What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Nicole J. Persun. I was born in Ohio and now I live in Port Townsend, Washington.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be? When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
For a long time I wanted to get into the sciences, from veterinary medicine to marine biology. But I always enjoyed writing and other art forms. I didn’t start seriously calling myself a writer until I was about half way through my first novel, after going to the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association summer conference. I still love science (and history, and math, and psychology for that matter) but writing is my #1 love. It can encompass any subject; it has no limit, which makes it the perfect profession for someone like me, who loves all subjects and questions.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
I was 16 years old when I got my first contract, and my book came out just a few months after my 17th birthday. It happened very fast, which is quite unusual, and I feel very grateful to have that sort of opportunity so early in my life.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yes and no. I’m currently working on some scientific articles that I hope to sell to a few magazines. It’s separate from my creative writing, but it’s still writing. I’m also in college getting a degree in writing, so I’m quite busy.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My first published novel is called A Kingdom’s Possession. It’s about a flawed goddess, an escaped slave, a rogue kingdom, an outcast prince, and a woman of fire.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
My publisher is Booktrope Editions. They are a small, independent publisher out of Seattle. I’m very happy with them. They’re super easy to work with, have a great business plan, and always work with the author’s best interest in mind.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I always have multiple ideas in my head, and sometimes they merge with others to create more coherent plots or characters. It’s hard to say how long I think about a book before writing it, but once I start, it takes only about 3 months to finish the first draft.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
That’s a really tough question. I think each new book comes with it’s own challenges and its own rewards. Let me say that the most challenging book is the one I’m currently working on, partly because I don’t know where it’s going to go, and partly because I’ve not yet come across challenges like this in my writing.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’m not sure I even know what to expect! When it comes to novels, I typically write fantasy, but I’ve written just about every genre in short stories, flash fiction, essays, and poetry. As for what’s next to be published, I’d say to look for a fantasy novel. That’s my best guess.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I’m currently working on my 4th novel. I’ve actually been considering writing a series of short stories as a sort of prequel to the novel. But when it comes to writing, I’m never quite sure where I’ll end up next!
What genre would you place your books into?
Fantasy with an historical, scientific, or psychological base.
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I don’t like to choose favorites, because usually my favorite book is the one I’m working on. However, out of the books I’ve already finished, I’d have to say that my 3rd is my favorite. It’s not out yet; I’m currently editing it. The working title is Dead of Knight. It’s a little creepy, quite strange, but there’s something about it that I fell in love with from the start.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
That’s so tough! I’m not sure I can choose. Avaline from A Kingdom’s Possession was fun to write. The second book I wrote is about her, and she’s a very powerful, extreme person. I also enjoyed writing Orson, who is one of the characters in my unpublished novel Dead of Knight. In the novel, he’s slowly going mad, and to delve into such a complicated character was really great for me.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I started writing my first book when I was 13, but I wrote short stories when I was even younger than that. I find inspiration everywhere, in everything, so it’s hard to say what was the true inspiration for me to begin seriously writing.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
As I mentioned before, it can come from anything. History is great—it practically hands out book plots. Science is wonderful in that it starts with a question, as do most novels. And psychology, people, and current events are powerful book-starters too. My plots come from many different sources.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?
Oh goodness yes! I want my books to be perfect by the time they’re published, so I have a handful of trusted, honest readers who go through and read my work before publication.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Usually, but it depends on the source.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Typically. I can’t help myself.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
It’s never fun getting a poor review, but usually they come from individuals who don’t read much in the genre. I don’t get hung up on bad reviews, everyone has their own opinions, and a bad review is just a difference of opinion between the reader and me. The 5-star reviews are always great too, but the best are the ones that come from my dad. He’s a writer as well, and has written tens of books, so when he praises my work, it’s a real honor.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
I always have a working-title for my books, and usually they’re not very good. I don’t typically expect for them to be used on the published edition of the book, so I’m always open for changes. As for the cover designer, since I work with small, independent publishers, I can have some input. On the other hand, I’m not a visual artist, so I like to leave most of it up to my cover designer. It’s the designer’s profession and art, so aside from making sure the cover depicts the novel justly, I let the designer do his job. The cover of A Kingdom’s Possession was done by VervCreative (www.vervcreative.com).
How do you market/promote your books?
Lots of ways: magazines and newspapers, blog posts and guest blogs, email newsletters, radio and video interviews, conferences, talks at schools, workshops I give, and social media.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
Many try to answer this question, but I don’t think there’s a set way to become a best seller. The best I can do is write the best novels I can write, continue to learn the craft, and market. It’s my great hope that I will continue to sell, because I continue to write and get better.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. There’s always something to write. It may not be good, it may be deleted later, but that’s okay. I’m a writer, and that’s what I do: I write. I don’t suppose many painters get “painter’s” block.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I like to be outside. We own some horses, so riding and spending time with them is always a good way to relax. I also like to read, go to museums, watch a movie or T.V. show, and listen to music. Coffee is high on the list too—Washington has some fantastic coffee places.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
To some extent or another, yes. But by the time everything is translated onto the page, no one is going to recognize who or what experience the scene or character was based off of.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Of course, but in many cases, those morals may not even be visible to me.
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Yes, many. My father, Terry Persun, for one. Not just in his writing, but in his advice. I’m ever thankful for that. I also enjoy C. C. Humphreys and George R. R. Martin. They both have fantastic character development. Sharon Shinn is a favorite too, as well as Jo Graham, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Orson Scott Card…
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
Hardback! I love the smell of any print book, the feel of the pages, the weight in my purse. But man, hardbacks are just wonderful. They’re so substantial—a great reminder of just how substantial the stories inside them can be.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I don’t like to read books more than once, usually. However my bookmark is always a 3x5 card with favorite page numbers on it. I like to revisit those pages. I’d say one of my favorite books is Vlad: The Last Confession by C. C. Humphreys. Talk about beautiful characters. You can literally see his main character disintegrating into madness. Another favorite is an unpublished novel by may dad. I laughed and cried. Look for it, Doublesight will be published soon.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
No I don’t. Just as paintings don’t transfer well into sculpture, and encaustic art doesn’t transfer well into fabric. However, I do like movies that were once books. Especially The Lord of the Rings. I just recently watched all the movies again.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m currently reading wonderful historical fiction called A Place Called Armageddon by C. C. Humphreys. It’s a paperback, but hardback sized, which I like.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I really hope not. I don’t think they will in my lifetime. The other day, I was in a bookstore looking at an amazing book of Northwest marine life photography. Never, ever, could I imagine a book like that on an e-reader. It’s just not the same.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
Yes, for the most part. I know a lot of young kids who are avid readers and writers. My high school (www.jeffersoncommunityschool.com) always encouraged me to read and write, and be unique and creative. I think given the space and the opportunity, kids can do anything. I’d love to see more writing in schools, and not just the cliché essay classes and Shakespeare classes (although I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare myself), but classes that branch out into more genres and get kids really excited about books in general.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I’m not interested in Twilight, just because I’ve heard of a lot of world-building mistakes and overall ideas that I wouldn’t really want to put up with as a reader. But I don’t want to flat-out say that I will “never” read a book. There are just some that are more unlikely to be found on my bedside table than others.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
Yes, plenty. But you know, I think every reader should develop his or her own taste in books by reading everything: famous or not. I do recommend checking out other authors by my publisher Booktrope. They’re all certainly worthy of some attention.
Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
A book is never really finished; it can always be better. But I would never, ever, keep working on a book. It becomes less and less organic as I edit, and I think it looses its essence after a while. Once I decide I’m done, I really am done.
What do you think about book trailers?
I find them silly. It’s a book! Why do we need something visual to get us hooked? I haven’t yet seen one creative enough to really convince me that they’re worth making.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write, write, write. Read, read, read. Love your work, love the process, love stories, and love characters. Don’t get discouraged by rejections or bad reviews, if you’re a true writer, you’re not writing for the fame anyway. Write for yourself. And don’t publish until it’s the best it can be.
My blog: www.nicolejpersun.blogspot.com
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