Now that she is a published author, Nicole has kindly let me interview her about her story and her writing process.
If, after the interview, anyone has any further questions, leave them in the comments and i'll ask her and then post the answers in a new post!
Hi Nicole. Wow it must be a great feeling having your book, The Arrival, first of the Birthright trilogy, out there for sale. What's it like seeing your name in 'print'?
Scary *grin* and exhilarating, I am very proud of my book and really hope others love it!
Now, just a few questions about your writing process.
Where did you get the idea for a love spell-gone-wrong fantasy story?
I met my soulmate a month before I turned 19. It was a big shock as I'd firmly intended on being single until I was at least 25 *lol* and I still tease Glenn that he 'ruined' all my plans. Of course I wouldn't have it any other way now but I kind of began the story like a 'what if' I hadn't met him till then. And then with my somewhat wacky imagination it took flight into The BirthRight trilogy. It's definitely not like the actual events in that sense *lol* but the feel of the book is.
The characters, well the girls, are based on your friends right?
What do they think of the way they have turned out and are the characters very similar or just loosely based on your friends?
Sian, Kassandra and Laura are based on my real friends, Sian, Sandra and Laura. Sian and Sandra I've known for years and are amongst my very close friends. I'd met Loi around a month before I began writing The Arrival and I needed a fourth character. So the character Laura is visually inspired by my actual friend but the personality is more created. Sian's character is very similar to her, so much so that when I read aloud to her she often said the line before I did *giggle* it spooked her out a little. Sandra's character Kassie is more out of my head too as in real life Sandra is 40+ (not that you'd know it ;p) and married with two girls but I had to have her in the book. She is a real character in real life and gives me lots of material to work with *grin*
All the girls like their characters and are eager to see what happens next.
As am i!
How long has it taken you to get from typing that first word to the posting on Amazon?
Any tips for other writers to help with this process?
It's taken around 18 months. As it's my very first novel there were a couple of months in the beginning when I totally slacked off because it was still 'just for fun'. I got serious about it, probably 8 months in, when I'd plotted the story out more and had realised it was a rather exciting concept.
My biggest piece of advice is ignore the stats and just do it. Lots of unhelpful people will delight in pointing out the odds but really, if I considered the odds in life I'd probably never get out of bed in the morning *grin* So just do it.
Why did you choose ebook over book format for publishing? And did you find it easy?
Well originally I wanted my book to be published by a 'proper' publishing firm and I did get interested parties when I sent out a bunch of query's (on a *cough* first draft - DON'T DO THIS!!). Then I stumbled across Joe Konrath's site and was rather horrified to learn that if 'traditionally' published I'd only get 17% of all profits. For the amount of work I was putting in that didn't seem fair at all. So self-publishing started to float about in my head, but I wasn't brave enough to announce it at that stage.
The actual publishing process on Amazon is straight forward. It's just the formatting the e-book that isn't. That was a HORRIBLE process and I've since added a page to my blog titled 'formatting an e-book for dummies' to help others in that position out.
Ooh, i'm going to check that out! It is shocking how low a percentage we get for our own work.
Where did you find help/did you need help with the publishing?
I did have some help from Kimberly at booknook ( firstname.lastname@example.org) and if you can afford to pay someone (around $150-200) to format it I recommend her hands down. I found her via twitter when I tweeted for help *grin* I also found plenty of sites with information but they were a tad technical for me, so that's why I put the page up on my blog.
Do you think, during the process of writing The Arrival, you have grown as a writer?
What have you learnt about your process or writing style?
Hell yes! Prior to The Arrival I'd written a 2 page story. That was my longest ever. The Arrival is around 300 pages (a4). I can't believe how much I've learned in 18 months. Learned and survived. I thought the multiple re-writes might kill me *lol* but you quickly learn that each re-write gets better so it's worth it.
I've learnt I'm very much a plotter. The sharper my plot is the better I write. I'm an avid researcher and require images for stimulation and to keep the picture in my head. I actually drew blueprints for the castle in the story. So I could understand where everyone was. That was tedious!
I've learnt my writing style is quite chatty and that I always look to the light no matter how dark the situation. It did require a big re-write (8th re-write) as it was too 'light' but that's okay. Now I know how to add tension and stress *grin*.
I've also learnt I LOVE to write. No matter how often I think 'you should take a break' I never do...
Part of the fun of being a writer - we are always thinking about it, if not actually writing!
Thank you so much for answering my questions. Good luck with the sales and writing the next installment!
For more information about Nicole's fantastic book and her writing journey visit her blog, or her BirthRight Trilogy website.
If you buy her book (and believe me, it's a good one!) please leave a review, either on her blog, my blog or the Amazon site itself. There is a picture of Nicole's book on my right sidebar, if you click it, it will take you straight to Amazon and her book :)