Friday, July 8, 2011

Welcome, Nathaniel Tower

Thank you so much for being here, Nathaniel.

1: What genre do you write?

I dabble in a variety of genres. My focus lately is on short fiction, usually absurdist or surreal work. My novel, A Reason to Kill, is a psychological thriller.

2: Sounds interesting. So,how long have you been writing?

For over 10 years, off and on, with the last 5 years being quite serious.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

I like the freedom to create worlds that can't exist, as well as the joy of seeing what happens to a character as a story unfolds. I dislike the editing and submission processes. Sometimes I feel like I spend more time sending out my work than actually writing it.

4:I feel the same way. But it’s a necessary evil. Tell us what do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

Music, running, reading, spending time with family. The usual. I collect records and constantly look for new artists to enjoy. I also manage my own literary magazine, Bartleby Snopes.

5: Definitely sounds like a busy schedule. I see you enjoy reading, which authors do you like to read?

Barthelme, Kafka, O'Brien, Faulkner, Melville, Vonnegut, O'Connor, and many others of course. I'm big on short fiction authors.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

I can imagine anything.

7: LOL, I guess most writers can. So, tell me about your current novel, where I can find it?

My current novel, A Reason to Kill, is available in pretty much any e-book form. Right now it can be found in the MuseItUp Publishing bookstore.

8: Great! Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Write with your own voice. Don't copy someone else's style or write just to get published. Write what you want to write. And don't take rejection personally. Everyone gets rejected many times. If you aren't getting rejected then you aren't taking challenges with your submissions.

9: Great advice. Do you base your characters on real-life people?

I sometimes will bring in something of a real-life person, but I don't make any characters a carbon-copy of someone I've met. None of the characters in my novel are based on anyone real. At least not consciously.

10: I think authors can’t help but base their characters habits and traits from real life people. But I agree, we don’t consciously base them on people we know. On a different note, how did you come up with the idea for this book?

I'm really interested in motivation behind crime, so I wondered what it would be like to tell a story that focuses more on the criminal and why he's out there committing crimes. There seems to be a shortage of good fiction that puts the bad guy at the center. Once I had the idea to focus on the bad guy, I thought maybe it would be even more interesting to focus on both the good and the bad, so that gives us the shifting point of view I use in the novel. It was definitely a challenge to write, and I confused myself a few times, but I think it worked in the end.

11: Wow, that is different. So, what are you currently working on?

Lots of short stories in the absurdist vein. I'm trying to put together a collection, but that's always a tough sell. The collection is going to be called Stories from Birth. I just finished a story about a woman who falls in love with a blade of grass. I love how it turned out, but it doesn't fit thematically into the collection. Like I said, absurdist stories have been my focus lately. As ridiculous as this story may sound, absurdist writing always (or should always) have some deeper or real meaning to it. There are real human emotions here. It's just a different way to tell the story.

12. A blade of grass. That is a bit absurd. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

My wife and I just had our first daughter in March. Not to sound cliché, but it was definitely a life-changing experience.

13. Congratulations, that’s wonderful. It is life changing. Tell us where we can find you? Website? Blog?

My magazine is here: A comprehensive web site with more about my fiction is here: You can email me at


Clint's self-assurance didn't prepare him for what awaited him inside. He pulled out his dust mask as he went inside. The mask fell out of his hand at the sight of the blood-soaked floor and furniture in the front room. The blood hadn't pooled in one spot like it would have from a quick wound. Clint was glad he hadn't worn new shoes as he stepped through the scattered bloody seas that flooded the room. On the other side of the couch he found the victim, at least what was left of him.

Rather than finding one body with a solitary wound, he found several pieces of a body, each with numerous stab marks. Whoever had done this had chopped the body into pieces after slitting its throat. Or perhaps the perp cut off the limbs to torture the victim first, and then slit the throat. Neither explanation sat too well with him. Clint imagined the situation. He couldn't understand someone cutting up a body after killing it. The sight of a man standing over the body and chopping off its limbs disturbed him more than anything he had seen in any thrasher movie. He hated to think anyone would spend all that time torturing a dead body. But he also couldn't understand the opposing scenario. If you were going to cut someone up to make them suffer, why would you slit their throat and drain out all of their blood afterward? Neither explanation seemed to fit in with the Do-Good Killer's general motivations or styles. The Do-Good Killer operated quickly and efficiently, leaving behind no potential traces. A murder executed in this fashion must have left behind dozens of traces, and Clint intended to discover them all. Perhaps the killer had become sloppy, or perhaps he was angry that night. Or perhaps he had truly a psychotic mind and was not the swift justice criminal they thought he was.

As Clint crouched near the body, he tried to get into the head of the criminal. The Do-Good Killer killed because he thought the legal system had failed. He made the killings as quick as possible, and probably got no pleasure out of the actual killing, only taking pleasure from the actual deed of eliminating a criminal. This act looked like the aggressor had gotten plenty of pleasure. Clint assumed the Do-Good Killer was responsible for this even though the pieces didn't all fit. He assumed this because it was his job, but he wondered why the man would have stooped to such a heinous act. He knew there must be a reasonable explanation as to why the Do-Good Killer would've done it this way, but he was too shocked and tired at the moment to think of that reason.

He investigated each piece of the scene, starting with the neck wound. Its diameter was less than three inches, just like the others had been. A clean cut. Straight in, straight out; on the right side of the neck, just like the others. He assumed DGK was right-handed and stabbed the victims from behind. Or was he left-handed and had the gall to stab them while facing them?

Clint took photographs of the wound from different angles. Before arriving at the scene he expected to see a gun shot wound this time. So much for the symmetry of the crimes. It was impossible to tell if there had been any struggle, but Clint guessed this victim put up a fight. The victim might've even recognized the DGK. Perhaps that was what caused the DGK—if it was him—to act in such a way. Or maybe he was changing up his style to create a more difficult trail.

Clint wasn't interested in the other wounds, but he examined the rest of the body. The victim had light brown hair, much lighter than his own. From the picture ID of Brad Thompson, Clint knew this color matched. As he scanned the body closely, he finally found the clue the Do-Good Killer had not given him before: a single dark brown hair was stuck to the bloody stump connecting the left leg to the torso. The hair color was quite similar to his own, and he hoped this indeed was the killer's and not one lodged loose out of his bed-messed head as he bent over the mutilated pieces. Regardless, he picked it up carefully with tweezers and placed it into a translucent zippered bag.

"Torrez," he shouted after sealing the bag.

Torrez came with a silent nod.

"Found this hair on the victim. Doesn't match his own. See what you can do with it."

"Yes, sir," Torrez mumbled, demonstrating he wasn't a mute.

"And Torrez," Clint said without looking up at the short officer he knew was about to walk away.

"Yes, sir?" he repeated, this time adding some inflection.

"Next time, speak for yourself."
"Yes, sir," Torrez responded as he turned and walked away, leaving Clint wondering if the little man could say anything else.

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