Guest Author Interview: Nikki Andrews by Cassiel Knight
Posted by SeeJanePublish
Dear See Jane Publish readers. Due to experiencing a death in my family, I’ve been off blogging for the last few weeks. I was supposed to post yesterday but I guess I’m not quite back in the rhythm yet because I forgot. My apologies. However, I’ll be starting back soon and bringing some new publisher interviews starting in January. But the good news is that you get another Guest Author Interview! Aren’t these fun? We all have our individual journeys to publication and I hope you are enjoying reading others as much as I am.
Today, I have Nikki Andrews from Champagne Book Group. Yes, a lot of the authors signed up when I placed the call. Isn’t that great? There is such a range of stories there so you get to discover more reading material and we know you can never have enough reading material. <grin>
Here we go. Please join me in welcoming Nikki Andrews!
Tell us about your publishing journey.
Family legend has it that I started writing before I could read—they say I made up a song about the lady bugs in the neighbor’s hedge before I was five. It sounds like something I’d do. The first memory I have of writing is a year or two later: another song I made up as I walked along the creek toward my aunt’s house. I remember being very annoyed that I couldn’t recall the words when I turned around to go home, so I made up new ones.
I read voraciously from the age of five (in fact, so voraciously the bookmobile allowed me to borrow as many books as I could hold), created stories out of vocabulary lists, did the usual teen angst poetry and impossible romances in high school, filled voluminous journals in college, and scribbled disjointed thoughts when the babies were asleep. When I joined a church choir in my thirties I began to write music in earnest; several of my songs were recorded, though you’d be hard pressed to find them now.
I always wrote short stories, poetry and reflective pieces, but it wasn’t until I was fifty that I began writing full-length fiction. My son challenged me to do National Novel Writing Month, and to my utter astonishment, I met the goal. That first effort, featuring auto racing and time travel, became a self-pubbed novel, Chicken Bones, in 2004, followed a couple of years later by the sequel, A Windswept Star. I continued doing NaNoWriMo for 10 years, completing 50,000 words each year. My 2008 NaNo developed into Framed, a cozy mystery published in 2010 by L&L Dreamspell. I’m currently working on A Thousand Words and Moving Pictures, featuring the intrepid art framers of Framed.
In 2007, at a race track in Canada, I met two stars of the Champ Car racing series, Dan Clarke and Robert Doornbos. They were teammates and highly competitive with each other. When Dan (who could be a model with his fair English coloring and sapphire blue eyes) learned that Chicken Bones and A Windswept Star were about racing, he asked for copies. I handed him my card so he could make arrangements for me to drop them off at his team garage. Robert, a very funny guy, teased Dan about making a date with me, but when he heard about the books, he too asked for my card. He read it very seriously, then waved it in the air and said, “Dan, Dan! I could be her second date!”
I experienced one of those transcendent moments, when The Muse takes hold of your body and your mind. As if reading from a script, I opened my mouth and found myself saying, “Now, now, boys. It all depends on who finishes ahead of the other.” Cue the competition.
Dan crashed. Robert won the race.
Alas, I never saw either of them again. Sigh. But they did email me to say they liked the books.
The most exciting:
In September of this year I was invited to be interviewed on Off the Shelf-Books on Tour, a production of Danvers (MA) Community Access TV. Never having been on TV before, I was understandably nervous. Fortunately the coordinator is well experienced with rookies and gave me lots of good advice. Even more fortunately, the host, Veronica Andrews (no relation), has a genuine gift at making her guests feel comfortable. She and I had an instant rapport. We had a wonderful chat and lots of fun talking about my book, books in general, publishing and editing. After what felt like ten minutes, the producer wrapped up the interview. That’s when I discovered that we’d been talking nearly half an hour! If you’re interested in seeing the interview, here is the link: http://cvp.telvue.com/player?id=T00910&video=131425
What has been the most challenging thing related to publishing you’ve had to deal with on your journey?
I suspect most authors would, like me, say promotion is the biggest challenge. I love talking with readers and other writers, but I prefer to do it face to face. That’s why I offer my books at book fairs, signings at libraries and other venues, and even craft shows. But you can reach only so many people that way, so online promotion is the way to go. And I’m learning that process, but dagnabbit, the online world moves so fast! By the time I’ve girded my loins to wade into one technique, it’s already going out of date.
Learning to participate in social media has been the toughest thing for me to conquer. Thanks to the support of other writers and publishers, I’m getting there—even though I’d rather spend the time on the actual writing.
Who is your favorite author, and what are you currently reading?
Rats–I can never single out a single author. I have to include Stephen Jay Gould for science writing, Tony Hillerman for mystery, Dick Francis for thrillers, Jody Picoult for wrestling with moral questions, Ann McCaffrey for fantasy, Janet Evanovich for rom-com-crime. Right now I’m doing my semi-semi-annual read of The Lord of the Rings. It never lets me down.
Lately I have been allowing Fate, in the guise of the dump’s swap shop, to guide my reading selections. You never know what will show up there, and it has given me a chance to re-read some classics (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Black Beauty), catch up with authors I’d never gotten to (Maeve Binchey), and try new reads (Cokie Roberts’ Founding Mothers). It’s been a wild seesaw ride, but never boring.
If your novel Framed was made into a movie, who would play the roles of your hero and heroine?
To be honest, I haven’t a clue. I’m not big on TV and seldom have several hours in a block to watch a movie, and I remember characters better than who played them. But I can tell you this: it wouldn’t be the young and lovelies. Ginny, Elsie, and Sue are mature ladies, ranging from early- to mid-fifties. They are active, smart and fit; one is a solo hiker, another trains hunting dogs, and one runs a very successful business. Two live alone. They all have grown children. As for the men, there is a nosy young cop, the kind but unreliable chowder master, the brilliant jeweler with a crippling phobia, and of course, the artist who’s been dead for ten years. And don’t forget the dog! Who would play the dog?
One candidate stands out to take the role of a major character—the setting. It would have to be the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, with its unique geological features and climate challenges. Not as rugged as the White Mountains, the Monadnocks are so beautiful they can lull you into a false sense of safety—until snow closes the passes and isolates the forests. This story would have been very different in some other locale.
I hope you found this as interesting as I did. Thanks, Nikki, for joining us today!