Monday, November 19, 2012

An Interview with Nickie Anderson

Way back in May, or June, Susan Kaye Quinn had a post that included a critique partner match up.
Thanks to Susan, I met Nickie Anderson of Here's the Story, and we became critique partners. She's been a huge help to me, and I've had the privelege of reading her book Bright Star.
So, although I posted about her release on Friday, I just had to interview her, to find out exactly what her secret is for awesome writing.
Tyrean: What are the steps you took to create your novel? Are you a plotter or a pantster? Did you create the world first or the character?
Nickie: By nature, I am a total pantser. I first tried writing a novel back in 2008, a YA paranormal with mummies. I just wrote, wrote, wrote, and after about 20,000 words I realized all I had was a hot mess.
I tried rewriting a few times, changing the POV and so on, but each time I realized that what the story was actually missing was a plot. That's kind of important.
Writing fell by the wayside when I was in college, but after I graduated and had some free time I wanted to try my hand again.
For 'Bright Star' the world came first, but the characters took over! In fact, I had to do some major rewrites in the first draft because a few of my characters refused to cooperate with my original plot. (I liked their ideas better, though!)

Tyrean: I loved seeing Sadira grow as a character throughout the book. I was impressed at how you showed her becoming more confident in herself as she uncovered more secrets about the world that surrounds her.

Was that part of the plan from the beginning, or did her character develop as the story progressed?
Nickie: I wanted to show some kind of character growth from the beginning. I feel like I've seen too many YA novels with protagonists who are super strong, deadly, butt-kicking machines. What about the rest of us? It's not a relateable character. It seems like it's almost taboo for the character to be scared.
With Sadira, my goal was to create a more realistic teen, one who would be terrified by the events in the story. Her strength isn't hand-to-hand combat -- it's pushing forward even when she's scared to take another step. And with each successful step, she has a little more faith in herself.

Tyrean: Do you feel your book falls under one category more than another? YA, Dystopian, SciFi, Adventure, Fantasy?
Nickie: I feel like 'Bright Star' straddles a few categories. It's definitely YA, but has hints of all these other sub-genres, especially dystopian and sci-fi. One of the most fun trends in YA today is the mashup of different sub-genres, the mixing of different ideas to create entirely new worlds. For example, 'Blood Red Road' was an awesome blend of dystopian, action, and fantasy. I hope that trend continues.

Tyrean: As a writer, who/what encourages you to write?
Nickie: I've always enjoyed writing, but until this last year I never really considered writing a novel. But here's the thing -- it isn't a chore at all. Those characters have come alive for me, and they're constantly giving me new ideas, encouraging me to share their story. We'll be seeing more of Sadira -- she still has a few more stories to tell me.

My biggest inspiration, though, is being a part of the age-old tradition of story telling. It doesn't matter if it's a book, movie, TV show, play, or song -- we all love hearing a story, love that moment of being able to step outside ourselves.

It's bad enough that Sadira Pascal's father doesn't make it home to celebrate her fifteenth birthday. He might be a busy hovership engineer pulling overtime on a new design, but he's always been home for the important things. It's worse when she discovers her father decided to ride on the maiden voyage of his newest ship, the CAS Bright Star, without even telling her. But things really fall apart during Sadira's field trip with her class to observe the hovership launch. Instead of a successful flight, she watches the Bright Star fall out of the sky.

The Central government confirms her father's death, leaving Sadira to pick up the pieces of her former life. While she struggles with her loss, Private Baruj Haddad tries to convince her that her father and the rest of the Bright Star crew are still alive. At first, Sadira doesn't believe there's any hope. But then she stumbles across a message that makes her think maybe, just maybe, her father is still alive. As she digs deeper into the Bright Star's crash, Sadira uncovers secrets about her father's work, secrets that put her and everyone she loves in danger.
Bright Star can be found at: Amazon B&N and Smashwords
You can also put it on your to-read or read shelf at Goodreads
Nicke is running an Indie giveaway of Bright Star this week on her blog. Go check it out at Here's The Story!
Thank you Nickie for being an awesome critique partner!

If you haven't seen it yet . . .I also have to give a huge shout out for this awesome blogfest for the most encouraging blogger I know:
Details can be found at several sites . . .I don't have time to list them all at the moment, but you can stop by the very embarassed Alex's blog and find out more.



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Plot is kind of important!
Many books are a blend of genres these days. I think it's a good thing, as they reach a wider audience that way.

Anonymous said...

Always great to hear how other writers develop their stories and the thought that goes into character and plot. Thanks for sharing.

Nickie said...

Thank you for your awesomeness as well, Tyrean!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - true!

Julie - You're welcome!

Nickie - You're welcome!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Yay for CP match making!! And I love the mashups too - I can't seem to write a straight...anything! Right now I'm writing a Steampunk Fantasy Romance, which I've also decided is a bit of feminist women's fiction. Somehow I doubt there's a category on Amazon for that! But all that's really important (I hope) is the story. Bright Star sounds like a great one!

Anonymous said...

Like Alex, I use a blend of genres to attract a wider audience. I also avoid some things like not using F-bombs or abusing or killing children as many authors do so as not to alienate other audiences. And its just not me to do things like that anyway.

Julie Dao said...

I love reading a genre mashup... books with elements of fantasy and sci-fi and historical are wonderful! Sounds like this one's a great read :)

Morgan said...

Loved the interview with Nickie, Tyrean! Thanks for this. And new follower... you have a fabulous blog. I'm so glad we're connected now! :D

ilima said...

Tyrean, I tagged you in U Got The Look. See my blog for details.

David P. King said...

Great interview, and thanks for mentioning our official Roast to Alex! Tis the season! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Susan - I think mash ups are great too!

Stephen - you mentioned a number of pitfalls to avoid . . .and I'm so glad that most of the authors I know avoid them!

Julie - me too! :-)

Morgan - Thanks! I'm glad we're connected now too.

ilima - Wow! Thanks!

David - Thanks, and You're Welcome! He deserves it!

Trisha said...

Yep, you know you're in trouble when you have no plot. ;)

It's very cool that you met your critique partner through a blog activity!

Tammy Theriault said...

LOVE hearing how people process their thoughts to books. great interview!

Unknown said...

Interesting questions! Always happy to learn about other writers.

Jack said...

What interests me most in this book is the idea of a girl who isn't a black belt in karate, who is scared, but does what she must anyways. I'm a bit tired of reading books about characters who can do everything and know everything and aren't scared of anything. A normal person, doing what they must to help those they love, that is a story worth reading!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Trisha - It is really cool to meet a cp through a blog post!

Tammy - Thanks for stopping by!

Damyanti - Thanks! Me too.

Jack - I agree! I like the heroic, powerful characters, but I also like the ones who get through their journey with grit and determination!