Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

Question and Answer with Ethan Nahté

Written By: Tracy - Sep• 20•11

Recently I attended a brand new convention in my own backyard (well, not really in my own backyard. That would have been crowded, but in Bentonville Arkansas, which is less than 2 hours away) called GlitchCon.  One of my fellow authors in attendance was Ethan Nahté.  Not only do Ethan and I share space in an anthology, but when my car picked up a screw (and a flat because of it) Ethan changed the tire for me.

In addition to being a writer, Ethan has a freelance production company called Live ‘N’ Loud .  One of his more interesting projects is a documentary that he’s been working on that details the life of Robert E. Howard, the author of the Conan books.

Ethan recently agreed to talk to me via e-mail about his short stories as well as his documentary.

Tell my readers one interesting fact about you?

I’m a true multi-hyphenate (and possibly ADHD or insane): TV Producer – Director – Editor – Screenplay Writer – Professional Journalist – Professional Musician – Professional Photographer – Speculative Fiction Writer. I also royally suck at marriage and relationships.

How did you get into writing?

I believe my first attempt at a story was when I was 4 or 5. My parents owned a lot of land out in the Ouachita Mountains and we were camping for a week. I began a story, sort of autobiographical, about a boy in nature and his adventures. From there I eventually wrote stories for the junior high and high school literary journals and won some awards. Then I took a very long break. I became a professional journalist and didn’t write fiction for over 20 years. I finally decided to get back into writing fiction about 2 years ago and have sold a few stories.

What is the most recent story that you’ve worked on?

One of my more recently published short stories, “Darmok and the Sea Maidens” (Twit Publishing), was such a fun story, and a newly created character, that I have been working on turning the story into a full-length novel.

What is the story that you are most proud of?

Oh, making me choose my favorite child! “Darmok and the Sea Maidens” stands out but so does my most recent sale called “Ripping Jack.” I also have a tall-tale in the vein of Tom Sawyer with a character named Buckeye Morris that I have about halfway finished as a novel. It’s a lot of fun but I have to be in the right mood to write that character so it doesn’t get dark.

Where is the strangest place that you’ve written?

Locked in the trunk of a car during a getawy. Oh, wait, that was a dream. Seriously, I wouldn’t call it strange, but I tend to take a notebook with me and hike into the woods or on a mountain, to a cabin, etc. and do a lot of writing by hand.

You mentioned a Jack the Ripper story. Are you a ripperologist? How did you conduct research? What got you interested in the subject.

I have been fascinated by Jack the Ripper since I was a teen. I’ve read many books, seen a lot of documentaries and watched movies such as From Hell. A lot of theories and interesting stuff that one can interpret from the reports and files from the papers and Scotland Yard. I used many of my own books as well as some online information to write my story “Ripping Jack.” I decided to create a story about the reason he was never heard from again or found.

You are also a big fan of Robert E. Howard. You’ve put him in one of your stories, and you’ve been working on a documentary about Howard and his work. What is the status of your documentary right now? Tell us a bit about it.

The REH documentary is actually a two-part documentary, the first part being about his life and the mysteries and misinformation surrounding it; the second being more about his influence on Sword & Sorcery/Action-Adventure or whatever name people want to give to the genre. When one thinks of a barbarian, Conan is the prototype.

The first part has been totally shot and is about half-way through revisions and edits to get it down to a one-hour program time frame. It is primarily interviews with REH scholars, the people of Cross Plains, Texas that knew him, and a few celebrities. The second part is about a third of the way finished with shooting. It’s primarily interviews with authors, artists, actors, producers, etc. that have been influenced by Howard’s work – not just Conan but characters such as Solomon Kane, Kull, Red Sonya (not the comic book but the original character), Steve Costigan, Breckinridge Elkins and many other great characters. There have been a couple of reasons it has taken me so long to finish this project: 1) ownership of the rights to REH’s work has changed hands a couple of times while I’ve been working on this, so getting permission has not necessarily been a problem but has taken some time and faith. 2) Doing the entire project out of my own pocket has been costly and I have passed the point of insanity and no return with the time and costs put into the documentaries. 3) I have lupus and that takes a toll on my health to be able to get around or even sit at a computer and type, edit video, etc. Good days, bad days and days that really suck.

 What is your favorite work of Howard’s?

I’d have to say that even though I first found REH, like most fans, through Conan, his mountain character Breckinridge Elkins is my favorite. It’s comedy, action and adventure all rolled into one and the character is possibly even stronger than Conan or Kull. I truly believe that if one were to look at the cartoon characters of L’il Abner (Dogpatch) or Jethro (Beverly Hillbillies) one can see that Breckinridge was a possible influence.

Where can we find your work?

Currently, my printed fiction can be found at Yard Dog Press, Hall Brothers Entertainment & Twit Publishing. All but one title is in softcover and most of the books, as well as the new e-book I Didn’t Quite Make it to Oz (Yard Dog Press) can be found as some form of e-book. The anthologies I’m in are also at Hastings in Russellville, Arkansas. As for my journalism, type my name into Google and I pop up in about 25 or 30 different e-zines, magazines and newspapers around the world.

Where can we find you online?

I’m currently creating a website for just my writing. Otherwise, my company LIVE ‘N’ LOUD (http://www.livenloud.net/) has been online for over 15 years.

What is your next appearance?

I will be appearing once again at FenCon in Dallas, TX the weekend of Sept. 23-25. Then it looks as though I will be appearing with you and Selina Rosen at Hastings in Russellville on Saturday, Nov. 12 for a signing. In addition to some panels and a reading, I will also be filling in on rhythm guitar with David Lee Anderson and the Starcruisers. This will be the first time I’ve performed on a music stage in 18 years so it should be interesting.

What question did I miss that you wished I’d asked? Well, since you so thoughtfully supplied the question, could you also answer it?

Do I prefer blueberry pancakes or plain pancakes? No, that’s probably not it. I would just say that trying to work with something that can be crippling or fatiguing, such as lupus, is a difficult thing at times. I’m currently looking to get a newer computer so I can obtain new speech recognition software because my old software seems to have died and the manufacturer seems to have died along with it. I’ve been relying on friends to transcribe some of my handwritten stories. Believe it or not, on the days I can use my hands it is much easier to write longhand than to try and type just due to pain, swelling or inability to feel fingers.

Anything I’ve missed?

Although I like all my publishers, I really do appreciate Yard Dog Press for publishing my first professional fiction piece and have enjoyed getting know Selina and the other Yard Dogs. Going to conventions with the YDP group is always fun, entertaining and creative.

 

Be sure to say hello to Ethan at Fencon/Deepsouth Con if you are going. And be sure to check back next week, as I will have an interview with Fencon/Deepsouth Con’s guest of honor, Gail Carriger.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.