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AUTHOR SNAPSHOT: EMMETT NAHIL

Welcome to NightTide's Author Snapshot! Snapshots are quick, engaging, bite-sized interviews with writers that we love! This week, we chat with the unmatched Emmett Nahil!

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1. Give us your best elevator pitch on this work. 

From the Belly is a cosmic, queer, nautical horror novel that follows the crew of the whaleship Merciful cursed for their greed by the inhuman man found caught in the stomach lining of a whale. When sailor Isaiah Chase is charged with taking care of him, things onboard grow stranger and stranger, and Isaiah must choose between his relationship with the man and his loyalty to the crew.

2. What was your first published work?

I did some writing for the Boston Hassle when I was still in school. My first published fiction was a flash story about the ghost of Johnny Cash haunting a hospital. "When the Man Comes Around"...I think it's still on The Molotov Cocktail website.

3. Is there a story inside that you have seeds of but can't seem to connect that's dying to get out? 

Very much so! I think for most authors there are always bits and pieces of stories bopping around, constantly. I never like to give away what pieces, exactly, because they sometimes end up connecting in strange and interesting ways later on.

4. How do you handle a rejected story?

I dissociate for half a day and order a pizza. Notably, this is also what I do when I have a story accepted, so make of that what you will.

5. What does literary success look like to you?

I was talking with my friend the other day about how I don't admire people whose debut novels make the Times Bestseller list, I admire people who are still putting out interesting, quality books 30, 40 years out from their debut. I aspire to a cockroach-like sense of survival and longevity.

6. Do you read your book reviews and if so, how do you deal with bad or good ones?

I do the dumb/bad thing and occasionally check out ratings, but I try to abide by the policy that reviews are for readers and reviewers. It's almost never about you, unless there's some prejudicial shit going on. I usually just sit down and shut up, unless someone really wants to sing the book's praises and tag me about it. Can't say no to a good compliment.

7. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?  

Getting out first drafts. Usually when I'm on draft 4, or 5, I'm locked in, but initially, I can't help feeling like I never have actually known how to write a book and I'll never figure it out. I try to rely on friends and other professionals to tell me to get over myself.

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8. As in most times, the truth is stranger than fiction, what has been the hardest scene or chapter you've had to write, if you were channeling personal experience?

I think the hardest scenes to write are almost always dream sequences, because I have a lot of very odd dreams. I'm not the kind of person who believes that you can't ever have a good dream scene, and I enjoy writing them, but not everyone enjoys reading them. It's a battle to try and make them convincing yet important in the context of the story.

 

9. What inspired your latest work?

I was very much inspired by a nonfiction book on the history of whaling in America called Leviathan, by Eric Jay Dolin: so much so that he actually made it into the acknowledgements. I don't know how he'd feel about that, but I'm inspired by history all the time, even if my work ends up not always being historical, or if it outright merges into the fantastical, like From the Belly does. I'd love to get Mr. Dolin a beer and talk about research.

10. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? 

It's pretty basic, but I'd tell my younger self to stop waiting until you feel good enough to write what you want. That feeling never comes, so you might as well have fun with it.

11. What's the best advice you've received from a fellow writer?

It's not really advice, but more an aggregate of what many folks have said about the internet and social media. Self-promotion of your career online can only do so much. Don't break your back trying to do the work of a publisher's whole-ass marketing department, but don't fully abandon the effort to get the word out there either. The words on the page will always, always matter more.

 

12. What is your go-to comfort horror/Sci-Fi book? 

I return to Misery all the time. It's so tightly wound. King traffics in reader satisfaction, and all that tension pays off at every turn in that book.

13. If you were to genre-hop, which genres would you most like to try writing? 

Even with Horror as my home base, I genre-hop all the time, usually when it comes to my work in video games or comics. I really enjoy writing all kinds of fantasy and sci-fi. When it comes to what I'd like to try... I got my degree in Art History, so I really enjoy essays and nonfiction. I'd love to do a kind of popular history of transgender identity in horror literature. Why not play to my interests, y'know?

PRE-ORDER EMMETT'S LATEST NOVEL HERE!

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