We are delighted to be interviewing the author Nathan Everett and reviewing his latest novel City Limits. It is an unusual tale that captures the heart of small-town America. Everett travels the world, visiting towns, and countryside to capture characters and locations for some thirty books published under different pen names. A true peripatetic author, tomorrow, he may be writing near you!
Gee Evars stumbled into Rosebud Falls on Independence Day just in time to rescue a toddler from the rushing torrent of the Rose River. And to lose his memory. In an attempt to make Rosebud Falls his home, Gee becomes a local hero and inadvertently leads a revolt that changes the balance of power in the town. But will he ever know who he really is?
City Limits book review by Anna-Lisa
There are lots of talented authors and sadly never enough time to read all of their amazing books. So, I am grateful to Sassy Brit of Alternative Read who invited me to participate in this blog blitz. If it wasn’t for her, I would not have discovered Nathan Everett and I am definitely going to check out his other books.
Whilst I loved the novel, I have to be honest – if I saw City Limits for sale in a bookshop, I would not have been immediately drawn to it. However, it is true “we should never judge a book by its cover”. City Limits exceeded my expectations and I couldn’t put it down as I was captivated by Gee, Karen, the forest, and the Family!
Nathan is a skilled storyteller and I loved how he added a hint of folklore (Grandfather Tree) and demonstrated the town’s and The Family’s strong connection to the forest. At times, Rosebud Falls reminded me of the fictional town Stars Hollows from the TV series the Gilmore Girls. It sounds like a really quaint and scenic place which the Families have worked hard to protect.
Nathan’s characters were interesting and I felt like Karen especially would make a great friend. Gee was fantastic and the situations that he found himself in, demonstrates how people can wrongly jump to conclusions and accuse an innocent person. Gee was definitely a champion and was heroic. Although he could not remember who he was, his intentions were always honourable thus indicating that he was a good person. The seven Families were fascinating and I imagine that they all have dark, deep, secrets which Nathan will explore further in his sequel. I felt like I needed a family tree to keep up with all the different relatives and how they were connected!
Nathan tackled some big issues in the novel including corruption. He definitely did not shy away from any controversy and I appreciated this rather than the story being sugar-coated. I don’t want to include any spoilers, however, throughout the novel I continued to attempt to solve the mystery of who Gee was. I felt than Nathan provided some subtle clues throughout and I will be interested to see if my predictions are confirmed in his sequel, Wild Wood, which will be out in 2019.
I highly recommend City Limits by Nathan Everett, it is a fascinating story, well-plotted, and includes a wide-range of interesting characters.
Interview with Nathan Everett
Question: I have to ask. What is a peripatetic author?
Nathan: The dictionary defines peripatetic as simply travelling from place to place and staying for relatively short periods of time. It’s an ancient word and I like the concept that it also means a philosopher. So, I travel aimlessly from place to place thinking deep thoughts.
Question: How long have you been doing that?
Nathan: I had an epiphany some five or six years ago—not long after the publication of The Gutenberg Rubric. “I’m an author. I could do this anywhere. So why am I doing it from a basement in Seattle?” That was the spark that got me moving and as Billy Joel wrote, “Sold the house, closed the shop, bought a ticket to the West Coast.” My ticket was a travel trailer and pickup truck. I’ve been on the road for five years.
Question: How has that affected your writing?
Nathan: Two ways. It got me focused. I take a day to travel to a new location and then spend a few days absorbing what is there. But I’m completely alone, so I spend hours sitting in front of my computer writing. In those five years, I’ve averaged writing about 600,000 words a year. A few of them are pretty good. But more importantly, it gave me quiet time to listen to my characters. While I’m driving, or in some instances on a train or airplane, I’m quiet. My mind is focused on the road. But that’s when my characters start talking. I just listen and then I camp and start writing what they said.
Question: It sounds like you hear voices in your head, do your characters talk to you a lot?
Nathan: I’m not sure who to credit with the saying, but I’ve heard it said that if you hear voices in your head and they are ignoring you, you’re probably a writer. If they are talking to you, you have a different problem.
Question: Your newest book, City Limits, is about a man who simultaneously becomes a local hero and loses his memory. What was the inspiration for that?
Nathan: I’ve had a long fascination with the issue of homelessness. Technically, you could say I’m homeless, though I refer to it as being a turtle. I carry my home on my back, so to speak. But I have no single address where I live. Today in Idaho. Next month, perhaps Indiana. Maybe a month in Thailand. In City Limits, I discovered a man who was suddenly without an identity, in a place where he was not known, trying to make a home for himself. It was another way to explore what it means to be homeless. It was also a way to explore what it means to be a hero.
Question: For a while, I thought Gee Evars, your hero, was going to end up in a hospital or jail in every chapter. You certainly didn’t go easy on him. But why such an anti-religious stance? The villains of the story appear to be a conservative church.
Nathan: I’m not anti-religious, anti-Christian, or antidisestablishmentarian. I am opposed to people who distort religious messages in an effort to foster their own agendas, hatred, prejudice, and frankly evil desires. I hold the preacher, deacon, and members of the church in this story to no different standard than I hold the politicians, police officers, librarians, corporate officers, or Family heads. The tools they use to attempt control over others are different, but they are just tools. The single question is, “Do you make the world a better place to live?” That’s my only criteria.
Question: City Limits has an interesting structure with only thirteen very long chapters but several subheadings. Is there some underlying purpose to the structure rather than making each of those subheadings a chapter of its own?
Nathan: It had to do with my original concept for the story. I was thinking from the outset about our obsession with television. When I started planning the book, I conceived it as a thirteen-episode first season of a television series. The first draft was a chaotic jumble, popping from head to head and voice to voice. Fortunately, I had some very perceptive editors who ripped it apart for me and let me figure out how to reassemble it. It was a ninety percent rewrite. But the underlying structure of thirteen episodes and different scenes within the episode remained. It’s interesting how many readers have responded to me without prompting that they could see this as a television or Netflix series.
Thank you Nathan for providing us with your answers. If you have a question for Nathan, then contact him via his website.
About the author Nathan Everett
Peripatetic author Nathan Everett joined the ranks of digital nomads in 2013, five years after publishing his first novel. He travels the country seeking out new stories and penning new tales. “I woke up one morning with an epiphany: I could do this from anywhere! So why was I doing it from a basement in Bellevue?” Nathan says.
Whether driving through mountains or across the Great Plains, there is a story just outside the window. His time on the road has taken him through forty-six states, three Canadian provinces, and sixteen other countries. As a pioneer in desktop publishing, Nathan became a trainer, including researching and teaching publication design and the history of printing. A refugee from a high tech/high stress career developing digital content, eBooks, and publishing technology, he now writes in a variety of genres focusing on mainstream fiction and thrillers. Both his writing and his designs have won multiple awards.
Nathan’s blog, First Exit, is followed by those who will read social commentary as long as there are pretty pictures of the places he travels.
Most of his career was focused on non-fiction publishing, beginning with his first company, The Wordsmythe in the late ’70s. In 2007 he was a founding principal in the boutique publishing house, Long Tale Press. After acquiring the assets of Long Tale, he founded Elder Road Books in 2009 and published some two dozen books for several authors in the ensuing years. Having reached the age of retirement, he has divested himself of most of the works of other authors but continues to publish his own work, edit manuscripts for other authors, and design both fiction and non-fiction books.
Nathan also writes adult romance and adventure stories and has twenty books available under the name Devon Layne.
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Check out Nathan Everett’s books
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