Wednesday, December 4, 2013

An Interview With Nicky Wells, Author of Spirits of Christmas - A Rock 'n' Roll Christmas

I welcome Nicky Wells, author of  Spiritis of Christmas - a Rock 'n' Roll Christmas to Shelf Full of Books today.  Thanks you Nicky, for taking the time to talk with us.

Where were you born and where do you call home?
Ah. Well. This one always catches people out when they meet me. They can tell the trace of an accent, but usually, they really can’t place me. So here’s the scoop. I was born and raised in Germany, in a green and leafy outskirt of the industrial hotpot of Essen in the Ruhr Area.
And yes, you’re right; that does mean that English isn’t my first language. I learned it at school, every last word of it. And then, when I was twenty, I got itchy feet. And I mean, really itchy feet. I felt like I had to do something with my life, something different, something a little crazy perhaps. So I applied to university in England and, a few months later, I moved countries. Weird as it may sound, I felt like I was coming home, and I’ve never looked back (or gone back… at least not for longer than two weeks at a time!)

What date were you born?
I’m a December baby. Yup, I got my 21st birthday coming up in a few short weeks, on 18 December. *coughs* Okay, I’m fibbing about my age, but the date is real!

Any pets that you would like to tell us about, share a pic?
The Wells family is the proud owner of two guinea pigs. They’re twin boys — even though you’d never guess — and we gave them a home to satisfy the children’s incessant demands for a pet. Sadly, we can’t have dogs or cats as there is asthma in the family, but these guineas… Well, they’ve totally captured our hearts. They’re very sociable and really cute, and they’ve definitely become part of the family. You want to hear the squeals of excitement when I open the fridge door in the morning, and they expect their first fresh treat of the day!
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Kathryn, how long have you got? I’d love to meet Jon Bon Jovi, Joey Tempest, Freddie Mercury, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, David Coverdale… the list goes on. Why? Because I 

have a thing for highly musical, attractive, deep-voiced and long-haired men. Rock stars are like Viagra for my soul. I just can’t help it!

What is your favourite motivational phrase?
“When your back’s against the wall, you’ve got to tough it out.” This is actually taken from the song, Tough It Out, by UK rock band FM, and I’ve found this to be the motto of my life. There’s simply no other way than to move forward and get on with it.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Ha! I blame Enid Blyton. I must have read all of her books. I certainly recall the local librarian shrinking behind her desk in despair when I’d turn up on a Wednesday, demanding more, more, more… and she wasn’t able to replenish her stock fast enough! The stories captivated me, and I resolved then (age 10, I believe) that I would be a writer one day. It took me a few decades to get there, but here I am, and there’s no stopping me now!

Do you ever get writer’s Block?
No. LOL! There are a few reasons for that. One, I have a wildly overactive imagination. If anything, my biggest challenge is reining in and harnessing my many mental flights of fancy!
On a practical level, I worked in a business research and writing environment for six years, where I acquired the discipline to write on demand, on tap, every day. Writer’s block, lack of ideas, tiredness, or not being in the mood simply couldn’t get in the way, so I learned to write, no matter what.
To make that happen, I plan relentlessly, ruthlessly, and (some might say) obsessively. By the time I get round to writing, I have the whole story mapped out to within an inch of its life, and it’s very hard to stop me then!

What inspired you to write your first book?
What can I say? It’s my ultimate fantasy, set on paper. A dream of meeting a rock star and building a life together. (N.B. I should say that I am very happily married. My husband happens to play the guitar and sing, and his name is Jon, but that’s a coincidence, I swear!)

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Great question! I used to be a hopeless night owl. I’d write from about 10 p.m. into the very early hours of the morning. However, since I’ve had the kids, that’s all changed and I’ve discovered a new found fondness for morning writing sessions. These days, I write immediately after the school run until lunch time, or just after. Then I spend a couple of hours blogging and hanging out on the social networks before collecting the boys from school and putting on my ‘mummy hat.’

My office:

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I do proofread and edit all my own work — but not exclusively. There are things that you simply cannot spot as a writer because you are too close to your work. So I always have several pairs of fresh eyes edit, and then another few pairs of eyes proof. It’s the only way! And after that’s all done, I proof again, often using my Kindle for a change of perspective. I’m an obsessive proofer, LOL!

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Um. This is a little embarrassing, but I’m a little on the prolific side. A full-length novel (we’re talking about 100, 000 words here) probably takes me ten weeks to complete in first draft. And if I had more writing time in the day, you could probably cut that in half again. I normally write about 3,000 words a morning easily, averaging 10,000 words a week.
However! That doesn’t mean I’m going to churn out four books a year, much as I’d like to. It’s really important to my writing process to leave a book well alone before beginning to re-evaluate and edit, and the entire production process takes somewhere between six to eight months.

Please tell us a little bit about your book.
Spirits of Christmas is a modern day rock’n’roll adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. The idea for writing it came to me the night after I’d launched my second novel, Sophie’s Run, in February of this year. I lay awake, all hyped up, and the idea was just suddenly there. I love Christmas. I love rock. I’m a sucker for ghost stories. I love a bit of romance. (Okay, I love a lot of romance). And there it was.

What genre are your books?
Fabulous question. You see, Spirits of Christmas is a bit of an outlier by its very nature. I would describe my other books as contemporary romance, or even chick lit, with a very strong rock theme running through it. Imagine Bridget Jones rocks Notting Hill!

Why do you think your readers are going to enjoy your book?
Ever had a crush on a celebrity? It doesn’t have to be a rock musician, it could be anyone: a favourite actor, movie star, sports personality… anyone famous and attractive and just utterly swoon-worthy who you’d give anything to meet? About who you’ve had secret daydreams in which you’ve built your lives together? Go on, you must have done, if not currently, then as a teenager… right… yeah, see, I knew it.
Then my books are perfect for you! My books take this kind of residual celebrity crush, implant it in a grown, rational person, shake it up a bit… and see what fizzes and sparkles.

Are the characters in your books based on people you know?
Evidently, my books are all fiction, as per the legal disclaimer in the front matter. That’s not to say, however, that there isn’t the occasional bit of ‘real life’ slipping in here or there. You know, little observations, character traits, things that perhaps happened to me or someone I know. Or me. Me, mostly, because I can’t libel myself. LOL!

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Ooooh since you’re asking… there’re are two things readers can do. One is to leave review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or wherever they bought the book. And the other is to tell all their friends! J

Any amusing stories about marketing books that have happened to you?
Hmmm… well. I’m liable to do crazy things at short notice. For example, I took part in a Readathon as part of a romance fest here in England last. There was a whole bunch of authors doing readings in a shopping centre, but it proved quite hard to get people to stop and listen. So when I was given my microphone, I burst into song. Bon Jovi, “You Give Love A Bad Name.” I swear I didn’t know I was going to do that! It just kind of… happened.
Anyhoo, later that evening, at a more formal reading event, I was asked to do it again. So here… you can take a look for yourself:

Which social network worked best for you?
I’m heavily addicted to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. What can I say? It’s just so much fun.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
There are lot of things you can do, but only one I can think of that you shouldn’t do. Don’t ever tweet, “Buy My Book.” At least not using those very same words. Tweet some content lines or review snippets, by all means, but beware of the hard sell. Readers don’t like it. And worse still, don’t EVER tweet, “Why is no one buying my book when my Mom says it’s such a good read?” Yes, believe me, I’ve seen an author do it. I can’t begin to fathom why anyone would do it, but I have seen it. Repeatedly. Effect? Zero, or worse.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I’ve had the opportunity of exploring both routes and I would definitely say that there are advantages and disadvantages to either.
The big advantage of self-publishing is total control. You are in the driving seat. The baby is all yours. You say when, you say what, you say how, and how much. It’s powerful stuff! The downside is that you’re in it alone. If you want to do it professionally, it’s up to YOU to find your editor, your proofreader, your cover designer, your printer. That’s a lot of hard work, and it’s time consuming.
Therein lies the advantage of a traditional publisher; they take a lot of the production side off of you, freeing you up to write more. On the other hand, you relinquish at least some of your control. For example, depending on your publisher, you may or may not have creative input in the cover design process. I’ve been very lucky in that regard, but I’ve heard from many authors who had no idea what their cover would like until the reveal.
At the end of the day, it depends on what kind of person you are and what your goals are. I’d definitely advocate trying whatever route is open to you and grabbing at every opportunity that presents itself.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book.
I’d have to say that I probably have a 70/30 split going on most of the time, whereby I spend 70 percent of my time writing and 30 percent marketing. However, during a launch period, that balance shifts completely towards marketing and promotion. And during a planning period, you’re much less likely to find me hanging out quite so much on the social media. (Although it’s hard to keep me off of Facebook and Twitter altogether… there are just too many fun people out there to chat with and compare notes with. I hope to see you there soon!!! :)

Contact Nicky Wells 

Other Books by Nicky Wells
Find the Rock Star Romance Trilogy on Amazon or via Barnes & Noble Paperback and Nook


  1. Woohoo! Kathryn, your blog is like my second home this week! Thank you for hosting me with a spotlight, review and, today, an interview. You are an angel and a rock star! Wishing you, once again, all the best for a fabulous Christmas and a whole heap of lovely presents. Rock on! X

  2. You are so welcome Nicky. I'm glad you had a good time. It was lovely hosting you this week. I hope everyone that stopped by had fun too. Have a terrific Christmas!

  3. Great interview, ladies! So glad you located to England, Nicky. Even more so that we were able to meet up this past summer. What fun! And your guinea pigs are sweeties.

  4. Woohooo! Thanks so much, Melannie. It was awesome meeting you too. And these guineas... well, they're really characters. Who'd have thought that two little rodents would capture the family's hearts? Thank for your lovely comment and all the best for a fabulous Christmas! X