I’m a big fan of Nicky Wells’ writing so I was delighted to grab her to find out more about her next novel, Fallen for Rock (out 30th June) and a bit more about her writing.
Nicky Wells is your ultimate rock chick author. Signed to US Publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, she writes Romance That Rocks Your World, featuring the rock star and the girl next door… because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!
Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.
Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!
***Fallen for Rock—Coming 30 June 2014!***
please summarise Fallen for Rock in 20 words or less.
Love, life, loyalties, career—everything changes when Emily accidentally and somewhat unwillingly gets drawn into the world of rock music.
What was the idea/inspiration for Fallen for Rock?
Great question! My first series of books focused on a girl who has an absolute and incurable crush on a rock singer. The attraction is so strong that Sophie’s driving force and motivation leap off the page from the word go.
When it came to starting on a fresh story, I was looking for a different motivation. I wanted to tell the story of someone who really couldn’t stand rock music. I wanted to look at a band through the eyes of someone who thought rock music was just a bit of noise without skill or melodious appeal. And I wanted to turn that somebody around. You know how much I love my rock music; I was thinking, ‘how would I make someone understand just how great this music is if they were utterly and completely opposed to it.’ I like a challenge, me!
As I was planning, the story shifted and changed and became something much bigger. Emily doesn’t just learn to listen to rock music, she falls for it in a major way. And as she does, she turns her entire life upside down. Intriguingly, I ended up weaving the story around a broken romance, and the object of her desire is notable for his absence! But you know me. There will be no tears at the end!!
If you could choose to be one of your characters in your books which would you be? and why?
Oh. Now there’s a question! I would have to say…probably right now, I’d be Emily. I love the adventure she has and, at the end of the book, a whole world of rock opportunity lies at her feet. I’d love to be in her shoes. I tingle at the thought!
Do you have a most creative time of day?
Absolutely. Usually the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep because an idea/scene/chapter needs to be born. I have been known to trudge downstairs in my ’jamas and write furiously for an hour at one in the morning!
How do your characters come into existence? Do they have a bio?
My characters have a bio before I put fingers to keyboard. In fact, if they were spies, you’d say that they have a complete ‘legend.’ Birth date, birth place, parents, siblings, friends, education, appearance, career history, likes, dislikes, favourite foods, favourite music, travel history… it’s all there. Also, I talk to my characters in my head until they start feeling like ‘real’ people. I try to give each of them a distinctive voice, and I argue, reason and laugh with them. You know what they say: you don’t have to be mad to be an author, but it helps!
Are you a panster or a plotter?
I’m a compulsive obsessive plotter. Partly because that’s the kind of person I am, and partly because I write in short sharp bursts in between family and other obligations, so I need to know exactly where my plot is going (simply so I don’t lose it on the way, LOL).
I usually start with the ‘nugget’, the core idea. From there, I develop a one page outline to see if the plot will hold water. At that point, I start creating character bios. Next up, I make a massive outline on a sheet of paper about two metres long. I literally draw a line and start populating the plot with scenes and events. At this stage, I typically use coloured post-it notes because I can move them around easily if I need to. From there, I pressure test the plot: does it flow? Are there any holes? Am I contradicting myself? Am I setting up the pace, tension and story arc properly? Do the characters grow? Does their motivation evolve? Once I’m satisfied with all of that , I turn this master outline (I usually call it ‘the monster’) into a series of one-page summaries for each major event in the plot. Typically, I’ll end up with between 20 and 25 densely typed pages. These ‘crib sheets’ also incorporate notes on location, travel, food, or any other matter that needs external research. Then, and only then, do I start writing!
Being both self-published and published, are there any tips you could share with new writers that have worked well for you with self-publishing or was there something difficult you overcame?
I have been lucky enough to gain experience both of traditional publishing (via my publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, a small press based in the United States) and of self-publishing. My next release, Fallen for Rock, will be deliberately self-published because I strongly believe that an author should place as many eggs (books) into as many baskets (publishing avenues) as possible and hold on to all of the right to at least some of their work at all times.
So here’s what I learned regarding self-publishing. First of all, let’s talk book production. Having worked with a traditional publisher, I like producing paperbacks. Therefore, I work towards that goal from the word ‘go.’ I did my research and configured a paperback template (I use 6X9 inches) with all the right spacings, gutters, headings, page numbers and chapter heading pages. I use section breaks and line formatting that make my manuscript look like the real thing even in draft format. The rationale is simple: Once all those pieces are in place, it takes a matter of minutes to strip extraneous formatting out of the document to convert to Kindle. (It’s really, really important to save your document as a filtered html before doing the conversion—and hey presto, your headers, page numbers and other formatting is gone!). I would highly recommend following a similar path if you want to produce paperbacks as you will save yourself no end of headaches later on. Trust me. Inputting section breaks and formatting headers in a 400 page complete document is no fun!
Next up, definitely order a proof copy from your printer. You wouldn’t believe what kind of little typos you’ll pick up once you hold the book in your hands. Likewise, when you’ve done your ebook conversion, be sure to scroll through the entire file on your own ereader before publishing. Check for strange formatting, blank clicks, spacing between paragraphs and chapter headings, etc. (great tip Nicky!)
In terms of book promotion, I’d recommend building a ‘platform’ as soon as possible. Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are great places to connect with readers, but be careful not to drown them in ‘buy my book’ messages. Nobody likes those! If you feel like blogging, set up a blog and write about things that interest you: music, food, knitting, your pets, your garden… anything and everything that makes you ‘you’ beyond your writing. This will give you another avenue to connect with readers on so many levels.
Lastly, be sure to connect with bloggers and reviewers like the lovely Shaz here at Jera’s Jamboree. Come publication day, you’ll want someone other than yourself to shout about your book!
Who is your targetted audience? Do you plan on writing for other audiences in the future?
I write for women (and men, actually—there’s no reason why a man wouldn’t enjoy my books!) from about 18 onwards into their mid and late 40s. My target audience is anyone who ever experienced a crush on a celebrity!
I do have some readers younger than 18, and that’s fine by me. I know I would have read my books at sixteen! However, as I’m progressing as a writer, I’m finding that the heat level is going up slightly in each book. Therefore, in Fallen for Rock especially, there may be some scenes that may not be considered suitable by everyone for readers under eighteen.
As for children’s books—I have a suitcase full of ideas and hope to get writing those one of these days. My husband is a stellar illustrator and would almost certainly provide the pictures!
How do you launch your books?
I’ve done a little bit of everything by now. Sophie’s Turn was launched with a massive blog party. Sophie’s Run was launched live on radio, followed by a blog and Facebook party. Sophie’s Encore was again launched live on radio and complemented with a Facebook party, but not a dedicated ‘event’ as such—instead, I hosted festivities on my Author Page. All three of these books had long ‘warm up periods’ with cover reveals and giveaways before the launch dates. For Sophie’s Run and Sophie’s Encore, I also hosted events in my local library, which were great fun.
Spirits of Christmas, last year’s Christmas novella, was launched onto the world quietly but ‘all in one go’ overnight. Cover, story, and all: everything was there on launch day, supported by a group of about 20 bloggers who helped promote the launch in a fabulous ‘blitz’ of seasonal happiness.
For Fallen For Rock, I’m doing a little bit of all of the above, but generally in a softer, quieter, more gradual way. Why? I’d just like to see what kind of impact a more subtle approach has so that I can use that learning for my Christmas novella in October of 2014. It’s always great to plan a launch with the next one already in mind, if that makes sense.
What works best? It’s really hard to say. Everything depends on what else is going on on social media at any given time (or in the real world, for that matter). Facebook and Twitter are great for creating a word-of-mouth storm, that’s for certain!
Thank you for being in my hot seat today Nicky. Fabulous answers 🙂
Wishing you success with Fallen for Rock.
Glossy and sophisticated professional high-flyer Emily has no time for nonsense such as the rock music her ex-boyfriend Nate adored so much. Yet when she unexpectedly comes into possession of VIP tickets—access all areas—for new rock band phenomenon, MonX, she can’t resist the temptation.
The fateful gig turns into more than one night, and Emily finds herself strangely drawn to this new and unfamiliar glittery world. However, only weeks later, MonX and her own universe fall apart with devastating consequences for all. When MonX lead singer Mike appeals for her help, she reluctantly embraces a new opportunity. But she soon discovers that while she may be a rock chick after all, a groupie she is not… Or is she?
Just exactly where do her loyalties lie? And what direction will her life take now that she’s left behind everything she treasured?
Warning! Fallen For Rock contains some explicit content and strong language that may not be suitable for readers under eighteen years of age.