Author C. N. Nevets has worked in media, technology, anthropology, education, forensics, and things in between (if there is an in-between to be found there). He currently works as the director of technology for a K12 school system in rural Indiana, where he is also involved in a number of historical and cultural volunteer activities in the local community. Throughout all his paths of study and practice, Nevets has been primarily interested in people and the ideas that impact them, especially those ideas which impact people without their even realizing.
For fun, Nevets researches anything and everything that crosses his path, particularly if it seems like something that needs to be fact-checked. He studies languages such as Mandarin Chinese and martial arts such as aikido. He is also a big fan of mixed martial arts, the history of pop music from the 1960’s on, and the art of magic. He is a photographer and an amateur music producer. He likes satirical humor and music with strong lyrics and a good hook.
Nevets is very happily married to a creative and brilliantly original thinker named Rose. They live in Hoosier small town, where they drink coffee and watch subtitled television with their their half Brittany / half whatever-daddy-was yellow dog, and their tuxedo-wearing Great Dane.
He learned a lot of his writing and editing craft from his father, a retired academic whose non-fiction writing has always been highly readable and still intellectually rewarding, and his mother, the best and hardest editor he’s ever known. He lost his mother in the fall of 2017.
Music: A Tribe Called Quest, Anty the Kunoichi, Atmosphere, Blue October, Boogie Down Productions, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Daddy-O, Eve 6, Fugees, Guns n Roses, Wyclef Jean, Offspring, Our Lady Peace, Panjabi MC, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, Serenity, J-Sands, Shinehead, and whole lot more…
TV: Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Alias, Alienist, Bordertown (Finnish), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Damnation, Dollhouse, Fargo, Firefly, Fringe, Invasion, Homeland, Lost, Midsomer Murders, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Stranger Things, Trapped (Icelandic), and others…
Japanese TV: Bloody Monday, Mondai no Aru Restaurant, Oh, On, Quiz Show 2, Siren, Summer Nude
Cuisines: Thai, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Nepalese, Mexican
You asked, and Nevets answered:
Like most authors, I was a reader first. Like many authors, my reading has never been confined to a single genre or style of book, and in one way or another, they have all influenced me, including The Hardy Boys and Three Investigators mysteries I used to devour, not to mention The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the Narnia novels, and The Princess and the Goblin, all of which first propelled my mind to think about the possibilities of other places and other cultures.
There’s no denying the influence of crime fiction on everything I write. I draw a lot from the way that good historical mysteries integrate character, setting, and plot into a coherent narrative with a puzzle at the center: two series by R. N. Morris, one featuring Silas Quinn and the other featuring Porfiry Petrovich; the Detective Murdoch novels by Maureen Jennings; the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters. You might also find connection in my writing to the brokenness of Inspector Linley from Elizabeth George’s novels. I would be remiss to not mention how from the Caleb Carr’s Laszlo Kreizler how to weave an utterly dark setting while still maintaining humor and glimpses of light. When it comes to creating a sense of place and person, inextricably melded together, I oew a lot to the Dave Robicheaux books by James Lee Burke and A Time to Kill by John Grisham. My sense of how to craft a plot that has momentum and suspense and yet centers around interesting and complicated character has been inspired by the work of RJ Ellory, Ryan David Jahn, Dean Koontz, and the late Mary Higgins Clark.
A lot of people think of Jack Higgins as an action writer, but his approach to creating (and destroying) grey main characters has been a big influence on the way that I think about stories and the way I approach my protagonists, no matter what I’m writing. There is also no question that I have been influenced by Chuck Palahniuk’s flair for creating surreal, exaggerated scenarios in which to play and test out lofty philosophical ideas.
When it comes to learning how to build a detailed and complicated world as part of telling a story, there’s none better than Tim Stretton or George R. R. Martin.
A lot of the mood and tone of my writing has been influenced by literature from the American South: Richard Wright, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams, and others, as well as European thinker-writers like GK Chesterton and Albert Camus.
I’ve learned a lot about creating intricate webs from Robert Ludlum’s conspiracy thrillers, and about writing action scenes from western author Louis L’Amour and historical-fantasy fiction master Bernard Cornwell.
Some core concepts regarding the use and nature of language, the relationship between words and ideas, and the interactive experience that is found in writing, come to me from the French symbolists and decadence movement poets, dramatists, and authors like Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Rachilde.
If I can shift the focus from my writing per se to being an author, I cannot end without giving a lot of credit to the late Michael Crichton and contemporary author Michelle Davidson Argyle for showing me, time and time again, it’s okay to write the stuff you want to, no matter how neatly it fits expectations, as long as you strive for quality in everything you produce.
Other Artistic Influences
While a wide variety of music continues to influence my writing, in a formative sense it was the psychologically evocative music of Pink Floyd, Metallica, and Our Lady Peace that really helped me understand how to show and not tell in order to create a mood of empathy with a potentially unsympathetic character. This music also drove home for me that context and setting are not independent of character mood, but part of the whole delivery.
I’ve drawn a lot from the quiet psychology that underlies the overt twists and thrills of M. Night Shyamalan’s movies. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to do more than what’s obvious with a work of a art, even if portions of the audience only notice one small part of what you’re doing. The movie adaptation of Michael Crichton’s Sphere showed me a lot about how to create an atmosphere of psychological tension. The movie, Mercury Rising, based on Ryne Douglas Pearson’s novel, Simple Simon probably solidified my understanding that in any conspiracy thriller, it’s the characters caught up in that conspiracy that you end up remembering more than the conspiracy itself.
There’s no way to talk about inspiration without mentioning the mind-bending art of M. C. Escher. I have had a lifelong appreciation for working with words in a way that navigates and manipulates language and the rules that surround it rather than simply circumvents or ignores those rules. Escher’s work has always resonated with me, despite my own limitations at coming to grips appropriately with visual arts. His pieces show how to manipulate the physical world itself in a way that is both utterly rational and completely absurd. This is, in the end, precisely what I hope to do with my writing.