The most recent author to takeover our Twitter account is S.D. Nicholson. S. D. Nicholson is the author of Mischief and Mayhem: Part One of The Faerlands Chronicles. The Faerlands Chronicles is a dark fantasy for adults that will sweep them away to a more magical land. Mischief and Mayhem follows protagonist Ophelia Maplewood on a twisted journey through the realm of the Faers. S. D. Nicholson sat down with us to talk about being a young author and about his newest book.
Young Entertainment Mag: How did you first get involved in writing?
S. D. Nicholson: I started writing in my free time while I was working as a commercial real estate agent. For me, writing was a way to escape into my own world that I could create. My hobby quickly turned into a passion and I started taking it more seriously, staying up countless hours on the weekends writing, which is how I completed Part One’s manuscript in a little less than five months.
I then realized the story had already grown legs and was set in motion to be a series that would chronicle the history of the world I was building, specifically during a most pivotal turning point in their world. I would write short stories in college, at random times and for no specific reason, but I’ve always had a wildly vivid imagination, which I feel helps with the storytelling. Since writing and revising Part Two, I can already see how my approach to writing has evolved throughout the story.
YEM: Your new book is called Mischief and Mayhem. Where did the idea for this book come from?
Nicholson: The base concept originated from a game my friends and I used to play when we were kids with plastic swords and bows, running around the neighborhood parks and hunting for “magical items.” We always said it would be a cool video game or TV show, so when I started writing, I immediately knew this would be the base concept, along with introducing more elaborate characters with their own internal struggles.
I chose faers as the main race for their mischievous tendencies to cause trouble, while adding additional capabilities thanks to their wings and ability to fly. I believed it would help make for another layer in battles and world building. The title seemed appropriate and fun, but I want the series to be remembered as a whole as The Faerlands Chronicles.
YEM: The main character’s name is Ophelia, like Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Did you find inspiration from Shakespeare when writing this book?
Nicholson: That is an interesting notion that hadn’t dawned on me. I would say Ophelia’s name resonated more from Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s the innocent youth being surrounded by dark brutality that I found compelling, and in a way, translates in my own unique way into Ophelia Maplewood’s internal struggle with her arcane powers. This is a crucial theme throughout the series.
On Shakespeare, I would say my favorite aspect of his works, besides the evident skill, was his ability to create heavy atmospheres and tragedy, all the while keeping the amusement present. The greatest inspiration in my writing comes from Tolkien and his impeccable world building skills.
YEM: This book includes characters that are human and alien. Do you believe in aliens?
Nicholson: This could be answered in one of two ways:
My characters and their race are that of fantasy, similar to elves, dwarves, and orcs, theirs being faer and troll. No, I don’t believe fantasy races exist, but I find them compelling as they are entire races of individuals with unique perspectives that are based on the lore we create for them. They feel in different ways and show different levels of compassion, empathy, and other complex emotions.
Aliens, being from some other part of space, are a whole other discussion that can be left for the astro-physicists and space enthusiasts. We know that microorganisms can survive in some parts of space. The one’s that existed and evolved over time on earth thrived due to their life needs. Others feed and live off of compounds not heavily saturated here, but could exist on a more suitable planet that offers a stable habitat to evolve. There is no reason to dismiss the idea that the evolution of organisms that need methane or carbon dioxide to survive. Compared to water and oxygen, couldn’t be thriving somewhere else in the universe. We may never know until our technology for deep space exploration reaches new heights. I don’t believe any presence is here on earth, but who really knows what’s out in space?
YEM: The book features a dark, magic land. If you could travel to a magic land of your choosing, what would it look like?
Nicholson: I’ll just say, keep reading the Faerlands for how my ideal magical land would appear. This is the world I’m building that I would desire. I’m taking the reader through the world with our characters so that by the end of the series you will look back and see the Faerlands realm as a whole. We haven’t even explored the human or troll homelands yet, let alone the rest of the Faerlands. 😉
I will add that I believe it is important in world-building to not overwhelm the audience with too much at once. Part One is designed to introduce the reader into the world and gain an understanding of how this world works, compared to every day life on earth. As our character’s continue to wander and see what is really happening, so too will the reader see how vast and complex the Faerlands is.
YEM: What advice would you give to readers that want to become writers?
Nicholson: Don’t be risk-averse. Everyone has great ideas that can be told, and often times many others agree and would continue to listen. You just have to take the time to write it down and not be fearful that others won’t like it. The worst thing they can do to you is not purchase the book. Everyone has his or her own preference of entertainment. Take your time, believe in yourself, and endeavor to persevere. You will always be your own worst enemy when critiquing yourself.