Blog Stop: Nikki Walker, author of the Redemptive Acts series

ISOAHP CoverOne of the very first writers to reach out to me when I began my self-publishing journey was Nikki Walker. Over time, we developed a friendship, based on our mutual love of the written word, and our desire to get better at our craft. She’s said many times and in many forums how much she appreciates my support, but the truth is, she has been just as much of a support to me. Together we formed the Writer’s Review and Support Resource Group, a Facebook forum for writers to get the kind of support that we’ve provided to each other, and for readers to connect with their favorite authors.

So nothing pleases me more than being able to host my friend today to talk about her process and her amazing new work, In Search of a Healing Place, the latest and final (?) part of the Redemptive Acts series.

So, Nikki, what was the very first thing you ever wrote, and how old were you?

I was about nine or 10.  It’s been too many years to remember the title, but to this day, I have many handwritten and typed stories that I can’t bear to part with.

But it’s one thing to write and another to expose that writing to scrutiny. What motivated you to share your writing with the world?

There comes a time when you just have to see if someone, besides those who love you, can like what you write.

If you had to think of one core message, a common strand that runs through your work, what would that be?

I would want everyone to realize, no matter what you’ve done or what has happened to you, tomorrow can change things.  Everyone can have a second-chance as long as you don’t give up.

You write inspirational romance novels that feature women who are at turning points in their lives, what appeals to you about that kind of heroine? What are you trying to tell your readers?

Sometimes we don’t realize how strong we are.  I had one reader tell me that something in Redemptive Acts had motivated her to take back some of her power in her own life.  I am greatly humbled and privileged to have encouraged someone in that way.

When you write, do you think of plot first, or characters first? Tell us about your process for “building” your stories.

The characters come first and they direct the story. Aside from that, there is really no process.

What are the best conditions for you to write in—quiet and alone, or in the middle of the action?

Quiet is the ideal atmosphere.  So usually, I write best in the middle of the night.

Your Redemptive Acts series seems to have struck a chord with lots of readers. I think it has something to do with the twins Jonathan and Tyrone. Considering the plot, it was interesting enough that they are brothers. But they are also twins. Tell us what appealed to you about the twin relationship.

I wanted to explore the attraction Cherise could have for two different men that looked the same.  Despite what Tyrone did to her, initially Cherise was very attracted to the charisma that Tyrone emanated. I had a few ways I wanted to take the story, but ended up writing it the way I did.  I also wanted to explore family relationships.  It is fascinating that siblings could grow up in the same household and yet come away with completely different values.

Tyrone in particular is a compelling character and an unlikely hero for many. In ‘In Search of a Healing Place’, he embarks on an interesting journey. Describe the challenge you faced with that character. No spoilers!

He certainly was challenging in that he is the type of person you would want to hate or be completely repelled by.  However, it was important to me to show even a person like him, if they put the work in, can be redeemed.

If you weren’t writing inspirational romance, what other genre do you see yourself writing?

I would definitely still be writing romance—perhaps just a bit more spicy.

What are you working on now and when might we expect another Nikki Walker book?

I am considering writing some adolescent novels.  I would like to explore a series for them.

 If you don’t mind sharing, tell us about the most memorable email or other communication you ever received from a reader.

I am privileged to have received many emails from my readers who tell me they enjoy my writing.  I continue to remain amazed at this and grateful.

Thank you for stopping by, Nikki Walker!

LINKS:

Here’s where you can find Nikki, and her work, in cyberspace!

Blog: Nikki’s Book Chats

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google+

Linkedin

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Paying it Forward . . . The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’d never heard of a “blog hop” before today, but here’s the deal: I was tagged by author, M.J. Kane, in her blog which answered 10 questions about “the next big thing” she’s working on, She’d been tagged by another writer. At the end of this blog (which will answer the 10 questions) I will tag a bunch of other authors, effectively paying it forward and getting folks who read my blog to go to theirs and discover these wonderful authors. So it’s the author’s equivalent of a pyramid scheme, pretty much. Kidding!

This whole deal is incredibly well-timed because I am now officially “in the thick of it” – that place in the writing of your book where you can scarcely think of anything else, so just today as I was thinking about how I’ve neglected my blogging, this incredible opportunity came up for me to ramble on about the only thing I can think about these days – ‘The Art of Endings’ – my next big thing.

So here goes:

flatecover (1)Question #1. What is the working title of your book?

The Art of Endings‘. It’s not the ‘working title’ – it will be the title I use unless I get divine intervention telling me it should not be so.

Question #2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

I was plagued over the holidays by a sense I had (and honestly, some reviews from people I trust) that the ending of ‘Secret’ was only somewhat satisfying. That more remained to be said. And since ‘Secret’ was definitely a departure for me in terms of style of storytelling, I began obsessing about the ending, and how the art of doing it well in writing is the hardest thing to perfect, even if you’re a pretty decent writer otherwise. And also, it was the end of the year so there was that ending to contemplate as well. And finally, some of the characters in Secret needed to find resolutions (endings) to long-troubling issues, so I decided to explore those. I blogged about it here.

Question #3. What is the genre?

I write contemporary women’s fiction. Some would call it romantic fiction. That’s probably a fair assessment as well, though for me, that’s not the only point of the books I write. The romance is what lures you in – I hope the message I convey goes beyond boy-meets-girl.

Question #4. Which actors would you choose to play the characters of the movie rendition?

I dreaded answering this question because I never draw characters with anyone in mind except themselves. They are whole and unique to me. And I also don’t watch too many movies but  here’s what I got from my Googling:

For Darren, Lamman Rucker

Lamman Rucker

For Trey, Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore3

For Shayla, Joy Bryant (plus about 10 pounds)

Joy Bryant2

 

 

 

 

 

For Paige, Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union

 

 

 

Question #5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Two men learn to understand themselves and the women they love, in the context of relationships they never thought they would have, or were capable of.

Question #6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher?

Self-pubbed.

Question #7. How long did it take to write the first draft?

Still working on it! ARGH!

Question #8. What other books would you compare it to in your genre?

Wow. Tough one. I’ll take a page from M.J. Kane and compare myself only to myself. As writers we’re in the same trenches but fighting our own individual battles. So ‘The Art of Endings’ will be like ‘The Seduction of Dylan Acosta’ in that it will have only one side’s point of view, whereas I generally write from both the male and female POVs. This time it’s all about the guys (she says, biting her fingernails with nervousness).

Question #9. Who, or what inspired you to write this book?

It all comes to me in my sleep, or something. I dunno. But seriously, when I finish a book, the characters go away. They are no longer in my head, but after ‘Secret’, they were still there, and so I knew there was more to write and I had finished it too soon. That instinct was confirmed for me by some trusted readers.

Question #10. What else about your book might pique the readers’ interest?

The primary thing would be that it’s meant to demystify the male journey toward romantic attachment. As women we wonder what makes them tick, how they decide that they ‘love’ rather than just ‘want’ a woman. What are the forces that make them form emotional attachments, and what makes those attachments stick? Women’s fiction – especially romances – have examined to death how and why women love. This is meant to give the view from the other side, the other sex.

And done. Thanks for recruiting me, M.J.!

Delaney Diamond, Nikki Walker, and Candace Shaw, tag you’re it!

Happy Reading and writing!

-Nia-