Natsuya Uesugi [Mini Author Interview]

Welcome, one and all, to a mini author interview! Today, I’m talking to Natsuya Uesugi. So, let’s get to it!

autho grydscaen natsuya uesugi
Author Natusya Uesugi

Who did your cover, and what was the design process like?

I do all the covers for the grydscaen books, the layout and the character drawing on the cover. I create the black and white line art first then work on deciding how the image will be coloured. The background comes last. The colour schemes are based on multiple things in each book and the background is driven by the metropolitan setting in the City, the Echelons and the Zone. This go round with grydscaen: beginnings which is the second edition the cover is better than the first go. I think I really got the cyberpunk anime feel down in this one. I determine what character will be put on each cover in the series based on the story. I do the art myself because I know what I want and it might be hard to tell an artist to do what I see in my head. Doing it myself I get what I need the first time.

What other artistic pursuits (it any) do you indulge in apart from writing?

In addition to being a writer, I am an indie manga artist and design my own manga and graphic novels. I have published three manga to date. One “A Storm’s Coming” is based on a short story in “grydscaen: tribute” and the other series “graphic noiz” is a contemporary MM yaoi tale about an indie artist and bestselling writer creating a manga of the writer’s scifi novel series. I find writing easier than illustrating and I did go to art school for a few years to learn animation so manga just came out of that. In addition to manga I work as art director on an animated series that is based on “A Storm’s Coming” and the homeless character Rom. There are trailers for two episodes available and a third episode has been greenlighted. So I guess I draw and I write. That is definitely me.

Which of your own characters would you Kill? Fuck? Marry? And why?

So I guess I would have to kill Shine. He is a cyberterrorist and member of the Packrat hackers. He is a Waste a faction of fighters that also use psi inducer drugs. Naito calls him “a conniving little fool” and does not like him. Shine is mate paired to Dark the leader of the Mobile Command Center which handles the mobile frames in the grydscaen series. Dark is strong. Shine is arrogant and manipulative. Yes, he annoys the crap out of me as a writer but he has a place in the story and needs to be there. Dark and Shine hammer on Faid the Saicho of the Packrat hackers trying to undermine leadership. I need Dark and Shine. If I am killing any character it is Shine. The faster I kill him, the happier I will be. He just gets on my nerves. I think I wrote him like that because he is exactly the type of person in real life that I would not tolerate. But he has his place in the story, for now. That might change in the future. If I had to kill any character it is definitely him.

What secondary character would you like to explore more? Tell me about him or her.

I think I would like to explore the character Seraph from “grydscaen: beginnings.” He has one short storyline in the book and is a minor character that links the Packrat hackers to the Terror Hack cyberterrorists. He brokers the relationship between the two insurgent groups. He is a computer programmer at the Corporation by day and a terrorist spying on the Corporation by night. His job gets him access to information about the Corporation which he uses with the Terror Hack. Seraph has a kind of split personality. He can compartmentalize his terrorist activities so they do not interfere with his work at the Corporation. He can put his feelings against the Corporation and his father the CEO in a box and still do both jobs to the best of his ability. He has a minor part in the story but it might be interesting to get more into his head. I might just have to take you up on that sometime and write a blog post about his backstory.

Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?

Usually it is a character that pops into my head. I name them and that helps flush out their personality. The ideas usually spring from there and I have a general thought about the genre early as the character begins to take shape. For some books like my fantasy series, “The Seer of Grace and Fire,” I needed to create the entire fantasy world along with the characters. The characters’ names are a big part of defining the feel for the story and how that lead character will interact with others that may not yet exist as I develop the main character. So definitely character driven. For “grydscaen” the very first character created was the 16 year old hacker Rom who was homeless. He came to me in the eight grade and was influenced by my parents being computer programmers in high tech industry. Rom is not the main “grydscaen” character but he has a place in the story and is needed. The main character Lino Dejarre was originally in another story about boarding school and he was absconded into “grydscaen” while I was in high school. He became the main character because the main part of the story rotated around him as the son of the Viceroy living in the pristine metropolitan city as opposed to Rom the homeless hacker in the slum-level Echelons. As the City versus the Echelons played out in my mind the rest of the world and the rivalry between the two areas played a role. Where Lino had everything, Rom had nothing. That drove the high tech low life theme in the cyberpunk storyline. So definitely the character and the “naming ceremony” that takes place starts off my process.


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