Saturday, September 7, 2019

Jayson Nadolny, Author of Nistarim: The Awakened

Supernatural Fantasy, LGBT Fiction, Angels, End of the world, jayson nadolny, nistarim the awakend, the angelic human series
Today we are interviewing Jayson Nadolny, author of the supernatural fantasy novel “Nistarim: The Awakened,” the first book in The Angelic Human Series.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
It's always so much easier to tell you about my characters than it is to tell about myself.  Maybe that's why I chose fiction!  Let's see, I'm a 36 year old man from Ashtabula, Ohio living near the beautiful city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  By day, I work as a Pharmacy Technician and spend my evenings reading or writing.  As an out, gay man – I grew up experiencing some very difficult times and I guess that is part of why I wanted to ensure that I included LGBT themes in my first novel.  I didn't have much to read when I was struggling with who I was that went beyond stereotypes.  

I guess, if you asked my friends to describe me they would most likely all use the term “nerd.”  I have just a slight obsession (maybe more than slight) with the television series, Doctor Who.  I have beat lifelong Doctor Who fans in my trivia knowledge of the show, so it may be something that ventures beyond a normal love of the show.  In fact, there may be a few nuggets of reference in the book eluding to my love of the show. 

Describe the plot of your new book, “Nistarim: The Awakened,” in a few sentences.
The book follows the situations that occur leading up to and following “The Awakening” of many of the Tzadikim Nistarim.  When the Nistarim are “reincarnated,” they do not remember who they are, what they can do and what has happened.  They simply live their lives feeling the sorrow of the world without knowing why.  Due to an extreme event, they are all thrown into the process of awakening before their time.  After awakening, they must work together (while dealing with their own lives...and poorly I might add) to stop the evil that caused their premature awakening before it's too late and the entire world crumbles.  

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Another tough question!  When I was writing it, I guess I had people struggling with who they are in mind.  Many of these characters are dealing with problems that relate more to their humanity than their angelic nature.  One copes with the loss of the man she fell in love with, while another has no real idea who he is as a person.  I was told by a close friend that was integral to finishing the book that she can see parts of me and my own struggles in each and every character.  Those struggles are very real and I wanted people to see that, through all the terrible things that happen in our lives and the pain we struggle with – we can make a difference.  So, long drawn out answer to say this: those who are struggling and need to see that they are important are the ones that most certainly can appreciate this book the most.  

Tell us about the Tzadikim Nistarim and their supernatural abilities.
In traditional Jewish lore, the Tzadikim Nistarim (or the Lamed Vav) are the 36 individuals from each generation tasked with the duty to help the entire world deal with their suffering.  It's a theme that really hit home to me when I learned of it and find comfort in it myself.  The traditional belief means that, no matter where you are or what you're going through, there are these 36 righteous people around the globe that all feel the sorrow and suffering that you feel – so truly we are never alone in our pain.  
Supernatural Fantasy, LGBT Fiction, Angels, End of the world, jayson nadolny, nistarim the awakend, the angelic human series
Author Jayson Nadolny.

Of course, if you're going to write a supernatural fantasy about them, we have to make some changes!  In this series, they are not only righteous people that carry on the weight of the world but they are supernatural beings – human bodies with angelic souls (hence Angelic Humans in the series name).  Their abilities, while most have not learned all of them in book one, include everything that you would traditionally see in an angel.  They have full access to the power of Heaven.  Again, these abilities in this way are more prevalent in the second and third books, which are underway as we speak.  

The idea of reincarnation is central to your series. Can you tell us about the role reincarnation plays in the plot?
In the first few drafts of the outline, the Nistarim were all immortal.  No matter what way I would spin it, this always caused problems with where I wanted to take the story.  Adding in the reincarnation idea really changed it all.  A lot of the struggles that the Nistarim have with their awakening (and the awakening of those around them) involve the lack of knowledge of who they were.  Utilizing the reincarnation theme, it allowed these beings to truly live their humanity in a way that they never would have if they had only lived one life.  

Imagine, if you had supernatural abilities and had lived since the dawn of creation – before man.  Nothing would be new.  Nothing would be exciting.  Love would just be a flash in a pan to someone who had lived that long.  By their ability to die and return, this gives their humanity a realness that the immortals would never have.  

The Tzadikim Nistarim are tasked with the defending the world from a great evil. Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about the evil they must fight?
I struggled with deciding what the evil would be in book one.  Naturally, a typical antagonist in this one would have been Satan, but I didn't want to go that route.  Without giving away what the evil is too easily, I'll say this: the character is nothing like modern-day portrayals throughout media as we see it.  I gave this evil character a slightly different spin that my beta readers really seemed to love.  

Tell us about your protagonists.
I would say that the protagonists are really the entirety of the 36, though we really only get to know a few of them.  First, we have Zaine who is a quiet, nerdy author in college with a very religious upbringing.  He keeps to himself much of his life until he's thrust into this crazy supernatural world.  Seeing him grow – loves begin, end and change, was a very emotional situation for me.  

Second, we have Cat Harper who is a nurse with a hard outer shell.  She's married to her work but goes through a very heartbreaking plot twist causing her to re-evaluate her entire life...and all of those lives.  

Finally, we have Asa who is a college professor and is more of a leader and guide to the others.  I really wanted to give Asa everything he could ever want in life as I wrote him...but we will see if that happens.  He is integral to what is happening as I am writing book two.  

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
Growing up in a very sheltered church setting, I didn't have the chance to really read much of the literature that young adults would typically read.  Basically, if I wasn't required to read it in school and it had a supernatural flare to it, I wasn't allowed to read it.  

Because of this, I was introduced to a couple writers that shaped my view of supernatural fantasy (though they marketed themselves as Christian Fiction).  Those were Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.  They were the two that introduced me to a world outside of my sheltered view of the supernatural world.  I would devour their books and beg for more.  I guess that they were the biggest influences in my writing.  

Also, a friend of mine – Eric Wilson, who wrote the Jerusalem Undead Trilogy (and also used the Nistarim topic – though vastly different) influenced my desire to write.  Talking to him about his process, seeing the work that he put in...that really changed my ideas and gave me the desire to actually put my thoughts into words.  

How long have you been writing?
This is my first novel, but I've been writing since I was a teenager.  Many of those things actually no longer exist – papers tossed over the years, but I was given a gift from a dear friend back in October.  She had worked with me at the library when I was a teenager and we had worked on starting a novel together all those years ago.  So, as I finished my first novel, I also had the opportunity to read the way that 16 year old Jayson wrote.  It was a wonderful experience.  

Who was your favorite character to write?
There were actually a few that are tied for this title, actually.  Lucifer was a very fun one to write because of his personality.  His snarky attitude and quick attitude changes kept me laughing while I was writing and he really surprised me.  Tied as a close second was the character of Lucas, the little boy.  While he doesn't show up a ton in the book, he really spoke to me.  The innocence and power of this character made him complex in my mind.  There were so many more things to him than actually made it onto the paper, but I assure you that we will see so much more of this little man throughout the second and third book.  

What got you interested in the supernatural fantasy genre?
Having spent much of my life studying the strange and abnormal things of the supernatural, I guess it was just a natural progression.  In my seminary program, I chose to focus on the supernatural aspect of the world for much of my independent study as well as in my practice as a minister.  The themes that I saw always drew me in deeper and that's why I wanted to set my story in a world where the supernatural was both hidden yet very much alive.  

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?
I have had the great honor of working with people that really understand writing.  From those who are avid readers to those that write themselves, I have gotten to surround myself with people who know a thing or two about writing.  As this project was being completed, they helped me as I evolved.  Their input was invaluable.  

I also see a lot of changes to my writing style as I continue working on the second book in the series.  The descriptions of events and characters seems to have evolved quite a bit and I find that in book two, the writing is a much higher quality because of that evolution.  

Are there any aspects (e.g. character building, world building) of your writing that you've been practicing?
I would say that my biggest “practice” has been in the character building.  Taking a character from my brain, where they are living and breathing in a very real sense to me, and bringing them to life for others to experience is so important.  As I've progressed in writing, I think that practice will always be a part of this because I want to make sure that each character is developed enough that others can enjoy them the same as I have.  

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
That's quite a distance in the future, though as I get older ten years doesn't seem as distant as it did as a younger person!  For now, I would say that completing the Angelic Human Series trilogy is a major aspect of the goals for the next ten years, though I hope it doesn't take that long!  I also have two more series that I have outlined and would love to see those completed by that time as well!  

How have your readers responded to the book so far?
I have received phenomenal feedback from those that have read the book so far, though it hasn't been out very long.  It is so amazing to me to hear from readers and I can't wait to hear more of what people thing.  The comments as well as criticisms that I have received have worked to shape my writing as I continue on to the second and third books in the series!  

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
I can't say that there is an aspect that I don't like, persay, though I would have to say that in a supernatural book such as this – there has to be death and cruelty.  These things are foreign to me because I'm not one to relish in the idea of having to kill a character or see them come to harm.  So, if I had to choose something that I was not very comfortable in, it would be that.  We all know that a book doesn't progress very well if there aren't obstacles and negative things impacting our characters, so it has to happen – but it isn't something I look forward to.  

Have you ever had writer's block? If yes, how'd you deal with it? If you have not had writer's block, why do you think you haven't?
The answer to this first part is a resounding 'Yes'!  Writing the first book in the series, The Awakened, took me over two years because of the writer's block.  On top of a lot of emotional situations in my personal life, I also dealt with the many nights and days with the computer infront of me and no words coming out.  It was disheartening to say the least.  

The best way that I had to deal with it was the people around me that brought me support.  Throughout the vast majority of the writing process I had my best friend, Erica.  She had read every chapter pretty much as it was written and knew my characters and story beautifully.  When writer's block would hit, I would call her...discuss the story thus far and throw out the “what ifs” of the next part I was planning on writing.  These discussions were integral to moving the story forward and combating the writer's block.  

As the story was nearing an end, when writer's block had been a major problem with how to end the book, I also had a co-worker that would send me a “first line” from all of her favorite books each day.  This provided me with motivation to really sit down and finish the story that had been bubbling in me.  Support, whether from those that know your story well or just those who want to encourage you in other ways, is always an amazing writer's block cure!  

What do you have in mind for your next project?
As "Nistarim: The Awakened" is book one in a trilogy of three books in the series, I am already moving foward on the second book.  "Nistarim: The Fallen" will take us deeper through the struggles of the Nistarim as they inch closer and closer to Armageddon and the end of everything that we know.  I think that many readers will be surprised in the way that this all comes about and the unlikely hero in this next step in the series!  I can't wait to finish this next book and bring to life the next part of a series that my current readership has allowed to be a part of their lives.  

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
This story is a fictional take on some very real beliefs and aspects of many different faiths.  I think it's important to remind people as they read of that.  One reader was very upset in the way that I portrayed Yeshua (Jesus) in such an informal way in some aspects, and I want to make sure that others realize that it is fictionalized and is not meant to be a show of how any faith believes directly.  

Nistarim is a series of books that is meant to bring out a story of the struggles that we all have and the fictional world in which it takes place is just one setting in which we can see ourselves and our own struggles.  That is the central part of writing this novel for me – yes, telling a great story with supernatural themes – but also holding a mirror up to the struggles, pain and heart aches that are very real in our world.  

Closing Remark
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me about this book today!  It was a pleasure sharing with you the writing process, the elements of the book that I love and the struggles that I had writing it.  I can't wait for your readers to experience "Nistarim: The Awakened" and future books in the series!  

More Information
Buy Nistarim: The Awakened on Amazon.

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