Friday, July 6, 2012

Interview with Nikki Jefford & Giveaway

Mini Feature
Yesterday I reviewed Entangled and Duplicity by Nikki Jefford and today I have an interview with this lovely author. I hope you'll read to the end where you will find a giveaway as well. And some awesome news! Entangled made it into the YA Semifinalists in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012! Check it out:
Without further ado, let's welcome Nikki to the blog!

Thanks so much for being on today Nikki!

Happy to be here!

What 10 words do you think best describe Entangled and Duplicity?
Magic, murder, romance, resurrection, witches, warlocks, mystery, adventure, betrayal, humor!

Entangled and Duplicity have an evil sister in them (well, mostly just Entangled), did you have an evil sister? Was there a certain thing that made you decide to include that as a big part of the story with a sister’s betrayal?
*Laughs* Tricky question. I have a difficult little sister. She’s not evil, but she’s no Pollyanna either.
I love siblings in fiction. I think it’s fun when they’re either really close and loyal (Elizabeth and Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice) or enemies of sorts (Stefan and Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries).
I was going for dark humor in Entangled so naturally I required a twin villain.

Who was your favorite character to write?
Raj! I love writing from the male POV. I must have a Y chromosome in me somewhere.
Honestly, it’s a tossup. Graylee Perez has such a quick wit and makes me laugh out loud with her dialogue. I’m really going to miss her at the end of the series.

I think we all know that covers are important to a story. It's the first thing we see. Unfortunately not all self published authors realize the importance, or don't have the resources. Can you tell us a bit about the covers and how they came to be? Did you describe what you want to a cover artist or have pictures you gave them to go by... how did it all go down?
I started by hiring Najla Qamber because I loved what she did for my friend Kira Saito’s book Bound. I scanned an image I liked in Vogue magazine and emailed it to Naj along with my thoughts for the cover. I also sent links to book covers I loved so she could get a sense of my taste.
What she sent back was hideous… LOL Okay, it wasn’t hideous, but it didn’t fit the book at all.
I spent an entire week (and untold hours) scouring royalty free stock sites until I found an image that grabbed me.
If you are interested in hearing more about the process on the Spellbound covers you can also check out an article author S.M. Boyce wrote on choosing cover artists. She did a feature on Spellbound at the end that goes into more detail.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of self publishing?

Write several books. (I wrote seven “practice” novels before unleashing my work onto the world.) Attend writing workshops and conferences. Find critique partners who offer constructive feedback. Read lots of books in the genre you’re writing.

Hire professionals – no less than two copy editors. I only hired one for Entangled and five mistakes slipped through. An entire novel is a lot of ground for one editor to cover. Save yourself the embarrassment and go through two professional proof readers. If you don’t have the funds to hire two, don’t publish until you do.

Keep informed. I highly recommend (emphasis on highly) Jeff Bennington’s The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe and J.A. Konrath’s The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing (Everything A Writer Needs to Know).

Tell us a bit about yourself and your writing process. How many hours a day do you write? Is it your job or do you have a job as well as write?
I write most of my books out of order. Maybe it’s ADD, but I jump back and forth and all around in the story. Beginnings are especially problematic for me so I just skip the opening and return to deal with it later.

I wish writing was my job! I haven’t quite made back the money I invested in the books, but I’m almost there… just in time to spend it on book three. LOL

When I was out of work during the winter I wrote for six hours a day. Right now I’m struggling to get an hour in. I love long uninterrupted chunks of time. It’s hard for me to feel like bothering when I have to squeeze 30 minute sessions in between work and all the daily tasks that need attention.

I usually don’t write in the summer time. I was born and raised in Alaska and you learn quick that when the sun comes out you better get out and enjoy! Washington State is similar.

And how quickly do you write a books first draft?
When I was writing historical romance it took me a couple years per book. Research really bogged me down. My YA novels take me about two months each unless I turn into a couch potato halfway through and take a month+ break, which keeps happening. Grrr First it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then it was The Vampire Diaries, and now it’s Pretty Little Liars. I don’t do moderation – I go into marathon mode – and turn into a useless slug along the way.

If you could recommend one book that you feel hasn't gotten the attention it deserves, what book would that be?
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. It’s getting attention, but nothing like the Hunger Games, Divergent, or Delirium. (All books I love!) I suck at review writing. I’ll simply say it tops my list of YA favorites at the moment and I hope to see it gain in popularity.

If you could travel to any time and any place, when and where would you go?
Regency England, around 1811 when Jane Austen began publishing her books.

And last question: What can we see from you in the future?
A vampire slayer series set in Alaska. Book one has gone through several drafts and will undergo yet another as soon as I finish the last book in the Spellbound trilogy.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Thank you for having me.

Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise on the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands where she is, once more, neighbors with Canada. She married Sebastien, the love of her life, while working as a teaching assistant in France during the 1999-2000 school year. They reside with their Westie, Cosmo.
Nikki is the author of the Spellbound Trilogy, a YA fantasy series that takes place in Washington State. Entangled (Spellbound #1) was an amazon bestseller in children’s science fiction and fantasy.

Find Nikki on her Website & Twitter.

The Giveaway:
Nikki Jefford is offering up one ebook copy of Entangled or Duplicity, winners choice.
This is open Worldwide.
You must be 13 or older to enter.
Ends 7/18/12
Fill out the rafflecopter for entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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