What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Nikki Godwin - Mississippi, USA (still there, sadly)
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I've always enjoyed writing. Once I started thinking of what I "wanted to be when I grew up," I always knew it'd have to do with writing somehow.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
I spent two years querying before I decided to indie/self publish. So from the time I started trying to get published until my first book was available, 2.5 years.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yep! My current day job is being the assistant manager of a credit union.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
American Girl On Saturn - "Three sisters, one boyband, and a summer on lockdown turns into romance, secrets, and excessive drama."
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I self published.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
My writing process is a bit detailed. I spend one month plotting and a second month developing characters before I ever write the book. On average, I can write a novel in 2-3 months, depending on how busy real life is at the time.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The easiest was the very first one. The second one was the hardest.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
So far, I've only published contemporary YA, but I also write m/m LGBT (usually YA, maybe a little NA). For the most part, my books will fall under one of these categories.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I have two upcoming releases. Three Words Cursed, will be out on November 24, 2013. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18187070-three-words-cursed) Then my first YA LGBT romance, Falling From The Sky, (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17609249-falling-from-the-sky) will be published in January 2014. Neither of these are part of a series. However, I've had a few people ask if I'd have any more novels with characters from American Girl On Saturn, so there may be more of that in store for 2014.
What genre would you place your books into?
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I started writing as a teenager, about teen characters, and that's what has always been appealing to me as a writer and reader.
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
Chasing Forever Down is my favorite. The book itself was very close to my heart, and reality tried multiple times to stand between me and finishing this book. It was a long, difficult journey, but this book is just absolutely my love.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I adore A.J. from Chasing Forever Down because he's edgy and authentic, but my absolute favorite character I've ever written would be Cricket from Three Words Cursed. He's been through a lot, and he's a little snarky/jaded, but his heart is genuine and he's just a beautiful person. He breaks my heart at times.
How long have you been writing? and who or what inspired you to write?
I loved reading when I was younger, but after reading The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, I stopped dreaming up storylines and actually started writing them. That was 13 years ago. However, I truly started writing for publication in 2010.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
My ideas come from the most random places. I usually say something like, "I'm going to write a book about carousel horses..." (or a fire circus or a dead surfer) The idea just builds on that. Music inspires me a ton. My sister actually came up with the idea for American Girl On Saturn.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I usually always write in my bedroom. Sometimes I burn a candle. I usually have music on. I always have to have something to drink.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?
My sister, best friend, and critique partner are always the first readers. I usually just ask if anyone wants to read it earlier in exchange for an honest review.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I usually do, just to see if there's any constructive feedback.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Never, I would ignore it. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion.
How do you come up with the title and cover designs for your book/books? Who designed the cover of your books?
I've designed all of my published covers, thus far. Titles usually pop in my head when I'm not even thinking about them. As far as covers go, I try to create something that sets the right feel of the book and is something I don't mind my name being plastered across.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The title usually comes to me about halfway through the writing process.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Some characters come to me with names already. The ones who don't usually require a good amount of searching the web for the "right" name. And at times, I give my sister a list and say, "Pick two names," and she decides for me. (She named Tate & Milo from American Girl On Saturn) Places either just pop in my head or I name them after special places/people in real life.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I name all characters/places before I write the book.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I spend one month developing characters before I write the book. Most times, the characters turn out exactly as planned. I've only had two characters change up on me from their original plans. (Cricket from Three Words Cursed and Noah from American Girl On Saturn)
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I outline in extreme detail. My outlines are usually the length of 3-5 chapters of the book. I'd say 85% of the story is detailed, and I leave 15% for organic "as it happens" moments.
How do you market/promote your books?
I didn't do any marketing on my first book, which was a huge disaster. For American Girl On Saturn, I did a cover reveal and am now touring. (Plus, I did some blitz/blast events as well) Networking with other authors and bloggers helps a lot too!
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I wouldn't call it "writer's block." There's always something I could be working on. Sometimes I get stuck on a scene and can't decide how to push through it and keep it interesting. I don't want to bore the reader, so it can be tricky to get through some slower scenes.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I spend most of my time with music, either listening or going to shows, etc.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I try to make my characters as original as possible, but Enchanted Emily from Chasing Forever Down is very much based on my sister, Emily. Aralie in American Girl On Saturn is also based on her. Also, I like to work in real life events or objects or hidden meanings into books. Most go unnoticed, but my bff catches everything, mostly because she was there when it happened.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?
I do like my stories to have a deeper meaning, but I try not to teach a lesson/moral. I like to let the reader interpret it however he/she wishes to.
Which format of book do you prefer ebook, hardback, or paperback?
I read all of the above, although I hate hardbacks. I much prefer either a paperback or the e-book. I like both equally.
What is your favourite book and why? Have you read it more than once?
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. I read it about every two years. It was the first book I read that just really ripped my heart out. The characters were so authentic.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
It's a 50/50 thing. Some books translate well on screen. Some don't. I haven't actually read the short story, but Brokeback Mountain was a beautiful film.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (ebook, hardback or paperback)
I'm currently not reading anything because I just started back on finishing up Three Words Cursed. However, my last read was One by Leigh Ann Kopans (ebook format), and I really loved it.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I read a lot as a child, but I'm one of those few writers who isn't a hardcore reader. I'm an extremely picky reader, especially the more that I write. I'll always choose writing over reading. Luckily, there are tons of readers out there.
Do you have a favourite genre of book?
YA, always. I prefer YA contemporary the most.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and why should we watch out for them?
Definitely! First and foremost, my sister Emily Godwin. I know I'm biased, but I really do love the stories she tells. I also really like Christina Channelle's work. I'm a picky reader, so you know they have to have a special factor for me to love it. :) And I have to plug Merch Girl by Rebecca Lewis because it had everything I love in a book!
What do you think about book trailers?
I personally don't watch them or use them, but I have no problem with them.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Study the craft. Practice, practice, practice. Learn grammar and punctuation rules. Learn to recognize passive voice, then avoid it. Write what you love. Don't chase trends.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I currently don't, but I may in the future for books that don't quite fit with my usual stories. I'd claim the pen name, though. No secrets.
Where can readers follow you?
Your Blog Details/Website? http://nikkigodwin.blogspot.com
Your Facebook Page? http://www.facebook.com/NikkiGodwinWrites
Your Goodreads Author Page? http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6895711.Nikki_Godwin
Your Twitter Details? http://www.twitter.com/NikGodwin
Do you wish to add anything else?Thank you so much for having me today! :)
(Thankyou for taking the time to do the Interview!)
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