Coming through the airwaves : Nicky Wells

Today, I’m delighted to welcome author and radio presenter Nicky Wells onto the blog.  Many of you will know Nicky through her Romance that Rocks Your World books, but more recently she has also taken on the role of radio presenter.

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Nicky, can you tell us a bit about your radio show, please?

Hi Sue! Of course I can, but first up, thanks so much for inviting me back to Romaniac HQ. It’s always such a pleasure to hang out here! Now then, my radio show. It’s called BOOKS ROCK, and it’s a show where books and their authors and readers take centre stage. Because, as you know, I love writing, I’m an avid reader, and I’m addicted to music. It seems the ideal combo to me! Every show features two authors and two readers, often bloggers. The authors talk about writing-related matters and their books, and the readers give their perspectives on the theme of the day—e.g. research, or point of view—plus their top reads for the month. So far, we’ve had authors such as Jill Mansell, Talli Roland, and Tracy Bloom on the show—plus of course, your good self! We also have a ‘reality radio’ segment whereby we’re tracing the progress of Karina Jackson, a local aspiring writer. You might say I’m putting her through a creative writing course live on air. Then again, you might say we’re simply talking about her progress. I’ll leave that up to the listener to decide, but the idea is to give idea and inspiration to other emerging authors out there.

BOOKS ROCK airs on Siren 107.3 FM at 11 am UK time on the third Saturday of every month (and then again the following Tuesday, usually about 7pm)—people in the Lincoln area can listen live, and the rest of the world can tune in at sirenonline.co.uk. Plus, of course, the podcasts are available from the Siren FM website. This is the bit where I get to say, ‘here’s one I made earlier…’ 🙂

http://www.sirenonline.co.uk/archives/9589

How did this role come about?

Ah. Well. Please don’t laugh. *coughs* I had a dream. No, really. I woke up one morning with the concept for the show and a sample schedule for the hour-long programme all ready in my head. I went downstairs to my office to set the whole crazy notion on paper before it got away from me. And then, before I could think about it twice, I zapped the whole thing to one of the producers at Siren FM via email. I’d been involved in Siren FM through The Midweek Drive for about eighteen months by then, so it didn’t seem a big deal to present a crackpot idea—they’d either say yes or no. As it happened, they said yes—within about two hours of receiving the proposal. I was delighted, and now I get to make a monthly radio show. Awesome!

You certainly sound very natural on the radio and definitely put me at ease when I was a guest. Is it as easy as you make it sound?

Thank you so much for saying that! LOL! Is it as easy… now there’s a question. You see, I love it. I’m a chatterbox by nature and find it virtually impossible to shut up. I’m timid in person, but somehow the medium of radio, the one level of remove from face-to-face interaction, seems to take away the inhibitions—never mind that my ramblings go out live on air! I also have a professional background of interviewing senior business executives both in person and by phone, and I think it’s probably that which gives me the confidence to just ‘chat.’

Turning to your writing, you’ve certainly given us a lot of fabulous rock romance books over the past few years, which has been your most favourite one to write?

*laughs* Are you asking me to pick between my babies? I’m afraid I don’t have an easy answer for this one. I have a tendency to be in love with my most current work in progress, but I guess that’s normal. Here’s a few thoughts. Sophie’s Encore made my heart sing, if you pardon the expression, because I was able to give a perfect ending to the story that I’d dreamed up. Also I had found the courage to inject a lot more drama and a lot more heat into my writing, so I felt very grown up, as a writer, when I finished. Fallen for Rock, my fourth full-length novel, was a fun story from start to finish, and I found myself jumping up and down with excitement and punching the air in victory a few times on Emily’s behalf. So that’s a favourite! And right now, I’ve finished my next Christmas novella, and it’s such a sweet, warm and cheerful story that I feel all gooey and overcome, even though I wrote it myself. Seriously, if it’s goodwill and fairy tales you’re after, then watch out for my next release. Plus I’m seriously in love with the cover—it’s all dreamy and starry and just perfect, in my humble opinion.

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So, what’s on the horizon book wise? I’m crossing my fingers you have something lined up for us in the near future.

I do indeed! Let me tell you a bit more about the Christmas novella then. It’s titled Fairy Tale in New York.

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Here’s the blurb:

When rock star Jude gets stranded in New York with his family on Christmas Eve, he has no idea that he is setting in motion a chain of events that will turn their Christmas into the most magical one yet…

No good deed goes unpunished, or so it seems to Jude and Carrie on the morning of the twenty-fourth of December. The previous day, they gave up their London-bound flights to someone in crisis. And now, a spectacular whiteout is grounding all planes, and Jude, Carrie, and baby Maya are stuck far from home.

Tired, hungry, and just a little panicked, Jude loads his family into a cab and returns to their hotel. But there’s no room at the inn, and not even a platinum credit card will make a difference. Snow is falling heavily, and the family is facing a very bleak night indeed.

How do you celebrate Christmas with no place to stay, no food, and no presents? Join Jude, Carrie, Maya and a cast of colourful characters in this fairy tale story of Yuletide in New York.

Fairy Tale in New York is available for pre-order from Amazon now and launches officially on 10 November. I can’t wait to share this one!!

Thanks so much for being our guest, as always, it’s a pleasure to chat with you.

Thank you, Sue, for inviting me again. Big hugs to you and all the fabulous Romaniacs, you totally rock, ladies!

Nicky Wells has something to sing about today …

Happy Publication Day to a great supporter of The Romaniacs and fabulous author Nicky Wells. Today she is celebrating the official launch of her novel, Sophie’s Turn, and she wants to sing it from the rooftops!

A Natural Born Singer. Not.

I’m an enthusiastic singer. I sing all the time. I love music, and it’s really no surprise that I am writing books that feature music. Well, ok, they feature a rock star featuring music. But still.

Today, it’s my launch day for Sophie’s Turn, brought to you by my publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, and the lovely Romaniacs have very kindly agreed to let me make a song and a dance about it right here on their blog.

So I’d love to sing for you. In fact, if you can keep a secret, I am singing as I write. “We are the Champions” is my current tune, mixed in with a bit of “Walking on Sunshine” and “The Only Way Is Up”. You get the idea, I am truly celebrating. There’s only one problem. I’m not very good.

How can that be, you ask. I’m sure I read somewhere you met your husband in a choir? I certainly did, you are absolutely right. I did sing in a choir for several years, performing classical choral pieces. I’m an alto, as I discovered when I joined. And I also discovered that singing in a choir works for me. I can somehow do that. But singing on my own? Rock songs? Nah. Not so good.

In fact, many, many years ago, the mother of a then boyfriend (who happened to be an opera singer; the mother, not the boyfriend) told me quite explicitly and not a little rudely to Shut Up because my singing was so awful, apparently. I was crushed, and I duly shut up.

For all of… five minutes. Because, lack of ability or not, singing is in me. I just do it. Half the time, I’m not even aware of it, as I’m sure the inhabitants of this enchanted but small village that I now call home are quickly discovering.

Having had a little bit of training through singing in that choir, I do know that I risk going off-key quite a bit whilst belting out a favourite rock tune. I have learnt to hear when that happens, and to stop and right myself, sort of. I have also learnt that, had I but a score to read, I would probably do a lot better. But in the absence of scores, I shall remain wobbly, to say the least. I recognise that… but it still doesn’t stop me.

In fact, my continual singing and near-word-perfect knowledge of all things lyrics was one of the first things my now husband noticed about me. During a long, fateful car journey in a very beaten up Golf (the windows were held shut by lashings of silicone sealant, I seem to recall) all the way from sunny Brighton to sunny Tooting-in-London. Enough said. And it didn’t put him off, now, did it? On the contrary.

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

Rock On! Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door.  She recently signed her work with U.S. publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing.  Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters.  When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant.

Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys.  In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.

Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress, the second and third parts of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy.  You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook.  Nicky is a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com and has joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Nicky also has author pages at Sapphire Star Publishing and, of course, Goodreads.

About Sophie’s Turn

Slapper.  Slut.  Adulteress.  These are hardly words that Sophie Penhalligan would normally use to describe herself.  Yet this is exactly how she is behaving, all things considered, even if she isn’t quite married to Tim yet.  And it’s all happening because her past is coming to tempt her!  Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan, up close and personal.  Well, almost.  Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life.  How could Tim ever stand a chance against the charming, handsome singer?  How could she?

Sophie, now twenty-eight and a budding newspaper journalist, is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years.  Until recently, she was confident that Tim would eventually propose—probably as soon as he could get his act together.  But just as Tim’s persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan’s sudden reappearance turns Sophie’s world upside down.  Thus unfolds a roller-coaster of events including an ill-fated trip to Paris with Tim, a night of unfulfilled romance with Dan, Sophie and Tim’s engagement party gate-crashed by Dan, and Sophie’s professional secondment to accompany Dan’s band on their revival tour—at Dan’s special request and very much against her will.

And then, one fine day in Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is…  well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London.   What is she to do now?  Who wouldn’t give anything to meet their favorite star, let alone marry him?

Find out how Sophie gets into this impossible situation, and how she turns it around, in Sophie’s Turn, the honest, funny and sometimes bittersweet story of one woman’s entanglement with a rock star.

So while I ain’t no rock star, I shall live vicariously through my hero, Dan, and my heroine, Sophie and belt out happy tune after happy tune, on this, my launch day. Please join me in a song and a glass of virtual bubbly here at the Romaniacs, or over at my own blog. And please raise a glass in thanks to the amazing Romaniacs who so kindly let me take to their stage to sing out loud about my launch!

Lovely to have you here Nicky – now we really must go and get ourselves ready for your party today – see you at your place!

LINKS FOR SOPHIE’S TURN

Sophie’s Turn is available in Kindle edition from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and many other Amazon sites. The paperback edition is also available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. In addition, you can obtain Sophie’s Turn from Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday Chit Chat – Author Nicky Wells

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**

Great 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!