Saturday, 1 September 2012

Interrogating Nicola Palmer

Nicola Palmer is a children's author with an imaginative mind.

First of all, thanks, Joo, for asking me to participate in a grilling!  I'm honoured to be subjected to your interrogation :)

How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I began by writing what I wanted to write - a story that had been bubbling away in my mind for a couple of years.  Amazingly, for a first effort, it was well-received, so I've continued in the same way!

What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

Writing fantasy adventure for children of 9+ is exciting because it enables your imagination to run wild, creating a magical world, while still dealing with complex emotions in the real world.  I'm pleased to say that Alice Parker has quite a following of adult readers too!  I'm just a big kid at heart, so this genre was the obvious choice for me.

Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

I have a notebook where I jot down ideas and a folder full of inspirations; random pictures, names scribbled on the back of envelopes, old Christmas cards with snow scenes.  The ones with glitter are the best!  The folder is pretty full, but I'm sure most of the snippets will be incorporated in the story at some point in the future.

How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed

Plot bunnies?  I get Alice to have a word with them - she can communicate with animals.  In a first draft, my plot bunnies hope around freely dropping currants all over the manuscript.  But when I read through the complete story I can usually spot them, so then I reach for the dustpan and brush.  If I miss them, my editor certainly finds them and passes comment!

How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

I'm afraid there's a lot of me in Alice.  She can be a feisty, impatient madam, but as the series progresses, a warmer side of her character emerges.  I just wish I had some of her abilities!
If I could spend time with one of the characters, it would have to be Thomas.  He's a good-looking chap, and with his brain and abilities, he's one to watch in the future.

Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters? 

Writing takes over 'normal' life at times.  I don't think I get wrapped up in a particular character, but my mind wanders into fantasy mode at unexpected moments.  In company, it can lead to raised eyebrows and some strange remarks.

What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I love reading children's books, and it's hard to break the habit.  I have started reading more adult books recently, though, and I've been dipping in to the KUF book club.

What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor? 

Hopefully the books speak for themselves.  I don't do as much marketing as I should - I fear that too much pushing could put people off.

How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made? 

Luckily, it hasn't happened yet, but if someone did, I'd be grateful.

What do you like most about visiting KUF/forums? 

KU forums are welcoming and friendly.  I love the support for indie authors and the fact you never need to be afraid to ask a silly question!

What is on your near horizon? 

I'm toying with the idea of writing a Christmas-themed short story before commencing Book 4 of Alice Parker's Adventures next year.  We'll see!

Where can we find you for more information? 

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