We are delighted to have the lovely and so supportive author, Nicky Wells, with us today for a chat.
Hi Nicky, thanks for dropping by. First of all can we congratulate you on your SECOND book deal with American publishers, Sapphire Star Publishing – that’s fantastic news.
Thanks so much! It’s a pleasure to be here, I adore the Romaniacs group and all the support you give each other. As for my second book publishing deal… well, I still haven’t got my head round the first one, I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet. I’m sure it will, in time! **does a merry little dance**
Okay, let’s start with Sophie’s Turn which began life as a self-published novel but was soon snapped up by your publishers. Can you tell us a bit about it?
I write Romance That Rocks Your World! More specifically, I write contemporary romantic comedy featuring a rock star and the girl next door. My debut novel, Sophie’s Turn, introduces rock star Dan and girl-next-door Sophie. Here’s the story in a nutshell: One fine day in Paris, Sophie Penhalligan suddenly finds herself engaged to her teenage crush and love-of-her-life-from-a-distance, rock singer and star extraordinaire Dan Hunter. But there is the small matter of her very recent, but very prior, engagement to Tim. Reliable, honest, trusting Tim, her boyfriend of two years stashed away safely in his mews house in South Kensington while Sophie is drinking rather too much champagne with Dan in Paris. This contemporary romantic fairy tale describes how Sophie gets into her impossible situation and how she turns it around.
Sophie’s Turn will be published by Sapphire Star Publishing on 6 September 2012, and I’m telling you, I’m counting the days!
Now, Sophie’s Turn can be read as a stand-alone but it is part of a trilogy, isn’t it? Did you plan it this way?
Funnily enough, even though I had initially set out to write only one book, Sophie’s Turn, I knew even before I finished writing that there would be a second novel. Sophie’s story simply wasn’t finished when I got to the end of the book. Therefore, shortly after releasing Sophie’s Turn for its initial publication through Kindle, I set about writing The Sequel. Titled Sophie’s Run, the sequel picks Sophie’s story up right from the end of Sophie’s Turn. Dan continues to be a huge part of Sophie’s life, as does Rachel. Moreover, there will be a couple of new characters to spice matters up! There will be rock themes and weddings (yes, plural) and all manner of twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages through the night again. I’ll tell you a bit more about that when the first book is launched. However, I can tell you that Sapphire Star Publishing has also signed Sophie’s Run and the book is due for release on 7 February 2013!
Have you started planning the final one yet?
I have! I drew out the one-page hand-written masterplan on Valentine’s day (on a train, actually), and I have just done my typical huge plot flowchart involving a 2m length of paper, coloured sticky notes, and many arrows. My goal is to have my concept and plan completely finished by the start of September so that I can start writing the final book in the Trilogy as soon as the boys return to school after the summer holidays!
How have you seen your heroine Sophie develop over the two books? Has she changed? Were these planned or has she taken on a life of her own?
That’s such an interesting question! You may not know that seven years elapsed between the writing of Sophie’s Turn and the sequel, Sophie’s Run. Needless to say, I grew and developed in that time, not least through having two kids!
Having just reread myself both books in sequence in quick succession, I am thrilled to note that the story continues seamlessly; you’ll definitely recognise the Sophie that you know and love from one book to the next. However, she has grown as a person. I feel that she has become more grounded. Her view of life and her expectation of love and relationship have become simultaneously greater (she wants the real deal, and only the real deal, a thunderbolt-and-lighting moment) and more realistic. She has been promoted at work, and she has bought her flat, so she has taken on more and more ‘adult’ responsibilities. Naturally, though, she does maintain her close friendship with Dan.
We mentioned earlier that you started off self-publishing, how does working with Sapphire Star differ?
Wow, where to start? I think the biggest change is that I’m no longer working alone in building a platform, a readership, and writing career for myself. I have a team of professionals standing beside me, pulling in the same direction and shooting for the same goals.
I can tell you that everybody at Sapphire Star is very passionate about books; it’s a whole new world of experience for me! I can ask a thousand questions (and I have!) and I receive guidance at every step of the way. Where my ‘indie’ launch occurred in a frantic time of confusion and incremental (read, on-the-hop) strategy making, the launch for Sophie’s Turn involves clear action steps that I have to accomplish by a certain time. This takes away a lot of the uncertainty and gives a fabulous focus.
Just last week, I had my official cover reveal, and it is a fantastic knowing that very soon it will be gracing an actual book. Also last week I received my first ever publisher edits, which I opened and digested with some trepidation. I needn’t have worried! The editor offered a series of comments and suggestions that have helped me sharpen and tighten parts of the narrative. Obviously, I have edited Sophie’s Turn many times before, using input from a cadre of beta-readers and, later, proofreaders. Yet it is only now, under the gentle and targeted guidance of a professional editor, that I’m finding the courage to tweak and hone and polish. I am really excited by the outcome!
You are always so busy, how do you manage everything? Do you have a writing routine and more importantly do you stick to it?
Do I have a writing routine? Oh God, yes! Do I stick to it? Religiously. I don’t have a choice, as my time is so limited. Here’s a typical day:
9 a.m.: Return from school run, switch on computer and make a cup of tea
9:10 a.m.: Read emails, catch up on Twitter, Facebook and blogs
10 a.m.: Re-read and tweak previous day’s work
10:20 a.m.: Commence writing
12:30 p.m.: Break for lunch
1 p.m.: Continue writing
2:30 p.m.: Finish writing, catch up on email and social networks
3 p.m.: Fetch children from school
While I am writing a novel, the actual writing time is sacrosanct. I don’t answer the phone, I don’t order any shopping to be delivered, I don’t even open the front door. If I don’t safeguard those time slots, time will run away with me. Everything else has to take second seat.
If you didn’t write, what would you do instead?
I have recently retrained as a teaching assistant and have greatly enjoyed working as such on a volunteer basis in my local primary school. It gives me a great buzz to work with small groups of children and facilitate their learning, perhaps catch them up or build bridges that are difficult to create in a classroom context. As a result, you get to share in a lot of ‘aha’ moments, and that’s a wonderful feeling. If I wasn’t writing, I would probably seek full time employment as a teaching assistant or possibly consider training as a teacher.
What are your writing dreams/aspirations? Do you ever see yourself moving into another genre?
At one level, my writing dream is to touch people’s lives, make them smile or think about their choices. At a more practical level, my dream would be to build writing in a sustainable career, in every respect. I am working very hard indeed to make that happen!
Could I move into another genre? Well, I’m a rock’n’roll romance girl at heart, but I could see myself writing children’s fiction. I also have a couple of darker, more literary novels in the works although I would probably write those under a pen name… But fear not, whatever I do, I’ll be bringing you my own unique brand of romance that rocks your world for many more books to come!
Thank you so much for hosting me on your fabulous blog today, it’s been a real pleasure and a privilege being here!
No, thank you! It’s been great having you here, Nicky. Your enthusiasm is infectious!