Today is publishing day for Sisters of the Lost Nation by Nick Medina, and though I will have a review of this book out later this week, first I wanted to share a little written interview I had with Nick recently.
Here’s a little synopsis about the book, which will lead us into the interview.
ABOUT SISTERS OF THE LOST NATION
A young Native girl’s hunt for answers about the women mysteriously disappearing from her tribe’s reservation leads her to delve into the myths and stories of her people, all while being haunted herself, in this atmospheric and stunningly poignant debut.
Anna Horn is always looking over her shoulder. For the bullies who torment her, for the entitled visitors at the reservation’s casino…and for the nameless, disembodied entity that stalks her every step—an ancient tribal myth come-to-life, one that’s intent on devouring her whole.
With strange and sinister happenings occurring around the casino, Anna starts to suspect that not all the horrors on the reservation are old. As girls begin to go missing and the tribe scrambles to find answers, Anna struggles with her place on the rez, desperately searching for the key she’s sure lies in the legends of her tribe’s past.
When Anna’s own little sister also disappears, she’ll do anything to bring Grace home. But the demons plaguing the reservation—both ancient and new—are strong, and sometimes, it’s the stories that never get told that are the most important.
Part gripping thriller and part mythological horror, author Nick Medina spins an incisive and timely novel of life as an outcast, the cost of forgetting tradition, and the courage it takes to become who you were always meant to be.
Hi Nick, my name is Cassidee with FanFiAddict. I am really loving Sisters of the Lost Nation. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your schedule to do a little Q&A with me for the blog! To start out, tell us a bit about yourself.
NM: Hi Cassidee. Thanks for the opportunity to share Sisters of the Lost Nation with your audience. Some things about me… I’m from Chicago, Illinois. I’ve worked as a college communication instructor for the last ten years, and I’ve always been a big reader, which has likely led to my love of writing. I’m also passionate about music. I like to take guitar breaks between brainstorming ideas for my next writing project and editing my current work in progress.
FFA: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer and when did you first try to publish one of your works? Was it successful or was it one of your later works that got the attention of a publisher?
NM: Yeah, deep down I think writing was always my calling. My first “short story” was published by my elementary school’s newsletter. It was about my pet parakeet, George. I’ve had small success publishing short stories with various fiction outlets since 2009, but Sisters of the Lost Nation is far and away my greatest success so far.
FFA: Where did the idea for Sisters of the Lost Nation start? Was it always supposed to be about the missing, mistreated, and murdered women on the reservation? Did it start with the mythologies you learned growing up? Did you set out to write a specific genre and found them blending, or did you always intend to blur those lines? Anything you want to share about your process from the first kernel of an idea to the fully formed book, I’d love to hear!
NM: The idea for Sisters of the Lost Nation came right after I read an article in the Chicago Tribune about the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls epidemic. The article was about Ashley HeavyrunnerLoring, who went missing from the Blackfoot reservation in 2017. Her sister Kimberly has been searching for her ever since. I started writing notes and outlining the same night I read that article. The bulk of the story came together pretty quickly. I can’t say that I made a conscious decision to blend genres. Writing can be funny that way; things just tend to come together naturally, almost as if the story dictates what it wants or needs to be.
FFA: I remember reading that you and your family are part of the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe of Louisiana. I’m sure much of your book was influenced by your time and experiences on/visiting the reservation or by stories passed down through the family, so I’m curious if this novel took a lot of research otherwise? Were there times that it was painful or alternatively, cathartic, to write Sisters of the Lost Nation?
NM: I did quite a bit of research to familiarize myself with the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls epidemic. I wanted to know the reasons behind it. I also needed to get a strong sense of what the families go through when a loved one is ripped away. There are so many heartbreaking stories that it was impossible not be affected. It’s a pretty painful topic.
FFA: Are there any misconceptions about reservation life that you hate to see portrayed? Any favorite things about the reservations that you’d love the outside world to know about?
NM: I think one of the biggest misconceptions about Natives and life on reservations is that they’re stuck in the past, as if they are ancient relics when really Native and Indigenous peoples are no different than anyone else. We’re all modern people with modern problems. As with any cultural group, traditions, beliefs, and cultural values are upheld, but that fact shouldn’t mark Natives as mysterious, magical, or even evil, as some stereotypes portray them to be.
FFA: Are there any authors you’ve found that have influenced your writing style or the content that you enjoy writing about?
NM: I read a lot, and I appreciate the works of many different authors, so it’s hard to say if one in particular has influenced my style. I’m sure I’ve picked up bits and pieces from many different writers.
FFA: Do you like to read reviews or do you prefer for reviews to be left to the reader?
NM: I’ve avoided reading reviews so far. I’d probably give them more weight than they deserve. When I read or watch something, I prefer not to be influenced by others. I like to come to my own conclusion.
FFA: I am constantly highlighting quotes on my kindle or keeping tabs in my book of my favorite quotes. Are there any quotes from your novels that you’re especially fond or proud of?
NM: I particularly like the last line of the book because it has multiple meanings. I don’t want to give it away, though.
FFA: If your book was adapted for film, are there any dream castings you would have in mind to play your characters?
NM: I think Elva Guerra, who narrated the audiobook, would be able to pull off Anna pretty well. Really, though, I haven’t spent much time thinking about who could bring the characters in Sisters of the Lost Nation to life.
FFA: Do you have any rituals/traditions while writing a novel or once they are finished? Any quirks throughout your writing process that help you as you write? Do you prefer music or silence?
NM: I always write in silence. I like as few distractions as possible. I don’t have any rituals or traditions, but I do have a quirk. I don’t know why, and I don’t know how it started, but I find that I move the ring that I wear on my right middle finger over to my left hand every time I write. I don’t even realize that I’m doing it; the ring just ends up on the opposite hand. Maybe it’s some sort of subconscious superstition.
FFA: Do you feel like your characters are a direct reflection of yourself or anyone in your life? Any of your characters that you relate to more than others?
NM: I think there are bits of me in Anna, and bits of some of my family members in her as well. There’s a bit of my dad in Anna’s father, too, but other than that, the characters in Sisters of the Lost Nation aren’t based on anyone I know.
FFA: Thanks again for your time! I always like to finish interviews with a rapid fire Q&A to get to know our author and wind down in a fun way.
Favorite book (all-time): So tough… Frankenstein… maybe.
Favorite book read this year: The Shards by Brett Easton Ellis
Favorite show and/or movie: The X-Files
Coke or Pepsi: Pepsi, though it doesn’t really matter to me to be honest.
Wine, liquor, or beer: Not much of a drinker, but beer.
Tea or coffee: Tea, never coffee.
Sword or bow & arrow: Sword.
Would you be a mage/shaman, ruler, or knight/warrior: Mage/Shaman
Favorite hobby: Playing guitar
Dream vacation: Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc through France, Italy, and Switzerland.
Most beautiful place you’ve been: The Swiss Alps
Favorite animal: Raven
Favorite musical artist: Another tough one…I’ll go with Tom Petty
Thanks again, Nick! I appreciate your time and wish you all the best in your future writing endeavors and otherwise!
NM: Thank you! All best to you as well.
About the Author
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Nick Medina appreciates blues-based music, local folklore, and snowy winters. He has degrees in organizational and multicultural communication, and has worked as a college instructor. He enjoys playing guitar, listening to classic rock, exploring haunted cemeteries, and all sorts of spooky stuff. Connect with him on nickmedina.net, Instagram (@nickmedinawrites), and Twitter (@MedinaNick).
SISTERS OF THE LOST NATION is out today, April 18th, 2023. Grab a copy at any major retailer!
Leave a Reply