#Q&A with Nathan Parker author of The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson @parker_book

Posted June 14, 2018 by Zoé in Q&A, Reviews and Stuff / 0 Comments

I was so lucky to receive a copy of Nathan Parker’s – The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson (you can read the review here  (Definitely check out his book please! You won’t regret it!) and he then kindly agreed to do a Q&A so we can find out what makes him tick. I am honoured to have Nathan on my blog, thank you and welcome! 

  • When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?

On the whole I know who the characters are, what their traits are, their personality, their history and their motives. I then keep these features in mind to determine how they develop as a character in the story… what I don’t always know is exactly what they are going to do. For example, Jack, a character in the book, ended up having much more of a significant role in the story than I had originally intended when I created him.

  • What did you edit out of The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson? Will it appear in later in the series?

Oh I edited out some rubbish! Long hours of hitting the delete button and rewriting things, I believe that process was vital in getting the book to where it is. The two main things I edited from my first draft were some POV issues and ensuring I showed more than I told. These two pointers came from the wonderful Anne Wheeler who was my beta reader – I honestly don’t think the book would be the same if I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with Anne.

  • Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

This is the question I’ve been asked the most and it’s a bit of a blurry answer sorry! The characters are nearly all completely fictional, but I have used personal experiences to add authentic detail to some of the scenes/relationships. My brother is a recovering heroin addict for example so Tommy’s feelings towards his brother carry a lot of similarity to how I felt as a teenager. I have also drawn on my experiences of living and working as a youth worker in a similar town to Granville so some bits and pieces have been drawn from there too. There is one character who is loosely based on somebody and that is Dorian, he’s based on my best friend in terms of his appearance and mannerisms. This was because after I told him I was writing a book, before the ‘wow really? Good luck with it’ he said ‘can I be in it?’, which if you knew him you wouldn’t be surprised at!

  • What was the hardest chapter to finish and why? 

There are a few chapters that I found challenging… the first one was a complete rewrite from my first draft but there were elements I wanted to keep in the book as I felt they were critical for setting the scene, so that was tricky! The last one (of course!), but the final few were tricky as a group as they hold a lot of action so getting the balance of description, tension but also cramming in all that was happening I found quite hard – my fingers would often run away in the moment and type at 100mph, then I’d reread and think ‘that doesn’t even make sense!’. I also found the more romantic moments between Tommy and Kirsten quite hard, finding a delicate balance between building the intimacy, but being sensitive too and not ruining the potential for their relationship.

  • What’s your schedule like a writer? Do you work 9 to 5, or fit it in where you can around other things like a job or running a household?

I write when I can! My job demands flexible hours so sometimes I work until 8 in the evening. When writing the book, I had a slipped disc in my back (the main reason for me pursuing it actually), so rather than go to the gym I would write for an hour or two, sometimes first thing in the morning to get my creative juices flowing for the day ahead, sometimes after work or over the weekend to unwind and escape the stresses of work. 

  • What is your writing Kryptonite?

At the moment it’s my beautiful baby boy, Sonny, I just can’t get going again! But during the first book, writing kryptonite was certainly self doubt, I put the book away for a whole 2 months last year and didn’t think I’d pick it back up again. I guess I just had a belief that I was a bit of an imposter on the writing scene – I barely scraped my English Language A Level, then here I was thinking I could write a book! (thank god for spell check!) Needless to say I had positive people around me, such as my partner and some family and friends who were in the know about the book quest, they encouraged me to pick it back up and continue… and here we are!

  • Where is your favourite place to write?

At home. I love being at home, I’m a family man so feel my happiest when at home and when I’m happy I really feel like I can get in the zone with writing.

  • If you had to write yourself as a character in your book, would you be a heroine or villainous? What would you be like and what would you name yourself?

Tough one! I think I’d definitely be a hero, I may occasionally talk tough but I haven’t got a villainous bone in my body really so I’d almost certainly have to be on the right side morally – unless I became a vigilante and could do a bit of both! I guess I’d be kind of how I am in person, I try to think of others, like to have fun, injustice doesn’t sit too well with me… maybe a little like Tommy. Maybe I could play him in the Hollywood movie? Although they’d have to airbrush for sure!

  • What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer it?

Well, I always found it funny in the Saturday magazines when celebs got asked about their “typical weekend” and the content of one weekend would take about 2 weeks to complete in my life! So my typical weekend would probably consist of something like… up early on Saturday and make a nice cup of tea for me and my partner, maybe go to the gym (back injury dependent), have some brunch at home – we tend to favour BLTs as a staple weekend brunch, possibly do some diy bits around the house (although it’s not my strong suit!) or if there are no jobs to do maybe visit family or take a walk, watch some of the football results/live games, attend whatever function/party/gathering is on that weekend (this could be anything from a night on the town, a birthday meal, drinks with friends, bbq, you get the drift).. Sunday morning would all depend on how much alcohol was consumed the previous evening, but Sunday afternoon is almost always spent at my Mum’s house for her renowned Sunday Roast with the family for lots of fun and great food, followed by a nice chilled out Sunday evening with my partner and the latest box set we’re watching.

  • What are you working on now?

Book 2 in The Granville Series of course! I haven’t began writing yet but the plot is mapped out, some new characters created to add to the mix, twists and turns all figured out so I’m almost ready to put pen to paper – or finger tips to keyboard should I say! Get ready for more trials and tribulations in Granville as Tommy finds himself in the middle of another whirlwind of crime, drugs and terror!

Thank you again, Nathan, for stopping by, and go give your beautiful son a cuddle from me!

Check out my review here of The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson!

The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson is out now and can be brought here 

The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson by Nathan Parker
Series: The Granville Series #1
on May 1 2018
Pages: 259
Also by this author: The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson , The Rise of The Chemist

If you were searching for answers about the mysterious disappearance of your father, but were warned that pulling at that thread would put you in grave danger... would you pull at it anyway?
A turbulent seaside town holds a dark secret. Terror reigns in the form of drug king pin, Smiler, whose core business is to exploit the vulnerable. Hope is all but non existent.
Tommy Dawson has believed for most of his life that his dad, Timothy, ran out on him when he was just two years old, leaving him to grow up in survival mode with his mum and brother, who had become more focussed on their drug habits than his welfare.
That's until information comes to light which suggests that his dad's disappearance isn't all it seems.
Tommy and his trusted sidekick, Kirsten, embark upon a quest to uncover the truth, taking them to the darkest corners of Granville and uncovering shocking secrets that will reveal the town's disturbing underbelly.

Until next time xxx

About Nathan Parker

My name is Nathan Parker, a 32-year-old father of one from Blackpool, Lancashire. I’m recently married to my beautiful wife, Nadina, so beautiful in fact, let’s just say it’s a good job I have my sense of humour to rely on. Family has always been central to my universe, but since becoming a dad I feel as though life makes far more sense than it used to. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with Sonny, my son who is 18 months old – watching him develop and learn brings me a joy I never thought was possible. With any luck, one child may become two – or more – as the years go by.

I’m proud of the fact I was born and raised, schooled and now live and work in sunny Blackpool. Despite its perception as a town with challenges – a perception which is accurate on many fronts – in my thirty-two years I have seen and experienced community, resilience, strength and good times in this town.

I am a Youth Worker by trade, graduating from Canterbury Christ Church University with a first-class BA honours degree in Youth Work and Community Learning and Development. For ten plus years I have worked alongside young people experiencing some of life’s toughest challenges and, although now working at a strategic level, I work hard to support and empower the young people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to create their own stories, with informed choices, broadening horizons and challenging inequality within the systems young people are bound.

My journey into writing began officially in 2017 when I was tasked with making a creative pledge to myself, to write it down and tell the workshop within which the task was set – which I’ve since learned meant I was 90% more likely to see it through… sneaky devils!

The pledge I set myself was to write a short story. Fast forward 12 months and I self-published my first novel; The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson, The First Book in the Granville Series. A fictional ‘anytown’ but certainly shaped from my knowledge of Blackpool.

The book enabled me to tell a story which was burning inside me; a tale inspired by personal and professional experiences told with realism through a world of fiction. My writing style is to take real life adversity, emotion and grit and weave it into stories filled with twists and turns, relatable characters and places which feel familiar to most.

I would say I’ve always loved to read, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth. I began my childhood as an avid reader, although it wasn’t the classics which hooked me in – ten year old Nathan was more of a Goosebumps fan. And I still read now; with a common, nightly routine of a few chapters before bed. My current read is Michael Connelly’s The Poet.

However, there was a huge void in my teens. A black hole within which books, reading and writing didn’t feature. School, Sports, Friendships, Hormones, whatever it was, I stopped reading and it wasn’t until my dad encouraged me to read again in my early twenties to help address a sleeping problem that I picked up To Kill a Mockingbird and fell in love with books all over again.

Truth is, I believe if the stories I write were available to fifteen-year-old me, I never would have stopped reading. I needed real life, I needed danger and I needed topical issues which explained life to me – adversity, relationships, risk and reward. This is what I strive for in my writing. I have been privileged in many ways in my life, but I have also seen and experienced challenges which I seek to harness and weave into my writing, so that one day a young reader may pick up my book and find connection, comfort or hope.

My debut novel The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson was shortlisted for Lancashire Book of the Year 2019, a feat which I am so very proud of.

The best part? The book prompted young people – young men in particular – to become passionate about reading. Am I the most qualified, technical writer in the world? Certainly not. But I believe my stories are raw, relatable and real and there is a gap in the young adult fiction market, which needs filling.

I’m currently working on the second book in the series and am enjoying working alongside schools, delivering talks and workshops to students looking at motivating the next generation to pick up a pen, or a book and allow their minds to wander.

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Stay and have a chat :)