Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Natsuya Uesugi – Natsuya Uesugi is a systems analyst and white hat hacker and has worked in the design of aerospace, semiconductor and financial systems. With a Master’s Degree in International Management and a minor in Japanese, Natsuya has been around computers most of his life. He also studied animation and game design in art school where he finalized the character designs and personalities for the main characters of grydscaen. He enjoys skydiving, cosplay, anime and writing poetry. He would like to make a graphic novel of grydscaen some day..
Thanks so much, Natsuya, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
Natsuya Uesugi: I wrote my first story which won a 2nd place award in the third grade but it wasn’t until I started writing in college that I thought about writing for real. I discovered I was good at it when I got a review by a Hollywood Production Company for the book grydscaen: retribution when they said my story could make a blockbuster movie and when production companies started giving me feedback about the grydscaen series about making it into a movie.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
NU: I would describe my style as cyberpunk post-apocalyptic realism.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
NU: My first published work was grydscaen: retribution in 2010. It is the first volume of the grydscaen series. To date there are 7 grydscaen books published. It is the story about Lino Dejarre, the son of the Viceroy of the Pacific Territories who becomes a clandestine psychic operative of the Psi Faction fighting against terrorism brought about by the Atlantea Federation. The series also includes hackers against the government.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
NU: A topic comes to my head and I run with it on an old Mac computer I got for 300 dollars from art school when I attended which the OS can’t be updated so it is more like a glorified typewriter. I write in spurts when I am inspired and can go all night if need be. I print out the manuscripts and put them in coloured binders which dictate the highlight colour for all my books. Each of the books in the grydscaen series have a highlight on the cover with the colours of the LGBTQIA flag. So the colour of the binder the manuscript goes in helps to shape the cover which I draw all the illustrations for in grydscaen.
JSC: Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
NU: I love anime. I just finished watching the new Netflix series Voltron: Legendary Defender, a remake of the original show. The characters and storyline are updated but it reminds me of when I saw the original show. I also like to cosplay, dress up in costume and go to anime conventions when I am not skydiving during my time off from work.
JSC: If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
NU: I would sit down with Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of the Canterbury Tales. I studied Medieval English in college and it made me love Shakespeare and Chaucer and Milton, as well as the British Romantic Poets like Byron and Shelly. I would ask Chaucer what is his solution for a good story with wide appeal and then maybe go hear him speak on the streets.
JSC: What action would your name be if it were a verb?
NU: I think my name “Natsuya” would be an introductory step on the path to enlightenment.
JSC: What kind of character or topic have you been dying to try to write, but you’ve never worked up the courage?
NU: I have started writing a Young Adult space military story about a young terraforming architect who becomes a pilot to combat terrorism on the moon that is around the space colony he lives in. grydscaen is a young adult story so that is not the part that is difficult, it is more the family piece that is difficult for me to write because I am alienated from my family because I am trans.
JSC: If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose?
NU: I liked being 15. I was in honours classes and found Robotech on the anime channel. I was in honours chemistry and was late to class every day because I had to watch Robotech before going to home room. Robotech, Voltron, Gundam and Gatchaman are why I write about pilots in the grydscaen series.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
NU: I am working on a scifi space story about a 16 year old terraformer who becomes a military pilot when his space colony is attacked by terrorists. And I have another volume in the grydscaen series called grydscaen: desecration coming up early next year and a story about a young rock band in the grydscaen world and their rise to the top called grydscaen: idol.
And now for Natsuya’s new book: grydscaen: insurrection:
The Psi Faction team is deployed to the battleship Escalon on a major campaign to attack the Atlantea Federation. Sati Ima now an ace fighter pilot, is stationed back on the Escalon and reunites with Blue his best friend from when they were both test subjects at the Psi Faction. The Atlantea Federation attacks the Pacific Territories’ battle fleet with their ultimate weapon the Dionysis Air Fortress. Brutal battles occur as the two fleets attack each other leaving no quarter.
But the battles aren’t the only thing going on. Sati has a mouth on him and his ability to keep his behavior in check is questioned more than once by his squadron leader. The Atlantea Federation also have an ace pilot and Sati is hard pressed to match him, trying his best to keep from being shot down. The fleet travels closer to the Atlantea Federation homeland as Lino gets some unexpected news.
What he can’t figure out is why a Trance Channeler comes to the Escalon with Anis his cousin. Something is going on and Lino wants to know exactly what it is before he makes any decision as the Viceroy. Find out what is in store for the Psi Faction team in grydscaen: insurrection, the fourth volume in the grydscaen series. For more on grydscaen go to http://www.grydscaen.com
Natsuya is giving away one copy of grydscaen: insurrection in ebook format – comment on this post with your email address for a chance to win.
In the hangar Sati pulled off his helmet and walked quickly up to Lino who had just left the cockpit and Sati threw his helmet down on the floor, took Lino Dejarre by the collar and punched him in the face.
Fred ran over but Sati already had Lino.
“You clipped my Isshin!” Sati pulled Lino behind him and pushed him towards his frame. There was a huge gash in the leg where Lino had hit the frame with his frame’s sword module.
“They can repair that,” said Lino.
“No, it hurt!” screamed Sati and then shoved Lino hard and picked up his helmet, storming off. Nathaneal came up to Lino and put his hand on his shoulder.
“What was that all about?” asked Lino.
“Sati was machine synched. He was inline with the machine so it hurt him when you inflicted that damage,” said Nathaneal.
Lino looked back at Sati and could see that he was limping. He had his hand on his thigh as he walked away. Lino looked over at Sati’s frame.
“Go to the Ready Room so you can debrief” said Fred.
Sati threw himself down in a chair in the Ready Room. There were still pilots there who had seen the battle from the surveillance frame feed. They hovered around Sati because he had won the battle. Nathaneal and Lino came into the Ready Room and sat down to the left of Sati. The officer came in who was going to debrief them.
“”Everyone out, just Ima, Barjan and Dejarre,” said the officer. The rest of the pilots cleared out.
“They are going to get yelled at,” said one of the pilots as he left and closed the door behind him.
The officer made sure the door was closed before he started in on them. He stood behind the podium and put his hands on the top and clasped them together.
“That was reckless…”” said the officer.
“Who me?” asked Nathaneal.
“No Dejarre. You fly my plane through mountains at mach what-have-you and you think that plane is yours? That is my machine. You do that crap in simulation but you do not fly my plane like that. You could have killed yourself. Do you know how much that frame costs?” yelled the officer.
Lino shook his head and opened his mouth to speak.
“Don’t talk just listen. You two are not off the hook either. They transferred you back here because you are loose cannons. You do not own those frames. Your Jannai blood does not get you a free pass. You have to do it better and faster than these two,” the officer said pointing at Nathaneal. “Now get out of here,” the officer waved them off.
Natsuya Uesugi is a systems analyst and white hat hacker and has worked in the design of aerospace, semiconductor and financial systems. With a Master’s Degree in International Management and a minor in Japanese, Natsuya has been around computers most of his life. He also studied animation and game design in art school where he finalized the character designs and personalities for the main characters of grydscaen. He enjoys skydiving, cosplay, anime and writing poetry. He would like to make a graphic novel of grydscaen some day.