Natasja Rose and I are in the same anthology – Slow Burn.
Natasja has been writing since a very young age, though those notebooks have been lost in the Old Schoolbooks Cupboard and (hopefully) will never see the light of day.
Most of her stories, published or otherwise, began life as conversations with friends that sparked an idea that grew into a story or poem.
Her publishing adventures started with poems and short stories in focus newsletters like ABA and AMBA, and online sites like Readwave, before finally taking a chance with self-publishing.
Natasja Rose lives and works in Sydney, Australia, but travels whenever she can afford it and has the time.
Her greatest wish is to visit all the places in the world that inspired her writing as a child, and create new stories for new inspirations.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, but my Dad worked internationally, so we got to travel a lot, and I was bit by the travel bug young. I try to go on at least one overseas trip per year, though COVID-19 ruined this year’s plan…
I always loved history, and the best day of my life was when I discovered re-enacting and LARP aka that I didn’t have to stop dressing up and pretending to be someone/something else just because I was a technical adult.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Writing and telling stories has always been a part of my life. We didn’t have a TV for a lot of my childhood, so my sisters and I would make up our own stories and act them out for our parents. Writing was the one thing I could always be relied upon to do at school, even when I struggled with telling the difference between conjunctions and interjections, and actively resisted Maths.
I decided that I wanted to be an author around the age of 7 (after downgrading from my original goal of ruling the world), and the time between then and now was dedicated to working out a day-job that suited me.
What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?
Much like my writing style, I read a bit of everything. It’s the individual books that grab me, more than the overall themes. Crime and autobiographies don’t really interest me, but I have a distinct weakness for Jane Austen Variations, anything Terry Pratchett and Rick Riordan, and Star Wars fanfiction.
Is your book for adults, young adults or children?
Technically YA, though I’ve had people older than my parents tell me they enjoyed it. I’ve never really subscribed to the idea of books being meant for just one age group
What is your current release or project?
I finished my latest novelette, “Whitechapel Justice”, in March, which was meant to debut at a (COVID-19-Cancelled) Gothic Steampunk event. My current project is “The Way of the Exiled”, the first draft of which is currently with my editor.
Tell us about the key characters
In Whitechapel Justice, the key characters are the Streetstalkers, who act as unofficial bodyguards for the Working Women (Prostitutes) of Whitechapel. When Jack the Ripper starts killing the women under their protection, they go on the hunt.
In The Way of the Exiled, the main character is Owain, the middle son of a lord who survived the invasion and massacre of his home and escaped, carrying his infant brother and leading a handful of other children in the desperate search for safety. The Way of the Exiled follows Owain as he grows up, becomes a Mercenary and leader-in-exile, and lays the long-term plans to eventually take back his home.
What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?
Jack the Ripper terrorised the streets of Whitechapel, until the killings stopped as suddenly as they started.
Police were baffled; had the Ripper left the area, or been scared off? Who was he and how had he stayed ahead of the law? Why had he targeted the women? The cases remained unsolved, and History would never know more than rumour and suspicion.
Only a select few would ever know the truth. The streets of Whitechapel take care of their own…
Owain was a boy when he witnessed the massacre of his family and the loss of his home.
Fleeing into exile with his infant brother and a scattered handful of survivors, Owain must somehow keep them safe and alive as he grows from a traumatised child to a man able and prepared to reclaim his home.
In a tale of loss, hope and the bonds of friendship, family and destiny are what you make of them
Share an excerpt
This is the (unedited) prologue of The Way of the Exiled
“The sands of the desert are ever-shifting, but the wise man watches them, rather than be caught unaware by the storm.”
–Ancient Noorinian Proverb
The desert sun beat down harshly on the ragged group, staggering onward through the endless sands, fear and death biting at their heels.
Overhead, birds circled, and the boy clutched the precious bundle in his arms tighter. Tears stung his eyes, but he refused to let them fall; he didn’t have the water to waste. Angry determination forced him forward another step. He couldn’t fail now!
The oasis-city they had fled was far behind them, lost to sight, but the boy thought that he could still hear the clash of steel, the sickening thump of bodies hitting the ground. The image of his father, standing over the cooling form of his older brother, yelling for him to take the other children and run, as he matched blades with the Warlord who thought to take what was never his to claim, was burned into his mind’s eye. So had been the boy’s last sight of his home, with the tall, indominable man who had loved and raised him crumpled in a heap at the gates, his blood staining the thirsty sand.
Curse the thrice-damned Lord Mal to the lowest circle of the Afterlife’s torments! May he suffer as his countless victims had, and if the Gods didn’t feel like setting the Warlord to rights, Owain would happily do it for them! One day, when he was stronger, strong enough to rescue what remained of his people and take back their home.
At the back of the group, someone stumbled and fell. The youth turned back, watching as another boy helped the younger child to their feet. He scanned the rolling dunes that surrounded them; there was little shelter to be had, but they needed to rest. To go on would be to push the youngest beyond their already strained endurance.
There! A small rock formation, with shadows that indicated caves or hollows at it’s base. Better than nothing. The boy led his fellow survivours to the rocks, looking up in alarm as a larger shadow fell across them. They broke into a desperate, staggering run as the shadow grew, swooping toward them.
The shadow went past them, colliding in a lethal dive with a lion that the boy hadn’t even seen, cameoflaged as it was against the stone. The shadow straightened up, a tall, dark skinned man with wings the colour of the plums that had grown in the orchard. Outlined by the sun, it was hard to see his face, but the boy did his best to meet the Avian’s eyes squarely. If he died, he would do so with dignity.
The Avain’s stance softened, the beads that tipped braided hair rustling softly. “Della, Meri, it’s all right. Come, boy, I’ll show you how to skin and cook a lion.”
Two more shadows landed, young women, one dark and the other colourful. They picked up the smallest of the band, the youngest children ready to fall where they stood, and glided to the caves. Soaring back, the colourful girl smiled at him. “You’ve done well, to bring them so far. What is your name?”
The boy fought back tears again. His name belonged to a happy young boy, with parents and a home. That boy was no more. “Owain, formerly of Noorinia. We’re all that’s left.”
For now, at least. One day, he would return to his oasis home, and he would make the people who drove him out pay.
The tall Avian laid a hand on his shoulder. “I’m Mas, and these are my daughters. You may stay with us until you choose otherwise.”
Do you have a favorite scene?
Several, though I could never pick just one.
What advice would you give a beginner?
Keep practicing, failure is a lesson in disguise, and don’t give up your day job
Social media links: (https://www.facebook.com/natasja.rose.7) (https://www.tumblr.com/blog/professionallyprocrastinating )