An Interview with Author, N. R. Bates

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N. R. Bates, Author of At The Sharp End of Lightning

As part of the virtual book tour for Mr. Bates’ latest book, At The Sharp End of Lightning, we were pleased to have a chat with the author.  As an Oceanographer, his love of the ocean shines through in all that he writes.

With this book, his love and knowledge of the oceans combine into a fantasy novel that young adults and adults will enjoy.  Grounding the fantasy within reality makes the story more intriguing.

The book tour, running through the month of January, is sponsored by iRead Book Tours.  You can learn more about the author and his book by checking out the various stops he will make along the tour.  The schedule can be found here at the tour site.

The Interview

If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be?

Yalara Narika, the Sea Sprite in my stories, is my favorite character. She has an intelligence fierceness and strength that unfolds in the Oceanlight series. She loves to fly and breathe underwater: a couple of abilities I’d love to have.

What is your next project?

I really enjoyed my foray into short-stories (the collection “The Fall of Icarus”) and writing in the first person. I am presently working on minor edits of the second book in the Oceanlight series, The Gathering Places, and I hope to publish before the spring of 2016. The storylines of the three main protagonists from the first book continue and deepen. Several new characters are introduced including a human scientist who is dying and The Watcher who ties the storylines together. In the first book, the murderous Man in the White Suit disappeared. Some of my readers are hoping he will reappear. Although I haven’t been writing recently, I have been mulling over a couple of novella-length stories. I do feel myself drawn away from the genre of epic fantasy and science fiction towards magical realism and literary fiction, and so I expect that these two novellas will be based upon serious issues—with some fantastical and surreal elements to them.

What is the last great book you’ve read?

This may not be a familiar book to some readers, but the last “great” book I read recently was “Beside the Ocean of Time” by George Mackay Brown. Like many of his books, the setting is the Orkney Islands, and his novel features a boy, Thor who dreams elaborate fantasies as a Viking, a fighter for Bonnie Prince Charlie, for example. The boy returns to the Orkneys after his internment in a German POW camp.

Where do you write?

I write at home in a small cubbyhole in the dining room. My desk is about five feet long, and I can look out to my garden through a window on my righthand side.

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?

Although I’ve written nearly all of my books on a laptop, sometimes I will write out a paragraph in my notebook. I do use my notebook to quickly document ideas for the book or how a character might respond to certain events or to remember things I’ve thought about during the night, or on a flight, for example. I also use a notebook to write out details of history, or the biology of the ocean. But these tend to be backstory and not included specifically in the books.

What is your favorite dessert?

Chocolate soufflé served at Café Lido on Elbow Beach in Bermuda. My second choice would be any dessert served at “L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon” in central London.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you?

Hmm. That is a difficult one. Definitely a survival manual that included everything I needed to know about surviving on a deserted island and building a safe boat to escape from the island. While I’m planning and preparing for escape, I might dip into “His Dark Materials” by Phillip Pullman and “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez.


N.R. Bates

Author’s Bio:

NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors.

He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK.

​His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.

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Author: Merry Citarella

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