The DMV Daily had the pleasure of interviewing Natasha D. Lane. She’s an author from Baltimore, MD who has a passion for writing. Writing is one of the powers she uses to create her own world and escape from this one. Lane a believer that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” She from Juniata College in 2015 with aspirations of becoming a journalist. Instead, life took her on a different path and Natasha found herself digging up a manuscript from her childhood.
Q: What is your name and tell me about yourself?
Natasha: Hi! I’m Natasha D. Lane, author of fantastic fantasy. I was born and raised in Baltimore City but now live in DC. During the day I work for a local nonprofit but at night I create fantastical worlds. I was first published in 2014 while writing romance and quickly realized the genre wasn’t for me. I’ve since returned to my favorite genre, fantasy, and am wrapping up my first series! Outside of writing and reading, I enjoy true crime, anime, and documentaries. Not necessarily in that order.
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Natasha: Probably around when I was twelve. An English teacher gave my class a homework assignment in which we had to write a short story. I was hooked. I loved the endless possibilities when I wrote, building dialogue between characters, and creating something all my own.
It felt good. Before the assignment, I had mostly read, maybe wrote a few poems. I didn’t think I could ever become an author.
When I expressed how much I enjoyed the assignment, my teacher told me to turn it into a novel. I took her words to heart and haven’t stopped since.
Q: What motivated you to write “The Pariah Child” series?
Natasha: Many things but one reason stands out. When I was a kid, I begged my grandmother to take me to the movies to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. After lots of pleading, she finally gave in. Neither my brother nor siblings were interested in fantasy, so it was harder convincing her to take only one.
Anyway, she took me and I didn’t leave my seat for two-and-a-half hours. Yes, I had to go to the bathroom, and my popcorn bag was empty. But none of that mattered. I refused to miss one second of the movie. When I returned home, I reenacted the entire film in my backyard. That’s how much I loved it.
Eventually, I realized I wanted to write a story like that. a story about pure adventure.
Eragon, though not the greatest movie, also led me to this realization.
Q: How long did it take you to write your book?
Natasha: The first book? Well, more than ten years since I first wrote it when I was thirteen but I didn’t start to professionally publish until I was around 24. For most of my life, writing was just something I did for fun with dreams of becoming a professional. Once I decided to write professionally, it took me about two years until publication.
Q: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Natasha: I try to split everything fifty-fifty. Since I work during the day, I use the evening to write. That said, sometimes my day job carries on late into the evening, and my writing takes a backseat. But that’s what weekends are for. You won’t catch me going out on the weekend often if I have a book to write.
Q: As a child, what did you want to do growing up?
Natasha: Like many kids, my “grown-up job” varied for some time. As I said previously, it was around when I was twelve I decided I wanted to become a writer. Before then, I had wanted to be everything from a singer to a doctor to a painter and back again.
But, no matter where my imaginary career paths varied, writing was always there. If I were a singer, I’d be a writing-singer. Everything else was secondary.
Q: What do you think makes a good story?
Natasha: Great dialogue and characters who are both interesting and relatable. That’s not to say concept or plot isn’t important. They are! But what makes or breaks a story are the characters. If we were to look at all of the cinema and literature, we’d see that we’ve read and watched the same stories hundreds of times, just with different characters.
Q: How well do you take criticism?
Natasha: I once had someone leave a review for one of my books. In the review, she accused my work of being unprofessional and lacking any sort of editing. She continued to say my lack of professionalism reflected in my writing. Considering I had paid two professional editors and, of course, read the text several times myself along with others, I was surprised at the accusation. And, yes, a little hurt.
But I didn’t argue with her. I didn’t agree either but I understood getting upset wouldn’t do any good. Instead, I took what I could from her interview, left everything else behind, and moved on.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Natasha: True Crime, anime, and documentaries. Though, to be honest I’ve been trying to limit my true crime intake. I scare pretty easily.
Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
Natasha: Wow. Only one? Alright.
Keep your first book expectations low. If you’re a writer at heart, your first book is like your first child. You love it unconditionally, it’s perfect, it’s going to be a star, and people are going to love it, too. In reality, the first book doesn’t launch or even support most writers.
It takes several more books, several more series before an author gets some traction. When your first book debuts, not many people know who you are. You have to work at building that brand name and recognition. While you’re waiting, keep writing because practice makes “perfect” and patience is a virtue.
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Be sure to check out Natasha’s latest book release “The Pariah Child: Serwa’s Descendants” available for purchase on Amazon.