Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Library of Erana Interview

(This Interview was originally published by Library of Erana on 9/26/15.)
Welcome to Nikki Andrews
Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in New Jersey a long time ago, but since then I’ve mostly lived inside my head.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My latest book, Framed, is a cozy mystery set in a New Hampshire art gallery. More books in that setting are in the works. I also dabble in sci-fi and just started a romantic thriller.
Where do you find inspiration? The world is so full of a number of things…Normal everyday life, with a twist.
Are your characters based on real people? Yes and no. I’ve used real people as a baseline for characters, but I blend in traits, habits, or idiosyncrasies from other people. So far, no real people have recognized themselves in my books.  
Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Oh yeah! (rubs hands together) That’s part of the fun.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? For Framed, I drew on my nine years as a picture framer, and did research into police procedures and messenger services. Like many writers, I’m a bit introverted, but I’m better at finding a person to talk to than I am at book/Google searches. And as I get older, I’ve gotten bolder at walking up to people who snag my interest. Once you get someone talking about their passion, it’s almost impossible to shut them up.
Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Books that beat you over the head with a “message” bore and annoy me. Story first, always. There is a–let’s call it a theme–that runs through my books, but I’d rather let readers discover it for themselves, if they are so inclined.
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? Framed is available as an ebook or print. Large print and audio would be lovely, and in my spare time I’m looking into it.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I also work as an editor, and I’ve learned that no one can adequately self-edit. Every writer needs someone else to insist “this beloved passage adds nothing” or “you really need to expand that thought.” Even before I started thinking about becoming an editor, I used to mark up books where I thought changes would improve them. So yes, I think all books should be professionally edited.
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? A book is far more interactive than movies or games. Books allow, even demand, the reader’s participation in imagining the world and the characters described. Just as a for-instance, I had a very different image of Gollum than what Peter Jackson gave the world. Every time I open a book, I become a co-creator with the author. And that is far more exciting than watching a movie or playing a game.
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Read widely, write daily, learn deeply.
Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? Just finished Ann Hillerman’s Spider Woman’s Daughter. I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to find she did an excellent job with her father’s characters, and I loved getting a feminine perspective on them. I’m curious to see what will happen if she goes on to create her own new characters and mysteries.
Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? No, I couldn’t possibly name them. There are too many of each!
Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?  I won’t name the company where I worked as an admin assistant, but that job from hell did provide a deliciously evil character that I managed to kill off three times in one book. Bwaa-ha-ha!
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I have been known to stand in front of the local planning board and make train noises at them.
Book links, website/blog and author links:
Twitter: @NAedits

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Raptor Release

Perfect day for a raptor release on Pack Monadnock. NH Audubon freed two broadwing hawks, both young females, after their recovery from injuries. It was such a joy to watch them burst from their transport boxes and take off into their natural habitat--the wide sky. A very moving experience, no matter how often I see it.

(c) Nikki Andrews
(c) Nikki Andrews

This handsome fellow is a 15 year old red-tail hawk who did not recover fully from an encounter with a car. He will remain a shelter bird because he cannot fly well enough to make it on his own in the wild. He helps Audubon teach the public, especially school kids, about wild birds.

Pack Monadnock
September 19, 2015 

She hesitates, confused.
The world has been so wrong.
First pain, then suffocating blindness,

The sensation of movement though she moved not a muscle.
More darkness, odd smells, odd sounds.
She woke in a strange place, but she could move and see.

Food came, dead food she had not hunted.
But she hungered, so she ate.
Pain departed and strength returned.

She took wing, but the sky was fenced.
She could not rise to seek natural food,
Nor cruise the spiraling thermals.

Days passed, and nights,
And then this place of semi-darkness in daylight
And once again movement though she moved not.

She hesitates, confused.
Noises around her like those of her captivity,
Light and air and open sky before her.

The moment is right. She launches,
Takes flight, finds the rising air.
Head up, wings strong,

She dances on the winds of noon.