Bobby Nash is one of the first published authors I actually met outside of my own little circle of writer friends. He's one of those good-hearted people who will sit down with a newbie and chat a while, tossing around ideas and answering questions to the best of his ability. From the get-go he struck me as someone who was serious about his craft, with a workman-like attitude and a dedication to getting things done. Yet he's generous is sharing his knowledge and straightforward in whatever he says. I've never heard Bobby say a disparaging thing about another writer, and he's quietly self-deprecating and warmly human about the ups and downs of this crazy business of wordsmithing that we've all found ourselves immersed in.
I think as you read through this interview you'll find a lot of what I'm talking about coming through with Bobby's answers. He's honest to a fault, and never wastes a lot of time bemoaning the speed bumps that make getting words from brain to page so difficult. If you take a peek at his author site on Amazon, you'll see 5 pages of various projects completed. There's a lot of self-discipline involved in turning out that amount of published material over the last 10 years or so, and that's why I admire his work ethic so much. A lot of folks talk about writing something someday, but people like Bobby Nash actually get the job done.
WRITER 2 WRITER
An interview with author
- Bobby, would you tell us a little about yourself and your writing?
Hi, Nancy. I’m Bobby Nash. I write novels, comic books, short stories, graphic novels, and have dipped my toe into screenwriting as well. I started out writing and drawing comics, but oddly enough, my first professional sale (meaning the first one I got paid for) was a short prose story in a comic book. Kind of sums up my career in a nutshell. Ha! Ha!
- What got you into writing in the first place?
I started out with this grand ambition to be a comic book artist. Unfortunately, it turns out that my art wasn’t quite good enough to get me hired to draw comics professionally. While I was drawing, I was also writing stories so I would have something to draw. That was where it started. A friend of mine suggested that instead of trying to do both, I narrow my focus and see what that might do for me, and so I took his advice and focused on writing and eventually, I landed my first comic book writing gig. Then, a few years later I said, “I wonder if I could write a novel…” It’s been full speed ahead since then.
- What would a typical Bobby Nash writing session look like?
I wish I could say there was something unique about my writing day, but it’s pretty standard, I think. When I was writing full time, I would get up around 10 or 11, do some social media, answer emails, promotion, etc. Then, after a quick bite to eat, I’d write through the afternoon until dinner then take a break until later that night when I’d do another writing burst. That was my usual day then. These days, I’ve rejoined the corporate world and work a full-time day job, which has adjusted my writing time to more like an hour here and there during the week and jamming the bulk of my writing on the weekends.
- Most writers are also avid readers. Does your writing tend to follow what you read? Do you have any favorite authors?
Not really. Sometimes, yes, but if I’m writing a sci fi story, I tend not to read sci fi while I’m doing it. It’s weird and not something I do consciously, but I’ve noticed that’s how things tend to work with me. I like a variety of authors and genres. There are a few I return to when new projects come out from them.
- I happen to know you have at least one other creative outlet outside of writing—movie and TV extra. It seems to have been somewhat of an inspiration for some of your books. How do you take that experience of being someone else for a few days, and work it into a story? Or is it really the other way around?
Being an extra is fun, but exhausting. Long days spent waiting around to work for about ten minutes at a time. It definitely takes patience, but I enjoy watching the process, seeing how shots are set up, what the crew is doing, things like that. It’s a real education. It’s also interesting to see the final outcome because it’s all seen from a different angle than my memory of it, which can sometimes seem surreal. I have enjoyed my time on set and maybe one day I’ll get to do it again. Since I’ve returned to corporate life again for a day job, it’s been tough to get extra work. This is especially rough on me as they are now filming Captain America: Civil War here and I can’t be part of it. It’s a bummer.
For the most part, my extra work doesn’t impact my writing, but there was one notable exception. I played an FBI Agent in the pilot episode of The Following, starring Kevin Bacon. We got to name our characters for the FBI badge, so I used the name of a character I had created for my Evil Intent novel as a secondary character. It was fun for me, but now the character has started to take on a life of his own. I guess that came out of me playing him for the three days I worked on that shoot. Sadly, I am only in one scene and kind of blurry, but I did share screen time with Kevin Bacon so I win that Six Degrees game all the time.
- You are one of the most dedicated and experienced travelers I know when it comes to making it to conventions. Can you share some of your hints for how to do it equitably and in an organized fashion? Any nuggets of wisdom from the con trail? Any funny stories or big 'oops' you can share with us?
Organized? (pause for laughter) Well, I don’t know how organized I am, but I do love a good convention. Cons are a lot of hard work, but they are great opportunities to connect with your fans as well as try to make new ones. It’s also a great place to meet your peers, others who work in the same field and get to know them. Sometimes, cons are great for networking with publishers and editors. Writing (any creating, really) is a mostly solitary job. It’s just me and the computer. Getting out to a con and being surrounded by people with similar passions and experiences as me is wonderful. It’s like a working vacation. I get to travel to new places and meet interesting people. How cool is that? I cut back this year based on several reasons, but I can’t imagine not doing cons.
Because cons are work, I’m still in work mode so I try to act like a professional most of the time. The reason for that seems obvious, but I’m constantly amazed at those who don’t feel the same way. Personal experience has shown me that if I meet a writer, artist, actor, whatever, and that person is rude or unkind, that experience taints my view of their work. I’ve met writers whose work I adored and then after the experience walked away not enjoying their work as much because it was now colored by that less than great meeting. One writer once told me “Why should I help you? You’re my competition.” I had asked a pretty simple question about formatting, if I recall correctly. I don’t want to be that guy so I decided then and there that if I was ever in a position where someone asked a question about writing or the business, that I would answer it if I could. I have yet to regret that decision.
Of course, the opposite also holds true. I’ve met writers (and I’m using writers as an example because I am a writer and I meet a lot of writers) whose work I was not a huge fan of at the time, but after meeting him or her and being impressed by the writer’s grace, charm, or simple likeability, started to like the work more. Meeting creators who are genuinely nice makes me want to pick up their books and support them. I do want to be that guy. That’s part of the reason I answer every question asked of me (haven’t had any I’d rather not answer yet) and give honest answers. I’ve learned the true meaning of professionalism from creators by watching them at cons. I’ve also learned what not to do as well.
No big “oops” moments as far as I can recall. In all seriousness, they start to run together after a while. I attended my first con in 1989 and haven’t looked back. Keeping track of what happened in what year is getting harder and harder. A good memory was the first time I was put on a writing panel with big name writers at Dragon Con. I was the last to introduce myself and I said, “Hi. I’m Bobby Nash: the ‘who’s he?’ of the group.” It got a laugh so I was happy.
- So what is the latest Bobby Nash release, and what's on the horizon? This is your spot to expound on all the various projects you have going right now.
There are a few things on the starting line for this fall/winter. Some have firm dates, others have estimated dates.
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS' AT THE EARTH'S CORE is a Graphic Novel by Bobby Nash and Jamie Chase from Sequential Pulp Comics/Dark Horse Comics that will be in comic shops August 19, 2015 and in bookstores September 1, 2015. There are two editions: standard hardcover ($14.99) and special signed (by me and Jamie Chase) limited edition hardcover ($49.99). I am very excited to be part of this project. I love Burroughs’ work and it is a thrill to play in that world. Plus, I can’t say enough good things about Jamie Chase’s art. Beautiful stuff. Oh, and Jamie, Michael Hudson, and I have just started work on EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS' PELLUCIDAR for next year. Good times.
THE BLACK BAT RETURNS is a prose anthology from Moonstone Books featuring stories by Ron Fortier, Adam Lance Garcia, Colin B. Harvey, Sean Taylor, James Palmer, David Boop, David White, Josh Vogt, and myself under a beautiful Mike Fyles cover. It is scheduled for release in November.
EVIL WAYS HARDCOVER To celebrate the 10th anniversary of my first published novel, Evil Ways, plans are in place for a deluxe hardcover edition coming very soon from BEN Books.
EVIL INTENT Speaking of Evil Ways, the long-awaited sequel, Evil Intent puts FBI Special Agent Harold Palmer, still recovering from the events of Evil Ways, up against a deadly domestic terrorist seeking revenge. Coming soon from BEN Books.
Also on the horizon, but with no firm dates yet are SNOW STORM (ebook novella) from Stark Raving Press, V-WARS (prose anthology) from IDW, DOMINO LADY: THREESOME (comic series) from Moonstone Books, The Ruby Files Vol. 2 (prose anthology) from Airship 27 Productions, GHOST GAL: A HAUNTING WE WILL GO… from Raven’s Head Press, and an as yet unannounced novel for Moonstone Books and a few other surprises in production.
- I know you've supported yourself as a writer, but that you've also worked writing around a 9-5 job schedule and extended family demands. How do you shift your focus from writing every day—all day, to squeezing the time to write into an already hectic schedule, with job responsibilities and a commute? Then again, how in the heck are you disciplined enough to get significant amounts of writing done when the hours seem to stretch on, so that deadlines don't seem as demanding?
It’s not easy, but deadlines still have to be met so that means I spend most weekends at home, writing instead of going out and enjoying myself. It also means long nights and sometimes lack of sleep or working through lunch at the day job. I love being a writer so I have to make sacrifices and adjust my schedule to accommodate writing time. As you well know yourself, there are always interruptions and distractions trying to keep the writer from writing. You just have to push through and make it happen. That said, boy am I tired. There definitely needs to be a vacation in my near future.
Deadlines are always demanding. The real trick is learning how to schedule your work so you can get it done. Sometimes that means saying no and turning down projects, which is hard to do. I’d rather turn down a project at the beginning than be late and have to drop out last minute. Sometimes a publisher is willing to wait until the next opening in my schedule. Sometimes they can’t. I’m sure they appreciate it when I tell them I can’t meet a certain deadline upfront and bow out than to have to push a project past its release date later.
- Now I've noticed among your publishing credits, you've listed a BEN Books. Is this your own imprint? If so, can you share with us when and why you started it, and how the experience of being your own publisher compares with being published by others?
Yes, indeed. You've got a good eye there, Nancy. BEN Books is my own imprint and I've published a small number of projects through it. After my initial problems with the first publisher of Evil Ways, I decided that I would re-release it myself when my contract ended. BEN Books was born out of that idea. I was shopping around Deadly Games! at the time and after a few less than satisfying discussions with some publishers interested in it, I decided to give it a try on my own as well. It was a great experiment and I learned a lot about production and cover creation in the process.
These days, BEN Books, which is basically my initials with Books after it, is where I do the occasional story or comic book that I decide not to shop around to a publisher. The latest BEN Books release is Operation: Silver Moon, a graphic novel I wrote that is beautifully illustrated by Rick Johnson.
You can check out BEN Books at http://BEN-Books.blogspot.com
- Bobby thanks so much for taking the time to share your writing life with the rest of us!
My pleasure, Nancy. Thanks for having me.
Here's a list of links to all things Bobby Nash:
www.twitter.com/bobbynash www.google.com/+BobbyNashAuthor http://amazon.com/author/bobbynash