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Thursday, November 6, 2014

THE LAST HERO: How Escapist Imagination and Real Life Led to Nathaniel Dane's First Novel


Anyone who writes fiction---actually, anyone in the arts---will relate to the essay from today's guest, Nathaniel Danes. He shares how the world he created for his first military science fiction novel, The Last Hero, grew in his mind and gained importance in his life until he just couldn't keep it off the page.

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The Last Hero -- I had to write it

by Nathaniel Danes

I never thought I'd write a book. Heck, for most of my life, getting beyond page three of any school writing project felt like a Herculean task. I think the difference between now and then, is my writing doesn't feel forced, like the story is there, I just need to get it out. Maybe that's the difference between writing what you want as opposed to what you have to.

Thinking about it now, it almost feels as if The Last Hero grew itself organically rather than having been written. My over-active imagination, love for military history, science fiction addiction, blindness, failed military career, daughter, and more were filtered through my fingers onto the page. It's a nexus where several pieces of my life came together. Believe me, that sounds far easier than it was.

I've always used my imagination as an escape hatch from life. As far back as I can remember I'd bolt from mundane situations in my mind, transporting myself to excitement and adventure. I'm sure most kids do this, but for me, I've never stopped. Today, I do this as a coping mechanism. I'm losing my sight to a genetic disorder, the reason for my failed military career, and I find it relaxing to drift off into worlds where I don't have that limitation.

These fantasies were always content to live inside my head until I read The Forever War. That classic sparked something inside me. Science fiction has always been my preferred genre for TV and movies, but as far as books go, I used to only read military history. After stumbling upon The Forever War everything changed. I couldn't read enough military science fiction and those stories in my head started to become restless.

I also can't overstate the importance of my daughter's birth in helping to shape the story in my first novel. There are a select few things I truly love in his world, my wife for one, so the feeling isn't foreign to me. However, I honestly wasn't prepared for the body blow of raw emotion, of pure unconditional love, I felt the second I held my baby girl for the first time. From then on, I couldn't imagine a universe that she wasn't a part of, where that incredible connection didn't exist. Her presence in my life enriched and brought depth to my fantasy worlds. She brought meaning and purpose to them.

Literally bursting at the seams, I had to get the stories out. So, I started to write and write, then I rewrote and rewrote. Before I knew it, a few years had past and I'd written four books. Finally, I decided to try and get one published. Fortunately, Solstice Publishing saw fit to give me a chance and agreed to release the The Last Hero.

If you read my book, I hope you enjoy it and can feel the passion that went into its creation. It will be the first of many. I don't have a choice, the stories have to come out.

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Learn more about Nathaniel Danes on his website.

Purchase The Last Hero on Amazon.


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2 comments:

  1. And you are yet another testament to why it's so important to foster a love of reading (fiction and non-fiction) in our youths. I'd wager that although the fiction spurred your imagination, all that non-fiction and your life experience was just lying there waiting for your imagination to use it. Good luck with your writing!

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  2. A great and inspiring story! Congrats on the book.

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