Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guest Author / Interview- Nicky Charles

I'm sure there are many reader's out there who have read the works of this wonderful author. I've taken the time to talk to Nicky Charles and had her answer some basic questions. Check it out:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t think I ever had a conscience moment when I thought ‘Hey, I want to be a writer.”  (I still don’t consider myself a writer – I think of myself as a hobbyist, lol!)  I know I always did well writing in school and even had bouts of ‘pretending’ to be an author, scribbling down tales based on favourite books I’d read such as the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder or The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley.  In Gr. 8 a teacher actually told me if I ever wanted to publish something he’d help me but writing always took a back seat to more important things such as studying and work.  Then in 2009 I sat down one Saturday and penned a quick fanfiction and the writing bug came alive again.  I wrote constantly after that and eventually was inspired to try an original story by Jan Gordon (my friend and editor) when she wrote Black Silk.  I wrote my first book shortly after that and, as they say, the rest is history!

How long does it take you to write a book?

Writing a book can take me almost a year from the time I first think of a possible plot up to the final moment I push the ‘publish’ button.  My stories are usually around 100,000 words.  Shorter stories would, of course, take me less time I suppose.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I work full time at a job that involves a lot of overtime so my chances to write are limited.  I have to squeeze it in around ‘real life’ but try to work in a few hours of writing each night.  It doesn’t always happen of course.  I love vacations and holidays when I can have large blocks of free time and will write for several hours a day then.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Confession time.  I’m basically a lazy author.  I hate research and try to write what I know or can create in my head.  When I do need to research I use Google or ask friends who I know have information on certain topics. 

Ideas for writing come from the strangest places.  It might be a song, a book I’m reading, a TV show or movie, something someone says or something I see.  Just the other day I was in a restaurant and noticed the waitress leaning against the counter.  She was filling out some type of daily log and then just stood there looking around with this bored expression.  It suddenly made me think of writing a story about a waitress who possibly had a werewolf as a regular customer.  I don’t know if it will ever become part of a book but as soon as I got home, I added it to my ‘ideas’ file.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first original, Forever in Time, in 2009.  Age is a state of mind and irrelevant – lol!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing, I read.  I also like to garden, paint, take nature walks, go on day trips, eat out with friends.  Nothing special just ‘regular’ stuff. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

The editing process – I never realized how long and drawn out it is.  I hate it and am so thankful Jan Gordon helps me with it.  When I write a story and get to the ‘happily ever after’ bit, I’m done.  I want to move on.  I don’t have a lot of patience for rereading and checking commas and spacing etc.  By time I’ve written the story, I’ve already reread it dozens of times checking content, the flow of sentences, looking for plot holes etc.  By that point I’m not even fond of the story anymore and having to read it word by word is painful.  However as an independent writer/publisher I have to do it.  It costs around 5 cents a word to hire someone to edit your books and at over 100,000 words per book...well, you do the math!  I just don’t have that kind of money to spend on something that is basically my hobby.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I’ve written 4 original stories and am working on my 5th presently.  If I had to choose a favourite I’d be torn between Forever in Time because it was my first and The Keeping because I love the characters and the setting (Stump River.)

Do you hear from your readers much?  What kinds of things do they say?

I get (in my opinion) lots of fan mail.  There are usually five or six emails every day, sometimes more if it’s been a holiday and people had time to read.  Mostly they say they like my books, discuss favourite characters and express opinions about what story line they’d like me to develop next.  A lot say they have read the books late into the night, have neglected family or snuck reading devices into work so they could keep reading – apparently my stories are quite addictive!  Some share experiences about their lives, for example if they’ve been going through a rough patch they’ll say they enjoyed the escape my stories provided.  A few point out errors they’ve found or things they think need improving and I always consider those points, even if at first I might not agree.  As an author, you are always refining your craft so suggestions are appreciated - as long as they are worded nicely, that is!

What do you think makes a good story?

To me a good story has to have characters you care about or that grab your imagination in one way or another.  Then of course you need a good plot, which for me means it includes some suspense and lots of steamy romance.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

My first piece of advice would be to write a lot and read a lot because you learn from other authors.  Secondly, choose to write about something you are passionate about or that grabs your imagination because if you love the topic, you’ll spend more time working on it.  Thirdly, read about writing.  I’ve had no formal ‘writing’ training and am constantly discovering things I should or shouldn’t do.  There are lots of great websites that offer advice.  Check them out and try to use one or two of their ideas in your next piece.  For example, I recently read that you should search your work for ‘ly’ adverbs and try to eliminate as many as possible so I’m working on that in my next book.  Finally, find someone you trust and have them give you an honest opinion about your work and then really reflect on what they say.  No one likes to have their work criticized but if someone mentions something consider it.  It might not be a valid point but perhaps there is a grain of truth.

Don’t get discouraged. Remember there are a wide variety of people in the world, all with different tastes in books.  Not everyone will love your stories but keep working on your craft and eventually you will find your niche audience.

Thank you for your time and I've enjoyed having you as a guest on my blog. : )
If anyone is interested in reading some of Nicky's work, you can find it listed on


Greg Buda said...

Awesome interview and some awesome advice from Nicky. I'm glad that she made the time to answer your questions baby. I hope these help you in your future writings. I love you baby.

Sandra Tyler said...

interesting. And I'm always interested to hear how much most writers seem to hate the editing process; that has always been my favorite! Getting those rough raw thoughts out first seems the most painful.

Unknown said...

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Darlene Roberts said...

Nicky Charles interview is much appreciated, She is a superb author as her books are written in a way, you just know, she, herself would want to read them if written by another. Nicky never lets the settings or characters vie for attention, instead she drawns you into their world with appreciation for both and makes you feel, you are a part of everything. Yes, we gladly lose sleep, turn off the TV, maybe even fix the "frozen dinner", just so we may continue our reads. Nicky is a delight! She's an "addiction" for her fans, (well, this fan), albeit, a great one to have!


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