Welcome to my lovely friend and author Nicky Wells!
Nicky Wells is a writer, wife, mother and teaching assistant. Born and raised in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993. Having received two degrees, Nicky spent six years working as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.
Nicky left work in November 2004 to spend three months writing her debut novel, Sophie’s Turn, before the birth of her first baby in April 2005. Since then, Nicky has had another child, qualified as a teaching assistant, and is volunteering as such in her local primary school on a part-time basis. Nicky also works for the German Saturday School in Bristol.
Nicky currently lives in Bristol with her husband and her two boys and is finishing her next novel, the sequel to Sophie’s Turn and Part 2 in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. When she is not writing, she loves listening to rock music (or simply the radio), reading books and eating lobsters or pizza.
- Born with a pen in your hand or writing came as a shock brigade?
Definitely born with a pen in my hand! I hate to admit it, and it sounds incredibly clichéd, but I have written, in some capacity or other, pretty much since I was ten. I’m not really sure what started it other than a fascination with putting words on the page, and with the fact that someone else could then read my thoughts… I do recall scribbling my very first mini-story ever after lights-out when I was about ten. It was summer, and the days were long so it was light after bedtime, and I just couldn’t sleep. So I sat on the window sill in my bedroom, cunningly hiding behind the blind so Mum wouldn’t see me if she popped in (I never realized this strategy wouldn’t work but hey-ho, I was only ten) and scribbling away on this little ruled pad with a green biro. I have no idea what the story was about, but it excited me and I kept writing every night.
A little later on, I started filling notebooks and then I was given an ancient type-writer, so I felt very important sitting at my desk hacking out stories like a professional (or so I thought). I even sent my collected works off to a publisher then. Surprisingly enough, they got in touch—although only to tell me that they couldn’t accept works from children.
Through my teenage years, writing became a bit of an obsession and an outlet for many thoughts and frustrations that I couldn’t voice to anyone. Yes, the ubiquitous teenage angst! But writing was my way of coping with it. As a young adult, I was too busy having fun at university to do any serious writing but I produced a number of short stories. And then… finally… after years of working in a professional capacity, getting married and falling pregnant… I found the time—the right time!—to write my debut novel, Sophie’s Turn.
- Where do you most like to write?
Sophie’s Turn was written ‘properly’ at a desk in what was then my study. The study has since been dismantled to make way for first one, then two little boys so I now have a tiny tuck-away desk in a corner of the dining room. It’s more of a storage area and I really don’t like writing there—I sit cramped, and the room gets so much sunlight in the morning that I can’t actually see the screen.
So the sequel to Sophie’s Turn was written in its entirety while sitting on my comfy sofa, legs up, cushions on lap, laptop on top. Lots of cushions to support my back and… well, I don’t think I’m going back from this approach, it’s been wonderful!
Laptop!! Since using a computer, my handwriting has degenerated so badly that I often can’t read my own (handwritten) shopping lists! In addition, I write a lot, fast, and traditional long hand just wouldn’t enable me to get ideas down quickly enough. To give you an idea, the first draft of the sequel to Sophie’s Turn has come in at 149,033 words. I spent twelve weeks writing it, with an average of about 10 hours writing per week. That’s a total of… say, 150 hours, allowing for extra stints and evening time here and there. Which means I wrote just under 1,000 words per hour, on average. I just couldn’t do that by hand!
- What do you like best about writing?
What I love, love, love best about writing is when the characters take on a life of their own. I plan my novels meticulously, with an outline for every chapter, often right down to the last scene. And yet… I found consistently that my characters would bring in their own twists and turns, say things that I hadn’t anticipated, sulk, laugh, or have s.e.x. when I hadn’t planned for them to do so (or not, when I had!). For example, I had planned that Dan—my rock star hero and Sophie’s dream man—would be terribly upset about Sophie’s engagement to Tim, sulk, perhaps disappear for a few weeks. So I was writing away merrily about Sophie and Tim’s engagement party when lo and behold, Dan walks in. A little drunk, a little disheveled, but very definitely compos mentis, and very definitely out to cause trouble. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather! I had the best time bringing that scene to a conclusion, and that was only one of many such occurrences.
- First person or third person?
So far, definitely first person. I tried writing in the third person for a while but I find it really hard. I guess the first person narrative reflects best how I would tell the story, were it mine—if that makes any sense. I find it easier to project emotions and feelings if I can tell it as I would about myself. Put the other way round, I found the third person incredibly restrictive and limiting. I didn’t come to this conclusion until a good 10,000 words into Sophie’s Turn on the first draft, and then I went back and started over, feeling much happier and much more comfortable.
And this last adjective is probably the central cause: comfortable. I have a very conversational, chatty writing style and that just doesn’t sit well with a more formal third person narrator. So, so far, it’s first person for me (almost) all the way. But who’s to say I’m not going to have another go for a future novel I have in mind….?
Thanks so much, Elle, for inviting me on your blog! I had great fun answering these questions and I hope your readers enjoy ‘meeting’ me. I am always open to questions and would love comments or thoughts… don’t be shy, everyone! Meanwhile, take care and… rock on!
My pleasure Nicky!
Visit Nicky on her blog at http://nickywellsklippert.wordpress.com/ where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress.
You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook:
Nicky on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/WellsNicky
Nicky on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Nicky-Wells/240322162658246
You can buy Sophie’s Turn here:
Amazon.co.uk. (buy): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sophies-Turn-ebook/dp/B005C1GIFS/
Amazon.com (buy): http://www.amazon.com/Sophies-Turn-ebook/dp/B005C1GIFS/