Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Interview with Nicky Wells

Welcome to Nicky Wells, author of Sophie's Turn.  I reviewed her book yesterday and I was given the opportunity to send her some questions and here are her answers . . .

1. What do you find yourself rambling about?

I find myself rambling a quite a lot, full stop.  I've always been chatty . . . I have been told that I am verbose and that I use too much circumlocution!  But that's me!  I can ramble on for hours about nothing in particular, and quite often about many things at once.  My husband finds that quite exhausting, as do friends who get telephone messages from me.  Very often, I get called back with the words, 'I didn't listen to all of your message, I just though I'd ring you back.'

So: I guess this gives you a flavour for me rambling on about nothing in particular.  Being more specific, I ramble on about my children (whom I adore), the state of world politics (which I deplore), the state of the NHS (ditto), the weather (ditto ditto) and my book (adore again).

2. You have written Sophie's Turn which is chick lit, would you ever consider writing another genre?

That's a really good question.  When I started thinking about writing, I did wish to write literary fiction, but Sophie's Turn needed to be written fast.  No matter how hard I tried, that was the book that was crying to be born and I was inexorably drawn towards it.  Besides, I do love chick lit so it was easy.

That said, I have ideas for other books.  Some are more literary in nature, some border more on a psycho thriller.  I truly am scared that these ideas live in my head so I'm not sure I'll ever let them out.

What I am considering quite seriously is children's fiction.  I have several drafts (dating quite a few decades back) of stories that would easily translate into three or more books.  However, Sophie's story isn't complete, and until it is, I am committed.

3. When becoming an author, did you have any speed bumps along the way?  If so, how did you overcome then?

Do you know, I still don't really think of myself as an author.  Writing is just something I do, and now that I'm increasingly being referred to as 'the author', I have to adjust to this new identity.  I guess my biggest speed bump at this time of trying to build my career more seriously is, quite simply, time.  There are so many prior demands on my time (being a mother, wife, housewife, volunteer teaching assistant, neighbour, friend, daughter) that writing too often comes last, gets squeezed into an hour here or there.  That will have to change when I start writing the sequel for Sophie's Turn in earnest.

4. When looking at your female lead, do you put a piece of your own personality into the character?

I feel it would be hard not to put a piece of myself into Sophie, or indeed Rachel, or Dan.  Or even Tim!  In order to make the characters real, credible, charming and likeable (or notso likeable, as it were) you need to build empathy, and it's hard to empathise with feelings, motivations, or situations that you haven't experienced yourself.  I'm not sure I'm doing a good job explaining here . . . None of the characters are exactly me, but I couldn't have created them and written about them without considering me.  Perhaps it would be fair to say that I use myself as a bit of a frame of reference.  I think about what I like, dislike, would like from love or life, and move the characters either towards or away from my ideal.

5.  What is your favorite part of the writing process?  And why? (i.e. beginning, middle or end)

Let me answer this question backwards.  I intensely dislike the end of the writing process, because I start second-guessing everything.  I'm possibly my own worst critic!  And then there's the whole business of checking for typing and grammatical errors . . . nightmare!

I enjoy the front-end of writing process because I'm a big planner and it gives me great satisfaction to create, through various iterations, the blueprint for my book.  I get to a stage where I tingle with excitement: then I know that I will write another book.  I'm just at this stage now.

But my absolute favourite is the actual writing.  Owing to so much planning, the first draft usually writes itself smoothy and quickly.  As I touch type, I very often find that I'm 'reading' my book as well as writing it, and that can get very exciting.  Frequently characters don't stick to my plan - they haven't read it, after all - and take unexpected turns or do the opposite to what they are supposed to.  Then I sit at the keyboard typing away furiously, wondering just how it's all going to go back on track (it always does) and finding myself entertained along the way.  It's the most wonderful feeling!

6.  What is next on your plate?

I am working on the sequel to Sophie's Turn.  As I mentioned earlier, I am just about to complete what I call my planning stage.  I have an outline, an initial overview (a flowchart with bullet points describing the plot) and I have yet to complete the master overview (a one-page summary of each chapter with notes regarding special events/places/dialogue/crisis points, etc.).  The way things are going at the moment, I will complete the master overview by end of September.  And then . . . I write!

Nicky - thank you for answering my questions and it was a pleasure to review your book!  I am definitely going to be on the look out for the next book about Sophie.

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