Q1. Hello Ma’am, can you please introduce yourself? Readers would love to know more about you.
Hello everyone! I am Natty James, a rising author, screenwriter, editor, and proofreader well immersed in the world of creating works that lie in the genres of fantasy, fiction, romance, YA romance, adventure, paranormal romance, and more. I discovered my passion for writing at the young age of 11 where I fell in love with writing novels and carried my love for creating stories throughout my entire career.
From being bullied and teased in school throughout my entire childhood, both writing and reading became a natural escape and helped to fuel my imagination and creativity. It suddenly become clear that writing was a part of the calling God had over my life as I decided I wanted to introduce stories that featured more POC and diversity to audiences desiring to be uplifted and entranced by something unique that would fancy their psyche.
I currently have two stories published on the interactive storytelling app known as Episode where I have cultivated a total of over 27,000 reads and counting collectively. Outside of being a content creator, I am currently working on two novels and one screenplay where I am studying and learning all that I can to fully enhance my skillset and further my abilities in order to become one of the most prominent African American authors to date.
Q2. What were the key challenges you faced while writing ‘Audruhi’ book?
Oh goodness! Where do I begin? LOL. I would have to say it’s hard to say, especially since Audruhi is still a work in progress. This story, whose setting lies in a mythical world located within Africa, has characters that are native to the region of Kenya. Outside of that, the main characters live in New Orleans and then are thrust into this foreign world where all the mythical creatures of Africa reside. With that begin said, I would have to admit that world building and writing from the perspective of those characters, which live in places that I have never even visited yet, has been quite challenging for me. It has caused me to do twice as much research on New Orleans, Kenya, Africa on a whole, etc. so that’s been something that been a bit difficult as I desire to make the connection with readers to the setting itself as authentic as possible.
Overall, writing has presented quite a few handfuls of challenges as I have had to restructure my old writing practices in order to appeal to audiences on a wider scale. In the past, I used to believe that my old way of writing would automatically win the hearts of many, however I found that my habit of writing sentences that are long and lengthy has proven that I need a bit of practice in terms of my delivery.
For Audruhi, especially, since this story is a YA fantasy romance I want to be able to connect with readers who are fans of novels such as Harry Potter, Legendborn, Blood Like Magic, etc. As this is new for me, it has been taking a bit of time to grasp the concept of the plot, execution, dialogue, and many other factors that would go into making this story excellent. So, there has been this pressure on myself to do better and deliver this story in the best way that I possibly can in order to do it justice and move audiences with a unique storyline that they have yet to read about.
Q3. What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Oh my gosh! Stephanie Meyers, the author of the Twilight Saga, and J.K. Rowling have been my two biggest inspirations and role models when it comes to writing. I became obsessed with Twilight when it was first published and fell in love with the characters, the way Stephanie Meyers was able to write them so vividly it’s like we became to know them personally. My obsession with Twilight helped to encourage my imaginative process and come up with books that were tailored to the paranormal romance genres.
Outside of Stephanie Meyers and J.K. Rowling, I would have to say that one of my all times favorite influential authors would have to be Nicola Yoon. I was so inspired by her amazing magnitude of creativity and feel good, fun-loving stories for young adults that her work (Everything, Everything, one of my faves) encouraged me and motivated me to get back into the writing game after years of being on hiatus.
Other authors who are not as mainstream have had a huge influence on me as well. Tia Sirrah, the author of Unrequited and Broken is one of my favorite authors ever! Her book, Unrequited, is my absolute favorite book of all time. Other authors such as USA Today Bestselling Authors Shyla Colt and Koko Brown have had a tremendous impact on my writing career in terms of their intriguing plot delivery and outstanding writing styles.
Q4. What’s your favorite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?
My favorite spot to visit in my country, the USA, would be New York. I love the fast-paced atmosphere, the food, the places to visit and sightsee, and I can go on forever lol. I was born there and moved to Georgia at a young age, so NY has always had a special place in my heart for that reason especially since there is so much life in the cultural arts there such as Broadway and other parts that make visiting fun and brings you that lively sort of joy.
Q5. Is there lots to do before you drive in and start writing a book?
Yes. Yes. And YES! LOL. There is actually a whole lot to do before diving in and starting to write a book. I would say research is necessary, especially if you’re writing about a topic that’s foreign to you. Also, it helps to brush up on your skillset by practicing as that will help you to better your craft. Reading is also an essential beginning part that must take place before you consider writing a story in order for you to learn from those who have published before you.
Q6. How long did it take you to write ‘Audruhi’ book?
OMG! LOL. I can’t even really say. Again, since Audruhi is still a work in progress it has not fully been written and I honestly can’t even state when I think it will be completed. I actually came up with the idea for Audruhi when I was about 14 years old and that was X amount of years ago LOL. I won’t say exactly how long ago, but it was a pretty long time ago. I mean, it’s nice that I’m finally taking the initiative to get the ball rolling on bringing this amazing story to life, but low and behold it has taken me a long while to get here.
Q7. On what all platforms readers can find ‘Audruhi’ book to buy?
Readers who are interested in reading the novel can find Audruhi, when it is ready to be published, on applications such as WebNovel, Wattpad, Inkitt, Dreame, and in the future Amazon Kindle.
Q8. Tell us about the process of coming up with the book cover and the title ‘Audruhi’ ?
Well, the book cover, illustrated by the wonderful @mystery.artistz, took quite a bit of time and detail. The goal behind it was to bring life to all the main characters by having them drawn together on the cover in a way that detailed each of their personalities. The pose was something I had in mind for a while; however it took a bit of back and forth with Mystery about certain aesthetics and styles that would be incorporated. God rest her soul! LOL. I know at times I wasn’t the easiest person to work with when she was drawing the cover, but it required a high attention to detail which she delivered with excellence. I had the idea going for the cover since I was a kid and she absolutely came through!
As far as the title goes, I literally started to throw around names in my head by taking a syllable from one thing there and another syllable from another thing here because I wanted the name of this character and this story to be absolutely unique. Since Audruhi is an African genie, I wanted his name to reflect the fact that he is this flamboyant, atypical, extraordinary character whose essence is an amalgamation of various factors that caused him to be made into the being he is.
Q9. When writing a book how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and also yourself?
When writing I try to keep things fresh by throwing in things that the audience would least expect in addition to adding content that is guaranteed to keep readers engaged and on their toes by even stirring a bit of controversy. For example, in Audruhi, since it is a YA fantasy romance, there are parts of the story where the two main characters, Audruhi and Zarina, are pushed and tempted to go all the way in taking their romance to the next level of intimacy. However, since Zarina is still a teenager those boundaries, although they will be pushed and tested, will not entirely be crossed.
I try to keep my readers guessing and leaving some portions of the story to their imagination for them to visually process what they feel might happen next.
Q10. Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
I would say prepare to be amazed in a way that you would never think to be possible. This story is incredibly original and is not only set to keep readers on their feet with anticipation, but it’s also set to touch their minds and melt their hearts. Audruhi might also be the first of many books to come.