Thanks for doing an interview!
Right out of the gate, let’s get to know you book and a little about you. Give us the basics: what did you write, why did you write it, and what makes it stand out among the millions of other books published each year?
Hi, my name is Nathan Sumsion and I’m the author of the book Necropolis PD, published by Parvus Press. This is my debut novel, an urban fantasy about a young man named Jacob Green, the lone living soul in a city of the undead.
“How do you solve a murder in the city of the dead?”
Jacob Green is the only living person trapped in a city where everyone is already dead. This city is made up of all manner of forgotten things: buildings, corners, pathways, and spaces. All are concealed from the modern world. He somehow found his way here and now is trapped with no way to return home.
But when an unusual string of crimes hits the city, Jacob becomes a prime suspect. To clear his name, he’ll have to team up with the Necropolis PD and solve the mystery. Someone, or some thing is killing the dead.
And if he can’t figure out who’s responsible, he’ll be the next victim.
I hope that you find that Necropolis PD is a fresh take on the undead and the haunted dark corners of the world. It’s full of weird characters, strange places and a main character in hopelessly over his head.
How does your background / day job influence your writing? Any connection?
I have worked professionally as a game designer of computer and video games for over 20 years. I have worked on numerous games, from platformers to first-person shooters to MMOs for companies like Disney, Crytek and KingsIsle Entertainment. Currently I am a Game Design Director for Deeproot Studios, working on a new generation of pinball machines.
I have always had an interest in fantasy and science fiction, and my responsibilities as a game designer allow me to do extensive world-building, character development and the crafting of game systems. With Necropolis PD, I was able to take a lot of these skills and apply them to crafting a world of my own design.
When you were a kid, did you want to be a writer? Did the books you read as a kid (or were forced to read in school) influence your writing as an adult?
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my dad kept boxes of old magazines in the garage, old Analog and Fantasy and Science-Fiction magazines. I was fascinated with them. The illustrations on the covers showed my young mind space ships, monsters, warriors and wizards. I grew up on a steady diet of comic books, monster movies, role-playing games, reading fantasy and science-fiction books, and a desire to write my own stories.
In middle school I was an assistant to the librarian, who was a avid reader of science fiction, and he helped introduce me to even more books. Books that had a huge influence on me growing up were The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin, the John Carter books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Robert E. Howard Conan books. As I got a little older, the Elric books by Michael Moorcock and the works of H. P. Lovecraft were also very influential.
Most recently I have been reading a lot by Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Simmons, Glen Cook, Charles Stross, Patrick Rothfuss, and Robin Hobb.
Tell us about the non-writing side of yourself. What kind of hobbies do you have? Sports teams you cheer for? Anything that makes you passionate or gets you riled up?
When I’m not writing, reading or designing games, I play a lot of games. I do a lot of table-top role-playing in a variety of systems, both playing and running sessions. My favorite systems currently are the 5th Edition D&D, the World of Darkness games, Call of Cthulhu and Stormbringer. I play board and card games with family and friends. Most recently, the games I’m playing the most are Eldritch Horror, Betrayal at House on the Hill, 7 Wonders, Pandemic Reign of Cthulhu, and 5 Minute Dungeon.
I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, so obviously I am a dedicated Cornhusker football fan.
If you could be doing anything (job-wise) with your life that is not writing or game design—if you had to live life completely differently—what kind of path would you pursue?
If I wasn’t writing or designing games full-time, I wish that I were focusing more time on art. I earned my degree in art from Utah State University, but in the years since then I’ve focused so much time on writing and game design, that I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked for building and animating 3d models and drawing. I’ve just started dabbling a bit with 3d printing, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of that. I just need more hours in the day!
To be honest, though, I’m doing exactly what I’ve always dreamed of doing. I love dissecting what makes games work, designing systems and building new worlds. I love writing, and hopefully there are people that enjoy reading what I’ve written and enjoy playing the games I’ve created.
What’s the best advice you have for someone just starting to write?
As I said, I’ve been designing video games for over 20 years. During that time, I’ve worked on side projects creating video games, board games, card games, role-playing games, comics, books and short stories, and because of the rigors of the development process in creating video games, I would rarely have time or energy to finish these projects. Finally after years of this, I looked back and saw all of these great half-completed projects that no one else would ever see, and I resolved to pick a project, stick to it and get it done. That project was Necropolis PD.
If I have any advice I could offer, it is to start writing and then FINISH writing. Keep writing, every day. For me, I picked a time each day that I could write, and every single day I would write at that time. Some days I could write for a long time, and some days I only managed a few sentences. But I was making progress every day. And I stuck to it and got it done.
Write every single day. Make it a habit. Get your story done. It’s not easy, it’s very challenging but it’s also very rewarding.
Finally, if you had to pick a single piece of art (any medium) to describe your life, what would it be and why?
I think my life is like the beta version of a video game. It’s mostly planned out, but there’s still a lot of bugs, there are many areas that are incomplete, some systems work great but several are still clunky and unresponsive. Hopefully with enough input from those around me, I can fix the bugs and end up with something I’m proud of.
Thanks for letting me answer some questions and let people learn a little about me and my new book. Please give Necropolis PD a try and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.
Check out all of Nathan’s links and grab your copy of Necropolis PD!