Danish by birth, Natalie Kelda now lives in the green hills of Yorkshire, UK. She spends her evenings writing, drawing, and creating while only mildly hindered by her adventure cat, Barry.
Natalie has been an active Viking reenactor, advanced martial artist and avid horse rider. She loves to take on new challenges - especially if the activities build experiences that can help with writing the next story or the one after.
Storytelling and inventing new worlds has been a part of Natalie’s life since before she could read or write. Nowadays she mostly writes in English but you’ll often discover hints of her native Danish or some of the other languages she has picked up along the way.
1.- What made you choose self-publishing?
I queried a historical fiction novel back in 2020 and while that book fits neatly in a genre and market, I noticed my writing style isn't the most marketable and therefore hard to get agented with. I write slower plots and very character-driven stories and since River in the Galaxy, and the series it's a part of, has a slight genre mix I knew early on it would be hard or even impossible to get agented. Furthermore, I have 9 books and counting written in the series and wanted a "rapid" release schedule with 2-3 books a year.
2.- Could you tell us a little bit more about the inspiration behind The Inner Universe series?
It started with a dream, literally! By some miracle, it was on a day I wasn't working nor had any classes at university so I sat down "to write a 3 page short story" based on the cool dream I'd just woken from. 8 hours later I realised it would be a full novel and within a year I had crude drafts for 7 books.
3.- I find it interesting how realistic some details were in the River in the Galaxy. Would you say your formation as biologist influenced the book?
Absolutely. I was studying for my degree in wildlife biology at the time of writing some of the first drafts and that definitely influenced some world-building elements, such as the lizard people and human evolution. I drop occasional real-world terminology between the made-up stuff as well and keep a lot of the alchemy very grounded as well rather than waving a hand and saying "magic". While I love reading magic in stories I think I'm often rather pragmatic in my own writing.
4.- Merlon, the main character, is suffering from depression. How did you make accurate your writing on this situation?
I've struggled with depression (and anxiety) more than half my life. Representation in media is often over-exaggerated or outright offensive so it means a lot to me to portray a character struggling with dark thoughts and apathy as well as I can based on my own experience. I also had a variety of beta readers including others who have dealt/still deal with depression as I'm aware not all experiences are the same. I hope some readers will see a bit of themselves or someone they know when they read the book.
5.- Would you say you inspired yourself in some real-world elements to create the FA?
I honestly don't know where the FA, Foreign Affairs Chancellor Horatio Corncockle, came from. He was in the original dream, just as Merlon and Adrien were. He maybe embodies all the corrupt people I have encountered or heard of *cough* politicians…
6.- Of all the self-publishing processes, which parts would you say you enjoyed more and why?
I loved the creative freedom. I could pick the editor and cover artist I wanted, the latter especially is a good friend of mine who I'd dreamt of commissioning for a long time. Surprisingly, I don't mind the marketing side of things quite as much as I thought I would. The support of other writers, readers, and creators have been really touching overall and helped me enjoy even the scary parts like release and receiving the first reviews and ratings.
7.- From all the characters included in the Lucia, who would you say has become your favourite?
On Lucia, I'll have to say Fabian. I know he's a beta reader favourite as well but he's one of the characters who evolved the most with each draft, getting more and more page time. I love how fun he is, his bantering, and his friendships with the other crew(especially him and Tara as their "sibling vibes" get stronger).
8.- What can we expect from Natalie Kelda in the future?
Lots, hopefully! Book 2, Outer Universe, will be out in late June if all goes to plan but already in May, a free short story that fits between the books will be up on my website.
I also have some plans to query my Viking historical fiction novels again either this year or next. I'm sure I'll eventually find a small press willing to take a chance on my warrior Viking mama!