Saturday, July 14, 2012

Meet modern-day storyteller Nikkie Locke

If he’d lived, Woody Guthrie would be 100 today. I know this because I attended an Arlo Guthrie and family concert honoring his father. One of the things Arlo said about his father that stuck with me was that Woody never considered himself a singer. Rather, he was a storyteller. And, in his lifetime, he wrote over 3,000 stories.

Today, I’m pleased to host Nikkie Locke on my blog. She’s a modern day storyteller, and her debut novel, Unbound, will be released July 16. Let’s find out a bit more about her, shall we?

Becky: Tell us a little about your book.

Nikkie: Unbound is a romantic suspense novel set in the small, fictional town of Hartsville. It’s a story about a couple whose relationship is just taking off when she becomes a target for a stalker. I really love both of these characters. Payten is independent, strong willed, and just a little bit unsure of herself when it comes to men, especially Dean. Dean is laid back, patient, and reliable. On the other hand, he has horrible nightmares about a past tragedy that he won’t share.

Becky: The book sounds edge-of-your-seat exciting. Is it based on any life experiences?

Nikkie: I took all those things that creep me out- a strange call with nobody on the other end, the fear of the dark outside the window, the itch at the back of your neck when you think someone’s watching- and expanded on it. Thankfully, I’ve never had a cause for those fears.

Becky: I love the names of your pets, and also the names of your characters. How do you decide on the names? Is it a long, complicated process, or do the characters (and pets) let you know their names pretty quickly?

Nikkie: Thanks! I have a post about naming characters on my blog. Usually, I hound friends and family for names and check out the baby name book until I find something that fits the growing character in my head. That usually isn’t too bad. Changing the name after the book’s written is a challenge though!
As for naming pets, it’s generally the same. For those of you who don’t know, I have a cat named Athena and a dog named Perseus. Athena (also known as Ani) arrived half-starved and bloody in the middle of winter. She was spunky and just a little bit wild. She bites. She’s also sneaky. After a week, Gramma and I decided on Athena, after the Goddess of War and Wisdom.
Perseus (also known as Percy) was not named after Percy Jackson, no matter what my little sister thinks. He’s a dog my father rescued and brought to me to take care of until “we find him a home.” Yeah right. That worked. Dad knows I’m a sucker. My younger brother and I had been watching Clash of the Titans when they arrived. We briefly considered renaming him Cerberus after the first night he barked all night long (he’s terrified of turtles), but Perseus just fits.

Becky: You indicated you have a love for action movies with vampires, werewolves and zombies. Any plans to write a paranormal? Maybe a paranormal suspense?

Nikkie: I would LOVE to write a paranormal novel. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, dragons, elves, goblins, imps, fairies, harpies… The list goes on and on. Those kinds of possibilities are endless. I’d love to create a world where they’re real. I’m working on it, but right now, my focus is my suspense novels.

PS I have a kick ass goblin scene. They freak me out!

Becky: Tell us about your process to publication. You indicated it had been a long road.

Nikkie: I queried dozens of agents and publishing companies. It’s challenging to catch the attention of someone who reads hundreds of similar letters a week with only a few short paragraphs. My last semester of college was spent working on a novel during the morning, researching/querying agents and publishers after lunch, and in class during the evening. It was brutal.
A year later, I stumbled onto a call for submissions from Crimson Romance. I talked the opportunity over with my mother and decided to submit. Less than a month later, I’d signed my contract. I spent weeks after randomly squealing in delight and babbling about my book to whoever would listen.

Becky: How long have you been writing?

Nikkie: I’ve been working on one novel or another since I was thirteen years old. I just turned twenty-three.

Becky: Is this your first book sale? Do you have others under the bed, waiting to come to light?

Nikkie: Unbound is the first book I’ve completed. The first book I wrote, at thirteen, will never see the light of day. It no longer even exists on paper, thank goodness. It was very, very awful.
The novel I worked on before Unbound is almost completed with less than twenty pages at the end unfinished. I stopped though. The story felt wrong. The characters from that novel actually appear in Unbound, and I hope to write their story one day. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be saved from that first book except the characters.

Becky: Who is your sexiest man alive, other than your own Prince Charming?

Nikkie: Like many of the ladies who have answered this question for my blog, I’m having trouble picking just one… If I can’t choose my own, I think I’m going with Gerard Butler. He acts, he sings, he’s funny, and he’s drop dead gorgeous. Have you seen him in a kilt? Have you heard that voice? That accent? Whew. Yeah, I’m going with Gerard.

Becky: You refer on your website to your mother, in rather humorous, loving terms. Tell us about your relationship with her.

Nikkie: My mom is awesome. She rocks. She’s the glue that holds my family together. She is incredibly supportive of my father, my young siblings, me, and even my Prince Charming. On occasion, she has been known to brag more about Prince Charming in conversation than me. I let it slide though. I know I’m her favorite. I think… She pushes us to do our best and reach for our dreams. She also calls on my days off fifteen times “just to chat.” You cannot sleep in around that woman.

Becky: You went to school at Missouri State University. Did you grow up in Missouri? Have you ever lived in any other state? Done any traveling outside the US?

Nikkie: I attended Missouri State University for my Bachelor’s degree. After less than a year out of college, I’m back. Please hold the perpetual student jokes. I’ve heard them. :)
I was born in Missouri and grew up here in a small town. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Becky: How does one connect with you?

Here’s a picture of Nikkie. A lovely young lady, wouldn’t you agree? And, at 23, she’s one of the youngest of the Crimson Romance authors. Which gives her plenty of time to catch up to Woody. Only 2,999 more to go, Nikkie!

1 comment:

  1. So wonderful! I'm so excited to read your book! It sounds awesome!

    So happy to know you and count in among my friends!