I have the extreme pleasure of posting an author interview with Nicky Wells, the gal that wrote the first in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy, Sophie’s Turn. The book is absolutely fabulous as is its author! We had a bit of fun with this interview and I know you guys will enjoy all of Nicky’s answers as much as I did! If you haven’t seen my review yet, check it out… Sophie’s Turn Book Review!
And just in case you haven’t read Sophie’s Turn yet, here’s the synopsis:
“Slapper. Slut. Adulteress. These are hardly words that Sophie Penhalligan would normally use to describe herself. Yet this is exactly how she is behaving, all things considered, even if she isn’t quite married to Tim yet. And it’s all happening because her past is coming to tempt her! Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan, up close and personal. Well, almost. Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life. How could Tim ever stand a chance against the charming, handsome singer? How could she?
Sophie, now twenty-eight and a budding newspaper journalist, is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years. Until recently, she was confident that Tim would eventually propose—probably as soon as he could get his act together. But just as Tim’s persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan’s sudden reappearance turns Sophie’s world upside down. Thus unfolds a roller-coaster of events including an ill-fated trip to Paris with Tim, a night of unfulfilled romance with Dan, Sophie and Tim’s engagement party gate-crashed by Dan, and Sophie’s professional secondment to accompany Dan’s band on their revival tour—at Dan’s special request and very much against her will.
And then, one fine day in Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is… well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. What is she to do now? Who wouldn’t give anything to meet their favourite star, let alone marry him?
Find out how Sophie gets into this impossible situation, and how she turns it around, in Sophie’s Turn, the honest, funny and sometimes bittersweet story of one woman’s entanglement with a rock star.”
Hi Nicky! I hope you are doing well! I’m so excited about this book and am so thankful that you don’t mind doing an author interview. I want to keep it mostly about Sophie’s Turn but I have a few odd but fun questions that I just love to add in so we can get to know you a bit more also!
Hi Nova, I am so delighted to be here (again) today, this time for a little chat. I have my cup of tea ready and look forward to hearing your questions. I have to warn you, I’m quite chatty so interrupt me if I get carried away. Like right now. Ok, right, let’s get started!
– How did Sophie’s Turn start for you? Idea, image, dream?
I’d have to say it started as all three. It was a confluence of a long-held, vague daydream left over from my teenage years. It was triggered with an image on the telly, and a conversation with my husband sparked the idea.
So here goes. It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for rock singers. I don’t know why, nor does it seem likely that I’ll grow out of it, ever, but there it is. My husband, bless him, totally knows this and is quite indulgent of this little foible of mine. One night, when we were watching telly, some long-haired, gravelly-voiced male celebrity appeared and I gave a mock swoon. Husband took that in his stride and commented drily that it was a good job I was already married to him or else… I laughed obligingly, but the idea was born. What if? Say, what if Joey Tempest or Jon Bon Jovi turned up in my life and proposed? What on earth would I do? I mean, I would say, ‘no’ of course, being blissfully happily married but… wouldn’t there just be a nugget of temptation?
That night, when I couldn’t sleep owing to baby partying in my tummy, the idea combined with a gazillion long-forgotten teenage daydreams about various rock stars. I spun a scenario, but a grown-up, realistic one. And I started planning in earnest the next day…
– Sophie’s Turn is a roller coaster ride of thrills and spills! How did you keep the momentum going while keeping it fresh and interesting?
**Blush** Thank you for this amazing compliment! Do you know, I’m not really sure how I kept that momentum going. I’m a meticulous planner, and one of the planning stages involves writing out the key stages or highlights of the plot in a single line on a big piece of paper. This enables me to take a sort of bird’s eye view of what’s going on in the story, and it’s my way of checking for pace and variety and, as you say, a good variety of thrills and spills.
A lot of these twists and turns are probably a reflection of me. I have been known to crack the odd joke or three (never mind I’m German and therefore have no sense of humour), and my mind is forever flitting between ideas, back and forth and round and round. I’m chatty and excitable, but I can also be prone to switching from highest high to lowest low (and back) in an instant. Perhaps that helps in setting the pace for my books?
Lastly, I should mention my amazing editor over at Sapphire Star Publishing. Liz did a fabulous job of helping me sharpen and hone the story, and a great deal of the rhythm and pace are probably due to her keen eye. Thank you, Liz!
– I love the situations Sophie finds herself in. They are real and totally the type of stuff that you look back on and laugh at, 20 years later! Have you based this off of any of your experiences?
Hm. How shall I put this without opening Pandora’s box. Let’s say… let’s say some of the situations Sophie finds herself in are very loosely based on experiences I might have had myself. I haven’t told anyone this but… **whispers** take that flight to NY, for example. I haven’t been to NY myself (yet) but I flown to the States several times. It’s just possible that on one of these occasions, perhaps even the first, I might have found myself… throwing caution to the wind in the same way that Sophie does, with the same repercussions for my well-being the following day. Potentially.
I hasten to add that this book is a work of fiction and sadly, I have no personal knowledge, up close and personal or otherwise, of any rock stars. So most of that is just made up!
– Do you have a favorite part in Sophie’s Turn?
LOTS! In no particular order: I love the engagement party when Dan turns up uninvited. I still chuckle when Dan has to hide in the utility cupboard. And I find myself biting my nails when she’s stalking Darren at the airport. Oh, and that first back stage encounter when Dan has issues with his guitar strap causing bodily discomfort… *swoon**
– In Sophie’s Turn are you trying to send any messages to your readers?
That’s a fabulous question, and a tough one. I write contemporary romance, romance that rocks your world. My goal is to entertain, and to make readers laugh.
However. I wouldn’t be writing if there wasn’t any underlying meaning that I’d like the reader to pick up, consciously or subconsciously. And I think that message is that life is short, and precious. We deserve to make the best of it, each and every one. And in doing so, possibly the most important thing is to be true to yourself. Anyone who’s read Sophie’s Turn will know what I mean by that. This is what I admire Sophie for most: figuring out what she wants, and going for it. For those of you haven’t read Sophie’s Turn yet: it’s not the obvious choice…
– I’m super excited because I’ve read this is going to be a three part series. Did you know when you first started that it would become three books?
I didn’t, actually. I set out to write a single book, my personal, all-time favourite romantic comedy. With lots of glamour and glitz thrown in, and a bit of a fairy tale element.
The problem was that when it came to writing the end, Sophie threw a spanner in the works. This is what I’m alluding to above when I said she turned out to be true to herself, and I admire her for it. She didn’t like the ending I had planned for her. This sounds so naff, right? But it was almost like she took on a life of her own, and she changed her mind (and my mind) on how the novel should end.
It was at that point that I wrote the epilogue and the seeds were sown for a second book. The Trilogy came along when I realized that I couldn’t fit the true ending of Sophie’s story into one more book by itself. More twists and turns coming your way!!! So I swiftly mapped out two more books. The immediate sequel, Sophie’s Run, is written and complete, due for release by Sapphire Star Publishing on 7 February 2013. The final book, Sophie’s Encore, is due for release also by Sapphire Star on 7 September 2013, and I am just starting to write it now.
– Have you always wanted to be an author?
Yes! Absolutely. Well, with interruptions. I first announced to my family that I would be an author when I was about ten. I was inspired by children’s authors like Enid Blyton and Astrid Lindgren, and I knew I wanted to be like them. My family was mildly indulgent and largely disregarding of my ambition. Having kids now, I can’t say I blame them, and at the time, it didn’t bother me that no one took me seriously. I hacked out my three best stories on an ancient typewriter and sent them to a publisher of children’s books. Cue my first (and by far the nicest) rejection letter; sadly, they couldn’t consider works from children!
I kept writing purely for my own amusement, but during my time at university, writing for pleasure took a back seat and I didn’t get back to that until I left work.
– How did you break into the industry?
Good question. The short answer is, with a lot of persistence and bashing of head against brick walls, until something eventually gave!
Here’s the longer answer. I self-published Sophie’s Turn via Kindle Direct Publishing in July 2012, having previously submitted my manuscript to a number of agents over a period of several years. I had garnered both interest and feedback from agents, but had been told many times that agents and publishers alike weren’t taking risks on new authors at that time. So with the advent of Kindle publishing, I decided to have a go. I simply wanted to see what would happen, and whether readers would like my work.
I connected with a fantastic group of bloggers and received about twenty four and five star reviews for Sophie’s Turn. Most importantly, though, the experience gave me more insights into the publishing industry than I could ever have gained from the outside. Significantly, I discovered that smaller publishers were emerging which would consider direct submissions. In January of this year, I came across Sapphire Star on Facebook, checked out their website, liked what I saw and sent off my submission. I was delighted but not overly optimistic when I received a request for a full manuscript, but believe me that I was bouncing off the ceiling when they offered me a publishing contract a couple of weeks later!
– What is your writing style? Do you create outlines for your writing or do you just sit and type away?
I’m a compulsive obsessive plotter. I tried just typing away once, many years ago, and the results were disastrous. A plot full of holes with character who’d contradict themselves and change eye colour in the course of the story. Not good!
Now, I plan. I plan in several stages. First there’s the idea, or the nugget. I write that out on a small piece of paper with a beginning point and an ending point, then adding in key events. From there, I plan big, using post it notes and enormous sheet of paper. I populate the basic plot with events and ideas, marking subplots, questions and areas for research. From there, I write a one page crib sheet for each section or event, including all research, and only when that is complete do I start writing. This iterative process helps me spot inconsistencies or holes, keep the pace going, and ensure that I’m happy with where the story is going before I start writing. Naturally, things change and I talked above about how Sophie changed the ending to book 1! But having a detailed plan makes it much easier to make adjustments, big or small, because I can refer back to the overall picture and make sure it all fits together.
– What is your next project?
I’m just in the process of editing Sophie’s Run, book 2 in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy, and then I will begin writing the final part, Sophie’s Encore. This, my third book, is completely planned and I have my one-page crib sheets, so I’m raring to go!
– What is your favorite word?
I have two! Mellifluous, and discombobulated. (yay! discombobulated is also a favorite of mine! I knew we were BFF’s!)
– What is your least favorite word?
Oh, and ‘can’t.’
– What turns you on?
Err… how do you mean, exactly? Do I need to blush? *belly laughs** What turns me on, let’s see. Music, especially rock music. I like the hard and fast numbers, but I really adore the slower numbers featuring acoustic guitars, mellow beats and strong vocals. Food turns me on, especially chocolate and seafood. And a good book!
– What turns you off?
A bad attitude, and rainy weather. Oh, and bad breath.
– What sound do you love?
First choice: Sound of surf bashing against the rocks in a storm. Fabulous.
Second choice: The dawn chorus. Morning has broken, and all that. I just love it.
– What sound do you hate?
Finger nails on chalk board, and all the modern equivalents. And the disturbing ‘beep’ my laptop makes when it’s sick.
– What is your favorite curse word?
**looks round furtively** Is this an over 15 blog? LOL! My favourite course word at the moment is “Gordon Bennett.” It has largely replaced the F-Word which is reserved for whole-hearted use only out of earshot of the children. (I have been known to leave the room, swear my little heart out in a secluded corner, and come back in).
– What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Ok, cheesy answer alert. I’d love to be a rock singer, or a rock guitarist. I’m not a great singer, nor do I play the guitar, so I think I might have to stick to writing. J
– What profession would you not like to do?
Oh dear, I hope I’m not going to offend anyone with my answer! I mean, suppose I said, I wouldn’t want to be an accountant.. then all my potential accountant readers out there might not pick up my book. And my best friend is an accountant, she might be upset… And anyway, the world needs accountants!
Tell you what, I wouldn’t want to be a brain surgeon. I think I would freak out at messing about in people’s heads, holding their lives in my hand. I stand in awe of those who do. **Hats off**
– If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Welcome, Nicky, and Rock On!
A little more about Nicky Wells!
About the author:
Rock On! Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door. Her debut novel, Sophie’s Turn, is the first part in her Rock Star Romance Trilogy. Not unlike Sophie, her heroine, Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and teaching assistant. Nicky is also a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com. Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Bristol with her husband and 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.
Twitter Handle: @WellsNicky