Welcome to our castle and thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Hang on, no… you got this the wrong way round, Princesses! Thank YOU for inviting me onto your blog
and into your castle, I’m thrilled and honoured to be here! *takes a deep bow*
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
1. What were you like at school?
Dreamy! I think that about sums it up. I always had my nose in a book, which wasn’t a very cool thing
to do, but I simply lived in a little dream world with my favourite fictional characters. I read everything
I could lay my hands on, adventures, ‘thrillers’, sci-fi, books about friendships. To make matters worse,
I was terrible at PE so when “The Never Ending Story” came out, I really identified with Bastian in a BIG
way! I was Bastian, I was hiding in that school attic and exploring mythical worlds… Yup, that was me at
school. Until, that is, rock hit. Uh-huh. My terrific crush on Joey Tempest changed a lot of things, and the
kudos of having been in the front row at the first Europe gig ever played in my home town … well, let’s
just say, suddenly I was that little bit cooler. J Add an older boyfriend into the picture—I’d have been
fifteen then—and suddenly I got a little taste of school-girl stardom.
2. Were you good at English?
Unfortunately, yes! Remember that English is my second language, or used to be at last. I learned it at
school from the ground up, starting at age ten. Although ‘learning’ is probably not the right word, it
was more like rediscovering a language I had previously known. Weird, right? But English just came to
me. Every English teacher I’ve ever had remarked on that fact, and I was a straight A through the entire
nine years of secondary school. Why’s that unfortunate? Well, it wasn’t exactly cool. I tried to combat
that phenomenon with all my might. At one point, I stopped doing homework altogether, and, when
called upon, just ‘read out’ stuff I hadn’t written from a blank page. I regularly deducted 20 percent
from my word count because writing nearly 1000 words in an exam in two hours just wasn’t the done
thing. Nonetheless, the grades stayed and my love for the language grew even more. When we started
reading novels and plays, I was in heaven. All the stuff about plot and textual analysis, all the rhetorical
and stylistic means we learned about… well, that was just the icing on the cake and helped me ‘get’
literature. It also, to this day, helps me write, so here’s a big Thank You to all my English teachers,
especially Mr. Guterl, Mrs. Von Sperber and Mr. Ossieck.
3.What are your ambitions for your writing career?
First and foremost, I want to write books that make people happy. If they smile and laugh out loud, ever
so much the better. I want to create an emotional response, I would love for my readers to connect with
the story, to live it ~ just like I ‘lived it’ while I wrote it.
One day, I’d like to sell a million copies of one of my books and see my name in gold letters on the
number one spot. Well, okay, it doesn’t have to be gold letters, but the number one spot would be nice.
Oh and ~ if someone wanted to turn the Rock Star Romance Trilogy into a big-screen movie…. Well, let’s
just say I’d be well chuffed! (I’m also open to offers, so movie makers of the world, don’t be shy, I’m
right here, get in touch, I promise I don’t bite!)
4.Which writers inspire you?
The list is so long, I couldn’t possibly begin to single anyone out. I know it’s a copout answer, but there it
is. Everyone who’s ever set pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and went through the long, painful slog
of writing a whole novel deserves a prize and our undiluted admiration.
5.So, what have you written?
(*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
Where can we buy or see them? (* include American, European and any other relevant links. Free, free
promotions or prices can be included)
Oooh! Really? I get to brag? Unashamedly, with sales links too? *rubs hands in glee* Well, you did ask!
At this time, I have two books on the market, namely the first two books in my Rock Star Romance
Trilogy. However, I have written the third book, too, and it’s out on 5 September, so I’ll include the blurb
for this one even though I have no sales links.
Moreover, I have also written a little seasonal something for later in the year, and I really hope to come
and introduce this novella right here in the Castle nearer the time. (Hint: there’s a rock star with a Santa
hat involved…). And last but not least, I’m now working on my fourth full-length novel with the working
title, Fallen For Rock. I hope to bring you this new story in the summer of 2014. But I digress…. Let’s
focus on what’s here!
Sophie’s Turn: So the rock star wants to marry her, but she’s already engaged…
Slapper? Slut? Adulteress? Sophie Penhalligan's life and moral universe is turned upside down when
rock star Dan proposes to her in full knowledge that she is already engaged. She has always loved Dan,
in a remote-crush kind of way. She thinks she loves her fiancé, Tim. What is she to do?
It's all happening because her past has come to tempt her. Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol
and rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, up close and personal. Well, almost! Now Dan has crashlanded back in her life just as Sophie is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of
two years. Until recently, she was confident Tim would eventually propose. But while his persistent
inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan's sudden reappearance poses a whole
new dilemma. Having accompanied Dan's band to Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan
while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is... well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. Torn between
the dream-come-true and the sensible-thing-to-do, Sophie concludes her inadvertent journey of selfdiscovery with an ending that surprises herself, and everyone around her.
AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM| BARNES & NOBLE
Sophie’s Run: Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…
Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even? Sophie is certainly discovering that it is
anything but. So she has finally found the man of her dreams! Well… she knows who he is, even though
she hasn’t actually quite met him yet. Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new
romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded
wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together
with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.
Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change.
Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey and eventually gets her life
back on track. Or does she?
AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM | BARNES & NOBLE
Sophie’s Encore: Her rock star is waiting in the wings, but will he get a second chance?
It’s all change for Sophie Jones—only this time, there is more at stake than just her happiness.
Rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, has been her patient and caring friend through the highs and lows
since her wedding day, but now he figures it is time for her to start over. By stealth, the rock singer
draws Sophie into the behind-the-scenes work for his band’s latest album. Through the days and weeks
spent together at the mixing desk, Sophie discovers whole new horizons for her life, yet before she can
even begin to explore them, she faces the very real threat of losing her rock star for good.
Join Sophie and Dan in Sophie’s Encore to find out how their journey will end… ON 5 SEPTEMBER!!
6.Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Where to start? First of all, there’s Sophie. Sophie’s a really nice, down-to-earth girl. She loves rock, and
she’s harboured a life-long crush for Dan Hunter, but in reality, she’s quite a normal girl. Like your best
friend, maybe, or even your sister. Yet Dan does something to her, and she goes into a bit of a tailspin.
Dan’s love and friendship make her query what she really wants from life, and do you know what? She
stays true to her ideals and her beliefs rather than succumbing to the call of glamour and fame. I think
that’s pretty special.
And then there’s Dan. Dan, the rock star, lead singer of world-famous rock band, Tuscq. Dan is
everything you associate with a rock star. Handsome, drop-dead-gorgeous, talented. He’s a serial
womanizer. He has charisma, and a lot of money. Yet what he really wants is to build a life with Sophie.
Uh-huh, you read that right. I’m not saying he wants to give up music, recording or touring. But he wants
Sophie in his life. And that changes everything for him. When Sophie unexpectedly turns him down, he
rallies and makes every effort to remain in her life. He becomes her friend and her rock, even though
it’s not always easy. He’s funny and caring and patient; and through it all, even in the most desperate of
circumstances, he hopes. Now that’s special, wouldn’t you say?
7.What are you working on at the minute and what is it about?
I’m in between books at the moment as I’m gearing up for the launch of Sophie’s Encore and also
finishing up the editing and proofing of my little seasonal surprise. However, next on my list to write is
my fourth book, Fallen For Rock. Fallen for Rock features an up-and-coming rock star who struggles to
keep pace with the fame, and a determined young professional woman who couldn’t care less about
rock music. Fate throws them together in the most unexpected manner and nothing’s ever quite the
same afterwards for either of them.
8.What genre are your books?
Interesting question! I tend to describe my books as chick lit with a rock theme. You could also
categorize them as contemporary romance (with lashings of glitz and glamour). There’s a lot of humour
in my books, so sometimes I have seen them classed as romantic comedies. Sophie likes to travel, and
it’s been suggested to add ‘travel’ to the category descriptors. Last but not least, the entire Rock Star
Romance Trilgoy is a journey of self-discovery. And, of course, it has a certain appeal to young adult
readers even though the characters aren’t young adults themselves.
No easy answer, then, but I think the labels chick lit or romcom probably capture my work best.
9.What draws you to this genre?
Me! For a number of reasons. One, life’s too short to take it seriously at all times. My books tackle some
pretty serious themes, especially as Sophie grows and develops, but this is done (I hope) with optimism
and a smile at every corner.
Two, I like to dream. I like to escape. I like to think that there’s always a happy ending around the
corner. And I want to share that with my readers!
And finally, it just seems to come naturally. I didn’t exactly sit down to ‘write chick lit’. It’s just what
flows from my fingers!
10.Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Oh! Oh!! D’you know, I keep changing my mind on that all the time. Today, I think I’d like Mr. Jon Bon
Jovi himself in the starring rock star role (with a British accent, oh please!) and Mrs. Zellweger as Sophie.
11.How much research do you do?
Lots! Much of that research is extremely pleasant, involving, as it does, going to rock concerts and,
where possible, taking in the VIP experience. (I haven’t been able to afford Bon Jovi VIP tix but I am
working on it!). So that takes care of the ‘show’ element and the ‘backstage’ element. However, there
is more to the music business than meets the eye, and I am very lucky to have connected with a group
of ‘inside advisers’ who very patiently answer my questions about touring, recording and the day-today hum-drum of being a rock star. Here’s a big Thank You to ‘rock star’s wife,’ Jane Risdon; CEO of
MapleStar Music & Media, Cameron Tilbury, and THE HUSH ROCK BAND.
12.When did you decide to become a writer?
Great question. I didn’t, really. I always wanted to write, ever since I was given my first typewriter age
eleven. Nothing much happened to this ambition, really, apart from heaps of academic and professional
writing. However, when I quit my job to wait for the birth of my first baby, I sat down to write ‘that
book’, the one I’d always dreamed about writing. I did that—it took about three months—and then I
had my first son and forgot all about writing. It wasn’t until my second son started primary school that I
decided to release Sophie’s Turn onto the world. Afterwards, a friend said to me, “The only way forward
is to write more.” So I did.
D’you know, one of my rock advisers said to me once that a rock star would never actually describe
himself as a rock star, and from the singers and guitarists I have met, I find that to be true. Likewise, I
don’t consider myself a writer, although I am working on introducing myself to new people as “Nicky
Wells, Author.” J
13.Do you write full-time or part-time?
At this moment in time, I am lucky enough to be able to write almost full-time while the kids are at
14.Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m a compulsive, obsessive planner. I can’t help it! You see, in between degrees, I actually had my
first stab at writing a novel, without plan or any kind of mission, just the mad pursuit of an idea. The
result…was pretty… um, unprofessional. One of my characters even changed eye colour halfway
through! That attempt has been consigned to the rubbish heap, but I learned from the experience.
I plan in stages, from small idea to massive big outline and back to one-page summary. It’s a process I
picked up at work (I was a professional business research project manager for a few years) and it serves
me well. I have detailed character profiles, timelines to sort the chronology, and scene outlines. The only
thing I don’t plan is the opening chapter, which I usually write at the end.
15.What is the hardest thing about writing?
Letting go! I’m right at this stage as we’re chatting here in the Castle. The work’s done, the edits are
in the manuscript, we’ve proofed and proofed and proofed. Now I have to hand the book over to the
publishers and the printer, and it frightens me. One reason is the fear of that dreadful, overlooked typo
that might jump out at me when I first hold the book in my hand. (That, thankfully, hasn’t happened yet!
) And another reason is simply presenting my book baby to the world. What if the world thinks it’s ugly?
It’s a really scary moment.
16.What is the easiest thing about writing?
Writing. Once I’ve planned, I just write. I get completely absorbed and I get that tingling feeling that I’m
on to something, and I live and breathe my characters. It’s bliss!
17.How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I’m afraid to admit that I’m prolific. On an average day, I’ll probably produce three thousand to five
thousand words. I aim for about ten thousand words a week, and my books are typically just over one
hundred thousand words in length. So a first draft normally takes between ten and twelve weeks to
18.Do you ever get writer’s block?
No. J I know, crass answer, right? But no, I don’t, and that’s the honest truth. The reason is simple. I
had a job as a research writer for over six years, and I had deadlines to meet on a weekly, monthly and
sometimes daily basis. Writer’s block couldn’t come into it, so I got into the habit of just getting on even
if sometimes, I had no real idea how to proceed. I’d plan and I’d plot and then I’d get writing, and I still
do the same thing now. Of course I have days when I nibble my pen (even though I type, LOL), consume
stacks of biscuits and even switch the computer off to give myself a break. When that happens, I usually
have to go back within a few hours—sometimes in the middle of the night—to fix the problem scene,
but I’ve never yet (thankfully!) found myself completely blocked. Long may it last!
19.For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I’m on the fence! I have a love affair with my Kindle because it’s light and easy to read in bed, which is
where I do most of my reading these days. But I do love the feel, smell and weight of a paper book.
20.What’s your view on social media for marketing?
Social media offer authors an unprecedented means of connecting with readers around the world, of
reaching out to fans, offering giveaways and other treats, and getting word about their books out there.
I sometimes feel like I live on Twitter and Facebook and it’s important to manage time effectively so I
don’t get swept away by a social media tide! But—case in point: we met on Twitter. Or was it Facebook?
And here we are, chatting away, having a blast. If it weren’t for social media, we might never have met.
(What a horrible thought!)
21.Which social network works best for you?
Twitter and Facebook. I oscillate between preferring one over the other at various times, and I have
come to the conclusion that they do slightly different things. Twitter is great for reaching lots of lovely
people all at the same time, and for quick-fire, fun chats. Facebook is a little slower, but truly awesome
for building relationships and having longer conversations.
22.Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
(* please provide a link to trailer if you have one)
No, and possibly. J I do like the idea of a trailer (I’d love to see it on the telly too!) but I haven’t yet
figured out a way of achieving my vision within the budget I have. Watch this space, though!
23.In what formats is your book available?
All of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy books are available in Kindle, Nook and Smashwords formats, as
well as paperbacks via Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Here are the links again:
Sophie’s Turn: AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM| BARNES & NOBLE| SMASHWORDS
Sophie’s Run: AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM | BARNES & NOBLE |SMASHWORDS
24.How do you relax?
Belly laugh. I don’t seem to, anymore. Seriously, I always seem to be on the go, what with writing and
two young children, after-school commitments and other humdrum-life things… My days are too short!
But when I do relax, I snuggle up on the sofa with a coffee and a good book. OR I turn up the stereo as
loud as I can and rock out.
25.What is your favourite book and why?
I have so many! I wouldn’t know where to start!! Do I really have to? I do? Okay. Um. I’ll give you
a selection then. My first ever ‘chick lit read’ was Catherine Alliott’s The Old-Girl Network. It hit me
completely unexpected, and I found myself laughing out loud through the entire book. I still do, because
every now and then I read it again. I’m a sucker for John Grisham novels, and I also like a good Sue
Grafton. There’s a book called The Eight by Katherine Neville that enthralled me completely, as did Kate
26.Where can you see yourself in 5 years' time?
The realistic answer: I have no idea. Anything could happen.
The dreamy answer: All my books hogging the top 20 book charts on Amazon and in the shops all at the
same time: Nicky Wells for book world domination. (LOL, I said this was the dreamy answer, didn’t I?)
Me, cutting the red ribbon for the opening of the Hollywood Premiere of Sophie’s Encore (the preceding
two books having been made into Big Screen movies previously, of course). And me again, with VIP tix
for me and my family to see Bon Jovi!!!
27.What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Write what you enjoy, write what you know, write what your calling is. Don’t second-guess the
market; it turns on a dime, and you can’t possibly ‘produce’ fast enough to write for a trend. If you enjoy
what you write, it will shine through in your very voice and your readers will love you for it.
Don’t stress about publishing. There are so many avenues open to aspiring writers now that it will
be possible for you to put your book in front of readers, whether you do it the traditional way, the
small-press way, the independent way, or through a mixture of strategies. Through all of this, though,
remember to believe in yourself and your work. If you don’t, how can you expect someone else to?
Listen. Especially if you go the independent route, listen to readers. Reach out to a group of betareaders and get your worked critiqued. I know it’s daunting, but it’s infinitely better to get feedback—
especially if it’s negative feedback—from a group of people who have your best interest at heart than to
be slammed in the reviews once your book is out there. And remember, nobody writes the perfect book
first time round, so feedback is just that—a way to polish and hone and fine tune your work.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us Princesses by taking part
in this interview. We wish you all the very best, and remember to keep us frequently updated with all
new projects in the future.
Ooh thank you again! Thanks for your good wishes, and I will definitely stay in touch!!
You can contact Nicky Wells here:
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(OR, if you don’t like the hyperlinksJ)