloaded the first five chapters from my site, they all say how much fun they have while reading it. That is always the goal. I believe in escaping from the real world through any form of entertainment. If I am having fun writing it, then I know others will too while reading it. For me, while answering these, I am a few chapters from finishing Part Two so my next step is continuing right into Part Three. I’m having too much fun with this storyline to even attempt a new series, although I have started a growing list of ideas once TFC is complete.
Review Fix: Bottom line, why must someone read it?
Nicholson: Well now that Game of Thrones is over, who doesn’t need a fantasy fix? Life’s too finite to not seek enjoyment. Going back to my vivid imagination…when I write or tell the story I can picture it clearly in my mind and want to capture those images with words. From everyone who has read it so far, they tell me that I have excelled in that aspect. I believe books are an intricate part to exercising your imagination and if you can’t see it while reading, then I feel like I failed you as a reader. I am hearing “Roundabout” by Yes in my mind right now, because that’s what that answer was… but yeah, read the Prologue, it’ll take two minutes and if your not interested, then so be it. I read every message that comes through my site and I love to hear my audience’s thoughts.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Nicholson: Thank you to everyone who hung around to read all of these lengthy responses! I hope you got to learn a little more about me as both a person and an author. If you are interested in Mischief and Mayhem, Part One of The Faerlands Chronicles, I do have the first five chapters up on my site for free. Go check it out if you don’t want to commit to buying a copy. I’m hopeful that each and every one of you will enjoy it and continue to follow the story.