– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Volta’ blogtour, organised by Kenyon Author Services Blog Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Nikki studied for her BA and MA at Roehampton University. Her dissertations focused on changing her writing practices, experimentation and the long poem. She grew up in inner city London and attended state school in Camden. Nikki has been in love with words since she wrote short stories in her scrapbook at primary school and discovered what a metaphor was.
Streetcake magazine and prize:
Nikki is Managing Editor of streetcake magazine, which she started with Trini Decombe in 2008. Streetcake publishes an online issue every 2-3 months and in 2019, launched the streetcake experimental writing prize for 18-30 year olds, supported by the Arts Council England. The prizes include mentoring from published writers, personalised feedback and developmental support, publication and book bundles.
When Briony Campbell confesses to killing her boyfriend, a straightforward crime of passion soon turns into a baffling mystery.
Haunted by demons from his past, lawyer S.J. Robin is assigned to the case. But as confusion – and the body count – rises, he’s forced to question who is guilty and who is innocent.
Can he see justice served and hold on to the woman he loves?
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I grew up in London and still live here now, though I also love to travel and spent two years living in Madrid. I started writing stories in my notebook at primary school. I fell in love with words even more when an author visited and taught me about metaphors and similes! In secondary school, my second home was the library and I co-wrote a book with two of my friends. After that, I wrote some terrible novels and lots of poems. It wasn’t until I decided to study Creative Writing at university that I felt more like a writer. Once there, I had to overcome the crippling fear of sharing my work but once I did, things got a lot easier. I started writing my first novel when I was on my MA and when it was finished, a small press agreed to publish it! That was back in 2009 so there’s been a big gap inbetween but I’ve spent that time doing lots of other things – teaching EFL abroad, having a poetry chapbook and collection published, setting up a writing magazine and prize, setting up a writing programme for mums, having two children, and a lot more as well!
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
The book I’ve probably read about ten times is Catch-22. I just love the absurdity of it and the circular narrative that the characters can’t escape. There’s also a question of relaibility (or unrealiability) when it comes to some of the characters and I think that’s something I find interesting. Growing up, I loved Point Horror and Christopher Pike, but soon moved on to adult books. I love unusual tales, like The New York Trilogy and Blindness and thrilling reads like, Strangers on a Train and The Woman Before Me. I love connecting with characters and that can be via many different genres and age categories.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I really love a writer called Charles Yu. I think he has a real strength for dialogue and seeing the world differently. I think it makes his stories really interesting. He’s also great at short fiction, which is not one of my main writing strengths, so I’d love some pointers there too.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Maybe I’d invite Jay Gatsby. That poor guy could do with a friend! Or Yossarian from Cacth-22 -we could redact things together. It’ll be great fun!
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I generally tend to write as I go. I know – I shouldn’t admit that, right? I tend to find though that if I stop and try to plot, it holds me up and makes me edit too much. So I write when I can and as much as I can and edit later. I also jump around a bit, which can be tricky when working out consistency!
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ha ha – people in my life shouldn’t be particularly worried… Because I write thrillers, I’ve had all kinds of questions about whether I’m a murderer or have done terrible things. The answer is no! I just find thrillers an exciting form to explore psychological issues and human relationships.
Ideas can come from anywhere. For instance, for my first book, I read an article about someone ‘falling’ on the tube rails and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for some reason. The first chapter of Ellipsis is set at a tube station so it definitely sparked something! As for my new book, Volta, I wanted someone to wake up in a crime scene and work from there. The first chapter of that is basically the same as the first chapter I wrote way back in 2014 or so when I started writing it. Though where the idea came from, I’m not sure!
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I answered this above – totally go with the flow! This can be to my detriment but I can’t seem to sort myself out!
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Yes – try not to edit as you go or you’ll never get to the end. Share your work with trusted writers (not necessarily your friends and family in the draft stages) and get some honest feedback. Try to accepy feedback graciously and cry about it later!
Don’t measure your success against other writers. Everyone is at different stages and I’ll bet lots of them don’t share all their rejections or bad times. We all have them but now and again, you’ll get that news you want, and it’ll feel amazing!
Also, keep your old drafts in a folder. Never completely delete anything!
What are your futureplans as an author?
I’m working on a new novel – more of a contemporary thriller focused on a slightly twisted reality where criminals are hunted by a form of police force called Snares. I’m not sure how it will pan out as yet but I like some of the characters already! I have also just completed a poetry collection about my nan’s dementia, which I’ve submitted. I have a forthcoming poetry collection with Knives Forks and Spoons sometime this year too – so lots on the horizon!
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
When Briony Campbell confesses to killing her boyfriend, a straightforward crime soon turns into a baffling mystery.
Haunted by demons from his past, lawyer SJ Robin is assigned to the case. But as confusion – and the body count – rises, he’s forced to question who is guilty and who is innocent.
Can he see justice served and hold on to the woman he loves?
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Nikki Dudley.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!