Monday, 9 March 2015

Interview! Nathan M. Farrugia

Nathan M. Farrugia and I share in common the fact that we loved action books. That's why he asked me if I could review his book The Chimera Vector, which was quite cool as I had it in my Want to Read list on Goodreads!

And now, after loving his book (that could be referred as: action-action-action-and-geek-stuff)(really cool stuff in fact) I wanted to ask him a few question as undoubtedly he knows a lot about combat and stunt (the scene were so well described, it could only came firsthand!) He kindly answered my question which I present you right now!

The culprit
Nathan Farrugia is published by Momentum Books (Pan Macmillan).

He served in the Australian Army in infantry and reconnaissance, and studied film, television and professional writing. He worked as a post-production video editor, colorist and copywriter, where he earned the nickname Fagoogoo because no one could pronounce Farrugia.

Nathan lives in Melbourne, Australia. In his spare time he practices lock picking and discovers hidden places around the world with urban explorers. He studies Systema, a little-known martial art and former secret of Russian Special Forces. Nathan has trained under USMC, SEAL team, Spetsnaz and Defence Intelligence instructors, and the wilderness and tracking skills of the Chiricahua Apache scouts and Australian Aboriginals. He also drinks tea.

He spills the beans…
Will you tell us a little bit about your series?
Sure, The Fifth Column series (3 novels, 1 short) is about a young girl, Sophia, who is genetically modified and trained by a clandestine government agency, the Fifth Column. She’s abducted by renegade scientists and soon finds herself the spearhead of a resistance movement. Throughout the series, it’s pretty much just her and a small group of friends standing between the Fifth Column and their tightening stranglehold over the world. Sophia’s group are high trained but they’re a ragtag bunch, sort of the opposite of James Bond.

So, Nathan, what’s with all the training you’ve done and what’s next?
Haha, I get a little carried away! No but seriously, I go too far.

I have a background in the army, but your general soldierly knowledge only takes you so far. I found myself being drawn to strange and unconventional training such as urban escape and evasion, lockpicking, wilderness survival and surveillance. I’m still deciding on what’s next, maybe some more navigation by night. Doing more than just one Parkour class would be good too. 
Do you still need to work? If yes, how do you manage to combine work and writing (and training and blogging and tweeting...)
I do some video editing part-time, also from home. It’s easy to combine because I basically never blog and I tend to use social media more to make fun of myself than sell books. I think a campaign manager would have a heart attack if they saw how I do things. But I spend most of my time writing or doing writing-related things or pretending to write.

Where do you find all that techno stuff in your books?
Well, I traveled here from the future. Oh and we’ll all be destroyed by artificial intelligence.

I also get some inspiration from DARPA, the Pentagon’s evil science division, and from a wide array of conspiracy theories. And my brain, which is pretty crazy too. Anything that could conceivably happen now or next year is something I’ll look at.

Which events will you attend in the next months?
I’ll be on a panel at Supanova in Melbourne, Australia (April 2015) talking about thrill seeking. There are a bunch of other events on this year and hopefully I can announce them soon! But it should be a pretty fun year.

What are you reading now?
I’m reading some crazy short stories by Patrick Lenton, called A Man Made Entirely of Bats. It’s hilarious and bizarre and I read a story before bed every night. It’s in print and ebook, so I recommend checking it out. Next on my list is The Foundation by Steve P Vincent, which looks to be a very exciting thriller.

What do you look for in a good book? Is there anything that will make you put a book down, unfinished?
The thing that sucks about being a writer is as you improve and refine your own skills, you start to enjoy fewer books. I find it difficult to discover good books in the thriller genre more so than the science fiction genre. I think this is because many thrillers will be mired with clichés, formulaic plots and a whole conga line of tropes that are typical of the genre, such as the James Bond clone, the Middle Eastern terrorist or the sinister Russian KGB agent.

What I look for in a good book is a clever storyteller who will either try something new or work with these tropes and make them interesting, or invert them completely. On the first page, I look for sharp, crisp writing that can tell a story in fewer words without needing to clutter it with adverbs and adjectives, or spend a whole sentence describing a doorknob. Their economy of words allows you to enjoy and connect with the story. These are the excellent writers, and they are excellent because they are precise and fearless.

If you could experience one book again for the first time, which one would it be?
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.

What's next for you?
I’m working on a new episodic series at the moment, featuring both new and existing characters. You don’t need to have read my previous books to read these. But existing readers still get to continue their journey with Sophia, Damien, Jay and others.

The great thing about this episodic series, like a television series, is there’s more room for plots to develop, for characters to get to know each other and for us to get to know them, to love them and to hate them. But don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t dare use the extra room to get lazy and long-winded! The same level of efficient, precise storytelling applies in this form and there won’t be a scene in there that doesn’t need to be.

Why so serious questions 

What would be your desert island read? Probably not Jurassic Park. Given that is also set on an island. Maybe a good cyberpunk novel like Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon.

Your favorite villain? Gary Oldman’s character, Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, from The Fifth Element. 

Whose hero do you wish you had created? None, really. There are plenty of hero characters out there who I adore, but I don’t wish for a second they were mine. I’d really prefer to create my own. 

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I was almost a stuntperson once, which is good because you at least get paid for endangering your life. Otherwise, I’d become a permanent traveller. It’s simultaneously as lonely and exciting as being a writer and that works for me. 

Any question you want to ask your hero?
I would ask, in the nicest way possible, how have you not given up on the human race yet?
One day, that will be handy to know.
For when the AI comes and kills us all.


You can follow Nathan on his blog here or Twitter or Facebook

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