Thursday, November 29, 2012

Showcase: Nicky Wells

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, 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? Sophie Penhalligan's life and moral universe is turned upside down when rock star Dan proposes to her in full knowledge that she is already engaged. She has always loved Dan, in a remote-crush kind of way. She thinks she loves her fiancé, Tim. What is she to do?

It's all happening because her past has come to tempt her. Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, up close and personal. Well, almost!

Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life just as Sophie is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years. Until recently, she was confident Tim would eventually propose. But while his persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan's sudden reappearance poses a whole new dilemma.

Having accompanied Dan's band to Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is... well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. Torn between the dream-come-true and the sensible-thing-to-do, Sophie concludes her inadvertent journey of self-discovery with an ending that surprises herself, and everyone around her.

Sophie's Turn is a glamorous contemporary fairy tale that will make chick-lit and romance lovers laugh, cry and rock along every step of the way. Kindle: Paperback:

Q.  What inspires your writing?
Two things inspire my writing. The first one is daydreams. Daydreams of fantastic things I'd like to happen to me or to other people. Suppose you're in a tricky situation. Maybe you've bumped into a really nice man somewhere and you'd like to approach him but you don't know how. Maybe you're stood outside the backstage door of your favorite rock star and you'd really like to knock and just walk in. Whenever there's a situation where you can say, "Wouldn't it be fabulous if..."  ~ That inspires me to think of scenarios, which in turn lead to books.

The other thing that inspires me is music. I'm always listening to music and sometimes there's a nugget of emotion or an idea in the lyrics that prompts me to jot down an idea for a book. I have a whole notebook full of 'novel nuggets' waiting to be developed into full-blown stories some day soon.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?
 "I love it when a plan comes together." Isn't that what Hannibal used to say in the A-Team? Well, I get that feeling towards the end of a book when fate (aka my writing hand) takes the characters towards their destiny and there'll definitely be a happy-ever-after. Because I love my happy-ever-afters. It's an amazing feeling to make my characters happy, and hopefully that will bring a smile to the face of my readers, too.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?
 Keeping it short! I'm a prolific writer; when I get going, I write fast and furious, which isn't necessarily a good thing.  For example, the first draft of my second novel, Sophie's Run, came in at just over 150,000 words. That's practically a saga! Needless to say, I cut that down to under 120,000  words and I'm right now cutting it down again during a round of publisher edits. The long and the short of it is that I have a lot to say ~ too much for my genre! Thus my toughest challenge is keeping an eye on the wordcount.

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
Great question! I've tried being a professional consultant where I also got to write books, albeit on a non-fictional subject. I greatly enjoyed that role but it didn't combine easily with family life. Therefore, I have recently retrained to be a teaching assistant and I absolutely adore that job. Until recently, I used to volunteer in my local primary school a lot, and working with the children, gave me a tremendous buzz. I'm not working as a teaching assistant right at this time but if I couldn't be an author, that's the profession I'd turn back to. With, perhaps, a long-term view of qualifying as a teacher.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
Wow! What an interesting question. *sits back and ruminates* Probably, possibly something like "Swept Along by Music". 

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
That's a really tough question. There are so many! And I read so many different genres, too, so there's a favourite in each genre. I'll give you a seasonal answer, if I may. My favorite festive book of all times is Jostein Gaarder's The Christmas Mystery. It's written in 24 chapters, so it's an advent calendar in a book which also happens to be about an advent calendar. Gaarder writes a story within a story about a little girl who travels backwards in time to witness the birth of Jesus. In her mad dash through the centuries and across Europe (she starts her journey in a department store in Denmark) she accumulates all the critical characters ~ the wise men, the angels, the lambs, the shepherds ~ and tells an amazing story. It's skilfully done and my kids enjoy the book tremendously.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
LOL, I'd like to think I'm like Bridget Jones. Funny, loving, caring and just a little bit crazy at times. But like BJ, I can laugh at myself and get myself back on track.

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?
Ha ~ I was hoping you'd ask that. Sophie!! I've given Sophie a lot of me. People who know me say they can hear me talk when they read her words. And some of her experiences reflect things that may or may not have happened to me. :-)

Q.  What is your favorite season?
Winter, especially the time of Advent before Christmas. I love the dark nights; I love coming home cold and wet, lighting candles, drinking hot tea or hot chocolate, and curling up in front of a fire. Watching TV or reading books with the rain lashing against the window. Baking Christmas cookies and decorating the house. Plus my birthday is just before Christmas, so this has always been a doubly special time.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
Ah. Well! The original book cover for Sophie's Turn was quite different from the one you see now. It was pink, with a sign post, a butterfly and some flowers. Very chicklit, very innocent, a little fluffy. Cute. It did the job, but it didn't 'zing', somehow. It lacked panache.

When I asked a professional designer and close friend to redesign the cover, I wanted something a little more glamorous and sophisticated. That's what prompted the change from pink to purple and the gorgeous swirly font, and that's what brought the Eiffel Tower and the Carousel onto the cover. The cover picks up on the most critical scene in the book, and I am absolutely in love with it.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
Something funny... hm. Ok, here you go. I'm not sure it's laugh-out-funny but it had a certain sit-com value.

A while back, I did a reading a book club; the meeting took place in a pub. I didn't have a paperback copy of Sophie's Turn at the time, so I took my laptop to read from the Kindle version. I know ~ why not take the Kindle? Well, for one I'm not in the business of promoting Kindle. And for another, I had been told that most of the members of the book club didn't own a Kindle, so I wanted to show them that you can read e-Books on different media, too.

The members of this book club, while perfectly friendly and welcoming, were very dismissive of the whole e-Book phenomenon. Moreover, 'romance' or chick lit wasn't really their thing; that became obvious very early on. Have you ever had that weird, sinking feeling of being in the totally wrong place? Well, exactly.

Never fear, I'm a chatty person and I got them interested, so I proceeded with the reading. I powered up the laptop, opened the Kindle App and flicked to the section I wanted to read.

I read. And I clicked to turn the page, except the screen was frozen. I had two lines left before I had to move on. I clicked some more, and thankfully the page refreshed. Well, half of it, anyway. Ensue frantic clicking. Eventually, I had to confess to the listeners that the App had frozen, and I had to shut down and start again. Cue laughter from the group: See, they giggled, this technolgoy is nonsense. Gimme a paperback anytime. Ouch.

Needless to say, even after restarting the screen kept freezing. Imagine me sitting there with this bunch of readers who are anti-Kindle and anti-romance and the technology lets me down! I sweated buckets and talked like a madwoman. When I was done, I had a very large glass of wine.

Back at home, my OH told me that the computer would have kept crashing because it was looking for a wireless connection, and all I would have needed to do was to switch off the wireless function. Doh!

Q.  Are you working on something new?
Yes! And No! I am currently writing my third book, Sophie's Encore. This is the last instalment of the Rock Star Romance trilogy of which Sohpie's Turn is the first book. So I am working on a new book, but in an ongoing trilogy ~ does that count as 'new'? If not, then I can tell you that I have several ideas in the cooker for the next book after the Rock Star Romance Trilogy but I haven't decided which one I wil pursue yet.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
Yes, yes, yes! I want to say a big THANK YOU. First of all to you, Emily, for hosting me here today. Secondly, to all your lovely followers for visiting and reading our chat ~ if you have any thoughts or questions, I'd love to hear them! And lastly, to passers-by, for your interest and for coming to take a look-see. You are certainly most welcome, and I hope you all enjoyed yourself here today. Rock on!

Artificial intelligence

I’ll let you into a secret. Actually, you probably already guessed. Most people do, and certainly people who work with hair. I’m not really a redhead. See, you knew that. But did you guess my real hair colour? No?

Well, all right then. Now I can let you into a secret. I’m really a blonde.  Or I was, should I say, give the amount of grey that’s turned up in my roots of late. So why go red? The shop assistant in the chemist asked me the same incredulous question when I turned up with my bottle of copper at the checkout over eighteen years ago.

“Do you realise you’ve chosen a permanent colour?” she asked me, completely in shock.
“Yes, I do,” I responded airily. “I want it to be permanent.” I had no idea then just how permanent it would be—eighteen years’ worth, as I mentioned—but I did want it to last.

“You know this is… red,” she confirmed, quite unnecessarily.
“Yes, I know this is… red,” I echoed her tone of voice, then added sweetly, “that’s why I picked it, you see.”

She looked me up and down twice more, then shrugged and scanned the dye. Her whole body said, well, if you’re sure.

Sure, I certainly was. I took my purchase home proudly and full of anticipation, eager to get going. “Home” is probably a bit of an overstatement as I lived in Halls of Residence at the University of London at that time, but it would have to do. Never one to hang around once I made a decision, I applied the dye straightaway. Then I was nervous. I had remembered too late that the Halls were rather prone to fire alarms going off at all times of day and night, prompting a complete evacuation of the building. While I wanted my hair to go red, I didn’t want it to fall out, and the tangy smell of the ammonia in the hair dye wafting about my room scared me to death. It wasn’t all that pleasant dying your hair back then, as I recall now.

Anyhow, the half an hour passed without a hitch, I scuttled down the corridor unseen in my dressing gown with my head of gloopy hair, and I rinsed successfully. Back to my room, out with the hairdryer and dry away! I regarded the result eagerly and critically in the mirror as I went. Bingo. The real me was born!

You see, my natural hair colour, while optimistically called ‘blonde’ by the hairdressing profession, is more of a non-descript salt-and-pepper kind of ‘ash blonde’. That’s what the German hairdressing profession calls my particular brand of natural colour. I now realize that they’re probably making an association with a shade of light wood, but I have always thought of ‘ash.’ You know, from a fire. And I didn’t want to have ash-coloured hair anymore.

This new shade of bright copper… well, it put colour in my cheeks, set off my very pale skin beautifully, and made my blue eyes sparkle. If I say so myself. A whole new me!

Reactions ranged from blithe unawareness (you look different, somehow?) to shock (oh my God!), approval (Oh my God!) and intense dislike (my father’s, when he eventually got to see it a few weeks later). I sailed through the indifference, took the shock as a compliment, absorbed the approval, and rode roughshod over the dislike. And I’ve never changed back.

Over the years, I have tried almost the entire brown-red dye palette, staying away only from auberginey blues. I’ve gone dark mahogany and bright copper, with post-box red in between. I have never not liked the result. My conclusion: I was meant to be a redhead, and I’m just giving nature a helping hand.

So why did I call this post ‘artificial intelligence,’ you ask. I gather you’ve not heard the joke. Ok, I’ll tell you. I’m allowed, being a blonde myself. You cannot possibly misconstrue this joke as being blonde-ist, coming from me, now that you know. Ready?

Why did the blonde dye her hair? ~ To get artificial intelligence.

Cringe! But there it is. And now let me introduce you to my novel masterpiece, Sophie’s Turn…


  1. Hi Emily! *waves frantically* It's so nice to be here today ~ and thank you for featuring a fabulous Q & A (great questions, btw) as well as a guest post. I'm quite beside myself with excitement at so much space! I hope your readers enjoy meeting me (and my bright red hair) and meanwhile... rock on, everybody! :-) x

  2. I'm guessing you've been taking paperbacks to your book readings ever since, Nicky? Think I'd have had two large glasses of red after that! x

    1. LOL, now that I have them, I certainly take them!! Thanks for visiting and commeting, Suzie, it's lovely to see you here. XX *Cheers* (it's wine o'clock, right?)

  3. Tee he he! Fabulous interview, fabulous guest post, thanks for making me giggle! Nicky you are so totally Bridget Jones with the mishap at the reading and I have to remember the artificial intelligence joke!!

    1. *waves* Hi Libby, thank you so much for stopping by and for your lovely comment! I'm glad I gave you a giggle, that's my job well done then. It's very nice to meet you and I hope to 'bump' into you again soon. Keep rockin'! :-)


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Emily, AKA Mrs. Mommy Booknerd

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