Natalie Wright spends her time writing, reading, gaming, geeking out over nerd culture and cool science. Her H.A.L.F series, featuring the M'Uktah people from the far side of the galaxy, is wildly popular. Today, we chat with Wright about H.A.L.F. The Makers, the second book in the series and she also reveals what she has in store for fans in the nearby future.
Please give us a short introduction to what H.A.L.F The Makers is about.
On the far side of the galaxy live the M’Uktah people. They’re more technologically advanced than humans and have mastered inter-stellar travel. They’re on their way and they’re hungry.
Back on Earth, Jack Wilson has had to swallow pride and must work with the niece of his enemy if he has any hope of seeing Erika, the woman he loves, and Ian, his best friend, again. But spending twenty-four hours a day with a beautiful woman who—as it turns out—is not the spawn of Satan as he expected…Well, let’s just say things get complicated.
As for Erika, Ian, Tex and Dr. Randall, let’s just say that things may be looking worse before they get better. They are on the world of the Conexus and soon Tex is going to learn the truth about the alien side of himself.
The story delves into the mystery of the ubiquitous grey aliens so popular in our movies, television and pop culture. Who are they really? Why were they in New Mexico in 1947 when their ship crashed? And why do they abduct people? I asked myself these questions in my fictional world. I think readers will be delightfully surprised by the answers I came up with. :-)
The Makers is book two of the H.A.L.F. series and picks up where book one, The Deep Beneath, left off.
H.A.L.F also contains a bit of romance. Why did you take this approach?
I did not originally intend for romance elements to form an entire sub-plot. But hey, you put a group of young people together and things happen!
Seriously, though, stories that are just action, action, action can feel boring. Relationships are the heart of my stories and it’s through relationships that the characters grow. And romantic tension is fun!
The story jumps between different characters and settings. Why did you write it this way?
I was writing the first draft of the first book in the series when I read book one of the Song of Ice and Fire by G.R.R.M. I was inspired by the complexity of A Game of Thrones and decided to bring a bit of that to the H.A.L.F. series. Most YA books follow one main character only and often in first person. I decided to bring in the points of view of multiple characters. Also, for reasons I can’t get into without spoiling it, there were plot elements as well that required more than one voice.
I enjoyed writing in more than one voice and expect I’ll continue this trend in my writing. I enjoy “seeing” the story world from different points of view. It’s fun to step into personas quite different from my own. Hopefully readers will enjoy this as well. :-)
Are you a plotter or pantser? Do you plan out how the story will go when you start a new book?
I’m a hybrid. ;-)
When I first began writing, I outlined like a madwoman, but then found that I did not follow the outline.
By the time I wrote The Makers, I had ditched the concept of doing detailed outlines. I spend more time developing characters. Once I’ve done the character work, the plot follows. I plot out a beginning, middle and end but how the characters get there is an open question. I try to “listen” to the characters and allow the story to go in the direction it needs to fully tell their story.
How long did it take you to write H.A.L.F The Makers?
I began working on The Makers back in the fall of 2015 but wrote most of it from August to December, 2015, then revised throughout the first quarter of 2016. It takes, usually, from 9-12 months to develop, write, revise and edit my books.
What are you working on right now?
I just finished ORIGINS, the third and final book in the H.A.L.F. series. It releases this week (8/24)—woot, woot!
My next project will be set in a very different world than the H.A.L.F. series. I don’t want to say too much as I’m very early into the process, but it will be an epic fantasy. I’m a gamer and my favorites are role-player games like Elder Scrolls online, Skyrim and Dragon Age. And though my first novel (Emily’s House) was a hero quest, my writing has grown so much since then that I’d like to have another go at a hero story. My pin boards on Pinterest give readers a feel for where I’m heading. I’ve included a few here and a link to where readers can view more.