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Author Interview – Lisa de Nikolits

January 26, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Author-Interview-Button

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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you? Both. To not write, dismays and distracts me. Writing is like lancing a wound. It’s painful but with writing, comes release. And relief! I often worry there’s no story there at all, so once I realize there is, I feel a great deal of relief!
  2. What is your writing Kryptonite? I use too many he said, she said’s. I also have to completely rewrite every single thing I write, at least three times. It would be so much easier if I could just get it right the first (or second!) time. But then again, most of writing is rewriting anyway, isn’t that so? And when you sculpt a sentence or an image, it’s wonderfully satisfying! Sometimes I’ll read a first draft of a thing and think that it’s utterly awful writing – who on earth can even write that badly? But at that time, the only thing was to get the story down and I always say that – just get the story down, you can fix the writing later. If I edited as I went along, I’d get nothing done.
  3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Actually yes! I am thinking of branching out into some really weird noir and I’m considering these names: Kingston Lee, Mansel Williams, Lee Digby, Lee Hunt.
  4. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? Terri Favro, Carole Giangrande, Brenda Clews, Catherine Graham, Grace O’ Connell, all my pals at the Mesdames of Mayhem, D.J. McIntosh and Dawn Promislow are just a few. I love their work so much – their direct, beautiful prose, their descriptions. And I am blessed to be part of a very strong writing community, so that list is really very brief, there are many more names. We are all, across Canada, linked in our love of literature and I find the Canadian literary community to be extremely supportive and encouraging. I know that if I hadn’t come to Canada, the chances of me publishing a book would have been very slender because it was within this community that I learned how to write. And there are SO many fantastic Canadian authors and poets! It’s astounding, really, what a nation of literati we are. And, kind, lovely people!
  5. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? They are all definitely standalones! I would be very open to writing books with connections but it doesn’t seem to happen! I just write what I am told to write!
  6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? Going to workshops. I love workshops and conferences. Also, buying books about writing and self-editing.
  7. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? Wow, this is tough one! I can’t say for sure. I remember being part of the debating team at school and it was fascinating to me then, how language is actually a tool of persuasion. I’m sorry to not have a better answer for you.
  8. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? The Book of Stolen Tales by D.J. McIntosh. It’s such a masterful, gripping read, filled with fascinating folklore.
  9. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? It changes a lot! I find there is usually one per book. The owl was very strong for a long time. Then the snake. Right now I would say it’s the wolf.
  10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I have a whole cupboard of them! They include God’s Day Off, The Fables of Foxtrot Four, The Savage Chardonnay Society and a collection of short stories called Cannibals of the Afterlife. None of them is worth a damn and I really want to have a lovely big bonfire and watch them all go up in smoke. I feel like that would be cleansing and cathartic. I wanted to do it last summer but the opportunity never arose. Although, some stories in Cannibals of the Afterlife are fairly recent and have some potential. So I wouldn’t burn those just yet!
  11. What does literary success look like to you? I feel happy and fulfilled when people enjoy my work. My books aren’t always to everyone’s tastes and I understand that so when a new reader gives you a four or five star rating on Goodreads, then I am happy! I think that No Fury Like That is enjoying a lot of literary success which I wasn’t expecting – I thought readers would hate Julia Redner but they really seem to like her! So that’s a huge win!
  12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? That depends on the book. Rotten Peaches is my next book, for 2018 and I did a lot of research on trade fairs, the toxic ingredients that go into cosmetics and also, the history of the Afrikaner in South Africa. I worked out a calendar of trade show events before I began the story, so I would have an accurate timeline for the book. For my 2019 book, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution, I did a huge amount of research on treatment and methodology in psychiatric institutions in the 50’s and 60’s (very scary stuff) and I read a lot about tarot, casting spells and the like. That was how I discovered the The Occult Shop on Bathurst. Also, you can find a lot of gems about that kind of subject matter in used book shops. I also researched the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a great amount of detail as that is featured in the book too. Sometimes I will write the story and then flesh out the facts later, when I don’t want to lose the momentum of the real writing. The facts can always be tidied up later – something I rue when I get to it! Why didn’t I just look this up at the time? Well, because you were too busy writing! There’s a lot of constant internal dialogue in my head about my writing, the process as well as the stories.
  13. How many hours a day/week do you write? I write every day. At least two hours a day, usually a lot more on weekends.
  14. How do you select the names of your characters? I find it tough! I study movie credits constantly, or names I see in newspapers. I think about people I have met, and do I have any connotations with that name? I prefer a name to not have any connotations at all but just fit the character. I often change the names a few times but Julia Redner was always Julia Redner. The main character names seem to come easier than the secondary ones. The secondary names are perhaps even more important than the protagonists because the names need to bring a volume of information and meaning and description, meanwhile you can take the time to actually describe the protagonist.
  15. What was your hardest scene to write? Banishing the evil spirit in The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution was very tough. As I was writing the scene, I noticed a series of blisters pop up on the inside of my wrist, in the shape of a serpent and I felt quite terrified. Later I realized that I had shingles. I told my husband it was the demon spirit and he said no, it was obviously a hard scene to write and it made it physically clear! In No Fury Like That, it was hard to write the final revenge scene – Julia went to great extremes to exact he revenge and I was concerned it was too much but people have likened it to Kill Bill which I thought was a great compliment! I think I need to work on having more tough scenes to write, it’s a good workout for the brain!
  16. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them? I started off writing literary fiction but then I wanted to write more of a plotted book. Characterization comes fairly easily to me but plotting is much harder. I love reading crime novels and wondering how they came up with such intricate plots. So I set myself the challenge of writing novels with more layers of plot. I love imagining what could happen next and then, the domino effect that would have and how the characters will interact down the line. My novels have been called cross-genre or genre-bending, so I guess they just are what they are!
  17. How long have you been writing? I feel like I’ve been writing as long as I’ve been reading and I was a very early reader. Ever since I read Enid Blyton (I devoured her books), I tried to imagine myself coming up with stories like that. The Magic Faraway Tree was one of the first books I wish I had written!
  18. What inspires you?  Everything. Street art. Graffiti. Other people’s trash. I was recently on holiday in Auckland, New Zealand and I had a fine old time of it, rooting through the trash. I know, that sounds unhygienic and disgusting (and I do get some odd looks) but there are so many stories in what other people throw out. People on the subway or bus inspire me. Fashion inspires me. It’s ridiculous and extremely beautiful. People’s conversations inspire me. Movies, books, poetry, patterns in the clouds, stories in magazines or newspapers (I have cuttings from all over the world, snippets of things that could turn an idea into a character. Travel definitely inspires me.
  19. How do you find or make time to write? I am neglectful of cleaning the house, I eat the same food day after day (quite happily). I wear the same style of clothes. I minimize wasting time on a thing when I could be writing or planning a story. I put writing before meeting friends for a coffee, I shamefully neglect my husband (who thankfully is a sports fan and has his own photographic interests and doesn’t seem to mind!) I am distracted a lot, by whatever story is in my head. I limit my time on social media and miss a lot of what’s going on. I get behind on current affairs and things that are going on in the real world.
  20. What projects are you working on at the present? I am working on self-edits for Rotten Peaches. Those need to be completed by the end of January. Then I want to work on a new idea for a novel that came to me on my trip, Boomerang Beach. I wrote a hundred or so page longhand and I need to input them and see if there is anything there, and then I need to do a completely new second draft of another novel called The WeeGee Doll, after receiving great feedback from a writer friend of mine. Then I have a few short stories I want to sculpt.
  21. What do your plans for future projects include? As you can tell from the answers to 20, there is a lot on the go! And then there is always the promotion of the current book. I have a blog tour for planned for No Fury Like That for all of Feb, with Partners in Crime and I hope your readers will find it to be of interest.
  22. Share a link to your author website. I’d like to share the blog tour link if that’s okay? The blog tour hosts and I have quite the lineup planned! And let me take a moment to thank you for having me as a guest on your wonderful blog today. You and I go way back Dear Mandy, and it is with great joy that I celebrate your many writing successes with you.

Link to blog tour with Partners In Crime:

http://www.partnersincrimetours.net/no-fury-like-that-lisa-de-nikolits/

http://bit.ly/2lzkp0q (same link just shortened)

Other links

  • Facebook • Goodreads • Twitter • YouTube • LinkedIn • Instagram

 Where to order a copy of the book:

http://www.inanna.ca

http://amzn.to/2Cm9Rft (amazon.ca)

no-fury-web

Lisa de Nikolits – An Interview…

July 28, 2015
mandyevebarnett


LisadN01smallerWhat is the title of your most recent book?Between The Cracks She Fell.

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Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

This is my fifth book – all my books have been published by Inanna and I love being one of their authors. They have such a commitment to giving voice to stories that unafraid to explore the tougher things in life.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. I hope to show the complex interplay between real life and religion, to show what happens when our lives derail though no fault of our own and we are left to pick up the pieces. There are times in all of our lives when we feel terribly alone and abandoned by all that we put our trust into – I wanted readers to come on a journey with me and a young woman who falls between the cracks and has to make some difficult choices, some of which involve murder.

Hungry

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Actually yes! The idea for the entire book came to me when I was talking to a new friend and I discovered that he had been disfellowshipped by the  Jehovah’s Witness church. His family, even his twin sister, swore never to see him again unless he repented and to this day (that was seven years ago), they have stayed true to their word.

I was very moved by this and I asked him if I could write about it, imagining his life, have him as my muse. He agreed and I have kept him in the loop of all the twists and turns of the book. None the book is reflective of his life, apart from that religious aspect.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Great question! I love my evil male villains. Hans in A Glittering Chaos, Rydell in The Witchdoctor’s Bones, Mickey in West of Wawa, and now, Lenny in Between The Cracks She Fell. Why? Because they are such enormous fun to write! I swear I might have multiple personality disorder because I really feel as if I have lived their fragile and evil lives. They are only secondary characters but I love them so much.

west of wawa

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I would change the beginning in The Witchdoctor’s Bones. I would start with more action and less narrative and dialogue introducing the characters.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food? Chocolate-covered peanuts! South African coffee called Ricoffy. Chocolate-covered pretzels are also good, along with rum-flavoured toffees!

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? I think the reward is having made the deadline! I’m usually so tired by that point that I fall into bed and crash!

Witchdoctor

Have you ever hated something you wrote? No. I do think I am improving as a writer though and for me, that’s the most important thing. But I would never hate anything I have written because it was written in a time when that was the best I could do. And I am always proud of myself for trying. So many people out there want to write but don’t (because yes, it’s hellishly hard), so I am always grateful to myself (and to the words) for trying to say something.

What book do you wish you had written? I wish I had written The Night Stages by Jane Urqhart.or Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Chaos

What genre is Between The Cracks She Fell? I am genre-less! But if pressed I’d say it is literary fiction with elements of crime and noir.

How do we find your books, blog and bio? All info here:

Bio and links:

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.

Lisa de Nikolits is the author of five novels: The Hungry Mirror (2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and long-listed for a ReLit Award), West of Wawa (2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and a Chatelaine Editor’s Pick). A Glittering Chaos tied to win the 2014 Silver IPPY for Popular Fiction. Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor’s Bones launched Spring 2014 to literary acclaim and her fifth novel, Between The Cracks She Fell will launch in Fall 2015. Lisa has a short story in Postscripts To Darkness, Volume 6, and flash fiction and a short story in the debut issue of Maud.Lin House. She will also have a short story coming out with the Mesdames of Mayhem, in the anthology, Thirteen o’Clock, also in Fall 2015.

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has lived in Canada since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has also lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.

 Lisa de Nikolits is the author of five novels: The Hungry Mirror (2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and long-listed for a ReLit Award), West of Wawa (2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and a Chatelaine Editor’s Pick). A Glittering Chaos tied to win the 2014 Silver IPPY for Popular Fiction. Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor’s Bones launched Spring 2014 to literary acclaim and her fifth novel, Between The Cracks She Fell recently launched in Fall 2015. Lisa has a short story in Postscripts To Darkness, Volume 6, 2015, and flash fiction and a short story in the debut issue of Maud.Lin House as well as poetry in Canada Woman Studies Journal (Remembering, 2013, and Water, 2015).

Links: 

www.lisadenikolitswriter.com 

twitter: @lisadenikolits

www.facebook.com/lisa.denikolits

http://www.goodreads.com

LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1r8H9Df

 http://www.wattpad.com/user/LisadeNikolits

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